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Peck
06-04-2004, 03:28 AM
By Mark Montieth
mark.montieth@indystar.com
June 4, 2004


They're young, they're deep, they won a franchise-record 61 games and they reached the Eastern Conference finals.

All well and good, but the Indiana Pacers' roster is tilting and in need of some repair.

"This is an unbalanced roster," coach Rick Carlisle said Thursday when he met the media for the first time since Tuesday's playoff elimination in Detroit. "There are a glut of guys at the small forward spot, and there haven't been enough minutes.

"I don't think this team will be back in our exact form next year. I just think there will be some changes, through free agency, the draft or trades. There's going to be some things that are different, without question."

The conflicting talents and ambitions of Ron Artest, Al Harrington and Jonathan Bender create the most likely scenario for change, and the greatest opportunity to address weaknesses.

Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh said Thursday the primary objectives are to get bigger and add perimeter shooting. But although team president Larry Bird handles personnel matters, the offseason approach will remain the same as always.

"This is a team that got to the final four," Walsh said. "It's certainly not a team you look to break up. But we know there are some elements we want to see in our team.

"We'll be talking trades. If the right trades come up, we'll do them. If they don't, we won't."

Harrington, runner-up for Sixth Man of the Year honors in his sixth season with the Pacers, has drawn the most trade speculation. He, like the rest of the players, was unavailable for comment Thursday, but it has long been understood that he is growing impatient with coming off the bench.

Harrington averaged 13.3 points during the regular season, when he started 15 games, and 9.5 points in the conference finals.

"This has been a tough situation for Al," Carlisle said. "I view him as a starter in this league. As the summer progresses we'll see what takes form. If there was the opportunity for him to be a starter here, that would be great. If there isn't, it may be time for him to move on to another team."

The status of 17-year veteran Reggie Miller also is in doubt, mostly because Miller refused to answer when asked if he would return following Tuesday's loss to the Pistons. Miller signed a three-year contract last summer and has said nothing to team officials about retiring. He turns 39 in August, however, and his scoring average dropped to 10 points, matching that of his rookie season for a career low.

"When you get to be that age, there are a lot of things to consider," Carlisle said. "But I'm hopeful that he'll play. Very much so."

There has been some speculation that Miller might come off the bench next season, but Carlisle said he doubts that would happen.

"If he returns for an 18th year, my feeling would be he probably would be a starter next year," Carlisle said.

Bird, who met with the players as they cleaned out their lockers Wednesday, was not available Thursday. Walsh, however, said Miller has said nothing about retiring.

"I expect Reggie back," Walsh said. "He hasn't said anything to indicate he wouldn't."

In other developments:

The Pacers will have the mid-level ($5.1 million) and million-dollar ($1.6 million) exceptions to lure free agents, and league officials do not expect a luxury tax to be imposed next summer. Walsh, however, said there's no guarantee the exceptions will be used on free agents.

"You have to look at your self-imposed budget," he said.

Bender will divide his time between New Orleans, where he makes his offseason home, and Indianapolis. But wherever he is, the Pacers will stay in contact.

"This summer is a really important summer for him," Carlisle said. "He made great strides this year. He had stretches where his play was nothing less than breathtaking. But with the occasional injuries, it made it hard for him to develop a level of consistency. He's a guy who can do things that nobody else on our roster can do. At 7 feet tall he can shoot 3s, he can post up, he drives the ball, he can block shots."

Carlisle said Bender has been asked to participate on the Pacers' summer league team, which will compete in Salt Lake City in July. Fred Jones, Primoz Brezec and James Jones also will be expected to play, although Fred Jones might require minor surgery to repair strained ligaments in his left shoulder and Brezec might have a conflict with the Slovenian national team. Jamison Brewer will play if he re-signs.

Carlisle would like to see the team re-sign Brewer, who played in just 13 games and averaged 2.5 points.

"He's a guy I'd like to see back here because of his competitiveness and the fact he's a young guy," Carlisle said. "He has a great upside."

Jamaal Tinsley has earned a foothold on the point guard position.

"I really like Jamaal and liked what he did," Carlisle said. "I liked how he approached the entire season. Right now it's his job to lose."

Free-agent backup Kenny Anderson will sign with another team unless he receives assurances of more playing time. Anthony Johnson, who played extensively as a backup, can opt out of his contract.

