View Full Version : 2006 Pacers Offseason Primer

05-16-2006, 05:22 PM

WHAT'S THE STATUS OF THE FREE AGENTS? The Pacers will have four free agents of their own. Peja Stojakovic, Scot Pollard and Eddie Gill are unrestricted. Fred Jones will become a restricted free agent, assuming the team makes the required one-year qualifying offer of $3.2 million by June 30. Here's a look at each player's situation:
Stojakovic: It's a foregone conclusion Stojakovic will opt out of the final year of his contract to become a free agent. Given the salary he would've earned next season (a reported $8.2 million) and the relatively thin free-agent crop on the market this summer, Stojakovic is taking a calculated risk he'll be able to improve either his salary or his circumstances. He has said nothing but good things publicly about his time with the Pacers, who have the ability to sign him to a longer term (six years as opposed to five) and thus a higher total salary than any other team. The Pacers very much want him back and the odds favor his return but if he wants to leave, there will be two possibilities: either let him walk, which would bring their cap number down substantially; or work out a sign-and-trade with the team that wants Stojakovic.
Jones: If he accepts the one-year qualifying offer, he would become an unrestricted free agent after the 2006-07 season. If he doesn't, the Pacers still retain the right to match any offer made by another team within seven days of its submission.
Pollard: Despite his injury problems, Pollard is a valuable commodity because of his experience, strength and willingness to fill something of a thankless role. He's a guy the Pacers would like to have back, but only at the right price.
Gill: The first guaranteed contract of his NBA career probably won't be the last, but with three other veteran point guards under contract, Gill doesn't appear to figure into the future plans. <hr>WILL THE PACERS BE ABLE TO SIGN OTHER FREE AGENTS? With the expiring contracts of their own free agents, as well as that of Reggie Miller and the likely removal of Jonathan Bender's salary by the NBA, the Pacers will be very close to the salary cap. Last season's cap figure was $49.5 million and it's reasonable to expect it to rise a little more for 2006-07. So they could have some flexibility but not enough to pursue a high-priced player. They'll have the mid-level exception that will be around $5 million, as well as the bi-annual exception (widely known as the "million-dollar exception) of $1.7 million.
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<center>Bird</center></td></tr></tbody></table> WHAT ARE THE TRADE POSSIBILITIES? There will be no shortage of rumors, but President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird indicated in his year-end press briefing that he doesn't intend to blow up the team but that some fundamental changes will be demanded. Jermaine O'Neal's name already has surfaced in a number of trade rumors but Bird did his best to quash those, saying essentially the plans were to build around O'Neal, not shop him around. With a number of teams in much the same position as the Pacers -- talented rosters that didn't quite mesh for whatever reason -- the potential for movement is nevertheless high.
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<center>Tinsley</center></td></tr></tbody></table> WHAT ARE THE TEAM'S BIGGEST NEEDS? The position that most begs for resolution is point guard because of the combination of Jamaal Tinsley's relentless health problems and Anthony Johnson's solid performance as his replacement. Is either player considered capable of directing an elite-level team? And is Sarunas Jasikevicius the backup? Center may also need to be addressed. Jeff Foster has battled injury problems the last two years, Pollard is a free agent and David Harrison doesn't appear ready to step into a regular role. With Jones' uncertain status and speculation about Stephen Jackson's future with the team, shooting guard could also be on the agenda. If Stojakovic leaves, obviously small forward becomes an issue, although it's possible Danny Granger could step in as the starter.
<hr>HOW IS THE DRAFT SHAPING UP? It appears the experts all agree on the top five picks, but not the order: Texas forward LaMarcus Aldridge; LSU forward Tyrus Thomas; Gonzaga forward Adam Morrison; Connecticut forward Rudy Gay; and Bargnani, a 6-11 power forward. After that things begin to muddle, much as they did last year, which could help explain why a talent like Danny Granger slipped to the 17th pick. The Pacers hold No. 17 again and will have a variety of options.
Point guards generally projected to be available in the middle third of the first round include Temple's Mardy Collins, Rutgers' Quincy Douby, UCLA's Jordan Farmar, Villanova's Kyle Lowry, Spain's Sergio Rodriguez and Kentucky's Rajon Rondo. Shooting guard prospects include Villanova's Randy Foye, Memphis' Rodney Carney, Arkansas' Ronnie Brewer, Michigan State's Maurice Ager, Colorado's Richard Roby and Spain's Rudy Fernandez. The small forward group is extremely thin in that range. Post prospects include N.C. State's Cedric Simmons, UConn's Hilton Armstrong, Louisiana Tech's Paul Millsap , Bradley's Patrick O'Bryant, Ukraine's Oleksi Pecherov, Senegal's Saer Sene and Pitt's Aaron Gray. But the draft is still six weeks away, and the shuffling of prospects up and down the various draft boards has only just begun.
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<center>Lorbek</center></td></tr></tbody></table> WHAT'S LORBEK'S STATUS? The 2005 second-round pick had another solid season in Europe, playing a major role with Climamio Bologna (Italy) as well as helping his native Slovenia clinch its first-ever berth in the World Basketball Championship, to be Aug. 19 through Sept. 3 in Japan. The 6-10, 240-pound forward, still just 22, has good offensive skills including 3-point range and is considered a good high-post passer. Because he needs to improve his strength and rebounding, Bird said last week he plans for Lorbek to spend one more year overseas before joining the Pacers in 2007.
<hr>WHAT'S THE SUMMER LEAGUE PLAN? Tentatively, the Pacers plan to hold their rookie and free agent camp from July 6-9 in Conseco Fieldhouse, then travel to Orlando for summer league competition July 10-14. The makeup of the roster remains to be seen but Danny Granger and David Harrison would be welcome participants.
<hr>ARE THERE ANY LINGERING INJURY ISSUES? At this point, there appears to be nothing major on the horizon. Stojakovic's swollen right knee was problematic in the playoffs but wasn't the result of a structural problem and just needs rest. The injury to Jones' left thumb also is expected to heal with rest, and the same is true with Tinsley's foot.
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05-17-2006, 08:16 AM
WHAT'S THE SUMMER LEAGUE PLAN?[/COLOR] Tentatively, the Pacers plan to hold their rookie and free agent camp from July 6-9 in Conseco Fieldhouse,


Many years ago the Ps would open up a night time practice during the summer for the fans. I wonder if one of these (the 8th) would be open to the public?

Would be a great kickoff to that evenings forum party..:buddies: