How the Pacers traded Dale Davis for a 2019 2nd-round draft pick

Diving through a transaction web and seeing all the moves that had to happen in order for a team to get a certain player can be mesmerizing at times. I was thinking about this the other day and found one web that will go back nearly 30 years by the time it comes to fruition. It all boils down to this: The Pacers traded Dale Davis for a 2019 2nd-round pick. Confused? Well, let me explain:

It all started in 1991. The Pacers had the 13th pick in the draft and had their eyes set on Dale Davis, a 6’11” Power Forward/Center from Clemson. Davis would remain with the Pacers through many playoff runs, including a trip to the NBA Finals in 2000, and even make an All Star appearance that same season while averaging nearly a double-double with 10.0 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. He’s still remembered fondly as one of Davis Brothers (Dale and Antonio) by Pacers fans for his fierce protection of the paint. In the offseason following the Pacers Finals loss and Davis’ All-Star season, he was traded to the Portland Trailblazers:

imageAugust 31, 2000

Portland Trailblazers Receive:
Dale Davis

Indiana Pacers Receive:
Jermaine O’Neal
Joe Kleine

So, now the Pacers have a young, stud Power Forward in Jermaine O’Neal, who became the team’s star player as Reggie Miller began deferring to O’Neal as the go-to option for the Pacers after a couple seasons. O’Neal would make 6 All-Star games as an Pacer in his 8 seasons there. He made 3 All-NBA Teams and was voted the Most Improved Player in the 2001-2002 season. He was 3rd in the MVP voting in 2003-2004. Of course, sadly, what O’Neal and most members of that really good Pacers team are remembered for most is the Malice in the Palace. Even now, when you put Jermaine O’Neal into google, the first suggestion is “Jermaine O’Neal punch.” [Sidenote: Dale Davis actually came back to play for the Pacers after the brawl and started 25 games, averaging 7 points and 9 rebounds.] O’Neal lasted a couple seasons more with the Pacers after the brawl, but the “rebranding” of the team wasn’t complete until he was traded to the Toronto Raptors:

imageJuly 9, 2008

Toronto Raptors receive:
Jermaine O’Neal
Nathan Jawai

Indiana Pacers receive:
Roy Hibbert
TJ Ford
Maceo Baston
Rasho Nesterovic

After trading away O’Neal, Stephen Jackson, and Artest, the Pacers were in rebuilding mode. The team replaced coach Rick Carlisle with Jim O’Brien and times were rough for Indiana for the next few years. Not until Frank Vogel took over for O’Brien midway through the 2010-2011 season did the team start to turn things around and get into the playoffs. One of the biggest beneficiaries of the coaching switch was Roy Hibbert, who never could get comfortable in O’Brien’s system, but was placed in a perfect system with Frank Vogel. Vogel utilized his bigs well in a “smashmouth” offensive style and Hibbert was the linchpin to the league’s best defense for a couple seasons. Hibbert made 2 All-Star teams in this stretch and made the 2nd-team All-Defense in 2013-2014. Hibbert could never match his play in the playoffs when he averaged over 20 points and 10 rebounds against the Miami Heat in 2012-2013, and eventually, his inconsistencies were enough for the Pacers to make this trade to clear cap space in the current offseason as they attempt to play in a completely new style:

July 9, 2015

Los Angeles Lakers receive:
Roy Hibbert

Indiana Pacers receive:
Future 2nd-round Pick in 2019

So, there it is. The Pacers traded Dale Davis, who they drafted in 1991, for a 2nd-round pick in 2019. The Pacers also turned Dale Davis’ career season and only All-Star appearance into 8 more All-Star appearances (6 by O’Neal and 2 by Hibbert), a Most Improved Player award, 3 All-NBA selections, and 1 All-Defense selection. Not too bad of a return for a guy who averaged 8 points and 8 rebounds in his career. And who knows? Maybe, that 2nd-round pick in four years turns out to make some All-Star appearances of his own.

UPDATE: 2019 came really fast. The Pacers traded their pick they acquired from the Lakers in the Roy Hibbert deal to the Cavs for Rakeem Christmas, picked 36th overall in this year’s draft. Christmas played all four years in college at Syracuse and averaged 17.5 PPG and 9 rebounds in his final season. I guess you could call this a Pacers Christmas (Transaction) Tree:



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