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INDIANAPOLIS – The goals for Kevin Pritchard this summer were to create as much cap space as possible, bring back his top 7 players in minutes played and then add some playmaking and shooting.

Those goals were accomplished, with the Pacers still having plenty of options available to them heading into what will be a very interesting 2019 summer.

Indiana could look very different this time next season.


Because the Pacers have the following guys playing in contract years in 2018-19: Darren Collison, Cory Joseph, Tyreke Evans, Bojan Bogdanovic, Kyle O’Quinn, Thaddeus Young and possibly even Myles Turner (who is a restricted free agent next summer).

Besides Joseph (26 years old) and Turner (22 years old), all of those guys are at least 28 years old.

Pritchard knows the Pacers could have $57 million in cap space next summer, depending how things go next season.

“If we have a really good season and we overachieve and we have a really good culture and everybody feels good about it, that cap space will be used on bringing those guys back,” the team president says.

“That’s what we wanted the flexibility for. If you have a good team, you bring them back. If you feel like you are underachieving…$57 million in cap space next year, that’s a powerful thing to have.”

Outside of Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, Doug McDermott and recent draft picks, the Pacers do not have a bunch of rotational guys locked up on the books past next summer.

If Pritchard feels inclined, he could try and make a huge splash next season with free agents like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler and Kemba Walker all hitting the open market.

The competitive market for those free agents will be much more intense though as cap space opens up for tons of teams. Still, Indiana will rank right up there with anyone in terms of money to spend.

Pritchard knows the possibilities coming in 2019.

That dangling carrot of chemistry and internal development is still there though.

“I will say this, if we have the season like we want to have this year, our free agents will be the priority,” he says. “I think this team has a chance to grow this year. I think we have a chance to come together and if our culture is strong and we buy into playing for each other, we will have a good year. That makes it easy because I already know those guys. Nate and I already know those guys and so they become our priority in free agency.

“That being said, there’s special free agents every year. That’s a challenge to get (though). The top FAs get recruited by 15-20 teams. So you are in a high competitive environment. I think we’ve proven in the past couple of years, sometimes splashy is good, but sometimes adding really good kids who are hungry and come from a little of the young love, we kind of embrace the guys who are overlooked and unloved. We are not about splashy. We are about doing the right things at the right time and then working our butt off.”