The Indiana Pacers reached their goal of finishing with the best record in the Eastern Conference to clinch home court advantage in a potential playoff rematch with the Miami Heat.
Although the Pacers faltered down the stretch and had to rally to defeat the eighth-seeded Atlanta Hawks in the first round, they reached the Eastern Conference Finals. However, the Heat took down the Pacers in six games. The loss gave the Pacers the realization they need to improve, but doing that is going to be difficult.
Nate Duncan of Basketball Insiders does not expect the Pacers to be very active in the offseason.
It’s hard to quite see how if they hold onto the core. I do expect them to re-sign Stephenson (if they are over the cap they have no way to replace him) and largely bring the band back together next year, but doing that puts them right near the luxury tax. Because they are a small market and don’t want to or can’t pay the tax, that should be it for them. Another example of how the new CBA has hurt small market teams–if they were a bigger market they could re-sign Lance and afford to pick up another free agent at the MLE or MMLE were they over the tax.
That doesn’t come as much of a surprise. In fact, the real surprise would be if the cash-strapped Pacers made any kind of major move at all. Their big decision will be whether or not they will be re-signing guard Lance Stephenson, who is set to become a free agent this summer and most believe they will.