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Jose Slaughter
07-07-2004, 02:51 PM
The Pacers won a league-best and team-record 61 games last season. They took the eventual world champs deep into the Eastern Conference finals. They still have one of the youngest rosters in the league. So why has there been so much trade talk swirling around Indiana these days?

"We're just trying to make our team better," team president Donnie Walsh told Insider. "I don't think were looking to make a major change. But we know we have a few weaknesses. During the course of the season we covered them well. But they got exposed to a certain extent in the Detroit series. It's our job to smooth out the rough edges."

Summer Blueprints
What will your team be up to this summer? NBA Insider Chad Ford breaks it down

# New Jersey Nets
# Memphis Grizzlies
# New York Knicks
# Denver Nuggets
# San Antonio Spurs
# Dallas Mavericks
# Houston Rockets
# Charlotte Bobcats
# L.A. Lakers
# Sacramento Kings
# Utah Jazz
# Philadelphia 76ers
# Atlanta Hawks
# Washington Wizards
# Phoenix Suns
# Cleveland Cavaliers
# Seattle SuperSonics
# Chicago Bulls
# Golden State Warriors
# Los Angeles Clippers
# Orlando Magic
# Boston Celtics
# Portland Trail Blazers

It's already been an eventful summer for the Pacers.

For starters, Al Harrington, the teams' sixth man, asked Larry Bird for a trade in his exit interview. Then Ron Artest, the defensive player of the year, skipped his exit interview completely.

Add those to the team's disappointing guard play in the playoffs, and the Pacers entered the offseason willing to make a deal. Their point guard needs to get older and more experienced. Their two guard is getting older by the minute. Their perimeter game, offensively and defensively, needs help, and they seem determined to fix it.

Indiana already has been in hot pursuit of everyone from T-Mac to Shaq to Ben Gordon this summer. Don't expect Bird to stop until he gets what he wants.

Should the Pacers mess with a good thing? Here's a look at what to expect as Insider continues its summer blueprint series.

Pacers Summer Blueprint

DRAFT: It's usually slim pickings by the time a team gets to the last pick of the first round. So the Pacers had to be stunned to find an experienced, talented, 7-footer -- who actually plays like a center -- on the board in David Harrison.


The Pacers added center David Harrison in the draft, bringing some heft to their frontcourt.
Questions about Harrison's maturity and conditioning plagued him throughout his three years at Colorado, but scouts think he has a ton of talent. Think Michael Olowokandi in a much more reasonable draft range. The fact is, the Pacers don't have a big banger like Harrison, and if he develops, he could help almost immediately.

The team also tried hard to move up in the draft to land either Ben Gordon, Shaun Livingston or Luke Jackson. In the end, they didn't pull the trigger, but their willingness to trade up speaks volumes about their perceived needs.

FREE AGENCY: The Pacers are capped out at the moment. The good news is they don't have anyone significant heading into free agency. Anthony Johnson and Kenny Anderson are their biggest free-agent names.

The bad news is that in an effort to keep their cap situation from getting out of hand, the Pacers don't figure to be major players on the free-agent market.

They've shown some interest in unrestricted free agent Erick Dampier, but under almost every scenario it would be via sign-and-trade. If they can't land Damp -- and they certainly aren't the front runners -- Boston's Mark Blount is also high on their list. The Hawks' Stephen Jackson also has received a lot of interest from the club and might be workable if his contract expectations are realistic. Other free agents in whom the team has a passing interest include Hedo Turkoglu, Jamal Crawford and Brent Barry.

However, at this point the Pacers don't appear to be leaning toward adding a player in free agency. Instead, they have numerous assets in the front court, a logjam really, that can be used to land a far more valuable player via trade.


Al Harrington
Small Forward
Indiana Pacers
Profile


2003-2004 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
79 13.3 6.4 1.7 .463 .734
TRADES: The Pacers dangled Harrington for several weeks before the draft in an effort to get up into the lottery. However, several sources claim they pulled Harrington off the table at the last minute.

Previously, they had offered Harrington as part of a package for Tracy McGrady. It's clear Indiana sees Harrington as its primary trade bait.

"We've talked to a lot of teams about him," Walsh told Insider. "He's been the focal point of a lot of trade discussions. But we're not giving him away, and I think teams have to understand that."

