How can the Pacers improve their roster without trading their core?

Rick Carlisle
Rick Carlisle and the Pacers are at a crossroads. Photo from Eight Points, Nine Seconds.

The Indiana Pacers roster 2021 could use a little work. The Pacers currently find themselves adrift in the Eastern Conference with only the lowly Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic behind them.

Indiana is well below .500 with their win record and moves need to be made for the team to get better. The good news for Pacers’ fans is that it is still early in the season and the Pacers roster needs can be addressed to make them move competitive.

Pacers roster 2021

Any moves that the Pacers make need to happen quickly. Their schedule is tough over the next stretch before getting lighter later in the year. Their biggest issue is a lack of top-level talent, the sort of individual players that can turn a close loss into a win. Finding top-tier talent at this point in the season is difficult, but if the Pacers want to compete for a playoff spot at the end of the 2021-22 season tough decisions need to be made.

The Pacers have been hit by injury as much as any team in the league. The Caris LeVert trade that the team made last year was one that has worked out well, but the starting shooting guard missed the start of the season after missing half of the previous campaign too. LeVert is still finding his feet, though signs have been good, and the eventual return of T.J. Warren from a foot problem will also be huge.

Warren is the best wing on a team that is stacked with mid-level players at the position and he will provide instant impact.

Indiana Pacers trade rumors

There are a number of trade rumors surrounding the Pacers. These rumors are ones that will make the Pacers roster 2021 better and more competitive, not the type seen near the trade deadline where franchises are looking to dump salaries and rebuild for the future.

There are a few players that the Pacers could look to move, but one name that always seems to come up in Indiana Pacers trade rumors is wing Jeremy Lamb. Lamb feels like the odd man out in a wing rotation that already features LeVert along with rookie Chris Duarte and Justin Holiday. It doesn’t help that Lamb is coming off of ACL surgery and that the 10th year player is still clearly working back to fitness, but if a trade partner could be found it feels like the Pacers would bite.


Lamb is making $10.5 million in the last year of his contract, a clear obstacle in a potential trade. One potential landing spot for a veteran that can still score and provides experience to the wing is New Orleans. Looking at the contracts and positions where the Pacers need depth, a trade of Lamb for guard Tomas Satoransky seems viable. While not a game-changer, Satoransky is a player that would give another primary ball-handler to Indiana and fill a needed role.

A former All-Star

The Pacers could, however, opt to go for a bigger splash in their backcourt.

The Pacers are in win-now mode even though their record would suggest that is not the case. One player that might be available given he seems unhappy with his current situation is Kemba Walker.

While not the same player he was in his Charlotte days, Walker was still scoring 20 points per game for the Boston Celtics over the past couple of seasons. Despite signing with the New York Knicks just this offseason, it doesn’t seem to be working out for either party. This would be another trade where the Pacers give up the expendable Lamb, albeit with a draft pick in tow to sweeten the deal, a small offer for a former All-Star, but one that might work in allowing New York to offload both baggage and salary.

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