Raise your hand if you had the Indiana Pacers owning the third-best record in the Eastern Conference at 21-12 heading into the all-star break.
Keep it raised if you think the Pacers will do some wheeling and dealing leading up to the NBA trade deadline on March 15th.
There is a good chance you just went 2 for 2.
While Indiana sits second behind the Chicago Bulls in the Central Division, have won four-straight games, and are easily overlooked as one of the more impressive team stories in the league this season, it’s possible the Pacers will add another player or two in the next two weeks with hopes of securing home court advantage in the playoffs.
“We’ve got $15 million under the cap and I’m not afraid to make another move now to strengthen our bench or maybe even (add) one or two guys,” team president Larry Bird told Conrad Brunner of Pacers.com.
“We’re still out there looking and whatever we can do to make this team better, we’re going to do.”
It’s hard not to take Larry Legend for his word after transforming the Pacers the way he has over the last three years. Within that time, Indiana has struggled, rebuilt through youth, had a taste of the postseason, and have shown they are serious about winning by signing both David West and George Hill to free-agent deals during the offseason. And as West comes into form and Hill returns from his ankle injury, Bird is apparently also serious about being buyers this trade deadline.
“If I see a player out there I think can make us better, I’m going to go ahead and make the move. It could be a trade, but it’s probably going to be picking up somebody off another team just so they can get some money off (the salary cap). We’ve got a lot of calls in, talked to a lot of people and we’re going to try to continue to strengthen this team.”
One of the strength’s of the Pacers is their bench. Forget being one of the deeper benches in the East. The fact that head coach Frank Vogel can turn on any given night to Hill, Tyler Hansbrough, Dahntay Jones, Lou Amundson, A.J. Price and Lance Stephenson, makes his second unit one of the deepest around the leagues.
Then again, that might be exactly where Bird and the front office could look to mix things up if Indiana will indeed be active at the trade deadline.
Along with all-star center Roy Hibbert, both Hill and Price will be restricted free-agents this summer, while Amundson and Jones (player option) will be unrestricted free-agents.
So where are the Pacers most glaring roster needs?
They fall into three spots: an upgrade at point guard, a wing player who can create his own shot, and another big down low.
Front offices around the league feel free to give Larry Bird a call if you are ready to make a deal.