The Indiana Pacers are 19-34 and find themselves 13th in the Eastern Conference.
For all intents and purposes, this group’s season is over.
At this point it’s all about unloading tradeable assets, stacking chips for the rebuild and preparing for a multi-year stretch at the bottom of the East.
The first domino to drop will be Domantas Sabonis.
According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, three teams currently have very real interest in acquiring Sabonis: the Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans and Washington Wizards.
Sabonis would immediately upgrade any of the aforementioned squads, so now it’s all about who is willing to part with Indiana’s desired asking price.
“League personnel say the Pacers are seeking a package similar to or greater than the haul Nikola Vucevic drew for the Orlando Magic last season,” Fischer added.
“Only Sacramento, New Orleans and Washington have been linked by league personnel as Sabonis suitors with significant interest.”
Vucevic ultimately commanded quite the offering last year. The Chicago Bulls dispatched Wendell Carter Jr, Otto Porter Jr, and two first-round picks in return for the talented big man. That’s no small package, obviously.
Of course, Vucevic also proved to be a foundational piece that helped pave the way for Chicago to occupy the top seed in the East this year. That bet ended up paying off for the Bulls.
The question is: are any of the Kings, Pelicans or Wizards really in a position to greatly benefit from adding Sabonis? It’s tough to say.
There is one title contender that Sabonis would seemingly be a fantastic fit for, but it feels like the opportunity for that trade has come and gone.
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The Pacers have made it clear that all of the team’s biggest stars are on the trade block. Sabonis will likely be the first piece to go, but not the last.
Where will he ultimately end up once the NBA Trade Deadline passes? An answer should emerge in the next few days.
Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7’s go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.