Scot Pollard, acquired last summer in a trade for Brad Miller, has not asked for a trade, according to Carlisle. But Carlisle acknowledged he expected Pollard to play more. The 29-year-old center averaged just 1.7 points.

The Pacers began working out draft prospects on Wednesday. Purdue guard Kenneth Lowe is among the eight players they have seen so far.


:banghead: :banghead: :banghead:


Get bigger? Perimeter shooting? :arrgh:

Brad Miller :scream:

No luxuary tax? Gee, where have I heard that before.

I swore the night we lost to the Pistons that I wouldn't even bother to bring his name up this off-season because we had a good year & I don't think that our main weakness vs. the Pistons was the center spot.

But then I read this stuff & my head wants to explode.

The only thing right now that makes any sense to me is Bulletproofs theory of hiring Carlisle. I don't buy it 100% but at least it makes some sense to me.

U.B.'s theory that they chose Al over Brad should be blown out of the water with all of the "unbalanced roster" talk we see the trinity talking about (the trinity btw is Bird/Carlisle/Walsh). But we all knew & said that last season. Why keep another tweener & give up a legitimate all-star center?

I won't even give you guys the Jeff Foster thing because when that trade was made (it was a trade btw) Scot Pollard was the answer to our center problems. That worked out just swell for old Scot. Fortunately Foster was able to really improve this season, but when faced with a big powerfull lineup he was relagated to a whopping 2 min. of action in the season deciding game.

:giveup:

Ok, sorry everybody I didn't mean to lose my mind on all of you. But those parts of that article just made me ill.

Hoop
06-04-2004, 04:10 AM
Get bigger? Perimeter shooting? :arrgh:

Brad Miller :scream:

No luxuary tax? Gee, where have I heard that before.

I swore the night we lost to the Pistons that I wouldn't even bother to bring his name up this off-season because we had a good year & I don't think that our main weakness vs. the Pistons was the center spot.

But then I read this stuff & my head wants to explode.

The only thing right now that makes any sense to me is Bulletproofs theory of hiring Carlisle. I don't buy it 100% but at least it makes some sense to me.

U.B.'s theory that they chose Al over Brad should be blown out of the water with all of the "unbalanced roster" talk we see the trinity talking about (the trinity btw is Bird/Carlisle/Walsh). But we all knew & said that last season. Why keep another tweener & give up a legitimate all-star center?

I won't even give you guys the Jeff Foster thing because when that trade was made (it was a trade btw) Scot Pollard was the answer to our center problems. That worked out just swell for old Scot. Fortunately Foster was able to really improve this season, but when faced with a big powerfull lineup he was relagated to a whopping 2 min. of action in the season deciding game.

:giveup:

Ok, sorry everybody I didn't mean to lose my mind on all of you. But those parts of that article just made me ill.

You can look back if you want, Brad's gone, I'd rather look forward. I think we are in a better position this off season than we were last off season in soooo many ways. Al is worth more as trade bait more than ever, Freddie has some value now. Foster's stock has risen alot. I even think Bender is more valuable than he was last season, even Cro. All these things happened, kinda, because Brad was not here and Pollard sucked.

indygeezer
06-04-2004, 07:10 AM
I'm thinking that Jeff's value has never been higher and that he won't be nearly as effective if he returns to coming off the bench. I've said for months (remember the trade deadline) that we needed more size up front. We need POWER, defense, and rebounding. We need an attitude up front. We have too many Mr Nice guys up there. They are hard workers but they need an attitude. (JYD might be a nice addition to the bench) We're too young and soft up there.

Then again, maybe what we need is to bring back Brendon Malone as an assistant.


<eit> I forgot...I cannot believe you haven't NAILED DW for the self-imposed cap comment!!!

Dukins
06-04-2004, 09:32 AM
You can look back if you want, Brad's gone, I'd rather look forward.


I think that pertains to someone else on this team. No one will admit it. Reggie Miller we need to move forward.

Bball
06-04-2004, 10:05 AM
"If he returns for an 18th year, my feeling would be he probably would be a starter next year," Carlisle said.

This speaks to what I said somewhere on this forum... While it may not be etched in stone that Reggie gets legacy starts (and legacy minutes) there is nobody in the franchise but Reggie himself that will make that call. Nobody is going to be the person sitting Reggie Miller.

"You have to look at your self-imposed budget," he said.

Let's hope it is a reasonable 'self-imposed' budget.

