The Milwaukee Bucks trade Middleton to the Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers have a cornerstone player in point guard Tyrese Haliburton and a two-way stretch-five in Myles Turner. Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard look like keepers in the backcourt. What the Pacers need are forwards.
Khris Middleton would be a big swing, but a reasonable one for a team ready to take a step forward. The problem for Indiana is that while they have cap space, they don’t have max space, so signing Middleton would require dumping a contract. What if they just traded with the Bucks to move that money?
The Pacers can start Haliburton, Nembhard, Middleton, and Myles Turner, with take-your-pick power forward (perhaps someone they take in the lottery this year) and Mathurin as the Sixth Man. That’s likely a playoff team, and depending on how quickly Haliburton develops, they could push into the upper tiers during Middleton’s prime.
For the Bucks, they get back two wing players in Buddy Hield and Chris Duarte. While there are defensive issues with Hield, he is one of the league’s best shooters and would help to open up the offense, while Duarte should be a solid bench piece in the Pat Connaughton area of the rotation. T.J. McConnell gives them a ball-handler behind Jrue Holiday who can ramp up the defensive pressure, something of an upgrade on Jevon Carter.