PDA

View Full Version : Pacers tried to sign Mercer late last season



Unclebuck
08-13-2004, 10:18 AM
Here is some news. I think most of us read about the Pacers trying to trade for Mercer early last season, I think Mark Montieth reported that, but here is a new one, Pacers tried to sign Mercer after he was cut by the Spurs.



http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/story/221565p-190432c.html

Mercer joins Nets, says he's healthy



BY MITCH LAWRENCE
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

Ron Mercer could be walking around today as the proud owner of a championship ring, but he opted not to join the Detroit Pistons late last season after his release from the San Antonio Spurs.
Brilliant decision, huh?

But in being introduced yesterday as Kerry Kittles' successor and the Nets' new starting shooting guard, Mercer cleared up the mystery. In turning down the Pistons, along with offers from the Nets, Pacers and Hornets, the eight-year veteran disclosed that he was suffering from ankle injuries and didn't feel that he could help any team in its playoff drive.

So even though Spurs coach Gregg Popovich strongly recommended Mercer to his good friend, Larry Brown, Mercer declined the Pistons' offer and ended his worst pro season prematurely. He didn't specify the injuries yesterday, but admitted that they were severe enough that fluid had accumulated in his ankles.

"With my ankles, I had a decision, where I could take a chance and not be capable of doing what I could do," said Mercer, who signed a two-year deal with the Nets worth slightly more than $3 million. "So my best decision was to wait till the summer and get healthy and come back stronger."

Now, Mercer says, his ankles are, "no problem, whatsoever." That's good, because the one-time starter produced career lows in scoring (5.0 ppg), games played (39) and minutes per game (13) last season as a Spurs reserve.

The Nets have been burned by two recent notable free-agent signings involving players coming off injuries or illnesses who didn't make it through their first season with the team. Alonzo Mourning's and Chris Childs' tenures at the Meadowlands give the Nets reason to be wary of Mercer. But team officials say they have no concerns about Mercer after having him submit to X-rays and an MRI.

"Everything came up perfect," said GM Ed Stefanski. "We talked to the doctors in San Antonio and they didn't feel it was any issue. Everything is 100%, per our doctors."

Now with his seventh team, Mercer, 28, says he feels so good, he wishes the season could start today, even though the Nets are expected to drop significantly in the East.

"I have a lot of built-up frustration, and that can only help me," he said. "I have so much motivation right now; if the season started right now, I'd be ready."

Unclebuck
08-13-2004, 10:31 AM
http://ads1.advance.net/RealMedia/ads/Creatives/NJONLINE/MK_NEWSLETTERS_NJ08/NJNews_336x280.html



Nets: Mercer optimistic he has found right fit
Friday, August 13, 2004
BY DAVE D'ALESSANDRO
Star-Ledger Staff
The seven-year odyssey which he loosely refers to as his NBA career has taken a sharp and final turn toward prosperity. Ron Mercer firmly believes this. And he should, because he has finally encountered a team that has no choice but to share his optimism.

"At this point in my career, I'm ready to go out and do the things I'm capable of doing," the 6-7 swingman said yesterday after signing a two-year, $3.2 million contract with the Nets. "The last two or three years, I haven't had the playing time to show what I was doing the first couple of years. I have a great opportunity to play a lot of minutes."


From Our Advertiser




And needless to say, given the events of this grim off-season, Mercer has found a team that needs him as much as he needs it.

"He will compete immediately for the starting position at the 2-spot," GM Ed Stefanski said in a conference call with his latest acquisition. "He's 6-7, he's a scorer, and he can handle the basketball. We feel we have a real quality free agent at this time, and after losing Kerry Kittles, we feel he's a strong addition to our team."

The problem is, much of that has been said before.

Mercer is one of those players who always seemed to fall through the cracks: a poor man's Jimmy Jackson, perhaps -- an ultra-talented journeyman always searching for a team, a role, a niche. His arrival as the sixth player in the 1997 draft was accompanied by predictions of stardom, and he even made the All-Rookie first team. But the dramatic arc of his career ascent flattened out when Rick Pitino shipped him out of Boston midway through his second year.

He was labeled a malcontent in Denver, the first of many stays with bad teams, but he worked to rebuild his reputation. With Chicago, in the throes of that team's darkest days, he averaged 19.7 points in 2000-01. A February 2002 trade to Indiana left him jaded, but he showed that he was a team player, accepting spot duty and even filling in at point guard in that epic playoff series against the Nets when coach Isiah Thomas stopped trusting young Jamaal Tinsley.

