The Indiana Pacers are here for one thing, and one thing only: an NBA championship. Anything short of that will be a failure for a team that would take someone making a latte wrong as a sign of immense disrespect. But the scariest thing about Indiana is that it could be looking to make a trade at the deadline to improve its already devastatingly effective lineup.
Adding a bench scorer
Indiana is looking for another scorer off the bench despite getting Danny Granger back from injury in December. Indy Cornrows has a report saying that the Pacers have already picked out targets to pursue by the Feb. 20 deadline.
The move does make a lot of sense for Indiana, which has the best defense in the NBA but could use some help scoring the ball. The Pacers have several top units that often struggle with Paul George out of position when Granger is in the game.
Adding a true shooting guard or another point guard to their bench might allow coach Frank Vogel to play a more traditional lineup or a two-point guard lineup, rather than trying to mash George and Granger onto the floor together.
The Granger situation
Danny Granger has been less than impressive after returning from a left knee injury on Dec. 20. His per-36 minute production numbers show that he is at or below career averages for points, rebounds, assists, steals and both field goal and three-point percentages.
Even further, putting him on the floor with Paul George has been ill-advised all season long. Frankly, the former All-Star can't seem to find his rhythm. He has spent most of his time on offense as a spot-up shooter, struggling while scoring just 0.84 points per play on 32 percent shooting, according to MySynergySports.com.
Granger seems unlikely to be moved at the deadline, but his lack of production and large, $14 million expiring contract makes him a juicy asset for a potential blockbuster deal. Larry Bird has said he is open to moving players outside his core in a big trade if he can pick up the right player.
When it comes down to it, the Pacers are here to take home the Larry O'Brien Trophy this season. Not next, or the season after, but right here, right now. Bird and his executives have constructed this team with great care up until this point, and there's no reason to think they will make any rash decisions. However, if an opportunity presents itself, there's no doubt the Pacers will make a move if they think it will help them in April and May.
Outside of their starting five, no one on the Pacers bench is safe from being moved in a trade. None of those players, however useful, are more important than a championship shot. The Pacers may end up surprising a lot of folks and pulling the trigger on a trade that makes waves across the NBA.