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Unclebuck
05-24-2006, 08:45 AM
http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?Date=20060524&Category=SPORTS04&ArtNo=605240420&SectionCat=&Template=printart


Q&A with donnie walsh
'Blowing up' team not in Walsh's plans
Pacers CEO doesn't feel the need to force a lottery team on the public in an effort to remake it
By Mark Montieth
mark.montieth@indystar.com
May 24, 2006


Indiana Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh has been through times similar to this before.

Since becoming general manager of the Indiana Pacers in 1986, Walsh has grown accustomed to hearing cries to overhaul his roster after disappointing seasons. He generally has responded with patience, and perhaps a major tweak or two, and so far has been rewarded with recoveries.

Now, one year ahead of his possible retirement, the 65-year-old Walsh faces one of the greatest challenges of his 20-year reign over the franchise. He turned over the brunt of the Pacers' personnel decisions to team president Larry Bird three summers ago but remains involved. His legacy no doubt will be tied to the outcome of the current rebuilding effort, which figures to be his last.

Walsh leaves open the possibility of working with the franchise beyond next season, but appears to have an eye on a Conseco Fieldhouse exit.

Walsh, 65, sat down recently to discuss his past performance, the current challenges and his future.


Question: There have been other years when people wanted you to make major changes, but you didn't. Is this year any different? Do you feel any urges to "blow up" your roster?

Answer: I don't think you ever look at it like you have to blow up the whole team. Anybody who's looking at that just doesn't understand the nature of a team. And they didn't look at our team this year -- the fact a lot of our problems were related to so many of our guys missing games. One thing I don't do is hold it against a player that he got hurt, which seems to be a fad now.

A team changes all the time. We have to see where we can make changes that make this a much better team than it is. This team has talent, but after two years of not attaining what they should have -- for understandable reasons maybe -- it's time for us to look at it to see what we have to do to make this team what it could be.


Q: Can you accomplish what you want with just a couple of changes, or do you need to do more?

A: If you make two or three changes on a team, that's a lot of change. You need to go and look and see how many teams do that. Not many. Most of the time, they're doing that to go all the way down and get draft choices (in the lottery).


Q: Some people will say you should go down and get into the lottery . . .

A: I would never do that. Never do that. You're asking people to wait for five or six years, and I will not do that. And I don't think we have to do that. I think that's nonsense, I really do. I certainly didn't like the way we played at times this year, but I'm not ready to say this whole team has to be broken up.

When you've got key injuries to players, you're putting a lot of pressure on players who weren't expected to be in that position. Then once you start to lose, you're going to have issues. They could be confidence issues more than anything else. They don't think they can win. So injuries do become a factor.


Q: The most consistent thing that happened after previous disappointing seasons is that you made coaching changes.

A: I don't think either one of us (including Pacers president Larry Bird) wants to do that. But it's May (laughing).


Q: Larry said he feels he needs to take a greater role in the organization. Will there be a change this summer in how you two handle personnel decisions?

A: I'm looking to him to go out and identify what we need to do with the team. Identify the players he thinks would be good for our team. I'm here to help him in any way I can. That's how we've been doing things.

But I don't think he was talking about that. I think he was saying he needs to go down and be closer to the players and put his imprint on it. He's been there (as a player and coach). As a general manager or president, you're very hesitant to go down and start talking to the players too much, because then they stop listening to the coach. But he and Rick (Carlisle) have a history together, so it could work for those two.


Q: Your contract runs out after next season. Does the fact you might step aside after one more season give you a stronger feeling that you have to get things back on track now?

A: You can only work as hard as you can work. Since I've taken this job, I've worked as hard as I can. I don't care what anybody thinks I've done here. At the end of it, I'll tell you guys, I've done everything I could, so you go judge it and figure out what I did. That's it. I don't have anymore to give.

I've made some good moves, I've made some stupid moves, I've made some moves in the middle. That's probably where everybody (in this position) comes down.


Q: How do you review your performance?

A: When I took over, we weren't making the playoffs. Now as I'm leaving, we always make the playoffs, but there are things left to do to win a championship.

