Potential Trade Targets to Upgrade Indiana Pacers

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIIJanuary 16, 2013

Potential Trade Targets to Upgrade Indiana Pacers

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    The Indiana Pacers presently rank first in both scoring defense and opponent field goal percentage. They also top the league in opponent three-point field goal percentage, opponent three-point field goals made per game, and opponent points per shot.

    So why claim that they are in dire need of improvement? It's simple: They have no offense.

    The Pacers presently rank 29th in the NBA in terms of scoring offense. A primary reason for their offensive shortcomings is the fact that they place just 28th in assists per game.

    They also rank 28th in field goal percentage and 25th in three-point field goal percentage. 

    The question is, can an in-house recovery be achieved upon the return of Danny Granger? Or will it take a trade to save this devastatingly inefficient offense?

    If the Pacers take the latter route, the following players would offer the perfect fix.

Jose Calderon, Toronto Raptors

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 31

    Experience: 8th Season

    2012-13 Season Averages

    19.47 PER, 10.7 PPG, 7.7 APG, 2.5 RPG, 43.5% 3PT

    As of January 16, 2013, the Indiana Pacers rank 28th in assists per game.

    This is more evidence of Indiana's undoing during the 2012 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals: They failed to move the ball down the stretch.

    In order to cure those woes, acquiring point guard Jose Calderon from the Toronto Raptors is the perfect route to follow.

    Calderon has ranked in the Top 5 in terms of assists per game in four of the past five seasons. He currently places sixth at 7.7 per outing.

    A number that he is producing despite playing behind starter Kyle Lowry.

    In other words, the man can facilitate an offense. More importantly, he can produce points in a much more efficient manner than the Pacers' current options.

    Any upgrade is a good one. This happens to be a great one.

    Marc Stein of ESPN reports that Calderon is being included in package deals for Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay.

    This suggests that the Pacers could make a package offer to acquire Calderon and one of their limitless interior players. Options for a deal include the likes Danny Granger, D.J. Augustin and a draft choice.

    Granger is the shooter Toronto needs, while Augustin provides point guard depth. Most importantly, Augustin has an expiring contract.

    Remember, folks. These are just options, not necessities.

    Indiana would take back more than Calderon due to financial restrictions. If they want their offense to improve; however, it's time to make this move.

Jared Dudley, Phoenix Suns

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    Position: Guard/Forward

    Age: 27

    Experience: 6th Season

    2012-13 Season Averages

    15.99 PER, 12.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.1 SPG, 39.3% 3PT

    Jared Dudley is, arguably, the most underrated player in the NBA.

    Dudley is an overwhelmingly intelligent defender and a consistent three-point shooter. In terms of production, he is presently averaging 12.1 points on 39.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

    If Indiana isn't going to land a point guard, why not solidify their perimeter?

    Dudley is not the most athletic player, but he'd function perfectly alongside Paul George. Both are defensive stoppers and each thrive from beyond the arc.

    Although they lack a consistent facilitator, padding the perimeter defensively could do nothing but help the top ranked scoring defense.

    Adding a three-point shooter wouldn't hurt the NBA's 25th ranked three-point shooting team, either.

    As for what they'd be forced to give up, the Indiana Pacers would have to part ways with Gerald Green. D.J. Augustin would almost certainly be involved due to his expiring contract.

    Regardless of which wing is dealt, Dudley would offer a significant upgrade.

Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 26

    Experience: 7th Season

    2012-13 Season Averages

    15.00 PER, 17.8 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.4 SPG

    This one comes with a major asterisk, as Rudy Gay may not be a feasible option for Indiana.

    With that being said, he'd certainly make himself at home with the Indiana Pacers' defensive identity. He'd also provide a valuable scoring touch.

    Depending on which area you're studying, Gay is both an upgrade and downgrade from Danny Granger.

    Granger is a far superior shooter to Gay, while the former UConn star is a far more dynamic athlete.

    Paired with Paul George, the Pacers would instantly create one of the best perimeter pairings in the game.

    If there were to be a deal for Gay, the Pacers would need to include multiple one-year deals and Granger. This suggests D.J. Augustin and Tyler Hansbrough would be potential pieces.

    Should a third team become involved, David West's expiring contract could come in to play. The only way that could work out is with another significant acquisition in Indiana's favor.

    Due to the underwhelming nature of Gay's career production, it wouldn't be farfetched to believe that the Pacers could turn down a potential deal. With that being said, everyone has their price.

    Gay is a solid offensive option, which is what Indiana needs. Granger is a shooter with endless range, which is what Memphis desperately needs. 

    Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is one of many that has made one thing clear: Gay is on the trading block.

Courtney Lee, Boston Celtics

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    Position: Guard/Forward

    Age: 27

    Experience: 5th Season

    2012-13 Season Averages

    10.61 PER, 23.1 MPG, 6.9 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.0 SPG

    Courtney Lee is a more athletic and less fundamentally honed version of Jared Dudley.

    In other words, he works as a fit for the Indiana Pacers.

    Lee is capable of playing either wing position. This would enable the Pacers to continue to experiment with Paul George at shooting guard and small forward.

