Although it cannot become official until July 10, both Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld and David Aldridge have reported that the Indiana Pacers and guard C.J. Watson have agreed in principle to a two-year contract. This is one big step in the Pacers’ plan to solidify what was a very weak bench last year.
Watson averaged 6.8 points per game and 2.0 assists per game last season, as well as scoring in double figures in 20 games for the Brooklyn Nets. For his career Watson has averaged 7.6 points per game. In the 2009-10 season Watson averaged a career high 10.3 points per game for the Golden State Warriors. The 6-foot-2 guard out of Tennessee shot a career-high 41.1 percent from the 3-point line last year.
Watson can step in and fill the backup point guard role which last season was held down rather poorly by D.J. Augustin. Augustin averaged just 4.7 points per game and shot just 35 percent from the field, both of which were career lows. Watson will bring much needed scoring to the Pacers’ weak bench. Without question Watson would be a big pickup for the Pacers as team president Larry Bird stated, the bench is the biggest offseason concern for the team.
While adding Watson is one step, the Pacers don’t appear to be done in free agency. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Pacers and free agent Chris Copeland are showing strong mutual interest in each other. Copeland, who played with the New York Knicks last season, averaged 8.7 points per game. The 6-foot-8 Copeland brings lots of energy off the bench and shoots well from behind the arc, shooting 42.1 percent last season. He also shot 52.9 percent from behind the arc in the playoffs against the Pacers.
Adding Watson and Copeland for the Pacers would be a tremendous start for their top offseason priority. If the team can get back a healthy Danny Granger, who played just six games last season, then there is no reason to believe that the Eastern Conference runner-ups wouldn’t be favorites to get back to the conference championship game.