Indiana Pacers: Slow the Trade Talk, Indiana Has Its Core Group

David DietzContributor IIIDecember 2, 2011

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 16:  Roy Hibbert #55 and Danny Granger #33 of the Indiana Pacers react after the game against the Boston Celtics on March 16, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Indiana Pacers 92-80. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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With the season set to begin, training camps set to open and free agency set to commence, rumors are swirling. And while where Chris Paul might land seems to be the biggest question, a surprising amount of trade talk has been focused on the Indiana Pacers.

On this site alone, two articles were posted about why Indiana should pursue Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo.  

With all due respect, short of a trade involving a true upgrade at power forward, the trade talk in Indiana should stop. The Pacers already have their core roster, and have a pretty good one at that. 

If any trade were to happen—and I am not advocating one necessarily should—it should focus on landing an upgrade at power forward to start over Tyler Hansbrough. 

Otherwise the Pacers have a very strong core group of players. If a trade were to happen, the Pacers could land Al Jefferson or Paul Millisap from Utah in return for Granger. Such a trade would upgrade the power forward position while not hurting the team elsewhere as Paul George would move to his natural position on the wing. Most importantly, the trade would not disrupt the chemistry or cohesion of the team.

While Hansbrough provides the Pacers with decent scoring and scrappy hustle, he is the only starter among the five that is a weak link.

Otherwise, the Indiana is in good shape and trades for the Pacers do not make any sense, especially a deal involving Rondo. 

A trade scenario Rondo would almost certainly entail sending Hibbert and Collison to Boston.

This would be way too high a price and a disastrous loss for the Pacers. Hibbert and Collison combine for roughly 26 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists per game which are far better than Rondo's 10.6 PPG, 11.2 RPG and 4.4 APG. Factor in that Rondo is able to feed three of the league's most prolific and efficient scorers in Pierce, Garnett and Allen (three players the Pacers don't have) and its likely that Rondo's assists would drop dramatically. 

Furthermore, given their past progression and there increasing comfort playing together in Coach Vogel's new system and it is expected their numbers and play will be remarkably improved. Hibbert is arguably a top-three center in the East already. 

Regardless if it's Rondo or anyone else (except for, say, CP3 or Dwight Howard) the Pacers should stay put.

At only 24 years of age, Hibbert and Collison should be considered untouchables, as should George, who is only 21 and in his second year in the league. They are the future core group and the players which management should build around and add to. 

Even with Hansbrough starting at power forward, few teams in the East can put together a rotation as strong as the Pacers. Collison, George, Granger, Hansbrough and Hibbert with George Hill and Brandon Rush off the bench is a very complete and competitive team. 

Adding a player like David West through free agency could suddenly make them dangerous contenders. Blowing up the team for a player like Rondo will only prolong the painful rebuilding process that the Pacers are finally putting behind them.