Assuming David West returns, there is no obvious backup on the roster. The Pacers made a qualifying offer on Tyler Hansbrough to keep their options open – they can re-sign him, trade him or ultimately pull the non-binding offer to allow him to sign elsewhere – but it doesn’t appear his future is in Indiana. He wants to start, there is absolutely no chance of that here, and so it’s time to move on.
Jeff Pendergraph is an unrestricted free agent, and Miles Plumlee is utterly unproven.
Which brings us to Carl Landry.
You want scoring off the bench? This guy has done it consistently and efficiently throughout his career, scoring in double figures in each of the past five seasons despite only occasional opportunities to start. Last season with the Warriors, he averaged 10.8 points and 6.0 rebounds in 23.2 minutes and shot 54 percent from the field. For his career, the 29-year-old Landry has averages of 11.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 53.6 percent shooting.
And the former Purdue standout would really like to play for the Pacers.
In an extensive interview with Jeff Washburn of the Lafayette Journal and Courier, Landry explained that he’d prefer to play in a time zone that enabled his Milwaukee-based family members to watch. That hasn’t been easy, what with his years in Sacramento and Golden State.
“The Pacers have had interest in me over the last two years. Could I play there? Yes. Obviously, they are a playoff team and one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. They showed that this year. And for me, Indiana is where it all started. Having a chance to come back and play in Indiana would definitely be something I would think about if they are interested in me. The Pacers are a good team, and if given an opportunity to play for them, I would give it all I have.” – Carl Landry to the Lafayette Journal and Courier
Here’s the problem: this could be Landry’s best chance at a big contract. He opted out of the second year of a two-year deal with Golden State that would’ve paid him roughly $4 million this season and told Washburn he’d much prefer long-term security. The Pacers have the mid-level exception (roughly $5.1 million), not to mention the opportunity to win right away.
While many of us media types have focused on long-distance shooters as the most desirable options for the bench, it’s also quite possible somebody like Landry could make life easier for all of the second-unit players by drawing double-teams in the post, where he is an absolute beast.
Think about a four-man frontcourt rotation of West, Roy Hibbert, Landry and Ian Mahinmi.
It’s enough to fan the championship flames.