The Pacers really want to upgrade their starting backcourt. Jamaal Tinsley has been spotty as the team's point guard, and Reggie Miller is ready to celebrate his 95th birthday. While both players still have been productive, the team wants more leadership at the point and a younger shooter at the two.


Ron Artest
Small Forward
Indiana Pacers
Profile


2003-2004 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
73 18.3 5.3 3.7 .421 .733
While Harrington has been the subject of much discussion, Artest also has been mentioned in certain trade scenarios. While Artest is a beast defensively, he's unpredictable and makes the Pacers a little nervous. When he blew off his season-ending meeting with the front office, it fueled speculation he could be on the block.

Walsh wouldn't label Artest untouchable, but he did say it would take an amazing offer to pry him away. "I think that all of the attention to Ron's behavior has been blown out of proportion," Walsh told Insider. "He missed a meeting. Players miss them all the time. You fine them and move on. You don't trade him. We'd only consider trading Ron if we got back another All-Star in return."

Jonathan Bender's name also has made the rounds, but the Pacers sound determined to keep him around. Austin Croshere, as always, is available via trade, but so far few people are interested in eating his contract.

What could Harrington or Artest land the Pacers? The talk about Shaq coming to Indy appears to be overblown. The Pacers would have to give up Jermaine O'Neal to get that done, and that's something they're unwilling to do.


Jason Terry
Point Guard
Atlanta Hawks
Profile


2003-2004 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
81 16.8 4.1 5.4 .417 .827
More realistically, a trade for a player like Dampier, the Sonics' Ray Allen or the Hawk's Jason Terry is more realistic. Dampier started his career in Indiana but appears to be leaning toward Memphis.

Allen would address their need for a young, dominant shooter in the backcourt. But at what price? Trading for Allen would cost the Pacers two or three of their players.

Terry has wanted out of Atlanta ever since he solicited an offer sheet from the Jazz this time last year. Terry would be a great fit in the Pacers' backcourt, and an offer of Harrington and Tinsley for Terry probably could get something done.

COACHING: Rick Carlisle did a great job in Indiana last season. He instilled a sense of team discipline and purpose, and after a rocky transition period, the team seemed to really respond to his direction. Carlisle was hand-picked by Larry Bird and has a really long leash. In a world where coaches normally expire shortly after the press conference announcing their hire, Carlisle's job appears to be very safe.


Bird
FRONT OFFICE: Last season was the first for Larry Bird, and this year he's taking on more of the responsibilities Walsh has handled in the past. It may seem odd reading this, but Bird has some enormous shoes to fill.

Walsh is a legendary GM -- the Larry Bird of GMs, if you will. He is savvy, has a great eye for talent and a winning track record. Just about everyone in the NBA loves and respects him. Bird might be one of the greatest basketball players of all time, but he still has a long way to go to catch up with Walsh in the front office.

The Pacers aren't at a crossroads yet -- the team is still young and talented. But Bird believes, rightly, the team needs a few tweaks to turn it into a true title contender. Will he have the patience and long-term vision of Walsh, or will he be more reactionary and willing to sell out long term goals for short term gains?

Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.

able
07-07-2004, 03:14 PM
imagine that, one quote from Donnie and writing a full page about it AND getting paid in the process"!!!"

Hicks
07-07-2004, 03:16 PM
He puts it well I think. It's nothing special to us because we're the die-hards that know this stuff already and talk about it to death. I think it's pretty good for people that don't discuss it like we do.

Ragnar
07-07-2004, 03:18 PM
Man I hope they dont trade for Terry. We dont need a new pg we need a new sg!

ChicagoJ
07-07-2004, 03:19 PM
After all that hype and wait... the only interesting thing that we didn't necessarily know was that mangement might be interested in upgrading both backcourt positions.

I've been assuming - perhaps incorrectly - that Tinsley's job was safe heading into next season.

Ragnar
07-07-2004, 03:19 PM
the problem is that he is doing this for every team in the NBA. He could never do an in depth article for each and every team.

Hicks
07-07-2004, 03:25 PM
I wouldn't mind a new backcourt of Terry/Jackson instead of Tinsley/Miller. I like the idea of having more scoring from both positions, and better defense from SG and no worse from PG, but at least Terry's quick enough to keep with the quick PGs that have killed us. He's an OK passer, I think it would work out fine.

able
07-07-2004, 03:29 PM
the problem is that he is doing this for every team in the NBA. He could never do an in depth article for each and every team.


