Before another thrilling comeback victory at home last night, Chad Buchanan, Indiana Pacers General Manager, was interviewed by Jeremiah Johnson and Quinn Buckner on the Fox Sports Indiana pregame show.
Don’t expect the Pacers to be very active at the trade deadline as the front office of Kevin Pritchard, Buchanan and company are pleased with the way the group has performed and bonded so far.
“We’re in no hurry to change up anything with this team,” said Buchanan, when asked about how the front office is approaching the deadline. “… It’d be great to get into the playoffs because I don’t think anybody anticipated us getting to where we’re at today, but we’re also not going to sacrifice long-term sustainability for a short-term run.”
So don’t look for the Pacers to trade away draft picks for a player on a short-term contract or take on any long-term, big-money contracts that take away precious salary cap in the future. Trading for Hornets guard Kemba Walker, which was analyzed in detail here, would seem highly unlikely since Walker’s contract is up after next season and the Hornets are looking to package him with a large deal in any possible trades.
“We realize where we’re at in the hierarchy of the NBA,” said Buchanan. “There’s a lot of teams in our little area. We want something that can be sustainable for the next 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 years. We want Victor to have a great run here with a lot of great teams. We’ve got to continue to methodically add to that core that we’re starting to build with him.”
It doesn’t mean the Pacers won’t make a deal if the right one comes along, but they’ll be selective when making moves and it’ll have to fit within the team’s timeline.
“We’ve had such great chemistry,” said Buchanan, who also noted how fun and enjoyable this group is to be around, “but you also want to do what’s right for this team long-term.”
If the Pacers do make a deal, look for it to be for more shooting.
“The more shooting we can add is going to a premium for us moving forward,” Buchanan said on how the team will look to improve upon the current core.
The budding core includes the two players acquired in the deal that sent Paul George to Oklahoma City: Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. While the Pacers were excited to acquire those players, it seems like even they’re surprised at how good they’ve been in their first seasons with the team.
“We felt Victor in a different situation with a little more responsibility and a little more playmaking duties could take the next step,” said Buchanan. “Now, I didn’t expect him to take three steps like he’s done, but Kevin, Nate and I all felt like there’s more to this guy’s game. In the right situation and the right role, he could really blossom.”
Oladipo blossomed into an All-Star player, averaging 24.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game while being everything the Pacers could have hoped he’d be and more. Sabonis will be going to the Rising Stars challenge for the second consecutive season.
“Domantas has really just been a pleasant surprise for us. We knew he had instincts, intelligence, toughness, high character. Both of those guys … bring a workman’s attitude and a lot of positivity to our gym every day. They’ve been tremendous for our culture.”