When the Indiana Pacers bolstered their front-line by acquiring Luis Scola from the Phoenix Suns it was thought of as a great transaction. The Pacers sent forward Gerald Green, center Miles Plumlee and a lottery-protected first-round draft pick to the Suns and received the Argentine big man as a backup to David West and Roy Hibbert. However, with the Pacers losing their two best players in the off-season and Scola's contract expiring after the season could he be available via trade?
The Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks have been rivals for years. Although the bad blood died off for a little while it was renewed in recent years and the hatred is alive and well at this point. However, after losing Lance Stephenson in free agency and Paul George to injury this off-season Indiana's realistic goals and outlook for next season have drastically changed.
They may not publicly acknowledge it but in one off-season the Pacers went from title contenders to a rebuilding franchise. Both David West and Roy Hibbert can become free agents after the season and George may never be the same again despite being signed through the 2018-19 season.
That likely means players on their roster are available. In fact, Euroleague powerhouse Real Madrid has taken notice and are interested in Luis Scola. David Alarcon of HoopsHype reports Real Madrid would like to add Scola to their roster.
Reports out of Spain yesterday suggested Euroleague powerhouse Real Madrid was very interested in acquiring Argentinian forward Luis Scola. Earlier in the day, though, Scola told HoopsHype he had no plans to go anywhere.
“I have a contract with the Pacers and I will continue there,” Scola said. “We’ll see what happens next year.”
For the record, the proper terminology is Argentine not Argentinian. But that's okay, it doesn't really matter. What does matter is that Scola might be available and teams are taking notice, even ones outside of the NBA.
Scola is more impactful in international play instead of in a reduced role like the Pacers use him. It makes sense Real Madrid would show interest in him. However, it's very likely that he'll be remaining in the NBA for at least next season.
Scola is scheduled to make a little less than $5 million next season, with only under $1 million guaranteed. As a result, the Pacers could end up waiving him. That or a trade seems much more likely than Scola bolting the NBA to play overseas next season.
Why shouldn't the Knicks take advantage? One of the biggest needs for New York is more front-line help. Scola could certainly deliver that. He'd fit nicely into the triangle offense and would certainly get along well with players on the New York roster since he's teammates with Pablo Prigioni on Argentina's National Team and friends with Jose Calderon.
Furthermore, New York and Indiana match up well trade-wise. Indiana has a major void at shooting guard and in the scoring department. As it works out, the Knicks have an abundance of shooting guards and J.R. Smith matches up with Scola as far as salary parameters go.
Smith is scheduled to make $5,982,375 next season with a player option worth $6,399,750 for the 2015-16 season that he's expected to turn down so he can become a free agent. Scola is scheduled to make $4,868,499 next season. While they aren't identical numbers they are both basically expiring deals and they're close enough in percentages for the NBA to okay the swap. Indiana might be so desperate for a scorer the Knicks could potentially get a pick out of the deal as well.
This deal would give the Pacers a scorer who can create for himself and help either the starting lineup of off bench. The Knicks would help clear up the logjam they have at the shooting guard position and obtain a good power forward to strengthen their frontcourt. It's a win-win.
It would also be an opportunity for Scola to remain in the NBA, play in a big market, while playing in a system he could thrive in before entering free agency. In fact, while Scola could be a reliable backup playing around 20 minutes a game for New York he could very well slide into the starting power forward position as well. That, of course, would be up to Derek Fisher. They know each other well.
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