I'd give you the same answer Reggie (Miller) gave you: I tried.

I know where I've done things in my mind I shouldn't have done, or things didn't turn out the way I wanted them to. But you can't go back and correct them, so you have to move on.


Q: What's the dumbest thing you've done as far as basketball decisions?

A: I wouldn't admit it (laughs). I don't sit around making lists. I guess if it's stupid, I try to forget about it.

But you're talking about people when you talk about the players. I invest emotionally in a lot of them. So I would never say it was a dumb move. To me, there's always reasons. Maybe they didn't fit here. Or maybe it got to where they didn't fit here.

Like with Jalen Rose. I thought he'd be great here. But (then-coach) Larry Brown hated him, so he never played. I thought, "Oh, no." Then Larry Bird got here and played him and he became a terrific player. Then Isiah came in, and at first I thought it would be great, but it didn't work out, so I traded him.

So what should I think of Jalen? He was the same player, but the circumstances kept changing.


Q: As you look back on all the injuries the past two years, was it just a stretch of bad luck or were there other factors?

A: Look, if there's an answer to that, I'd like to know. I haven't been through anything like this where you're constantly having guys out for 30 or 40 games. I'm challenging our medical people and our players to do things in the summer, but I think they did a lot of that last year.

You have to take the good and the bad together. I wish I didn't have to take the bad at this stage of my career. But you can't dictate that.

You go through years where everything works out well for you and you go through years where it doesn't seem like anything works out for you. My approach has been, in order to keep a sane level, just keep working as hard as I can.
I do love what I do. And it is a challenge when it doesn't work, to see if you can do something about this. It just takes a lot of work, and sometimes some luck, to get out of where we are right now.

Slick Pinkham
05-24-2006, 08:51 AM
If you make two or three changes on a team, that's a lot of change. You need to go and look and see how many teams do that. Not many.

So our exciting summer of roster turnover might involve not re-signing Freddie and Scot, and signing our two draft picks. Maybe also dumping Jax or Tins for a role player, if we really want to go crazy and take risks.

:unimpress

indygeezer
05-24-2006, 09:19 AM
So our exciting summer of roster turnover might involve not re-signing Freddie and Scot, and signing our two draft picks. Maybe also dumping Jax or Tins for a role player, if we really want to go crazy and take risks.

:unimpress


unloading 40% of your starting talent and 2 backups sounds pretty serious to me.


EDIT.....it may not be as much as I hope for, but think about it.

Bball
05-24-2006, 09:49 AM
It wouldn't surprise me to only see one of the pair (Tins or Jax) gone for next season.... And considering we made the playoffs... neither of them leaving wouldn't be too big of a surprise.

As of now, neither of them is making public waves or demanding a trade in the media so that decreases chances of making a move somewhat.


Q: The most consistent thing that happened after previous disappointing seasons is that you made coaching changes.

A: I don't think either one of us (including Pacers president Larry Bird) wants to do that. But it's May (laughing).

The fact that he could make a quip here makes me believe TPTB were most certainly serious when saying Rick would be back for this 4th season.

But since everyone loves to parse words and use their Donnie Walsh decoder rings I just ran the above thru mine and it came out:




A: I don't think either one of us (including Pacers president Larry Bird) wants to do that but the Simons have the real call on that. But it's May (laughing) and they are just getting over this past season.



-BBall

beast23
05-24-2006, 10:25 AM
Donnie refers to minor changes and tinkering.

If what he considers minor coincides with what we on the forum would term "minor", then I think that a lot of folks are going to "go PFFL" before the start of next season.

Unless Hicks would get ultra-lenient with his standards, we end up seeing 1/2 of our members get the boot due to rules violations regarding profanity, etc.

Just kidding. Or am I?

Bball
05-24-2006, 10:27 AM
He's been there too long. It's not healthy for a corporation to have someone in a position of power too long. 20 years is a long time.

-Bball

indygeezer
05-24-2006, 11:06 AM
He's been there too long. It's not healthy for a corporation to have someone in a position of power too long. 20 years is a long time.

