NBA Draft night seems sure to be active on the trade front, and the Indiana Pacers have gotten things started by acquiring T.J. Warren.
On Thursday, separate reports suggested the Dallas Mavericks and Indiana Pacers were interested in Phoenix Suns forward T.J. Warren. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Pacers and agreed to a deal that will send Warren to Phoenix.
The Pacers will also get the No. 32 pick in Thursday night’s draft, and they will send cash to the Suns.
The Suns clearly wanted to move Warren, and they’ve now unloaded the three years and $35 million that’s left on his contract. With a logjam at small forward and being starved for viable cap space, either Warren or Josh Jackson seemed sure to be gone.
According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, Phoenix now has has $21 million in cap space and that would go to $29.5 million if they don’t maintain the cap hold on restricted free agent Kelly Oubre.
As for Indiana, also according to Marks, they will still have nearly $31 million in cap space after taking on Warren and his $10.81 million salary for next season.
Warren averaged 18 points, four rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game for the Suns last season, after averaging 19.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per contest in 2017-18.
If nothing else, he’ll give the Pacers an offensive threat from the wing to fill the void while Victor Oladipo works his way back from a serious knee injury.
The Pacers also only have Doug McDermott under contract for next season to play small forward, as Bogan Bogdanovic may leave in free agency. So Warren is nice insurance there.
Indiana got a useful player in Warren, and they’ll add an early second-round pick that could yield a good player or become further trade fodder Thursday night. This trade was strictly about clearing cap room for the Suns but only getting a chunk of cash for two solid assets still looks weird.