With former Indiana Pacers executive Peter Dinwiddie expected to join Philadelphia as the Sixers’ new Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations, I thought it might be instructive to examine the Pacers’ recent transaction history. Now, as Sixers fans know better than anybody, front-office decisions are a collaborative effort. Plus, Kevin Pritchard is the lead front-office decision maker for Indiana, so any credit or blame for moves the team has made starts with him. However, hopefully we can at least start to get an idea of why Dinwiddie is reportedly so well-respected around the league. Although he was employed by Indiana since 2006, I’m only looking at the Pacers’ major transaction history since July 2017, when Dinwiddie was promoted to Senior VP of Basketball Operations, the similar role to what he’ll fill in Philadelphia.
July 2017: Pacers trade Paul George to Oklahoma City for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis
It is extremely difficult to get fair value in exchange for a star player, but the Pacers may have pulled off the trick here. Oladipo made consecutive All-Star teams, All-Defensive First Team, and All-NBA Third Team. Injuries have derailed Oladipo’s meteoric rise since then, but in his stead, Sabonis filled the All-Star void for the Pacers this past season.
July 2017: Pacers sign Darren Collison to two-year, $20 million deal
Collison was a quality starting point guard for Indiana, shooting better than 40 percent from 3 both seasons, while averaging at least 5.3 assists per game. He was coveted free-agent option in the summer of 2019, before unexpectedly announcing his retirement.
July 2017: Pacers sign Bojan Bogdanovic to two-year, $21 million deal
Bogdanovic experienced his breakout in Indiana, shooting 40 percent from 3 both seasons, and exploding for 18.0 points per game on 49.7 percent shooting overall in his second campaign as a Pacer. He went on to sign a four-year, $73 million deal with Utah, making his $10.5 million annual value in Indiana look like a steal.
July 2017: Pacers acquire Cory Joseph in trade with Toronto in exchange for draft rights to Emir Preldzic
The Pacers took advantage of the Raptors trying to clear cap space, getting a quality backup point guard for nothing. Joseph was durable, appearing in all 82 games in each of his two seasons in Indiana.
June 2018: Pacers draft Aaron Holiday 21st overall
Time will tell with Holiday, but Indiana has to be encouraged by his growth last season. Holiday started 33 games and shot 39.4 percent from 3.
July 2018: Pacers sign Doug McDermott to three-year, $22 million deal
McBuckets has ably filled his role as a bench shooter, nailing 40.8 percent and 43.5 percent from 3 in the first two years of his deal.
October 2018: Pacers sign Myles Turner to four-year, $80 million contract extension
The answer to the “Can Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis play together?” experiment increasingly appears to be no, and with Sabonis’ growth and Turner’s offensive stagnation, Myles is the player who more often pops up in trade rumors. Turner is still young, a terrific rim protector, and a serviceable stretch 5, so there are plenty of teams that would love to have him on their roster. His contract is not particularly onerous and could certainly be moved, but it’s hard to call this extension a win for Indiana — more like a ‘wait and see what they get in return.’
June 2019: Pacers draft Goga Bitadze 18th overall
Bitadze barely saw the floor in his rookie season, logging 8.7 minutes per game across 54 contests.
July 2019: Pacers sign Malcolm Brogdon to four-year, $85 million deal in sign-and-trade with Milwaukee, sending Bucks top-14-protected first-round pick, and two second-round picks
Brogdon accepted a larger offensive creation role upon arriving in Indiana, and his shooting struggled tremendously, with his percentages dropping to 32.6 percent from 3 and 43.8 percent from the field overall. However, he did average a career-high 7.1 assists per game. Brogdon also suffered a number of minor injuries, in addition to tearing his quad, which would have caused him to miss a large portion of the season if the pandemic had not suspended play. Injury concerns have always been baked into any Brogdon evaluation. The Brogdon move feels like another case of waiting to gather more information before grading how it went for the Pacers.
July 2019: Pacers sign Jeremy Lamb to three-year, $31.5 million deal
Sadly, Lamb tore his ACL back in February. Prior to the injury, he had taken small steps back in scoring, rebounding, and 3-point shooting from his last season in Charlotte. Given the bad luck of the injury, it looks like Indiana won’t be happy having dished out this free-agent deal.
July 2019: As part of a three-team deal with Phoenix and Miami, Pacers trade $1.1 million for T.J. Warren and three second-round picks
Indiana received draft picks to bring in Warren. Since Warren dropped 53 points on the Sixers in the Bubble, I don’t think I need to impress upon the Liberty Ballers audience what an unbelievably great move this was for the Pacers, who still have T.J. under contract for two more years at slightly over $12 million average annual salary.
July 2019: Pacers sign T.J. McConnell to two-year, $7 million contract
Breaking Sixers fans’ hearts across the Delaware Valley, Indiana brought McConnell in on a very affordable deal to help replace Joseph at the backup point guard position. T.J. did his usual T.J. things, shooting 51.6 percent from the field, averaging 5.0 assists, and stealing countless in-bounds passes in the backcourt.
October 2019: Pacers sign Domantas Sabonis to four-year, $77 million contract extension
Indiana has to feel great about locking up Sabonis prior to his breakout All-Star 2019-20 season. Sabonis still has room to improve at just 24 years old, and will be making less than $20 million per year for the next four seasons.
Overall, it has been an incredibly strong last few years for Indiana’s front office. While we don’t know to what extent Dinwiddie played a part in any of those transactions, the list can only encourage Sixers fans that his hiring is a boon for Philadelphia.