Indiana was lauded for a deadline deal that swapped Domantas
Sabonis for Tyrese Haliburton. But lost in the shuffle of this
major deadline deal is Malcolm Brogdon. It’s understandable that
Haliburton, a 21-year-old averaging 20.7 points and 10.0 assists
per game in only his sophomore season, attracts serious attention.
But as recently as last season, it was Brogdon who was seen as the
team's future point guard.
The former Rookie of the Year is quietly averaging 18.5 points,
5.9 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game this season. Granted, he’s
shooting poorly (31% on three-pointers), but he leads the Pacers in
assists, and he’s their third-leading scorer (prior to the trade) –
not too shabby.
The Pacers have made it abundantly clear that they are
rebuilding on-the-fly. They have a young core of Haliburton, Chris
Duarte and Jalen Smith. Add in their 2022 first-round pick, as well
as Cleveland’s 2022 first, and they are off to a good start.
Never mind Buddy Hield – although if the Pacers are serious
about a rebuild, he should expect to be traded, too – but all of a
sudden, Brogdon is probably feeling unwanted and underappreciated –
and rightfully so. According to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, the Pacers may be open to moving
Brogdon this summer.
If I’m being honest they should, but not due to production
issues. As previously mentioned, Brogdon was playing good
basketball this season prior to suffering an Achilles injury in
December; Brogdon returned on Friday, Feb. 25, collecting 15 points
(on 3 for 8 shooting on three-pointers), 4 assists and 4 rebounds
in 31 minutes.
Instead, Brogdon should be moved because he simply doesn’t align
with a rebuild. He’ll turn 30 in December, meaning he’ll be past
his peak when the younger Pacers enter theirs. And while that may
be moot given the unlikely nature of a team remaining together for
five or more years in the modern era, it’s still probably unwise to
waste a talented player like Brogdon on a team that won’t compete
for a championship with him – especially when you can swap him for
additional assets, allowing less valuable veterans to show
Indiana’s youngsters the ropes.
For better or worse, Brogdon is under the Pacers’ control. He
just signed a two-year, $45 million extension last summer, which
means he’s signed to Indiana through 2025 with no player option.
Given the bad press Ben Simmons received for his hold out in
Philadelphia, Brogdon is unlikely to go that route – and it may be
out of the plan altogether for Brogdon, anyway, who seemed excited
to play alongside the younger Haliburton.
“I’m excited to play with him. I think he’s honestly similar to
me,” Brogdon told the media on Feb. 23. “Just the way he plays the
game, the way he thinks [of] the game. He’s a great young
Still, what’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the
gander. So, how can Indiana extract the most value for Brogdon
while continuing to build? The Pacers will have to look to engage
teams that hope to compete in the near future in trade talks – but
those without well-stocked backcourts will be especially
interested. So, who does that leave?
New York Knicks
Of course, New York will be mentioned as a destination for
Brogdon, as they haven’t had a consistent and legitimate starting
point guard in decades. Further, after experiencing success in
2020-21, New York is starving for more.
The benefit of dealing with the Knicks is that they have a good
deal of draft capital and lots of short-term and/or expiring deals.
To achieve $22.6 million in outgoing salary, New York would
probably like to include Evan Fournier – although that’s unlikely
give the length of his contract. From a salary perspective, an Alec
Burks-Kemba Walker-Immanuel Quickley deal is probably more likely.
Remember, Walker will be expiring next season. The Knicks will
probably be hesitant to move Quickley, but they’ll have to give up
something to get Brogdon.
But those three alone won't get it done. Indiana will demand
draft picks, too. Fortunately, the Knicks have all of theirs and
then some. If the Knicks are willing to part with two future picks
(at least one of which being a first-rounder), that probably gets
it done – especially if that first-rounder is their own 2022
Consensus – it could happen.
Los Angeles Lakers
It’s way harder to find a deal that works for the
Lakers. Technically, though, if things fall their way, Los Angeles
could offer something.
First of all, the Lakers need Kendrick Nunn to pick up his
player option – although that’s not out of the question as Nunn has
yet to play this season. And remember the hype around Nunn just a
year or so ago? While he’s far from a sure thing, Indiana could
view the 26-year-old as a possible rotation piece.
But Nunn’s option is worth only $5 million. The Lakers would
also have to include Talen Horton-Tucker, who will make
approximately $10 million in 2022-23 – and they still need to add
another $7 million. If they pick up Stanley Johnson’s option ($2.3
million) and include him and other minimum guys, technically that
gets them there.
But is that enough value to return Brogdon? I can speak for
Indiana here – no, it’s not. Making matters worse, the Lakers draft
pick situation is murky. They can’t trade a future first-rounder
with certainty until 2027. That’s probably too undefined for
Consensus – won’t work unless a third team is involved
The Nets are in a similar spot as the Lakers in terms of draft
picks – they can really only offer the 76ers' 2022 first-rounder,
and they might not have enough promising youth to get a deal
Brooklyn can offer Seth Curry ($8.5 million), Cam Thomas ($2.1
million) and Day’Ron Sharpe ($2.1 million) – but they’re still
about $10 million away from matching salaries. They can potentially
work in a sign-and-trade deal including Nic Claxton, too, who will
be a restricted free agent – but that becomes far more
Still, would a deal involving Curry, Thomas, Sharpe, Claxton and
a Philadelphia first-rounder be enough for Brogdon? It’s not a bad
haul – but Indiana would have to be confident that at least one of
those players is a long-term starter, and I’m not sure that’s the
Consensus – unlikely, but it’s possible
It might surprise folks to see Washington on this list, but
remember, the Wizards are still trying to convince Bradley Beal to
remain in Washington. They're hoping to compete with Beal and
(probably) Kristaps Porzingis. A big three of Beal, Porzingis and
Brogdon is actually a pretty good core that seemingly complements
But Indiana will be doing their Eastern Conference rivals no
favors. So, what’s in it for the Pacers? Well, the Wizards have a
pretty decent war chest of assets. They can send out Rui Hachimura
($6.2 million) Deni Avdija ($4.9 million) and Kyle Kuzma ($13
million). Both Hachimura and Avdija are former lottery picks, and
they are only 24 and 21, respectively. Alternatively, if Washington
is intent on keeping Kuzma, they can send a combination of Corey
Kispert ($3.5 million), Vernon Carey Jr. ($1.7 million), Cassius
Winston ($1.5 million qualifying offer) and others.
But the Wizards lack draft capital – the next first-rounder
Washington can include is their 2028 pick. So, Indiana would have
to be really high on Hachimura and Avdija – which is possible, but
the Pacers might not view them favorably as others do.
Consensus – could happen
Ultimately, the Pacers must decide to move on from Brogdon
before any trades can be examined, but it’s in their best interest
to do so. And while the teams that are most likely to be interested
don’t necessarily have the right assets to make Indiana jump at a
deal, most of them have interesting pieces that should at least
make Indiana consider a move.
Where Brogdon plays the 2022-23 season and beyond is still
anyone’s guess – but it shouldn’t be with Indiana. And that’s in
the best interest of Brogdon and the Pacers.