Indiana Pacers Betting: Trade for Brook Lopez Coming?

brook-lopez-pacersThe Indiana Pacers have been involved in some trade rumors lately, especially in their efforts to keep Paul George around when his contract expires in 2018.

And the latest rumor involves Indiana making a play for Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez.

As you can see, NBA columnist Peter Vecsey is the source, which is credible enough. The deal also makes sense, given that Indiana could play a traditional center like Lopez alongside forward/center Myles Turner and George.

Another reason why this goes in the Pacers’ favor is that they have too many combo guards, and moving Rodney Stuckey would help reduce the number.

Lopez is having another fine season, averaging 20.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks. He’s also added the three-point shot to his arsenal for the first time in his 9-year career, hitting at a 34.4% clip.

With one more year left on his deal, Lopez would become a free agent at the same time as George, provided the latter doesn’t sign an extension this summer.

But the problem is that this deal doesn’t make much sense for the Nets.

Lopez is a near All-Star, and a mid-first-round pick (Pacers are 29-28) and two veteran reserves (no expiring contracts) doesn’t seem like enough for him.

It’s questionable whether this deal is really happening either because, under team president Larry Bird, Indiana hasn’t been very generous with trade rumors.

This isn’t to say that Vecsey is totally wrong because he’s been in the Pacers loop since the 1980s, when his friend Donnie Walsh became the Pacers president. Walsh still holds a position with Indiana, so it’s possible that he leaked some info to Vescey.

The tweet also mentions the New Orleans Pelicans and Boston Celtics, both of whom have been seeking centers. However, New Orleans is now out of the running because they traded for DeMarcus Cousins this weekend.

Is a Mid-First Rounder Enough for Lopez?

The Sacramento Kings gave up Cousins for Buddy Hield, guards Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway, forward Omri Casspi, and the Pelicans’ 2017 first and second-round picks. Hield could develop into a very good player, and the pick might end up being in the Lottery.

brook-lopez-dunkBut Cousins is a proven All-Star who, even with attitude problems, can carry a team with his 27.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks. A developing Hield, a mid-first-round pick, and role players aren’t enough for him.

Lopez is also a very good center who’s added a three-point shot. Even still, he doesn’t have the ball-handling skills or speed of Cousins, nor is he as good a rebounder.

A mid-first rounder and two reserves isn’t a great return on him. But maybe this is the going rate for quality centers in a day when teams are still cobbling together small-ball lineups.

Indiana Considering Jahlil Okafor

According to IndyCornRows, the Pacers are still inquiring about Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor . We covered Okafor’s availability before, with New Orleans leading the way before trading for Cousins.

jahlil-okafor-phillyIt’s unclear what Indiana has floated in pursuit of Okafor, but we imagine that the Sixers want more than a mid-first-round pick. After all, the second-year player was selected third overall in the 2015 NBA Draft and is averaging 15.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks in limited minutes.

Philadelphia would love to move Okafor before this Thursday’s trade deadline. There’s no way they’re dealing a potential franchise changer like Joel Embiid, while Nerlens Noel complements Embiid’s game more. This leaves Okafor as the odd man out in the center rotation. But again, it’s hard telling what Indiana has that would make them a legitimate trade partner in this situation.

Would Indiana even Pursue a Center if Thaddeus Young were Playing?

Forward Thaddeus Young injured his wrist in early February, and the Pacers have gone 2-6 in his absence, including a six-game losing streak. This pushed Indiana back near .500 and has George voicing uncertainty over re-signing with the team in 2018.

Young is averaging 11.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, while shooting a career-high 39.6% from beyond the arc. He gives Indiana an excellent front court when put between Turner and George. But in his absence, the Pacers have been forced to rely on aging veteran Al Jefferson and third-stringer Kevin Seraphin more.

Neither is playing well, and it’s forced Indiana to look outside the lines for a solution, including trading a pick and rotation players to win now.

With Young still sidelined with a wrist sprain, there’s no telling when Indiana will win again. But as the Lopez rumors indicate, they’re willing to force the issue to make it happen soon.

Hot Indiana Pacers now chasing No. 6 Playoff Seed

indiana-pacers-chasing-playoffsThe Indiana Pacers continued their rapid climb up the Eastern Conference standings after beating the Milwaukee Bucks by a score of 109-103 in overtime. And this was a huge win for the Pacers because they’re currently chasing Milwaukee for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.

It certainty wasn’t an easy victory, though, given that this contest included 60 fouls, 35 turnovers and an overtime period. Furthermore, Indiana’s six-game streak of holding opponents to under 90 points was finally snapped. Nevertheless, the Pacers (30-34) will definitely take the victory, which gives them a seven-game winning streak and moves them to within three and a half games back of Milwaukee (34-31).

“That’s what most teams want, you don’t want to be playing your best basketball in the beginning,” said Solomon Hill when discussing how Indiana was 15 games under .500 a month ago. “You want to be playing your best basketball at the end.”

So what’s the driving force behind the Pacers’ incredible turnaround? Well, the most-obvious factor is the balance that Indiana has, with five players averaging double figures in points and a bench that’s deeper than the ocean. Given as well as everybody’s playing on this team from top to bottom, Indiana certainly won’t run out of players down the stretch.

indiana-pacers-chasing-playoffs-1But one factor that can’t be seen by the stats alone is how Indiana has exhibited a never-quit attitude all season long – even when they were mired in 12th place in the East with a 15-30 record.

“I still think morale was high even when we were losing,” said point guard Donald Sloan. “Guys’ heads were still up and maintaining and getting through it. It’s just a good group. I don’t think if you had different combinations or different guys in here it would be the same.”

Another aspect to consider here is how scrappy Indiana has been on the defensive end of the floor. The team almost changed to a zone midway through the season, amid struggles, but head coach Frank Vogel decided to stick with what the Pacers do best. And power forward David West is certainly a fan of this decision as he said:

“At times we were trying to maybe change sort of our defensive schemes that have worked for us over the last two to three years. Ultimately, we said, ‘Nah, we’re just going to stick with what we do. We got better at that and our defense started to pick up which has helped us win games. The message is always the same: Just stay steady, believe in one another and remain confident and see what happens.”

Riding the high of a seven-game win streak, it won’t be hard for Indiana to remain confident and stay steady moving forward. They have 18 games left in the regular season to catch Milwaukee, which would currently put them in a first-round matchup with the injury-riddled Chicago Bulls. However, if they can’t catch the Bucks, Indiana would have a less-favorable matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that’s been red-hot over the past 25 games.

In any case, just the fact that the Pacers have a strong shot at making the postseason seems like a miracle when considering their horrid start. So if you’re into Indiana Pacers betting, certainly keep their stellar play in mind when placing your wagers.