Top Free Agents the Indiana Pacers Should Pursue
With NBA games finally set to begin, free agency will open next week, giving teams 14 days to bolster their chances during the shortened season. Already a solid team, the Pacers will be in search of a missing piece and quality reserve to provide them a more complete and dangerous roster.
While finding a top-flight power forward should be their No. 1 priority, Indiana has shown it won't hesitate to make an unconventional splash. With money to spend, expect the Pacers to make several moves and be aggressive in free agency.
Here are 10 players the Pacers may target.
10. Glen Davis
The Pacers already have an undersized power forward who has built his reputation on hustle and heart in Tyler Hansbrough.
They don't particularly need another and will hopefully land a bigger star.
If not, adding Glen Davis can't hurt.
Davis has said he would prefer to be a starter. If he is willing to stay in his current role as sixth man, the Pacers would be happy to add his 11.7 PPG and endless motor to their roster.
It doesn't seem likely, but stranger things have happened.
Chance Davis becomes a Pacer: 8 percent.
9. Jeff Green
Jeff Green landing in Indiana hinges on a few factors.
For one, the Pacers have to hope the Celtics don't match whatever offer the Pacers might make.
Secondly—and more importantly—Jeff Green coming to Indy would mean that the Pacers would have dealt Danny Granger.
Should the Pacers deal Granger to, say, Utah for Al Jefferson, bringing in Jeff Green as a replacement who can play three positions suddenly would be much more appealing.
Plus, considering Green isn't particularly attached to Boston and would be united with former Hoya teammate Roy Hibbert, it's hard to imagine there wouldn't be some interest from the current Celtic.
Chance Green becomes a Pacer: 14 percent.
8. Arron Afflalo
With the likely departure of Mike Dunleavey, the Pacers will be in the market for a shooting guard who could start or come off the bench.
More importantly, Indiana needs shooters.
Arron Afflalo could be their guy. If Affalo doesn't re-sign with Denver, Indiana should make a run at the 26-year-old former UCLA product who averaged 12.6 PPG and shot a blistering 42.3 percent from downtown last season.
A young, athletic shooter, Affalo would be a perfect fit in the Indy offense.
Chance Afflalo becomes a Pacer: 21 percent.
7. Yi Jianlian
A disappointment in Washington, it appears that the Wizards will not make any serious efforts to renew Yi Jianlian's contract.
For the 7'0" center out of China, it means a chance to start anew.
With Foster and McRoberts both free agents and needing to upgrade the power forward position anyway, Jianlian is an intriguing talent the Pacers may consider.
His 5.6 PPG and 3.9 RPG are certainly unspectacular, but it is Jianlian's offensive repertoire, height and youth (he's only 23) that make Jianlian a possible fit in Indiana.
Should the Pacers feel that at 24, Jianlian still has potential, adding a big seven-footer who can step out and hit the three would add both more height and offensive weapons for a team that had no reliable shooters and struggled to make shots down the stretch.
Jianlian would also provide the Pacers with critical versatility off the bench to replace Hibbert or even possibly start alongside him at the power forward position.
A combination of Hibbert and Jianlian would be hard for opponents to drive on and shoot over. It's a risk that Jianlian will ever find his offensive game, but one the Pacers might consider worth taking.
Chance Jianlian becomes a Pacer: 27 percent.
6. Jeff Foster
Having played his entire 12-year career with the Pacers, Indiana is certainly home for Foster.
His heart and intensity has endeared him to fans over the past decade.
At 34, however, his time with the Pacers may be coming to an end.
With Tyler Hansbrough, the Pacers already have a more polished version of Foster, so he is likely expendable.
Yet at the same time, the Pacers know what they are going to get with Foster, like the energy he brings, and they have relied on his leadership during what have been bleak seasons.
Will Foster be back? Fans surely want to keep him, but whether the Pacers re-sign Foster will depend on what other players they can or cannot land.
Chance Foster stays a Pacer: 70 percent.
5. Carl Landry
Carl Landry is not the Pacers No. 1 target, but he would still be a nice addition.
The problem with Landry is that he doesn't provide much that Hansbrough can't, and while added depth is nice, the Pacers are looking for a standout difference-maker.
That, Landry is not. Averaging only 4.6 rebounds per game, Landry did not show enough in David West's absence to warrant a major contract.
If the Pacers can get him for cheap, they should take him.
It looks like that won't be the case, and thus Indiana would be wise to pass and spend their money elsewhere.
Chance Landry becomes a Pacer: 39 percent.
4. Marco Belinelli
A poor man's Arron Affalo, Belinelli finds himself a candidate for the Pacers, as he will be easier and less expensive to sign.
A quality shooter, especially from deep, Belinelli played well down the stretch last season and ended the year with a 10.4 PPG average on 41.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Not a particularly tough defender, the Pacers will overlook such deficiencies should Belinelli prove to be an efficient and regular offensive threat.
Chance Belinelli becomes a Pacer: 22 percent.
3. Greg Oden
Had Greg Oden managed to stay healthy, we would be talking about "The Decision 2.0."
Instead, few are confident he will ever be able to contribute for a contender.
For the Pacers, there is a lot of intrigue in signing a local product and former No. 1 pick.
The risk/reward is also very favorable. Given how little Oden has managed to play in his injury-riddled career, the asking price for the former Lawrence North High School star will be low.
Yet, a healthy Greg Oden is a top-five NBA center.
For Oden, signing with the Pacers represents an opportunity to return home, start anew and not have to deal with the pressures he dealt with being the No. 1 pick.
Playing behind starting center Roy Hibbert, Oden will both be given the chance to ease back into playing and preserve his body by seeing limited minutes. If his knees hold up, the Pacers would possess the best center tandem in the league and be a force to be reckoned with in the conference.
For Oden and the Pacers, it's a win-win.
Chance Oden becomes a Pacer: 46 percent.
2. Kris Humphries
It's hard to imagine Humphries being a coveted free agent (he certainly won't be a coveted husband anymore), but he is.
After a breakout campaign, Humphries is set to break the bank and cash in on his double-double numbers.
Having played in the league for six years previous with little success, many wonder whether last year he put up inflated contract-year type numbers.
Either way, Humphries wouldn't be on this list if there was a hope Denver would let their center Nene test the free-agent waters.
As it doesn't look like that is happening, the Pacers will be forced to take a long, hard look at the former Mr. Kardashian.
Chance Humphries becomes a Pacer: 33 percent.
1. David West
The apple of the Pacers' eye, landing David West would be a stroke of good fortune for Indiana.
Even with West coming off reconstructive knee surgery, it won't be easy—many teams will be vying for his services.
A starting lineup of Collison, George, Granger, West and Hibbert would be most formidable, giving Pacers execs all the more incentive to make it happen.
With room for one max contract, the Pacers will likely throw all the money they can at a chance to land West.
His experience and 18.9 PPG are qualities the Pacers have desperately lacked at the power forward since the days of Jermaine O'Neal.
Chance West becomes a Pacer: 72 percent.