One of the youngest bigs in the NBA has yet to ink a new deal with the Indiana Pacers, and that contract dispute is what is generating trade interest for many teams. They are looking to acquire Domantas Sabonis as trade rumors begin o heat up. According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the Pacers and Sabonis are far apart on a contract extension. The 23-year-old from Gonzaga is a restricted free agent at the end of the upcoming season.
Interested Teams If Domantas Sabonis Doesn’t Get A New Deal
Sabonis will be a hot commodity. He averaged 14.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.9 assists last season. For the Pacers, it seemed like a lost season after Victor Oladipo was lost due to a ruptured quad injury. The team rallied and ended up as the fifth seed in the East. Sabonis led the team in win shares with a 7.6, according to Basketball-Reference.
The 6’11” lefty had his best season in an NBA uniform. Many teams would love to get him in their building and have control of his contract. While no teams have been confirmed in talks with the Pacers, we will speculate where he should land and how he will fit with those teams.
Pacers get Mikal Bridges. Suns get Sabonis. This one would be on the simpler side. The player’s contracts are nearly identical. The Pacers would get a developing small forward with four years still under contract. Bridges could slide in next to T.J. Warren. He would be able to play either forward position and would be a perfect building piece under coach Nate McMillian.
The Phoenix Suns get their power forward to pair with center Deandre Ayton. With last year’s points-per-game averages, this front-court could put up 25-to-30 points per game. The Suns are one piece away from building a team that will make it to the playoffs. They have a great coach in Monty Williams. If this deal was made, a lineup of Devin Booker, Sabonis, and Ayton could look scary for years.
Boston Celtics get Sabonis and Alize Johnson. The Pacers get back Jaylen Brown. Brown and Sabonis both played exceptionally well for the respective teams. They have felt jilted from their front offices and feel like they have been low-balled on their offers. Both players seem ready for a change of scenery.
The Pacers will receive a great piece to add. The underrated player played a pivotal role with the Celtics two years ago. Brown, with Terry Rozier and Jayson Tatum, led the team in the playoffs. Last year, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward both came back from injury and supplanted Brown and Rozier. Rozier is now with the Charlotte Hornets. Brown wants to be a starter on a team that will use him, not bury him on the bench.
The Celtics will receive a power forward to mesh with Hayward, Tatum, and new point guard, Kemba Walker. They could be a force on the offensive side of the ball. With Brad Steven’s coaching ability, He could have the ball in any of these players and stretch the floor. Spacing is what Stevens excels in. Getting a great wing player, instead of having one come off the bench.
The Utah Jazz receives Sabonis and Aaron Holiday. The Pacers receive Dante Exum and a 2020 first-round pick. The Exum experience hasn’t worked out the Jazz. The former 5th overall pick out of Australia hasn’t been able to stay on the court in Salt Lake City. Injuries have riddled his career. However, some teams think they may be able to fix that. The Pacers could have a wing who could finally be able to stay healthy. A healthy Exum is a great slasher to the basket. A great wing defender and still very young. Exum has a team option at the end of this season. If he has another injury-riddled season, the first-round pick could be the consolation prize.
The Jazz could get two players that could help them build for the future. Exum was supposed to be the point guard of the future. That was two years ago. Now the Jazz has had Ricky Rubio and now have Mike Conley with the team as their point guard. This trade gives them a great player to play next to Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. It also lets Holiday learn from Conley.
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