Report: T.J. McConnell drawing ‘ongoing interest’ from playoff teams

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana Pacers point guard T.J. McConnell is reportedly drawing lots of interest from NBA playoff teams.

“Backup floor general T.J. McConnell has drawn ongoing interest from playoff teams in search of greater backcourt help, league sources told Yahoo Sports,” Jake Fischer wrote.

McConnell — who went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft — is in his fifth season as a member of the Pacers after spending the first four seasons of his NBA career playing for the Philadelphia 76ers franchise.

The Pennsylvania native joined the Pacers in the summer of 2019 when he agreed to a two-year deal with the team worth $7 million.

He is averaging a career-low 14.4 minutes per game with the Pacers so far this season but has still managed to put up solid numbers for Indiana. Across 16 appearances, the floor general is averaging 7.6 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 0.9 steals per game while shooting 53.5 percent from the field and 70.6 percent from the free-throw line.

During his time in the NBA, McConnell has established a reputation as one of the more dogged defenders at his position. He has averaged 1.2 steals per game for his career and averaged a career-high 1.9 steals per game during the 2020-21 season.

The Miami Heat — who own the seventh-best record in the Eastern Conference and are fresh off an NBA Finals appearance —stand out as a team that would be wise to pursue a trade for McConnell prior to the Feb. 8 trade deadline. The Heat are lacking depth at the point guard spot outside of Kyle Lowry.

Lowry is one of the more accomplished point guards of his generation, as he was a major part of the Toronto Raptors team that went on to win the 2019 NBA title. But he’s also long in the tooth at this point of his career at 37 years old and no longer the star player he was a few years ago.

McConnell isn’t exactly a household name, but his defensive chops combined with his impressive playmaking ability would make him a valuable addition to any NBA team looking to compete for a title this season. Thus, it’s very possible that his name will appear in more trade rumors between now and the trade deadline.

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Jesse is an aspiring sports journalist that has previously worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.