With the dust settling from an injury that has rocked their perception, the Indiana Pacers are still trying to get something out of this season. How? They haven’t given up on trying to sign Shawn Marion, although the free agent veteran might be leaning elsewhere in the Central division, where the prospects of success seem brighter.
Marion has already met with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have the player-general manager (unofficially of course) LeBron James running the show. The Cavs seem like the frontrunners in the Eastern conference. They did when James signed to join Kyrie Irving and other talented players, and even more so now that it seems like a done deal that Kevin Love will join the team via trade that costs them Andrew Wiggins.
What do the Pacers have to offer that the Cavs don’t? Remember, Marion has spoken and said more than once that the main thing leading him on in his quest for a new team and a longer NBA shelf life is a chance to contend for a title. He has an NBA championship from 2011 with the Mavs, but hasn’t really gotten close since, including being knocked out in the first round of the playoffs last season.
The Cavaliers can only offer Marion the veteran’s minimum of $1.4 million. The Pacers? They have their disabled player exception worth $5.3 million now that Paul George is out for the season. However, they’ve been quite clear about not wanting to enter luxury tax territory. This means that they can afford to offer Marion just $1.7 million. Combine that with more playing time than the Cavs, and it just doesn’t seem like enough.
The Pacers are desperate, and we’ll get to that later today, but going over the luxury tax during a season that is clearly going nowhere doesn’t sound like a very smart idea. However, Larry Bird can be very convincing, and maybe there’s more hope in the remaining players then we are being led to believe.
Still, the option of the Pacers just doesn’t seem to be very lucrative. Maybe a playoff team with Marion, the only remaining free agent that seems to be capable of actually starting for any team in the NBA, just doesn’t seem to cut it as an attraction. The Cleveland Cavaliers offer less money and minutes, but at Marion’s career status, playing next to LeBron James and other stars while being able to contribute to a potential championship effort seems more interesting.