Let's hope the team finds it in their 'self-imposed' budget to really make that 'championship move' or to fix the 'unbalanced roster' this year and not just pay lip service.

-Bball

LAPacer
06-04-2004, 10:07 AM
Donnie screwed up last year. If we just let Brad walk instead of picking up Pollards sorry contract, we wouldn't have to worry about a frickin' self-imposed budget. I guess no one is perfect.

Doug in CO
06-04-2004, 10:13 AM
So let me get this straight - Donnie is not perfect - wow - newsflash... Peck, it is beginning to feel like old times!

fwpacerfan
06-04-2004, 10:53 AM
:deadhorse:


Brad Miller is gone. Get over it. Even if he was here it wouldn't guarantee that we would have beaten Detroit. If he was here it wouldn't necessarily mean we would have won 61 games. I know in some people's mind Brad Miller can single handedly lead a team to the Championship and he's every bit as good as Shaq, but I'm not one of them. I'm over it.

The things I got out of this article is that Al is more than likely going to be traded and Bender isn't. I think that is probably a good move as long as we can fill a need or 2 with the trade.

Is there anyway we could do a sign and trade with Golden State for Dampier and trade Al? I've tried on RealGM and I haven't been able to come up with anything.

ChicagoJ
06-04-2004, 11:11 AM
:deadhorse:

The things I got out of this article is that Al is more than likely going to be traded and Bender isn't. I think that is probably a good move as long as we can fill a need or 2 with the trade.


I think that's the signal they're trying to send through the press - and that will help drive up the bids for JB and Ron.

This is the time of year that nobody really tells the truth to the media and they certainly don't want to weaken their negotiating position by announcing thier true intentions.

They are already fully in 'spin' mode.

bulletproof
06-04-2004, 11:16 AM
:banghead: :banghead: :banghead:

Get bigger? Perimeter shooting? :arrgh:

Brad Miller :scream:

No luxuary tax? Gee, where have I heard that before.

I swore the night we lost to the Pistons that I wouldn't even bother to bring his name up this off-season because we had a good year & I don't think that our main weakness vs. the Pistons was the center spot.

But then I read this stuff & my head wants to explode.

The only thing right now that makes any sense to me is Bulletproofs theory of hiring Carlisle. I don't buy it 100% but at least it makes some sense to me.

U.B.'s theory that they chose Al over Brad should be blown out of the water with all of the "unbalanced roster" talk we see the trinity talking about (the trinity btw is Bird/Carlisle/Walsh). But we all knew & said that last season. Why keep another tweener & give up a legitimate all-star center?

I won't even give you guys the Jeff Foster thing because when that trade was made (it was a trade btw) Scot Pollard was the answer to our center problems. That worked out just swell for old Scot. Fortunately Foster was able to really improve this season, but when faced with a big powerfull lineup he was relagated to a whopping 2 min. of action in the season deciding game.

:giveup:

Ok, sorry everybody I didn't mean to lose my mind on all of you. But those parts of that article just made me ill.

*cranks up the organ grinder again*

*monkey starts dancing*

Um, Peck, you're forgetting one thing: Walsh just didn't think Brad was worth the money. And as I've said recently, it certainly seems like he showed some foresight when it came to evaluating his worth to the team based on Brad's lack of intensity and tendency toward injuries down the stretch. Brad was faaaaaar from being the panacea the Kings needed to push them over the top.

Bball
06-04-2004, 11:37 AM
:deadhorse:

The things I got out of this article is that Al is more than likely going to be traded and Bender isn't. I think that is probably a good move as long as we can fill a need or 2 with the trade.


I think that's the signal they're trying to send through the press - and that will help drive up the bids for JB and Ron.

This is the time of year that nobody really tells the truth to the media and they certainly don't want to weaken their negotiating position by announcing thier true intentions.

They are already fully in 'spin' mode.

That's what I've been thinking too... Who knows what is real and what is for media consumption? They at least should be getting phone calls because they have signaled some intent to make changes.

-Bball

Snickers
06-04-2004, 11:47 AM
The self-imposed budget: has anybody thought that this might be set by the Simons, the team owners who are paying all this $$$, not Donnie and his stupid won't-let-the-team-get-better idiocy?

Brad Miller: I, for one, am happy with Jeff as our starting 5. Brad was very good, but we're a great team with the group of guys we have now. And on top of that, Bird/Walsh/Carlisle recognise the things that could make us even better, and plan to take action.


