NBA Trade Rumor: T.J. McConnell emerging as popular trade target ahead of deadline?

T.J. McConnell could be a huge boost to a contender ahead of the push toward the playoffs.

Orlando Magic v Indiana Pacers
Orlando Magic v Indiana Pacers / Jeff Dean/GettyImages

NBA Trade Rumors: T.J. McConnell could emerge as a popular target ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline.

One of the biggest decisions that the Indiana Pacers will have to make between now and the NBA Trade Deadline revolves around what players to keep heading into the stretch run and which to cut ties with while also not losing any of the momentum that they have built through the first quarter of the season.

That could be easier said than done. Through 20-plus games of the season, the Pacers have managed to cultivate the NBA's best offensive rating which has helped them emerge as one of the bigger surprises in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers are currently a top 6 team in the East and are fresh off an impressive run to the championship game in the In-Season Tournament.

Even though the Pacers lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the championship, the national audience got a preview of the talent and potential that Indiana possesses. The Pacers are an emerging team that is closer to being a problem in the Eastern Conference sooner than many realize.

And the moves they make or don't make at the NBA Trade Deadline will give us a greater indication of what this team may have up its sleeves regarding the immediate future. As the Pacers continue to make great strides in their progression as a franchise, one player who may soon find himself on the outside looking in on the team's future plans is veteran guard T.J. McConnell.

T.J. McConnell could be a huge trade deadline addition for a contender

Rival teams know that and McConnell, according to a recent report, could emerge as a popular target for contenders that are looking for depth in the backcourt. At this point, especially with all the talent Indiana has all over their roster, McConnell may not be as valuable of a player to the Pacers as he could be to a, let's say, Miami Heat team that is extremely thin in the backcourt.

Considering that McConnell is on a favorable deal that runs through the end of next season (for roughly $9 million), there's likely going to be a healthy market for him if he does become available.

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Now that the trade market is getting a bit clearer, it should create an exciting next few weeks in the Association. The rumor mill should begin to run rampant with a likely exclamation point taking place at the trade deadline in February.