-Bball


could it be? Bball resorting to plagarism???


I'm more and more convinced he is Kravitz in sheep's clothing.

bulletproof
05-24-2006, 11:07 AM
It's not healthy for a corporation to have someone in a position of power too long. 20 years is a long time.

Where is that written? Or is that just one of your personal general rules of thumb?

And just for the record, it appears Donnie is very capable of admitting to making mistakes:

"I've made some good moves, I've made some stupid moves, I've made some moves in the middle. That's probably where everybody (in this position) comes down."

But here's what he understands about being a leader and you seemingly don't:

"But you can't go back and correct them, so you have to move on."

Bball
05-24-2006, 11:40 AM
Where is that written? Or is that just one of your personal general rules of thumb?


My rules? I hadn't really thought about it in those terms... I was just repeating what DW said himself in the longer print version (Indy Star) of the interview that was posted here. :tongue:

Here is his exact quote (talking about whether this upcoming season will be his last):


"But my own feeling is that I've been here too long. It's not healthy for a corporation to have someone in a position of power too long. Certainly 20 years is a long time." -Donnie Walsh



And just for the record, it appears Donnie is very capable of admitting to making mistakes:

"I've made some good moves, I've made some stupid moves, I've made some moves in the middle. That's probably where everybody (in this position) comes down."

But here's what he understands about being a leader and you seemingly don't:

"But you can't go back and correct them, so you have to move on."

You most certainly can correct mistakes, and I'd argue that 'moving on' has rarely been employed by DW. Certainly, not as soon as it could be (cough cough Bender contract extension cough cough Artest cough cough watching trade deadlines come and go cough cough). The definition that you and DW apparently have for 'moving on' would appear to be 'ignoring' (or maybe it's crossing fingers and hoping).

-Bball

ChicagoJ
05-24-2006, 11:45 AM
Donnie refers to minor changes and tinkering.

If what he considers minor coincides with what we on the forum would term "minor", then I think that a lot of folks are going to "go PFFL" before the start of next season.

Unless Hicks would get ultra-lenient with his standards, we end up seeing 1/2 of our members get the boot due to rules violations regarding profanity, etc.

Just kidding. Or am I?

I'm worried about my mental health. :pullhair:

Bball
05-24-2006, 11:46 AM
could it be? Bball resorting to plagarism???

Shhhhhh ;)

-Bball

Hicks
05-24-2006, 12:16 PM
I find it highly ironic that Donnie "Patience" Walsh has this to say about rebuilding:



I would never do that. Never do that. You're asking people to wait for five or six years, and I will not do that.


It just flies in the face of what patience truly is.

BillS
05-24-2006, 12:35 PM
I find it highly ironic that Donnie "Patience" Walsh has this to say about rebuilding:



It just flies in the face of what patience truly is.

Why, I agree. With enough patience we could be cheering for the Las Vegas Pacers in less than 10 years! Wahoo!

PacerMan
05-24-2006, 12:54 PM
Certainly, not as soon as it could be (cough cough Bender contract extension cough cough Artest cough cough watching trade deadlines
-Bball


Yeh, how stupid of Donnie not to know that JB's knees would ruin his career.
geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez.

bulletproof
05-24-2006, 01:01 PM
You most certainly can correct mistakes, and I'd argue that 'moving on' has rarely been employed by DW. Certainly, not as soon as it could be (cough cough Bender contract extension cough cough Artest cough cough watching trade deadlines come and go cough cough). The definition that you and DW apparently have for 'moving on' would appear to be 'ignoring' (or maybe it's crossing fingers and hoping).

Well, it certainly wouldn't be defined as belaboring over your past decisions on an internet message board.

Bball
05-24-2006, 01:03 PM
Yeh, how stupid of Donnie not to know that JB's knees would ruin his career.
geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez.

JB didn't do anything to earn that contract extension. It didn't take Nostradamus to see where the Bender situation was ultimately heading.

The final chapter was going to be titled "Draft Bust" the only question would be which excuse got used as the ultimate nail in the coffin.

