Look for the 2013-14 version of the Indiana Pacers to be a championship contender once again.
The 2013-14 Indiana Pacers will take on a slightly different look than last season's version.
And it should be a better one at that.
Indiana has served notice that it means serious business with the recent news of David West re-signing with the team for another three years and the acquisition of C.J. Watson for two years at the backup point-guard spot.
This may just be the beginning.
A disappointing bench plus a mediocre offense are two considerations the Pacers ought to keep in mind in making key offseason moves for the 2013-14 NBA season.
Addressing the Coaching Situation
McMillan's 12 years of NBA coaching experience plus his reputation as a great defender during his playing career will certainly rub off on the team. Coach Frank Vogel also implicitly stated Indiana was looking for a former player the current Pacers could relate to. McMillan fits the bill perfectly.
Jim Boylen's departure to take on a role as one of Gregg Popovich's assistants with the San Antonio Spurs leaves a void in the coaching staff. A strong candidate whom the Pacers can consider is former Phoenix Suns assistant coach Elston Turner, who is considered to be one of the league's best.
Former Pacer Chuck "The Rifleman" Person making a comeback to Indiana's sideline (he was an assistant coach from 2005-07) could also be an option, considering he enjoyed some success with the Los Angeles Lakers before his dismissal from the team two months ago.
The Danny Granger Situation
Losing Danny Granger for the majority of the 2012-13 NBA season puts management in a dilemma: Will the Pacers keep him or trade him? If they keep him, should he start or come off the bench?
Team president Larry Bird publicly stated that he won't trade Granger. Whether it's a ruse on his part or not, the key here is whether Granger will be able to weather the effects of his jumper's knee injury.
Using this as a point of reference, the hope is for Granger to come back in Pacers' blue and gold in 2013-14. It would be best for Granger to come off the bench, because Paul George, Indiana's unquestioned franchise player, flourished in the small-forward spot last season.
A healthy Granger could also help boost Indiana's less-than-stellar bench production.
Predicting More Roster Moves
Another development making big news is the Pacers' rescinding of Tyler Hansbrough's qualifying offer worth $4,135391 for next season, making him an unrestricted free agent.
After being mediocre for the most part of his four-year stint with Indiana, expect Hansbrough to sign somewhere else for a fresh start. Two noteworthy prospects capable of backing up David West are Carl Landry and J.J. Hickson. Landry and Hickson's recent success with the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers, respectively, are things the Pacers should not ignore.
The Pacers also needed some depth at point guard with what Mark Montieth of NBA.com identifies as the likely impending departure of D.J. Augustin (h/t RotoWorld.com). C.J. Watson addresses that need and should add some much-needed scoring punch.
Expect the Pacers to cut Gerald Green and Sam Young, who were both more of liabilities. Green's tenure with the team was made shakier with reports of Chris Copeland expressing interest in Indiana. Copeland is due for $988,872 in 2013-14, which is almost four times less than Green's salary.
Signing Copeland makes perfect sense in order to bolster the Pacers' scoring at a cheaper price. Plus, with Green gone, Pacers fans don't have to shake their heads with every ill-advised outside shot he takes.
The Pacers have some more holes to fill to improve their roster. This begins with the coaching staff. Adding someone of Elston Turner or Chuck Person's caliber could help the team's brain trust.
Who will be the Indiana Pacers' best offseason acquisition?
A fully rested Danny Granger plus the acquisitions of C.J. Watson, Carl Landry or J.J. Hickson and Chris Copeland would significantly improve and deepen the Pacers bench. Don't expect Tyler Hansbrough, D.J. Augustin, Gerald Green and Sam Young to be back.
A stronger supporting cast and an intact starting lineup of George Hill, Lance Stephenson, Paul George, David West and Roy Hibbert would serve notice to other teams that the 2013-14 Indiana Pacers are going to make another serious run at an NBA championship.