Indiana Pacers shuffle Chris Duarte and Obi Toppin via trade
The Indiana Pacers have not been shy to pick up the phones this NBA offseason. Indiana has been busy, trading Chris Duarte and acquiring Obi Toppin being two of them.
The Indiana Pacers have not been shy to pick up the phones this NBA offseason. Indiana has been busy, from making several trades leading up to and during the draft to making moves in the free-agent market.
They have signed Tyrese Haliburton to a max contract extension and added Bruce Brown from Denver in free agency. While adding Ben Sheppard, Isaiah Wong, and Jarace Walker via the draft, their roster was filling out quickly.
The Pacers needed depth in other places as their guard-heavy roster continued to pile up after the moves listed above were made. It was clear something else needed to happen.
Chris Duarte is Traded
The Indiana Pacers are sending Chris Duarte to the Sacramento Kings for two 2nd round picks, Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Thursday. He says the Pacers will receive a 2028 second (via Dallas) and the Kings' 2030 second-round pick.
Chris Duarte was the Pacers’ 13th overall pick from the 2021 NBA draft. At 25 years old, Duarte has struggled to stay on the floor due to health and never really found a role in the young Pacers’ offense. After an impressive rookie season, Duarte struggled to connect on the three-point shot that made him so polarizing during his rookie season.
Shams Charania initially reported this as a deal that was, “nearing” completion many days ago, but no official trade was made until today. This left many fans to speculate if the deal was a part of something bigger Indiana was cooking up. These moves turned out to be a pretty clever bit of asset shuffling by Indiana’s front office.
Duarte’s tenure in Indiana was a fun one that was unfortunately cut short by his lack of health. He played 101 games in two seasons and saw his minutes decrease substantially in year two.
He went from a 13.1 points per game scorer on 36% 3P shooting in 2021-22 to 7.1 points per game scorer on 31% from three in 2022-23. His field goal percentage also dipped from 43% to 36% in the same time frame. The lack of consistent minutes did not help him on the court, but a fresh start was a must for both parties.
This move will be a win-win for both Duarte and Indiana and I am sure both are excited about what next season will bring with their new-look rosters.
Obi Toppin is on his way to Indiana
Just a few days prior, the team made a move to acquire New York’s Obi Toppin for two second-round picks. Then today, Indiana got two seconds back by shipping Duarte out to Sacramento.
Out: two second-round picks to New York, Chris Duarte
In: two second-round picks from SAC and DAL, Obi Toppin
Nifty moves by the front office to address a team need in filling out the four spot while clearing the way to add a strong defensive guard in Bruce Brown, who they just signed.
Obi Toppin was the 8th overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft. Like Duarte, he gets a much-needed fresh start and the opportunity to join a hungry roster of young players trying to prove themselves.
This a dream get for me, being from the Dayton area, his high-flying play style has captivated and drawn an audience to Dayton basketball that had been missing for some time. To see him back on the team I root for the most is delightful — my tweets may be biased.
Toppin is also on the receiving end of less playing time throughout his NBA tenure. Last season he averaged just 15 minutes per game, where he would score 7.1 points per those minutes.
However, as many Pacers fans remember, Obi Toppin was unleashed in the final games of the 2022-23 NBA season in which he started the last five games.
In those games, he averaged: 21 PPG, 3.4 REB, 3.4 AST, and shot 44.4% from three on 7.2 attempts. He also converted his field goals at a 58% clip in those games.
The shooting from deep to me is unsustainable, but I could see him being a 36% shooter from deep on four attempts a game in this style of offense. He is one of the best finishers at the rim I have watched, and with the ability this team has to run the floor, I see that being where he adds the most value consistently.
Tyrese Haliburton will help create looks for just about anyone anywhere, which will help the entire roster. The Pacers get a four, and Toppin gets the opportunity he’s been craving in a fantastic situation.
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