-Bball

bulletproof
05-24-2006, 01:04 PM
I find it highly ironic that Donnie "Patience" Walsh has this to say about rebuilding:



It just flies in the face of what patience truly is.

Human beings are funny creatures...

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
óWalt Whitman

;)

Hicks
05-24-2006, 01:17 PM
Why, I agree. With enough patience we could be cheering for the Las Vegas Pacers in less than 10 years! Wahoo!

All it takes to keep that from happening are good marketing (AKA fire the "One Goal" brainchild, for starters) and honesty ("Hey, we're going to go through a rough patch, but there's a plan and it will lead us to a better place than where we're at now"). Just be up front that it's a major rebuild and that we're going to target (*insert what we want here*) types of players, for a *blank* style of team, but it'll take at least 3 years.

Doug in CO
05-24-2006, 02:05 PM
I find it interesting that BP ignored the fact that it was DW's own quote

Let the record show that it took BP 40 minutes to come at Bball for saying something negative about DW... I think he is slipping.

bulletproof
05-24-2006, 02:13 PM
Yes, everyone save this thread in your favorites folder so you can recall it at any time to remind yourself (or me) that it took me 40 minutes to come at Bball for saying something negative about DW. By the way, DinO, can you tell me, on average, how many minutes its taken Bball to respond to my posts in the past? Thanks in advance.

PacerMan
05-24-2006, 11:03 PM
JB didn't do anything to earn that contract extension. It didn't take Nostradamus to see where the Bender situation was ultimately heading.

The final chapter was going to be titled "Draft Bust" the only question would be which excuse got used as the ultimate nail in the coffin.

-Bball


Sorry but that's BS. Plain and simple.

beast23
05-25-2006, 12:37 AM
Sorry but that's BS. Plain and simple.Actually, I'll support Bball's statement. In fact, I'll whole-heartedly support it.

Bender was frail from Day 1.

As much as we've read about how "great" JB was during practice, that's the info that I'll term B.S. "Great" is in the eye of the beholder.

JB was a great scrimmage player during practices because quite often practice success is dictated by athleticism, not court smarts.

JB did what comes easy to him. He used his athleticism. But I would challenge anyone to provide evidence of any significant improvement in game knowledge and court smarts during his career.

JB's career was made based on the results of one single high school all-star game and his athleticism. It's too bad that the Pacers didn't dig deeper because I think they would have found out that the study and hard work required for a successful career was not nearly as important to JB as the dollars that the career would eventually bring.

larry
05-25-2006, 04:42 AM
i don't blame most for getting injured, but come on man. somthings gotta give. the ken griffey/grant hill has to come into play here. look at how paying back bucks to players that are chronically injured killed those franchises. if tins comes back u are asking for disaster. and others 2, but i aint saying names.

Anthem
05-25-2006, 10:30 AM
Actually, I'll support Bball's statement. In fact, I'll whole-heartedly support it.

Bender was frail from Day 1.
Nope.

Bender's early lack of PT was because he was raw, not because he was frail.

ChicagoJ
05-25-2006, 10:48 AM
They were going to make a 7'0" guy a SG!! (And not a center.)

That seems like a good proxy for "he's frail" to me.

Seed
05-25-2006, 11:10 AM
unloading 40% of your starting talent and 2 backups sounds pretty serious to me.


EDIT.....it may not be as much as I hope for, but think about it.

Yeah, I agree with that.

I'd like to suggest a 2 year plan I'd take If was TPTB:
1. We get a good SG using the money from Bender's, Polly's contracts and/or trading Tins, Jax.
2. We keep Jeff as our big guy, and let AJ start PG.
3. We keep Fred only for a reasonable price.

Basically this means a better SG than this year, and pretty much the same PG we had this year (AJ). It also means this team is less injury prone, and has better chemistry.

Starting:
- AJ
- new GOOD SG
- Peja
- JO
- Jeff
Backing:
- Danny
- (Possibly) Fred
- Cro
- Saras
- DH.