    Furthermore, Lee is a career 38.3 percent shooter from beyond the arc. He is also a reliable defender that thrives in the open court.

    He and George Hill would make quite the backcourt pairing.

    Unfortunately for Indiana, Lee has recovered from a slow start. He's shooting 59.0 percent from the floor and 45.5 percent from beyond the arc in January.

    He's also averaging just 17.3 minutes per game, which suggests he remains on the trading block (via ESPN).

    Indiana has hope in acquiring Lee. The Boston Celtics lack point guard depth and the expiring contract of D.J. Augustin is attractive.

    The question is, would Indiana want to take on an average salary of $5,337,500 over the next three years? For a role player, they may not.

    Even if it is worth the money.

J.J. Redick, Orlando Magic

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 28

    Experience: 7th Season

    2012-13 Season Averages

    16.01 PER, 14.6 PPG, 4.5 APG, 2.3 RPG, 37.6% 3PT

    As previously acknowledged, the Indiana Pacers rank 25th in three-point field goal percentage.

    In order to cure said woes, why not make a push to acquire sharpshooter J.J. Redick?

    Redick is presently averaging 14.6 points on 37.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc. For his career, he's a 39.6 percent shooter from distance.

    Perhaps most important of all, Redick is an excellent passer. His average of 4.5 assists per game would rank second on the Pacers.

    Even if the price tag will be high, Redick is aware that a deal could be made (via NBA.com).  Redick said,

    First of all, you have to hope that there’s another team that wants you because there are never any guarantees there.

    At the [trade] deadline, maybe there’s an offer that [GM] Rob [Hennigan] has to consider. But I don’t get any indication from him that they are actively looking to move me.

    In other words, the Indiana Pacers would need to offer something significant to acquire Redick.

    There are expiring contracts with David West, Tyler Hansbrough and D.J. Augustin. The question is, would Indy move West, their second leading scorer, with questionable scoring depth behind him?

    Chances are, they wouldn't. It's also unlikely that Indy would swap Danny Granger for Redick.

    Name value aside; however, pairing Redick with Paul George may actually be the better fit than Granger.

    It'd be tough to pull off, but this trade could lead to a major improvement on the offensive side of the ball.

Luke Ridnour, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 31

    Experience: 10th Season

    2012-13 Season Averages

    13.32 PER, 11.5 PPG, 4.2 APG, 2.8 RPG, 1.1 SPG

    Luke Ridnour is a pick-and-roll maestro with an excellent mid-range jump shot.

    He's also an active defender who overcomes his size disadvantage via tenacity.

    In other words, Ridnour fits right in with the Indiana Pacers. One might even go out on a limb and call him a major upgrade.

    Had he not been playing alongside J.J. Barea, Ricky Rubio and Alexey Shved, Ridnour would be averaging more than 4.2 assists per game.

    A number that would, already, place second on the Pacers.

    Offensively, Ridnour would work perfectly with David West and Roy Hibbert. His ability to run the pick-and-roll would be a revelation for an offense that falls into Iso sets on a consistent basis.

    His responsible play would also help a team that commits 14.9 turnovers per game.

    Marc Stein of ESPN has been reporting since mid-December that Ridnour is available for trade talks. With Rubio, Barea and Shved in the rotation, it's not hard to see why Minnesota wants to move him.

    In order for Indiana to swing a deal, they'd likely need to cough up some expiring contracts and a wing.

    In terms of expiring deals, that could call for D.J. Augustin and Tyler Hansbrough. Depending on what Minnesota is willing to package, it could also lead to David West.

    Keep in mind, Kevin Love is out for roughly two months with a fractured hand (via Fox Sports).

    As long as Ridnour is included with a draft choice or reputable player, dealing West and Augustin is not as bad of a hit. Unfortunately, Minnesota doesn't have an interior scorer to deal.

    A third team would need to be involved to include West in this one.

    Either way, Minny is likely to accept an expiring contract if it means they can clear up their crowded backcourt. Augustin fits that billing.

    Ridnour's $4.32 million in 2013-14 shouldn't be too tough to handle for Indy.

    Considering he's a better facilitator than any on the roster, it'd be money well-spent.

Beno Udrih, Milwaukee Bucks

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 30

    Experience: 9th Season

    2012-13 Season Averages

    16.49 PER, 19.1 MPG, 8.1 PPG, 3.6 APG, 2.3 RPG, 51.9% FG

    Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis and Beno Udrih are all on the trading block (via ESPN).

    Considering the Milwaukee Bucks are Indiana's division rival, it's unlikely that borderline stars such as Jennings or Ellis will head to the Indiana Pacers.

    With that being said, Udrih is a legitimate option.

    The ninth year veteran is a crafty ball handler, formidable threat from beyond the arc and an underrated passer. Although he fits the "shoot-first" billing, Udrih knows how to facilitate.

    He'd do nothing but improve the league's 28th ranked assist team.

    If the asking price is high, the Pacers would need to work a three-team deal to get this done. After all, keeping Danny Granger in the division is the furthest thing from logical.

    Fortunately, Udrih is likely to be dealt for less than expected.

    Due to Udrih's expiring contract; however, don't be shocked to see some interest.