Regardless of one’s opinion on the Indiana Pacers’ salary cap situation or what they should do with all of their impending free agents this summer, anytime a team can trade for a productive NBA wing and snag an early second-rounder, while only having to give up cash considerations … yeah, that’s a pretty clear win.
Warren’s value probably wasn’t as high as many Suns fans presumed, given the fact that he’s owed $35.3 million over the next three seasons, is a major negative on the defensive end and has missed 42, 35, 16, 17 and 39 games over his first five years in the league, respectively.
With that being said, the Pacers really have nothing to lose and were able to convince Phoenix to send over an early second round selection to absorb his deal into cap space. Bojan Bogdanovic is coming off a career year at age 30, and as an unrestricted free agent, he may not be someone Indiana wants to pay up to retain over the summer.
Warren is a Sixth Man of the Year candidate in waiting, and on a more competitive team in a more top-heavy conference, hopefully he’ll be more willing to embrace that role. Even if the Pacers need him to start, Tony Buckets has a nose for the basket and added a drastically revamped 3-point shot to his game last year, sinking a career-high 42.8 percent of his career-high 4.2 attempts per game.
He’s still only 25 years old, is a solid off-ball cutter and defenses will have a hard time stopping both him and Victor Oladipo when they’re on the floor together — especially if Warren’s 3-point prowess wasn’t a flukey one-year spike. Even better, they still have room to maneuver for a new starting point guard — like Ricky Rubio — this summer:
Throw in the No. 32 pick in a draft class that flattens by the end of the lottery, and the Pacers could very well snag a first round talent to smooth out the edges of their lineup. At the cost of…well, nothing but cash and some cap space, this is a deal well worth making for Indiana.