3. Indiana Pacers
Let’s just start things off with this:
The Indiana Pacers surprised many by finishing the 2018-19 regular season with a 48-34 record despite star guard Victor Oladipo being limited to just 36 games played. In charge of a gritty defensive team that jelled throughout the course of the season without its best player, Nate McMillan can’t be much prouder of how his squad competed.
With Oladipo rehabbing this offseason and the team having a ton of cap space to work with, the Pacers are another squad that could throw a max offer at Middleton. Money isn’t an issue in this situation at all.
The team fit is also a solid one. Indy needs a wing like Middleton. He wouldn’t be under much pressure to carry the load on offense, as Oladipo is already the team’s go-to scorer and star. Bigs Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis are both young yet lethal threats on defense. Their respective offensive games have also come a long way since they entered the NBA.
While the Middleton/Indiana scenario makes a lot of sense and could elevate the Pacers into the conversation for being one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams, it is unlikely to happen. Leaving an established contender with a sense of familiarity and superstar for a fringe contender with a fresh start and a rising star would be a step backward for Middleton if his goal is to compete for championships.