After missing out on OG Anunoby, the Indiana Pacers still intend to be aggressive in their search for a two-way wing player before the trade deadline.
On the latest episode of No Cap Room, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported the Pacers have made Buddy Hield available in trade talks after he turned down an extension, but they have “rebuffed” any requests teams have made for T.J. McConnell.
Fischer previously reported the Pacers “made a strong push” for Anunoby up until the point he was traded to the New York Knicks, but it’s unclear what they were offering the Toronto Raptors and what the potential roadblocks were.
The Knicks sent RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley and a 2024 second-round draft pick to the Raptors for Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn.
Hield has been mentioned as a trade candidate since before the 2023-24 season started. Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported in September the Pacers and Hield “started a dialogue” to work on finding a potential trade partner after he didn’t feel “desired” by the contract offer they brought to him.
Per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.com, the Pacers’ asking price for Hield as recently as November was a first-round draft pick and rotation player.
Hield is making $18.6 million this season in the final year of a four-year, $94 million contract. His playing time has been all over the place for head coach Rick Carlisle so far this season. He’s played fewer than 20 minutes in three of the last four games, including a season-low 13 minutes in Wednesday’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
McConnell is averaging fewer minutes per game than Hield, but his scoring efficiency and playmaking have made him a valuable role player in Carlisle’s rotation. He’s also got a team-friendly contract paying him $8.7 million this season and a $5 million partial guarantee that becomes fully guaranteed for $9.3 million one day after the NBA Finals end.
The Pacers have won five straight games and climbed up to the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 19-14 record. They have the best offense in the NBA by points per game and rating, but the defense is in the bottom five in both categories.