Hoping to rekindle their status as one of the best teams in the East, the Indiana Pacers made some drastic changes before the season.
Frank Vogel was let go and assistant coach Nate McMillian was promoted. George Hill was traded and Jeff Teague was brought in to be the starting point guard. And then to flesh out the roster and build around Paul George and the blossoming Myles Turner, the Pacers brought in Al Jefferson and Thaddeus Young.
This seemed like a good plan but so far it hasn’t made much of a difference. The Pacers are currently a game above .500, which is sixth in the East, and have been inconsistent for the majority of the season.
Wanting to get better, the Pacers are reportedly very active days before Thursday’s trade deadline. And in an effort to give George more help, according to ESPN, the Pacers are targeting Sixers big man Jahlil Okafor.
This is a head scratcher. The Pacers essentially have a similar player to Okafor in Jefferson. Sure, Jefferson is a lot older than Okafor, but his experience is invaluable and especially key for Pacers’ young big man Turner. Also, how would adding Okafor help Turner, who has shown in his second season that he could potentially be Indiana’s franchise center for years to come?
The Pacers, though, are trying to show George that they want to get better and continue to build around him. George is a free agent in 2018 and could leave the Pacers -- the team he’s spent his whole career with -- if he is unhappy with his situation. His unhappiness and general down demeanor has been a theme this season as he has complained about Pacers fans and even said that there is ahanging over the team.
Overall, though, pursuing Okafor is a rather curious move for the Pacers, but with George’s sour mood, Indiana needs to do whatever it can to make him happy.