Warriors

Why Warriors should monitor reported dysfunction inside Pacers

Warriors

With a healthy Klay Thompson expected to catapult the Warriors back among the elites in the Western Conference, it would make sense for the front office to aggressively pursue potential trades this offseason to further maximize short-term success.

One potential team that the Warriors should be keeping an eye on is the Indiana Pacers, who currently stand ninth in the East, the same spot in the standings Golden State finds itself in out West.

Indiana has taken a step back from a 2019-20 campaign that saw the Pacers finish the regular season as the four seed in the East. After a first-round sweep at the hands of the eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat in last year's playoffs, head coach Nate McMillan was fired just two days later.

New head coach Nate Bjorkgen's first season at the helm, through some great reporting from Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer, has been rocky to say the least.

Fischer's reporting followed a story from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Tuesday, which indicated that Bjorkgen could be out after just one season in Indiana because he "has significant work to do with his relationships among players throughout the team and with some members of the organization, but he has thus far shown a willingness to try to address those issues," according to ESPN sources.

A league executive told Fischer that Bjorkgen "doesn't mind embarrassing his coaches."

 

Turmoil in an organization almost always leads to offseason changes, and the Pacers have some pieces the Warriors would covet in a potential trade.

Malcolm Brogdon is exactly the type of point guard the Warriors have needed to anchor the second unit behind Steph Curry, and even has the skillset to play well off Curry's strengths alongside him in rotations.

Myles Turner, who I advocated the Warriors pursue in a trade last offseason, presents all of the skills fans hope to eventually see out of No. 2 overall draft pick James Wiseman. Turner leads the NBA with 3.4 blocked shots per game, and has multiple complete seasons in his career shooting over 35 percent from 3-point range.

T.J. Warren is out for the remainder of the season after electing to have surgery on his foot, but is an elite scorer on the wing. Warren played under Bjorkgen in Phoenix and according to Fischer, requested a trade after learning the Pacers were hiring him as Indiana's head coach.

There are others like T.J. McConnell and Justin Holiday that could fill needs on the Warriors' second unit, but the above three all would be major trade acquisitions. The Warriors likely would have to part with Wiseman, Andrew Wiggins or a package of draft picks in order to pry Brogdon or Turner from the Pacers' roster.

The Warriors will have sky-high expectations after Thompson returns, and with a core featuring a trio of players beyond their 30th birthday, the championship window won't be open much longer. Continuing to develop Wiseman and hoping Wiggins keeps improving doesn't necessarily align with a team hoping to compete for titles.

We're not offering up any potential trades here, but the Warriors should be monitoring Indiana at the very least as the regular season comes to an end.

Bringing Kevin Durant to a team that had appeared in the previous two NBA Finals and smashed league records was a bold move. That bold move led to three more consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals and two more championships.

The Pacers could offer general manager Bob Myers and the Warriors a chance once again to be bold this summer. 

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