Trade with Phoenix Proof of Pacers’ “Win Now” Mentality
On the brink of a title, the Pacers have once again shuffled their bench personnel in efforts to dethrone the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. In a weekend deal, the Pacers have dealt Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee and a 2014 first-round pick to Phoenix for veteran power forward Luis Scola.
Scola is just the type of backup they needed behind David West with the departure of both Tyler Hansbrough and Jeff Pendergraph. His scoring is desired, as the Pacers’ bench scored the second fewest points of any team’s bench in the NBA last season. In Phoenix for just one season, Scola played in all 82 games and averaged 12.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. He played his first five seasons in Houston, but was amnestied by the team in 2012 to clear cap space for 2013 free agency, where the Rockets signed Dwight Howard.
“Luis will be a very important asset to our team and to our bench,” Pacers president Larry bird said in a statement. “He has NBA experience, international experience and is the type of player that will fit in nicely on our roster.”
Bird has reiterated multiple times this summer that the team is never done in free agency. They are listening and seeking ways to improve the team. They are about $2.7 million under the luxury tax level ($71.7M).
The Pacers’ core 12 is now very strong. Under the presumption that Danny Granger will return and be able to contribute at a high level, he’s expected to start along with George Hill, Paul George, David West and Roy Hibbert. The new look second unit will now include C.J. Watson, Lance Stephenson, Chris Copeland, Scola and Ian Mahinmi. Wings Orlando Johnson and rookie Solomon Hill are capable contributors as well. Third-string point guard Donald Sloan has a two-year non-guaranteed deal.
The deal works because the Pacers and Suns have two different plans in place. The Pacers are making a push for a title now, whereas the Suns are accumulating draft picks as they rebuild their team.
Indiana’s brain trust had faith that Plumlee would continue to develop and saw him becoming a similar player to Jeff Foster. Plumlee saw limited time in just 14 games during his rookie campaign. Green, known for his high-flying dunks, had a handful of quality games but failed to be a consistent contributor as the Pacers hoped. He is reunited with Suns general manager Ryan McDonough, who was with the Boston Celtics in 2005 when they drafted Green.
Scola is currently in Argentina, as is Chris Copeland, for the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program. The Pacers open the preseason with two games against Houston in Manila, Philippines (Oct. 10) and Taipei, Taiwan (Oct. 13).