Indiana Pacers trade rumors: Help on offense likely to be focus

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

The Pacers' big trade deadline acquisition will likely be the return of injured forward Danny Granger.

With the third-best record in the Eastern Conference and former leading scorer Danny Granger expected to return from injury this month, few teams in the league are in a better position than the Pacers these days. Still, one wouldn't look at Indiana's roster and claim an absence of flaws, so they've been poking around for possible improvements.

The Pacers' outlook

With a core of Granger, Paul George, Roy Hibbert, David West and George Hill, the Pacers have an elite defensive team but one that's struggled to score consistently. One of the least efficient offenses in the league this season without Granger, shooting ability is likely one of the main things Indiana is looking for in the coming days.

After signing Hibbert and Hill to major deals over the summer, the Pacers won't have much flexibility to add talent this summer if they want to re-sign West, so any moves this week will likely be minor barring a surprising deal involving Granger.

Still, the team could pursue an offensive-minded player capable of improving the team's shooting from distance. The Pacers are the league's best defense at defending the three-point shot, but they're just 19th in the league at making threes and 28th at making shots in general.

Granger trade coming?

As good as the Pacers have been without Granger, it's difficult to argue that the team wouldn't be better with him on the court. Many have suggested that Indiana would try to trade Granger before the deadline for a player more capable of solving their issues, but the Pacers don't seem nearly as concerned.

Unless they're simply doing a great job of keeping things under wraps, rumors regarding a possible Granger trade have been few and far between. One report from a few days ago said Granger, "will be going nowhere before the deadline."

George has been exceptional in Granger's place as the team's lead scorer, earning his first-ever All-Star appearance in the process, but many seem to believe that he'll regress with his teammate back in the lineup. At this point, it doesn't appear that Frank Vogel or his staff shares that concern.

Shaking up the bench

It seems likely that the Pacers will at least give the remainder of the season a shot with Hill, George, Granger, West and Hibbert as the team's starters, leaving possible improvement to come from the team's reserves.

It's already been reported that the Pacers are open to moving back-ups Tyler Hansbrough, Gerald Green and D.J. Augustin, giving the team some semi-intriguing trade chips if they want to shake things up. None of those guys has played particularly well this year, though, so it's uncertain whether making deals would really be worthwhile.

Trading Augustin would be particularly tricky, as he's finally been showing signs of life as a shooter in recent weeks after a rough start to the season. Since Dec. 31, Augustin is knocking down nearly 43 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.

J.J. Redick is one player that's already been tied to the Pacers, and he qualifies as a rather perfect fit. One of the league's best shooters playing at the highest level of his career, Redick also wouldn't be that costly as he's scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

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