New Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon drives against Indiana in a 2018-19 game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Pacers Free Agency News: Adding Brogdon, Lamb; Losing Bogdanovic, Young

Joe Robbins | Getty Images

INDIANAPOLISOn a day the Pacers lost their best (healthy) player and captain from last year, they made a clear move to get younger, bigger and more versatile on the perimeter.


Through a trade, and a signing, the Pacers appear to have added two new opening night starters in Malcolm Brogdon and Jeremy Lamb.


Those moves leave Indiana with around $5 million left in cap space, along with a mid-level exception, also in a similar range. Indiana should fill those slots with some rotational bodies.


Let’s take a look at a wild start to free agency for the Pacers:



G-Malcolm Brogdon (4 years for $86 million): Indiana made a splash on Sunday evening by trading for Brogdon. In turn, the Pacers will give Brogdon the ball to be their starting point guard of the future, in lieu of Ricky Rubio, who signed with the Suns. The Pacers reportedly are giving the Bucks a first-round pick and a pair of second rounders for Brogdon, who was a restricted free agent. We will have to wait and see on the protections on those picks.


With Indiana, Brogdon will be the point guard and also carry a heavy early scoring burden, until Victor Oladipo gets fully healthy. In 3 NBA seasons, Brogdon has been a very efficient scorer. Last year, Brogdon became the 9th player in league history to reach the historic numbers of 50-40-90. Brogdon shot 51{42836eb61b4ca4ddd9ec45ae386c9311b687b2127b5746fc216d4c5f0c3c98e3} from the field, 43{42836eb61b4ca4ddd9ec45ae386c9311b687b2127b5746fc216d4c5f0c3c98e3} from three and 93{42836eb61b4ca4ddd9ec45ae386c9311b687b2127b5746fc216d4c5f0c3c98e3} on free throws. Now, the biggest question for Brogdon carrying that same level of offensive efficiency with the Pacers will be doing that without a guy like Giannis Antetokounmpo drawing all the attention from an opposing defense. Injuries have been an issue for Brogdon. The University of Virginia product had foot surgery in college. He has then missed 34 games in 2017-18, and sat out 18 regular season games last year. Brogdon, 26, can play on and off the ball and does improve the outside shooting for Indiana. He will be asked to individually create as a scorer for himself much more than he was in Milwaukee. Defensively, the 6-5 Brogdon is a strong perimeter defender.


G/F-Jeremy Lamb (3 years for $31.5 million): The Pacers entered free agency needing to bolster their guard/wing spots. A starting job could/will be open at shooting guard, until Victor Oladipo gets back. And now the Pacers are needing a new small forward with the Bojan Bogdanovic loss. Hence the reason Lamb is coming to Indiana.


Lamb, who is 6-5 with a 6-11 wingspan, brings some scoring punch to the guard/wing spots, and is a streaky perimeter shooter (33.9 career shooter from three). With Oladipo likely out for a chunk of the regular season, Lamb could very well be the team’s starting shooting guard early on. Then when Oladipo returns, Lamb could slide over to the starting small forward spot. Lamb, 27, was drafted 12th overall in 2012 and has played in Oklahoma City and Charlotte, coming off the bench for the vast majority of his career. But Lamb did start 55 games last year with the Hornets, averaging a career-best 15.3 points per game. Off the dribble and as a catch and shoot threat, Lamb can give you some scoring. But he will be thrust into a significant role with Indiana as Oladipo works his back to full health.



F-Thaddeus Young (Bulls, 3 years for $41 million): Seeing Young return to the Pacers was unlikely after we saw the direction from Indiana during the 2019 Draft. This is a very nice pay day for Young, 31, in what will likely be his last significant NBA contract. Indiana simply didn’t have the funds, nor the minutes, for retaining Young.


At the 4 position, Indiana is expected to turn to Domantas Sabonis, with Myles Turner at the 5. When they want to go smaller, they could play a guy like T.J. Warren at the 4. The Pacers will miss Young’s leadership and connectivity on defense. But Indiana has gotten much more versatile, especially on offense, with their 2019 moves.


F-Bojan Bogdanovic (Jazz, 4 years for $72 million): Indiana’s top priority this offseason—to re-sign Bogdanovic—was not accomplished. The Jazz emerged late in the process, and gave Bogey a contract he deserved after his tremendous 2018-19 campaign. Indiana had a line in the sand for a contract number on Bogey and the emergence of getting a guy like Brogdon could have complicated funds.


The loss of Bogey does diminish what Indiana has from a pure shooting presence on the wing. Guys like Lamb and Warren are coming off their best three-point shooting seasons of their career. It’s paramount these guys continue to provide that sort of long-distance presence for Indiana to achieve what they want in changing their style of play this coming season.


G-Cory Joseph (Kings, 3 years for $37 million): Well, no chance Joseph was coming back to Indiana under that sort of contract. That was especially the case once the Pacers went after Malcolm Brogdon with an aggressive trade/contract.  


With Joseph leaving, the Pacers are losing one of their better guard defenders. Aaron Holiday should now slide into the backup role that Joseph served over the past two seasons.


G-Wesley Matthews (Bucks, 1 year $2.5 million): So Matthews heads to the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference from last season, as he tries to nab some of the vacated minutes from Brogdon. Matthews played his high school and college ball in Wisconsin, so he goes back to that state trying to win an NBA title.


Matthews was a nice stop gap piece for Indiana once Oladipo went down. His return to the Pacers was not expected though, with Indiana clearly having an emphasis on getting younger with their approach this summer. Matthews will turn 33 years old this October.


F/C-Kyle O’Quinn (76ers, 1 year for $2.1 million): Where were the minutes going to come for O’Quinn. The Pacers have a logjam at center and need to see what draft picks in T.J. Leaf and Alize Johnson can show at the power forward position.


If the Pacers are really going to roll with the 3 young centers into the regular season, there just wasn’t room for O’Quinn. Good for him finding a championship contending team after experiencing so much losing throughout his NBA career. O’Quinn will be a good mature presence for a team desperately needing one.


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