The Pacers loved him. Teammate Austin Croshere called him "an inspiration...You look at somebody like that, it makes it clear that when you come back you just have to find a way to fit in."

And once again, Mercer moved on last summer, this time to San Antonio where he was promoted as a perfect complement to Tim Duncan. But he averaged only 13.2 minutes and shot 42.7 percent, and the Spurs wanted to give Devin Brown more playing time. Last February, Mercer was cut for the first time in his life.

"He wasn't a problem for us," Spurs GM R.C. Buford said. "He just didn't make shots. And when he can't do that, he becomes a liability."

Other teams considered signing Mercer before the March 1 deadline, hopeful that he could be added to their playoff roster. They were good teams, too -- New Orleans, Detroit and Indiana -- but Mercer elected to keep his seat.

"A lot of people didn't know it, but I had a couple of injuries with my ankle," he explained yesterday. "It was my decision to get healthy and come back stronger. I had a fluid in my ankles, had problems moving. I basically had a choice of rehabbing then and there, or take a chance and further injure it. I chose to rehab it and come back stronger."

Obviously, his seventh team believes it's strong enough.

"We had X-rays and an MRI done on his ankle, it came up perfect," Stefanski said. "The doctors in San Antonio didn't feel it was an issue. Everything's 100 percent. Ron is working out and feels good."

"I think it's a great opportunity to play with guys like Richard Jefferson and Jason Kidd," said Mercer, a Nashville native and product of the famed Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. "And another thing is Lawrence Frank. I've known him for a while. He tried to recruit me in high school. I like Lawrence a lot. He's one guy I've trusted over the years."

The signings of Mercer and Newark's Eric Williams complete the Nets' task of rebuilding a rotation that was shattered during this tumultuous off-season, though Stefanski admits the team is likely to add one big man. Among those being targeted are free agents Keon Clark and Marcus Fizer.

"I would say we're ... in a situation where we don't have to go real hard. People have to come to us," Stefanski said. "The plan is complete and now we have to see if results are there. Now we have to see if the plan is any good or not."

bread
08-13-2004, 10:41 AM
He's only 28? :o Is it just me or does he seem closer to 38 than 28?

FWIW I'm glad we didn't pick him up last year even if he was healthy. I really rooted for him while he was here but in the end I was not unhappy that he was shipped out (aside from the fact that I thought we could have dealt him later with his expiring contract and got something in return :mad:).

Outsider
08-13-2004, 11:22 AM
http://ads1.advance.net/RealMedia/ads/Creatives/NJONLINE/MK_NEWSLETTERS_NJ08/NJNews_336x280.html


A February 2002 trade to Indiana left him jaded, but he showed that he was a team player, accepting spot duty and even filling in at point guard in that epic playoff series against the Nets when coach Isiah Thomas stopped trusting young Jamaal Tinsley.


What?? Wasn't it the Tinsley was trying to play on one leg (IE hurt) that brought Mercer in to run as a Point. This just doesn't sound right to me....

Kegboy
08-13-2004, 01:41 PM
http://ads1.advance.net/RealMedia/ads/Creatives/NJONLINE/MK_NEWSLETTERS_NJ08/NJNews_336x280.html


A February 2002 trade to Indiana left him jaded, but he showed that he was a team player, accepting spot duty and even filling in at point guard in that epic playoff series against the Nets when coach Isiah Thomas stopped trusting young Jamaal Tinsley.


What?? Wasn't it the Tinsley was trying to play on one leg (IE hurt) that brought Mercer in to run as a Point. This just doesn't sound right to me....



Yeah, we seem to be the only people who remember that Tinsley was not only hurt, but basically couldn't walk, let alone run. The national media has bad-mouthed Tinsley for that NJ series for the last 2 years. Plus, it looks like the same revisionist history has already started in regards to the Detroit series.

Or, maybe they just look at stats instead of, I don't know, actually watching any of the games. :rolleyes:

Unclebuck
08-13-2004, 04:05 PM
I just realized there is a trend of Tinsley getting injured at the end of the season. Does this concern anyone else.


I don't recall if he was injured during the Celts series in 2003.

Kegboy
08-13-2004, 04:15 PM
I just realized there is a trend of Tinsley getting injured at the end of the season. Does this concern anyone else.


I don't recall if he was injured during the Celts series in 2003.