I'm sure they will perform rather well. The main problems I see are overall lack of quickness and the PG spot. If those turn out to be overwhelming, we can use Cro's salary and trade some or all of: Peja,AJ,Saras,Fred,DH,Cro and acquire both a starting PG and Center in the year after. So what we get is a monster:

Starting:
- new GOOD PG
- new GOOD SG
- Danny
- JO
- new <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">GOOD</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Center</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>
with a shorter bench.

beast23
05-25-2006, 11:39 AM
I'd like to suggest a 2 year plan I'd take If was TPTB:
1. We get a good SG using the money from Bender's, Polly's contracts and/or trading Tins, Jax.
2. We keep Jeff as our big guy, and let AJ start PG.
3. We keep Fred only for a reasonable price.

...
<Year 2>
Starting:
- new GOOD PG
- new GOOD SG
- Danny
- JO
- new <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">GOOD</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Center</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>
with a shorter bench.

Nearly all of us, me included, have looked at the quick fix. Primarily because all of us have grown impatient regarding how soon we'd like to see major improvement in the team we care about.

But if it is not possible to bring nearly all of the necessary improvement to the roster in a single year, your plan certainly sets a vision for the necessary 2 year improvement plan.

The only possible negative that I see would be that it gets rid of most of the assets that we would probably really want to trade right up front in the initial trade. But it also gets rid of the majority of players that we have come to believe are problems. Certainly food for thought.

Bball
05-25-2006, 11:45 AM
Yeah, I agree with that.

I'd like to suggest a 2 year plan I'd take If was TPTB:
[COLOR=black][FONT=Verdana]1. We get a good SG using the money from Bender's, Polly's contracts and/or trading Tins, Jax.



Do we know we're getting salary relief from Bender's contract? I don't mean speculation or assumptions... or rosey scenarios. Isn't there still a process that is involved and couldn't at the end of the day the NBA say "Sorry about you"?

Has something been decided? Is it a cut and dried situation?



-Bball

JayRedd
05-25-2006, 01:25 PM
Do we know we're getting salary relief from Bender's contract? I don't mean speculation or assumptions... or rosey scenarios. Isn't there still a process that is involved and couldn't at the end of the day the NBA say "Sorry about you"?

Has something been decided? Is it a cut and dried situation?


From what I've read/heard, it's pretty cut and dry. I believe the process of paper work, medical clearences and all the rest just needs to run its course.

Here's the explanation given on the best site I've seen about all the ins and outs of the salary cap and CBA.

http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm


There is one exception whereby a player can continue to receive his salary, but the salary is not included in the team's team salary. This is when a player is forced to retire for medical reasons and a league-appointed physician confirms that he is medically unfit to continue playing. There is a waiting period of one year following the injury or illness before a team can apply for this salary cap relief. If the waiting period expires mid-season (on any date prior to the last day of the regular season), then the player's entire salary for that season is removed from the team's team salary. For example, in March 2003 the Knicks were allowed to remove Luc Longley's entire 2002-03 salary from their books (and since the luxury tax is based on the team salary as of the last day of the regular season, the Knicks avoided paying any tax on Longley's salary). This provision can also be used when a player dies while under contract.

If a player retires, even for medical reasons, his team does not receive a salary cap exception to acquire a replacement player.


Basically, I think the "league appointed physician" clearence is just waiting be finalized. I highly doubt anyone could clear term this guy as anything but "medically unfit to continue playing"

The 2nd bolded part is the reason why, technically, Bender hasn't retired yet. His press conference was just to let everyone know he's done trying to make any comeback, but as far as league paperwork and technicalities are concerned, he is still an active player on the Pacers roster.

I'm not exactly sure what the "replacement player" specifics are, but I think it might mean that we can get a CBA exception that allows us to sign a free agent for up to 50% of what Bender's salary would have been next year (Hoopshype: $7.8). But that may only be available for a mid-season injury--I'm not really sure.

If we do get a "Bender Exeption," of $3.9 and are allowed to combine that with our mid-level exeption ($5-6 million), that's actually a decent chunk of change. But I may be making this up. Not sure if that's even allowed. My guess is that it is not.

If we're not getting any replacement player exeption, than all this really does is save the Simons some money on luxury tax payments.