Will the Indiana Pacers be buyers or sellers at the NBA trade deadline?

Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images
Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images /

The Indiana Pacers have some of the most intriguing trade pieces available. But will their recent hot stretch push them away from selling at the NBA Trade Deadline?

FiveThirtyEight’s preseason prediction model gave the Indiana Pacers just an 18 percent chance of making the playoffs. It was presumed that they’d lean into their youth and inexperience, potentially trading veterans like Buddy Hield and Myles Turner for draft picks or younger assets.

However, the Pacers have won nine of their last 12 games and, at 12-8, are currently No. 4 in the Eastern Conference. Their playoff odds have jumped to 29 percent and seem increasingly realistic. With all of those variables changing, the Pacers may consider trying to hold onto Hield and Turner and really chase the postseason.

In a new episode of The Step Back Podcast, Caitlin Cooper joined hosts Ethan Skolnick and Brady Hawk to discuss the Indiana Pacers and whether they’ll be buyers or sellers as the NBA Trade Deadline approaches.

How will the Indiana Pacers approach the NBA Trade Deadline?

“I think No. 1 is, ‘is Myles Turner going to be willing to sign an extension?’ Because if he’s not, that’s going to dictate a lot of your decision-making.” Cooper went on to add, “If they’ve had those types of conversations and he’s prepared to test free agency then you kind of need to get that trade done sooner rather than later. Because he’s definitely helping them win games right now.”

“Question No. 2,” said Cooper, “is they kind of need to ask how real is what they’re doing right now. That’s a question I ask myself after a lot of these games.”

Rumors have persisted around a trade with the Lakers that would send Myles Turner and Buddy Hield to Los Angeles for Russell Westbrook and the Lakers’ 2027 and 2029 first-round picks. We’ve noted previously how difficult it would be to pull off that trade right now and Cooper shared that thinking.

“Very conveniently, Dave McMenamin had a report come out just yesterday saying that certain leaders in the locker room think they can be in contention if they move those picks,” said Cooper, who went on to add, “I was under the impression that when Turner did that Woj podcast saying the Lakers should trade two picks for him, once this became as public as it was, it almost became less likely to happen.”

The Pacers have five more games on their current road trip, including matchups with the Kings, Warriors, Blazers and Jazz, and a lot more could change over the next few days.

In addition to the conversation with Cooper, Skolnick and Hawk dug into the surging Warriors, Lakers and Nets and how the Mavericks can get some help for Luka Doncic.

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