The Indiana Pacers are in trouble. After bringing in some talent last summer, they looked poised to be a deadly, young, up and coming team. Perhaps finishing 7th in the eastern conference was "good enough" for them, but lots of people, including myself, had higher hopes for them. Headlining the starting five were Paul George, Jeff Teague, Myles Turner, and Thaddeus Young - a team many thought was talented enough to cause a stir. But it wasn't meant to be this season. After a lackluster season, Larry Bird stepped down as president of the Indiana Pacers.

This was caused by not only an uneventful season, but also in fear of a move that had officially come to fruition just a few weeks ago.

First reported by the Woj, Paul George informed Indiana that his time there is limited. With Indiana in shambles right now, let's take a look at what they should be doing this off-season.


Paul George has been officially shipped out of Indiana, and traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. In return, Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis are headed to the Pacers. Originally, when Paul George announced he was leaving, many teams such as the Cavaliers, Rockets, and Jazz were interested; but there was no news involving the Thunder.

This move begs the question if there weren't many offers on the table. Oladipo and Sabonis aren't terrible by any stretch of the imagination, but no team is keen on losing their star player.

Following the departure of George, Jeff Teague signed a contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He will be replacing Ricky Rubio as the starting point guard for the foreseeable future, and although he isn't as a big of a loss as Paul George, he definitely leaves another gap in the team.

Free agents

Paul George and Jeff Teague aside, what's the free agent situation looking like for Indiana? C.J. Miles now headlines the free agent list for the Pacers. CJ Miles appeared in all but six games, and was an extremely useful veteran presence off the bench. With the cap space they have, the Pacers will probably hope to bring him back, so as not to lose anything else this off-season.

With George and Teague gone, Indiana will undoubtedly go through a rebuilding process. Long term, the Pacers have Myles Turner, Thaddeus Young, and a lot of aging players. But with free agents still on the board, is it certain this coming season is a bust already?

The search

It is uncertain where Gordon Hayward will land, but is Indiana a place on his radar? The problem is that every free agent this off-season will look to join a better situation. Therefore, players such as Gordon Hayward and Danilo Gallinari probably won't consider Indiana as a suitable landing place. In addition, the Pacers franchise can't sit around and expect TJ Leaf, Ike Anigbogu, or Edmond Sumner to take the reins of this team.

So what can the Pacers really do?

Future endeavors

The Pacers just need to set a plan in place, and attempt to follow it as closely as possible. As most NBA fans will understand, things don't always go according to plan; but the clear line the Pacers have to follow, is to prepare for the future. Build around Myles Turner, and hope their most recent draft picks pan out.

With that being said, I believe TJ Leaf is a phenomenal player despite the rumblings of his statistics being inflated from playing off Lonzo Ball's coattails at UCLA. So look for him to play a big part in the coming years of Indiana's rebuild.

Bottom line

When your star player leaves, you find yourself in "no man's land." I think the Pacers did the right thing dishing him out as soon as possible.

With that being said however, Pacers fans should be aware that they might not attract a free agent this summer. In the event they don't, prepare for next season when there will also be some high caliber names up for grab. As a ending note, I respect Paul George for making his intention to leave clearly stated, and the Pacers organization should respect that as well.