Pacers looking to upgrade but have initial approach rebuffed by Suns.
The Indiana Pacers have reportedly attempted to make a trade deal for Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic, although their initial enquiry was dismissed.
It is expected to be a difficult time for Indiana after it emerged that their offer of a new deal to Lance Stephenson was rejected as the guard felt as though he was worth more than what the franchise were offering.
Given that the Pacers are unable to offer more without incurring luxury tax issues, the front office face a tough decision as it will be difficult replace him without making significant changes to the roster.
The Pacers were defeated in the Eastern Conference finals by old foes the Miami Heat last season, and it was a particularly disappointing end to their season given that there was genuine optimism that they could progress to the NBA Finals this time round.
Nevertheless, with Paul George, David West and and Roy Hibbert likely to form the core of their roster moving forward, it remains to be seen how highly they value Stephenson, especially considering that there is likely to be a great deal of interest in acquiring him this summer and with ongoing doubts over his temperament and ability to work within the team.
While the Pacers and Suns have not held advanced talks at this point, it is expected that they will keep their line of enquiry open and discuss a deal in the coming days if Indiana feel that they are unable to reach an agreement with the 23-year-old, Pro Basketball Talk reports.
Meanwhile, it could also been suggested that if the Suns were open to losing their point guard, it could be that they are opening up a path to targeting both Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James.
The franchise has the requisite cap space to offer both stars maximum deals, and combined with the fact that they have multiple young prospects on their roster coupled with future high draft picks, it isn’t necessarily a scenario that should be ruled out.
Anthony and James are long-time friends and would likely relish the opportunity to play together, but moving to the Western Conference could be a stumbling block for both while James has yet to decide on his future after insisting that he wants a max deal from the Heat to stay.
With regards to Dragic, despite an All-Star snub, he was undoubtedly one of the most improved players in the league last season after averaging 20.3 points and 5.9 assists per game.
As a result, it is no surprise that interest will have increased in acquiring his services, but it remains to be seen whether or not he forms part of Phoenix’s long-term plan or if he is merely a piece on their roster that they are willing to move in order to land bigger targets.