Report: Pacers eyeing rebuild, open to trading Sabonis, Turner, LeVert
The Indiana Pacers are increasingly open to trading core players - including either power forward Domantas Sabonis or center Myles Turner and shooting guard Caris LeVert - as part of a large-scale rebuilding effort, sources told The Athletic's Shams Charania and Bob Kravitz.
Even after installing championship-winning head coach Rick Carlisle, who previously coached the team from 2003-07, the Pacers have sputtered out of the gate. The team currently sits 13th in the Eastern Conference with a 10-16 (.385) record and is reportedly expected to be active ahead of the Feb. 10 trade deadline.
The 25-year-old Sabonis was named an All-Star in each of the last two seasons. This year, the 6-foot-11 big man is putting up close to 18 points, 12 rebounds, and four assists in about 34 minutes per game. He's in Year 2 of a four-year contract that pays him $18.5 million in 2021-22.
Turner, also 25 and 6-foot-11, has been the more defensive-focused member of the Pacers' frontcourt duo. He's averaged 12.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, and a league-leading 2.8 blocks in 29 minutes per game. He'll earn $17.5 million both this year and next before hitting free agency.
Dating back to his acquisition from the Brooklyn Nets via trade midway through last season, LeVert has averaged 18.8 points, 4.2 assists, and four rebounds in 31 minutes per game. The 27-year-old missed a considerable portion of 2020-21 after undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous tumor on his left kidney but has been otherwise effective this season. He's in the second year of a three-year, $52.5-million contract.
Point guard Malcolm Brogdon signed an extension through 2025 prior to the season, so the Pacers can't trade him until the offseason at the earliest. Furthermore, small forward T.J. Warren has reportedly informed Indiana that he wishes to remain with the team; he is set to reach unrestricted free agency this summer.
The Pacers organization has been marked by steady mediocrity in recent years. Though Indiana made five straight playoff appearances from 2016-20, it failed to advance past the first round each time. The team hasn't won a title since 1973 - when it played in the now-defunct ABA. The Pacers' lone NBA Finals appearance came in 2000 when they lost in six games to the Los Angeles Lakers.