NBA Indiana Pacers

5 Moves the Indiana Pacers Need to Make During Free Agency

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5 Free Agency Moves The Indiana Pacers Need to Make

Thomas J Russo-USA Today Sports

Despite the Miami Heat once again capturing the NBA title, the Indiana Pacers proved they are not only capable of contending, but have a nucleus capable of winning a title soon, and a future superstar in the making in Paul George.

With that said, it is also important to remember how far this team has come since Larry Bird transformed the organization. It has been a successful year since Donnie Walsh took back the reigns, but it is time for him to bring in more pieces; pieces that not only can beat the Heat, but whatever team comes out of the Western Conference.

The Eastern Conference is changing as well, as it appears the contenders are drastically rising and falling. While the Chicago Bulls should be strong with the return of Derrick Rose, the New York Knicks have had age catch up to them and can be expected to be bitten by bad contracts. The Brooklyn Nets will once again be going through a coaching transition that can keep them from contending for a No. 1 seed.

Unless someone else can rise from the pack, Indiana should once again be a top-three seed. Yet, with another year of experience, removed from the slow start they strove through last year, and with a stronger supporting cast, the Pacers should be stronger in the regular season next year. Defensively, the Pacers should once again be a dominant force led by Frank Vogel. With the nucleus of Roy Hibbert, David West and George now playoff tested, things are only looking up for the small-market Pacers.

Nucleus aside, here are the five moves the Pacers need to make in order to take the next step from contender to champion in 2013-2014.

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No. 5: Let Sam Young Walk

Brian Spurlock-USA Today Sports

After a predominant role during the NBA playoffs, Sam Young has shown he is not worth keeping around. There is certainly someone better available through free agency, and if not, the draft is always a viable option for small forward's, especially with the 23rd pick.

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No.4: Replace D.J. Augustin

Pat Lovell-USA Today Sports

D.J. Augustin was a weak point on a consistently weak Pacers bench. His streaky three-point shooting coupled with a 2.3 Assists/Turnover Ratio means he is expendable, and certainly not worth his current contract. Although Ben Hansbroughmay not be ready to step up, D.J. Augustin has to go. A possible replacement such as Jose Calderon has been rumored, and would be a great fit.

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No. 3: Sign a Pure Shooter

Jeff Hanisch-USA Today Sports

Despite defense being the team's top priority, Indiana's three-point shooting last year was poor, and as a result teams were able to stack the paint. With someone to spread the floor, teams will have an even harder time game-planning against the Pacers.

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No. 2: Re-sign David West

Steve Mitchell-USA Today Sports

David West has shown he can still play despite being 33 years old by the time next season rolls around. The Pacers defensive-oriented core needs West at the power-forward position. West averaged 17.1 PPG and 7.7 RPG in 66 games this year, something which the veteran leader is certainly capable of repeating.

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No. 1: Trade Away Danny Granger

Michael Hickey-USA Today Sports

Despite rumors that the Pacers want to keep Danny Granger for the remaining year of his contract, I don't believe that would be the best move for the team. The Pacers have certainly shown that they can contend without Granger or his contract ($14 million this year), and despite his desire to stay with the team, as a business decision, that money can be spent elsewhere.

The Pacers can certainly get multiple players back for Granger, including a pure shooter and a defensive option at the shooting guard position, enabling coach Frank Vogel to play with multiple looks, just like Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau do.