2019 NBA free agency: Ranking D’Angelo Russell’s best potential landing spots

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
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(Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
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5. Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers have done a surprising job over the last couple of years at remaining competitive in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Victor Oladipo emerged into an All-Star while his supporting cast has proven to be more than capable of handling its own, even in his absence.

For as well as the collective unit has played, that all may change this summer. Five of Indiana’s seven most-used players will hit the open market, forcing the front office to make some tough decisions.

One area that will need to be addressed is at point guard, where both Darren Collison and Cory Joseph can go elsewhere. The Pacers seem like the heavy favorite to sign Ricky Rubio at this point in time. Going after a guy like Russell, though, could shake things up even if it means depleting other parts of the roster.

Indiana isn’t all that dissimilar to the Nets of this past season. Neither is particularly loaded with talent, but both play hard defensively with a team-friendly approach offense. Where Russell would benefit in ways Brooklyn couldn’t offer is playing alongside a talent like Oladipo, who can push him off the ball while simultaneously taking on the tougher defensive assignments.

Oladipo is coming off a serious leg injury that has him pegged for a return around December or January. Until that time, and even as he shakes his rust off, Russell would control the offense and dictate just about everything the Pacers choose to do.

The NBA continues to be a league driven by stars. Put as many on one team as possible and it’s as good a starting point as there is. Bringing in Russell would require the sacrifice of other key players for Indiana, but with a star-studded backcourt as a foundation, watching them battle conference foes would be quite the entertaining show.