The Indiana Pacers are seeking an established veteran who can play and contribute right away, and they are willing to trade the No. 13 pick in this year’s draft to do so, according to J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star.
The Pacers are open to trading the pick if they can get a player who is under contract for at least two more years.
A perfect fit would be Houston Rockets’ Eric Gordon, as he is signed through at least the 2022-23 season.
Gordon, 32, is also an Indiana native, growing up in Indianapolis and playing his college ball at Indiana University.
If the Pacers keep the 13th pick, it has to be a player who coach Rick Carlisle believes he can play right away. Carlisle, who left Dallas to rejoin the Pacers after signing a four-year deal for $29 million, will have more input than previous coaches.
If the player at No. 13 isn’t deemed immediately playable for the Pacers, it will make more sense to deal him for one who can contribute.
The Pacers have talked with the Houston Rockets, a league source told IndyStar, about flipping their pick and getting such a player. They’re not looking for a one-and-done expiring contract. They want a player under contract for at least two years.
With the Rockets in rebuilding mode, Gordon doesn’t fit in the team’s future plans, as they look to build around their young core of players.
As a result, they would welcome another lottery pick in a potential trade with the Pacers.
The Rockets currently own three picks in the draft (Nos. 2, 23, 24) and could be willing to include either the No. 23 or 24 pick in a deal with the Pacers.
No trade will likely happen until closer to the draft on July 29.
Last season, Gordon was limited to 27 games due to injuries and he averaged 17.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game in 29.2 minutes per game.