.... a couple other things in the article that caught my eye:

"This has been a tough situation for Al," Carlisle said. "I view him as a starter in this league. As the summer progresses we'll see what takes form. If there was the opportunity for him to be a starter here, that would be great. If there isn't, it may be time for him to move on to another team."

This sounds a lot like the Antonio Davis situation 5 years ago. Despite all the trade talk concerning Al, I wasn't honestly expecting him to be traded until now. He won't start over Ron, and Ron's not going anywhere. I respect Al for sucking up his pride and giving his all this year, and he's been great, but if starting is what he really cares about, I'm sure we'll facilitate that. We've always done that for players.


"He's a guy I'd like to see back here because of his competitiveness and the fact he's a young guy," Carlisle said. "He has a great upside."

I like Jamison. Rick seems to as well. What does that mean? Not much. Just thought I'd point it out. :D

Overall, I'm really looking forward to this offseason. We've got no key free agents to worry about, and I think we might actually know what we're planning on doing before the day the trade goes down. Should be fun.

:dance:

Old as Dirt
06-04-2004, 11:54 AM
The more I read these message boards, the more I wonder if most are even watching the same games? Seams we had a very good contol of R Wallace, but since no one could come close to scoring, the line up had to be changed and then Mister R. Wallace came alive. I wonder why this all happened?

fwpacerfan
06-04-2004, 02:00 PM
:deadhorse:

The things I got out of this article is that Al is more than likely going to be traded and Bender isn't. I think that is probably a good move as long as we can fill a need or 2 with the trade.


I think that's the signal they're trying to send through the press - and that will help drive up the bids for JB and Ron.

This is the time of year that nobody really tells the truth to the media and they certainly don't want to weaken their negotiating position by announcing thier true intentions.

They are already fully in 'spin' mode.

You might be right. But I think you are giving DW and Bird too much credit and the rest of the GM's in the league not enough credit. Most GM's in this league know how DW operates and they probably don't pay a whole lot of attention to what the mediots say. I don't think Pat Willams is down in Orlando reading this article and saying "I can get Al for a song because the Pacers don't want him."

ChicagoJ
06-04-2004, 05:33 PM
:deadhorse:

The things I got out of this article is that Al is more than likely going to be traded and Bender isn't. I think that is probably a good move as long as we can fill a need or 2 with the trade.


I think that's the signal they're trying to send through the press - and that will help drive up the bids for JB and Ron.

This is the time of year that nobody really tells the truth to the media and they certainly don't want to weaken their negotiating position by announcing thier true intentions.

They are already fully in 'spin' mode.

You might be right. But I think you are giving DW and Bird too much credit and the rest of the GM's in the league not enough credit. Most GM's in this league know how DW operates and they probably don't pay a whole lot of attention to what the mediots say. I don't think Pat Willams is down in Orlando reading this article and saying "I can get Al for a song because the Pacers don't want him."

I agree with what you said there. Actually, I think all the GMs in the league just use the press as a toy to play with.

Remember how DW created his legend? It was the very first thing he did - he knew NY wanted the Rifleman so for a while it was "I'm drafting Kenny Walker... I'm drafting Kenny Walker" so the Knicks wouldn't trade up to #3. We all know what happened on draft day. And DW has often said that was the perfect setup, because from then on it didn't matter if he sent out a smoke signal or the truth, nobody was going to know what to do with it.

Will Galen
06-04-2004, 05:46 PM
Guess what caught my eye?




Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh said Thursday the primary objectives are to get bigger and add perimeter shooting. But although team president Larry Bird handles personnel matters, the offseason approach will remain the same as always.

Kegboy
06-04-2004, 07:39 PM
:shakehead:

Okay, first of all, I don't think there's anyone who's a bigger Brad fan than me. I was at Purdue with him, I told everyone who dissed him how important he was, and how much he would be missed when gone. I was desolate when he wasn't drafted, started to question if I really knew anything when it came to basketball if such a thing could happen. Thankfully, I think my stance was vindicated in that regard.

Anyway, here's my point. I love Brad. But he's gone. I've accepted that. Hell, I accepted it before this season even started. Even Hicks has accepted it, which, for those who remember what he was like last summer, is no small accomplisment. So, for those of you that still haven't, I think you really just need to think about moving to Sacramento or something.

:irked: