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Bogdanovic could fill out Pacers' lineup


The Pacers now have a starting lineup.

Whether it turns out to be the starting lineup remains to be seen.

Less than an hour after team president Kevin Pritchard defined shooting as the Pacers’ primary need in a press conference introducing newcomers Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis and Darren Collison, the news broke of a two-year, $21 million agreement with sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic, one of the top 3-point specialists on the market. The second year of the contract reportedly has a partial guarantee of $1.5 million. The 6-8, 225-pound Croatian has averaged 13.1 points while hitting .354 from the arc in 121 starts over three NBA seasons with the Nets and Wizards.

Washington gave up a protected first-round pick and two players to acquire him from the Nets at the deadline last year and intended to keep Bogdanovic after he played a key role down the stretch and in the playoffs, but had to rescind their qualifying offer while working to free up enough money to match the Nets’ offer sheet on restricted free agent Otto Porter, thus putting him on the market. Bogdanovic also attracted interest from the Kings, Nuggets and Hawks.

He is not to be confused with Bogdan Bogdanovic, a Serbian drafted by Phoenix in 2014 (with a pick acquired by the Pacers in the Luis Scola trade). His rights were subsequently dealt to the Kings.

The Pacers now could have four new starters surrounding Myles Turner in 2017-18: Collison at point guard, Oladipo at shooting guard, Bogdanovic at small forward and Sabonis at center.

Here’s a look at the team’s overhaul of the roster this summer, triggered by Paul George’s declaration of intent to leave the Pacers as a free agent in a year, preferably to sign with the Lakers.

INCOMING

>> BOJAN BOGDANOVIC (6-8, 225, unrestricted free agent, two years, $21 million): One of the top pure shooters on the market, he should slot in as the starter at small forward. In 121 starts over four NBA seasons he has averaged 13.1 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting .354 from the 3-point line. The Wizards gave up a protected first-round pick and two players to acquire him at the deadline last season and he did play a key role down the stretch, but were forced to renounce his rights in order to match the Nets’ offer sheet on Otto Porter.

>> DARREN COLLISON (6-0, 175, unrestricted free agent, two years, $20 million): A veteran in for his second tour with the Pacers, Collison is likely a stop-gap solution. He was supposed to be the point guard of the future when acquired from the Hornets in 2010 but never took a firm grasp on the position. He was supplanted late in 2011 by George Hill, who was subsequently supplanted last year by Jeff Teague, and now it’s the carousel has spun back to Collison. For now. A good 3-point shooter and on-ball defender, he isn’t a true creator but is a solid pro with leadership skills.

>> VICTOR OLADIPO (6-4, 215, trade with Oklahoma City): Perhaps a little bit of Mike Dunleavy Syndrome has plagued Oladipo, who has been a respectable player dogged by the expectations of being the No. 2 overall pick in a thin 2013 draft class. He can defend both backcourt positions but is a bit of a tweener offensively. But he’s still just 25 and with athleticism to burn, so there’s a chance he could blossom with the Pacers.

>> DOMANTAS SABONIS (6-11, 240, trade with Oklahoma City): Although his stock was much higher a year ago when entering the league, Sabonis did start 66 games for the Thunder as a rookie. He was overmatched at times and ultimately lost the job, but he’s only 21 and at  6-11, 240, likely needs a year or two to fill out his frame and grow into a truer version of an NBA center. He has skills around the basket but needs to improve his face-up game.

>> T.J. LEAF (6-10, 225, first-round draft pick, UCLA): A lean, skilled power forward, Leaf has an intriguing offensive game and could evolve into a high-level stretch four. An efficient 3-point shooter who knows how to use the threat of the arc as a floor-spacer, he also has an array of moves off the dribble and can create for himself and teammates. He’ll need to add strength to be more effective defensively, but he has unusual savvy for a player of his youth (20) and could be called upon to play a substantial role right away.

>> IKE ANIGBOGU (6-10, 250, second-round draft pick, UCLA): Questions about his knee caused this first-round talent to drop into the middle of the second round, where the Pacers gladly rolled the dice on his potential. Already built like an NBA center at 18, Anigbogu is an athletic freak with outstanding rebounding and shot-blocking instincts, although his offensive game is very raw. Meniscus issues may require another cleanup procedure this summer but he intends to be ready for training camp.

>> EDMOND SUMNER (6-6, 186, second-round pick acquired from New Orleans, Xavier): A talented point guard who may not play much, if at all this season while recovering from ACL surgery in March and shoulder surgery in May, Sumner has the length and athleticism to merit the nominal investment.

OUTGOING

>> PAUL GEORGE (6-9, 220, traded to Oklahoma City): Forced the Pacers’ hand when he declared his intent to leave the team as a free agent next summer, and there’s no replacing a four-time All-Star who is one of the best two-way players in the league.

>> JEFF TEAGUE (6-2, 186, unrestricted free agent signed a three-year, $57 million deal with Minnesota): Did not have the explosive season the Pacers anticipated, but they still would’ve re-signed him at the right price. 

>> C.J. MILES (6-6, 225, unrestricted free agent): Opted out of the final year of his contract, leaving the Pacers with an even bigger void on the wing. Was a streaky but effective 3-point shooter, but may forever be remembered by Pacers fans for his missed open jumper that would’ve won Game 1 in Cleveland.

>> MONTA ELLIS (6-3, 185, released): His best years were behind him when the Pacers signed him in 2015, and he was a major disappointment. He didn’t have enough of an offensive game left to overcome his defensive shortcomings, and a succession of injuries didn’t help. 

>> LAVOY ALLEN (6-9, 260, released): Played himself out of the rotation with ineffective rebounding and modest inside presence.

>> AARON BROOKS (6-0, 161, unrestricted free agent): A scoring point guard who didn’t score enough to merit consistent minutes, the 32-year-old could be facing the end of his NBA career.

>> RAKEEM CHRISTMAS (6-9, 255, released): After a few promising flashes last season, Christmas was caught in the frontcourt shuffle, and was unable to contribute much in summer-league play because of a sprained ankle, while Jarnell Stokes shined as a more athletic, active power forward prospect.


Photo of Bojan Bogdanovic by Getty Images

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