The Indiana Pacers were one of the NBA's most surprising teams last season, finishing third in the Eastern Conference. They need to make some additions to keep moving in the right direction, however, making D.J. Augustin an ideal target.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports the Pacers have contacted the Charlotte Bobcats about a potential sign-and-trade deal for the point guard rather than going the route of giving the restricted free agent an offer sheet.
The Pacers already opened up a spot for another point guard by trading Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Ian Mahinmi. So it's no surprise they are in pursuit of somebody to fill the void.
After the deal, George Hill and A.J. Price are the only point guards left on the roster. Hill has very limited experience as a starter while Price has been nothing more than a deep bench player during his three-year career.
Entering the season with only those two guys to run the point would be taking a major risk. Adding Augustin, who has started 141 games since being selected ninth overall by the Bobcats in 2008, would bring more stability to the position.
The 24-year-old Texas product averaged 11 points and six assists in just over 29 minutes per game for the Bobcats last season. That's actually a three-point-per-game drop from the previous season, mostly due to a shooting slump in February and March.
It's important to remember Augustin was surrounded by one of the worst rosters in league history. Charlotte won seven games and it was purely due to a lack of talent, so getting to move to the Pacers would be huge for Augustin.
Indiana has a strong base of young talent led by Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert. Even though the team doesn't have as much star power as the other Eastern Conference powers, a combination of depth and team-first play allows them to remain a contender.
Augustin would fit right into that approach. He doesn't stand out like the top-flight point guards, but he brings the reliability and distribution skills needed to run an offense.
The tandem of Hill and Augustin should give the Pacers a solid backcourt alongside rising star Paul George, who is due to have a breakout season after making plenty of progress last season at the shooting guard spot.
Unlike some of the other teams, who can attract veterans looking to win a title, the Pacers have to make a series of smaller moves to build their roster. The front office has done a nice job so far by locking up their own players, but the job isn't done yet.
Landing Augustin would be a great move and get them one step closer to completing the squad for next season.
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