The Indiana Pacers bolstered their front line on July 27, by acquiring 6-9 forward Luis Scola from the Phoenix Suns for Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee and a lottery protected first-round draft choice.
The 33-year old Scola played his first five NBA seasons with the Houston Rockets before coming to Phoenix a year ago when the Suns submitted the winning bid under the league’s amnesty rule. He appeared in all 82 games for the Suns, averaging 12.8 points and 6.6 rebounds in 26.8 minutes of action.
Green and Plumlee were both listed third on the Pacers depth chart at their respective positions (small forward and center). The 27-year old Green, a 6-8 forward, will now play for his seventh NBA team since entering the league in 2005. He averaged 7.0 points and 2.4 rebounds in 60 games this past season for the Pacers. Plumlee, the Pacers first round draft selection in 2012, averaged 0.9 points and 1.6 rebounds in just 14 games last season. Plumlee did have a fine 2013 summer league showing, averaging 10.0 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in four games in Orlando.
Scola, who averages 14.2 points and 7.5 rebounds in his six NBA seasons, will strengthen the Pacers frontcourt highlighted by Roy Hibbert and recently re-signed David West. Scola will likely backup both West and Hibbert and it is possible that West and Scola will play together occasionally. Scola and West, who averaged 17.7 points and 7.7 rebounds while shooting 49.8 percent from the floor, are very similar players. Both players are bangers and solid low post defenders who can knock down 18-to-20 feet jumpers on a regular basis.
The main draw for Phoenix in the deal was the future first round pick as new Suns’ general manger Ryan McDonough plans to build through the draft. The Suns have the potential to have three first-round selections in 2014 and five top-round selections in the next two drafts.
However, McDonough did add that the Suns “ are excited to add Miles and Gerald to our young core group of players … Miles was one of the best players in the Orlando Summer League, and Gerald’s scoring ability and athleticism will help us as we continue to build a team that plays an exciting, up tempo brand of basketball.”
Phoenix currently has 15 players under contract, not including first round draft choice Alex Len and second-rounder Alex Oriakhi, and will likely try to move someone else before the season starts. The most likely candidates to be moved Marcin Gortat and Michael Beasley. The 29-year old Gortat, who averaged 11.1 points and 8.5 rebounds a game last season has one-year and $7.7 million left on his deal while Beasley, who has two years left on his deal at $6 million per season, averagesd 10.1 points and 3.5 rebounds in 20 minutes of action last season. The Suns could also out small forward T.J. Tucker who is in his last season of deal.
If the Suns part ways with Gortat and/or Beasley it will likely free up more time for Marcus Morris and Channing Frye. Marcus Morris can play either the three or four while Frye is capable playing all three front court positions but is better suited to play either the four or five.