3. Suns get depth from Pacers
Jusuf Nurkic has been a problem for the Suns. He sets fantastic screens but struggles to protect the rim, defend in space, and finish around the cup. The Blazers are rebuilding but were looking to dump Nurkic before Damian Lillard requested a trade. Phoenix targeted Nurkic to get off of Deandre Ayton’s contract, and the Suns are already regretting that decision.
The Suns’ lack of assets puts them in a difficult spot. They need to find a team with bad contracts of their own on the books. That is the only way Phoenix convinces a team to take on Nurk and the $37.5 million owed to him after this season.
The Pacers have two contracts they are eager to get off their books and could be interested in Nurkic and a couple of draft picks to make it happen.
Indiana is not rebuilding but could use Nurkic’s contract in a future trade. The Pacers need to nail the draft and make deals if they want to improve their roster. They are never going to be a free-agent destination. Getting T.J. McConnell and Daniel Theis off their books is a plus, and the Pacers front office would be motivated to deal Nurkic for an upgrade.
McConnell would be the Suns’ backup point guard, and Theis was an impactful rotation player for the Celtics in the 2022 playoffs. They could be getting two guys capable of cracking the postseason rotation in limited minutes for Nurkic. It would take some convincing, but the Pacers might just cave and make this deal.