Pacers' three-way deadline deal opens up minutes and opportunities for Mathurin
Indiana's No. 6 draft choice last year is the trade's big winner.
On the surface, it doesn’t look like a particularly inspiring trade deadline for the Indiana Pacers. In the end, they got rid of Buddy Hield and his expiring contract and added some draft capital and Doug McDermott, another player on an expiring deal (although I’m hearing he’s inclined to remain in Indy if the team wants him.)
The only clear winner in this three-way trade is No. 00 for the Pacers, Bennedict Mathurin, who has seen the path to bigger minutes open up before him.
Make no mistake; this trade with Philly and San Antonio was largely about last year’s No. 6 draft choice and about giving him an opportunity to take that next step as a key component of (we think) a playoff-bound team. Mathurin’s minutes are down this year, from 28.5 to 25.8 minutes, but that’s about to change.
I get it: Fans are looking at Thursday’s trade-deadline deals, including one that sent Hield to Philadelphia for a Dr. J bobblehead, and they’re wondering if Kevin Pritchard has lost his mind. How does this make the Pacers better this year? How can you trade Hield to the team that stands one spot higher in the Eastern Conference playoff race than the Pacers?
Even general manager Chad Buchanan, who spoke with the media long after Thursday night’s game, acknowledged there’s limited short-term benefit in having dealt Hield.
“Our team has done a great job of putting us in position to be a contender for a playoff spot,” he said. “Today was one of those decisions that maybe feels like it wasn’t helping the team now, but we’re trying to look long term and I can’t emphasize that enough with this group.”