Tyrese Haliburton’s Arrival Gives the Indiana Pacers a Coveted $67.6 Million Trade Chip This Summer

Domantas Sabonis is out. Tyrese Haliburton is in. And just like that, a new era of Indiana Pacers basketball has begun.

Tuesday was the beginning of an exciting chapter in the Hoosier State. Indiana parted with Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday, and a future second-rounder to land Haliburton, Buddy Hield, and Tristan Thompson from the Sacramento Kings. Haliburton is understandably the prized possession of the deal, as the second-year guard has the chance to become a mainstay in Indy’s rotation for years to come.

Haliburton will join veteran Malcolm Brogdon in the team’s new-look backcourt. But that pairing may not be in place for long, as the Pacers can now explore the possibility of moving Brogdon as soon as this offseason.

Malcolm Brogdon and Tyrese Haliburton are two similar guards

For the past few seasons, the Pacers have housed two skyscrapers in Sabonis and Myles Turner. Now, Indiana is moving toward the 21st century by building around a pair of high-scoring guards in Brogdon and Haliburton.

Brogdon, 29, is in his sixth pro season and third with the Pacers. The 6-foot-5 guard scored a career-best 21.2 points per game last year on 45.3% shooting from the field and 38.8% shooting from three. The former 50-40-90 club member is averaging 18.5 points in 28 games this season but has been limited to just three appearances since Dec. 15 due to hamstring soreness.

Once he returns to action, Brogdon will get to play alongside the 21-year-old Haliburton. Through 1.5 seasons in Sacramento, the 6-foot-5 guard is averaging 13.6 points on 46.5% shooting from the field and 41.1% shooting from deep. He’s also averaging a career-high 7.4 assists.

Along with being the same size, Brogdon and Haliburton have similar playing styles. Both guards are above-average scorers with plus shooting from three (although Brogdon’s 30.7% clip this year is his career-worst). They are each solid ball-handlers and playmakers, as both have eclipsed 5.0 assists a night over the last two seasons. And they’re more-than-capable defenders.

The acqusition of Haliburton allows the Pacers to shop Brogdon

Having two starting guards that can shoot, pass, and defend is hardly a bad thing. Though if their fit together is awkward, Indiana can field offers for Brogdon this offseason.

According to Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype, rival executives around the league believe the Pacers will trade Brogdon in the coming months. The 29-year-old signed an additional two-year, $45 million extension last offseason, preventing him from being traded until after the season.

That means the talented guard will be under contract for another three years and $67.6 million at the conclusion of the 2021-22 campaign.

With only 26 games left, the Pacers need to see how Brogdon and Haliburton mesh. The results could be extraordinary, as both guards could complement each other better than one might expect. But that small sample size will go a long way in determining Indy’s next course of action.

Twenty-six games, of course, assumes Brogdon will be healthy and available. Since entering the league in 2016, the 29-year-old has already missed 157 regular-season games. His durability, or lack thereof, offers another reason Indiana could soon move on.

Brogdon’s fate could be determined after the draft

At 19-37, the Pacers enter Wednesday with the fifth-worst record in the NBA. While that doesn’t bode well for their playoff chances, it looks very promising for their draft outlook.

As things stand, Indiana has a 10.5% chance to land the number pick and a 42.1% shot of finishing in the top-four. If that’s the case, the Pacers could likely land one of the draft’s top three players; big men Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren, and Paolo Banchero. Landing one of those three might increase the likelihood of keeping Brogdon and making someone like Turner expendable instead.

However, if they sit at five or fall down the board during the May 17 draft lottery, they could turn their attention to guard. Jaden Ivey, Shaedon Sharpe, and Johnny Davis are three shooting guards Indiana could draft to officially put Brogdon on notice.

With the arrival of Haliburton and a top pick on the way, Brogdon’s days in Indiana could very well be numbered.

All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference and contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.

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