Charlotte Hornets: Indiana Pacers players to target in free agency

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 08: Jalen Smith #25 of the Indiana Pacers jogs across the court in the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on March 08, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 08: Jalen Smith #25 of the Indiana Pacers jogs across the court in the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on March 08, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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As a part of our ongoing series detailing which players the Charlotte Hornets should target during free agency, today our attention shifts to the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers finished with a 25-57 record, which earned them a 13th-place finish in the Eastern Conference. While Indiana had a down year, they made several deals at the trade deadline to improve their team and are expected to be quite active in the offseason.

The Pacers have a plethora of players hitting the open market. While the Hornets have been linked to current Indiana center Myles Turner, he is still under contract for the upcoming season. Charlotte will have to look elsewhere on Indiana’s roster if they want to snag a free agent or two from their Eastern Conference counterpart.

Indiana has two restricted free agents, Gabe York and Nate Hinton, to go along with their lone team-option player, Oshae Brissett. I would not expect the Hornets to pursue any of these players. York and Hinton are not NBA rotation players, and because he is a rotation player, Brissett is likely to have his $1.2 million option picked up.

From there, Lance Stephenson is an unrestricted free agent, which is hilarious to say in 2022. The Hornets should not consider bringing him back to Charlotte at this point in his waning career.

Ricky Rubio and T.J. Warren are both hitting the unrestricted free agent market, but both are coming off of devastating, season-long injuries. While Rubio tore his ACL, Warren hurt his foot in the offseason and was never seen on the court all season.

Assuming they will recover and play next year, Rubio could make for a backup point guard if he accepts a cheaper offer from the Hornets, and Warren could be brought in on an incredibly low-risk, team-friendly deal for a one-to-two year timetable.

The big free agent that I am spotting on Indiana’s roster is Jalen Smith. At 22, Smith has plenty of time to reach his full potential. He is a young big that can stretch the floor and provide solid defense to boot. He would look great in teal and white.

I do not foresee Indiana re-signing too many of the aforementioned players this offseason. In a full rebuild mentality, they likely want to tank for one more season and then go all in in 2023-24. For the Hornets, players like Rubio and Warren are too much of an injury risk (especially with Gordon Hayward still on the roster). If they can snag Smith on a three-to-four year deal, that may be a sneaky good pickup in a season or two.

Next. Oklahoma City Thunder players to target in free agency. dark