Pacers Rumors: IND 'Incredibly Active' Trying to Trade Into Top 10 or Out of Draft

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 22, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS - JULY 8: Malcolm Brogdon #7 of the Indiana Pacers is introduced by Owner Kevin Pritchard of the Indiana Pacers during a press conference after signing a free agent contract with the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on July 8, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: 2019 NBAE  (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

Regardless of where they wind up, the Indiana Pacers apparently don't want to stay at No. 13 in the first round of the 2021 NBA draft.

The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported the Pacers "are incredibly active in trade talks involving this pick, both for deals moving into the top 10 or out of the draft entirely."

Indiana's decision to fire head coach Nate Bjorkgren after just one season was to some extent an acknowledgement that it's working against a ticking clock. Bringing back Rick Carlisle to replace Bjorkgren was indicative of ownership and the front office's priorities.

The window to contend is open right now, but that may not remain the case in a few years. T.J. Warren and Jeremy Lamb are eligible for free agency in 2022, and Malcolm Brogdon, Myles Turner and Carvis LeVert are all set to hit the open market in 2023.

O'Connor projected the Pacers to take Australian guard Josh Giddey, while Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman had them selecting Baylor guard Davion Mitchell in his most recent mock draft.

Neither Giddey nor Mitchell are likely to make Indiana markedly better in the short term. In general, it's rare to land an immediate difference-maker in the middle of the first round, although Sacramento Kings rookie Tyrese Haliburton (No. 12 overall) was an exception.

By moving up in the first round or trading out altogether, the Pacers might be able to add a player who fits better with their timeline.

Since they're limited in terms of salary-cap space, the easiest way for the Pacers to strengthen their roster may be dangling their first-round pick to possible suitors.