Heaven forbid he do what he's paid to do.

:angel:


:laugh: yeah and some more :laugh:


I do not believe we are looking to upgrade both back court positions, read my comments on the thread about I believe Damp, their stats are almost equal, in actual fact Tins' are better, he just shoots less shots then Terry, and does it all in 2/3 of the time Terry uses on the court.

It "might" be that Terry CAN be a better defender, but let's face it, he hasn't shown that lately and Tins' improvement in that department are impressive to say the least, add to that the fact that Terry is in this league 2 more years then Tins and in all it would be a bad trade even if we traded them head to head, let alone if we have to add to the package anything else then an ultimate bad contract.

I do read Donnie's words though, in Walsh speak I think he says, we're trading Ron as part of a package for Ray Allen or Paul Pierce (the latter most likely since now both have been declared "non trading pieces) the Kiss of TradeU is upon them :D

Suaveness
07-07-2004, 03:37 PM
Tins is very underrated. That's all I have to say.

Hicks
07-07-2004, 03:37 PM
Keep in mind Tinsley didn't "show us" his Defense until this coaching staff showed up. They could probably do similar things with Terry, and in college Terry was supposed to be known for defense.

MagicRat
07-07-2004, 03:44 PM
I wouldn't mind a new backcourt of Terry/Jackson instead of Tinsley/Miller.....

That Terry/Jackson combo was just swell for the Hawks......

ChicagoJ
07-07-2004, 03:46 PM
I wouldn't mind a new backcourt of Terry/Jackson instead of Tinsley/Miller.....

That Terry/Jackson combo was just swell for the Hawks......





I was thinking the same thing.

:unimpressed:

I'd rather trade for Shareef and Alan Henderson to be my new starting forwards. :p

Unclebuck
07-07-2004, 03:47 PM
I think some of you will complain about anything and everything. I enjoyed the article, thought it provided some insight.

Just because he does not know everything that we all know about the Pacers, does not mean the article is useless. He has wirteen a similar article for all 29 teams, he can't know every team as wwell as we know the Pacers.


Good to read they won't trade Ron unless they get an allstar


Wan't the rumor AL, Jamaal for Terry floated last summer?

.

Hicks
07-07-2004, 03:58 PM
I wouldn't mind a new backcourt of Terry/Jackson instead of Tinsley/Miller.....

That Terry/Jackson combo was just swell for the Hawks......




We aren't the Hawks. We have Artest/O'Neal/Foster to join them, not Atlanta's crap.

We're pairing them w/ two of the top forwards in the league.

MagicRat
07-07-2004, 04:10 PM
I wouldn't mind a new backcourt of Terry/Jackson instead of Tinsley/Miller.....

That Terry/Jackson combo was just swell for the Hawks......




We aren't the Hawks. We have Artest/O'Neal/Foster to join them, not Atlanta's crap.


Shareef and Theo have both been all-stars...:whoknows:

kerosene
07-07-2004, 04:35 PM
Chad rushed out his Pacers preview so when a deal occurs soon he doesn't have to rewrite the whole thing ;)

Hicks
07-07-2004, 05:11 PM
I wouldn't mind a new backcourt of Terry/Jackson instead of Tinsley/Miller.....

That Terry/Jackson combo was just swell for the Hawks......




We aren't the Hawks. We have Artest/O'Neal/Foster to join them, not Atlanta's crap.


Shareef and Theo have both been all-stars...:whoknows:




Artest and JO are better, and our coaching staff is leagues better. We're a much better situation for them to be a part of.

Hicks
07-07-2004, 05:42 PM
I wouldn't mind a new backcourt of Terry/Jackson instead of Tinsley/Miller.....

That Terry/Jackson combo was just swell for the Hawks......





Another thing on this. Remember how swell Artest and B.Miller were for those ****** Bulls teams.

Yet when they got out of that mess, we saw what they were capable of.

Don't judge a player by his team.

MagicRat
07-07-2004, 06:07 PM
I wouldn't mind a new backcourt of Terry/Jackson instead of Tinsley/Miller.....

That Terry/Jackson combo was just swell for the Hawks......





Another thing on this. Remember how swell Artest and B.Miller were for those ****** Bulls teams..

And that combo almost got us to the 7th game of the first round of the playoffs.....;)

Hicks
07-07-2004, 06:10 PM
Oh har har. :D