No, he was our best player besides JO against Boston.

But you're right, he broke down his first and third year. I think we can all agree that poor conditioning probably had a lot to do with his rookie year. As for last year, I'll just think of it as a coincidence, until proven otherwise.

Hicks
08-13-2004, 04:33 PM
Agreed. He was still fat his rookie year, he didn't get hurt in 2003, and I think last year was just standard injuries, not a sign of things to come.

MSA2CF
08-13-2004, 04:57 PM
Who's Ron Mercer?

Oh, was he the naked guy? Always streaking.....:p

Sorry, poor attempt at humour. Seriously, trading Ron was a good decision methinks. He couldn't be counted on night in and night out. Some nights he was lights out; sometimes he was just out (of it).

Netweeny
08-13-2004, 07:40 PM
HOLD THE BOAT!

Did we not have 15 players on our roster last season!?? To pick up Merc we would've had to drop someone. Who would that have been? Kenny? Siggy? Peanut Butter?


hmmmmmm....:confused:

Unclebuck
08-14-2004, 12:09 AM
I just realized there is a trend of Tinsley getting injured at the end of the season. Does this concern anyone else.


I don't recall if he was injured during the Celts series in 2003.

No, he was our best player besides JO against Boston.




wow. I think Artest was the Pacers second best player in that disaster of a series. The best point guard play I saw from a Pacer player was in game 5 when Tim Hardaway came in and played well.

I distinctively remember Tinsley being taken out because Tony Delk was abusing Tiinsley.

Are we talking about the same series. I am talking about the 2003 series in which the pacers lost 4-2.

wintermute
08-14-2004, 02:31 AM
all i remember about tinsley from that series was that he shot well from the 3 pt line.

Kegboy
08-14-2004, 02:34 AM
I just realized there is a trend of Tinsley getting injured at the end of the season. Does this concern anyone else.


I don't recall if he was injured during the Celts series in 2003.

No, he was our best player besides JO against Boston.




wow. I think Artest was the Pacers second best player in that disaster of a series. The best point guard play I saw from a Pacer player was in game 5 when Tim Hardaway came in and played well.

I distinctively remember Tinsley being taken out because Tony Delk was abusing Tiinsley.

Are we talking about the same series. I am talking about the 2003 series in which the pacers lost 4-2.


All I remember about Ron that series was him hogging the ball and Pierce burning him over and over. And I believe the general consensous afterwards was people were surprised Tinsley played so well after he fell apart during the season.

Looking at the boxscores (since I know you love stats so much), Tinsley put up some damn good numbers the first 4 games, then something happened. He only played 11 minutes in game 5 (the Timmay OT game), and 22 in game 6, both with nothing to show for it. Maybe he did get hurt, or Zeke pulled him. The recaps don't say anything, does anybody remember?

Here's the link. Just scroll down to the very bottom for the Boston series.

http://www.nba.com/pacers/schedule/results_2002.html

Unclebuck
08-14-2004, 10:36 AM
Kegboy, I have the tapes so I could go back and watch those games, but that series was such a disaster I don't think I could stomach it.

As you correctly stated I am not a stats guy, but one individual stat I do look at is minutes played. In fact that is the first stat I look at after a game and generally the only stat I look at. A coach will play the guys who he believes will help the team win.

As I remember it Tinsley was pulled for bad play, but even if he was injured then that even makes my point even better about Tinsley always getting inured late in the season.


Kegboy you have a very selective memory about the Artest and Pierce matchup. Pierce had a great 4th quarter in game 1, Artest fouled out about halfway through the scoring binge and Pierce brought the Celts back from a 16 point deficit in game 4 with another scoring binge. None other than Tommy Henson said during that serries that no one defends Pierce better than Artest. Artest defended Pierce as well as anyone could but the help defense was horrible in 2003, unlike 2004.

Kegboy
08-14-2004, 02:54 PM
Well, I could say you have the same selective memory about Tinsley. :p

Going on your minutes argument, Tinsley played the following minutes: 43, 39, 32, 38, 11, and 22. Besides the last two games I already pointed out, he played a lot of minutes and put up good numbers (he gave up good numbers too, but at least he kept it from being one-sided, which was more than expected of him going in.)

As for my selective memory about Ron, I remember him fouling out in games 1 and 6, and again getting burned bad in game 4. You can criticize Tinsley's defense just as easily, but he wasn't depended on for his defense, like Ron is. People say Ron played bad in the Detroit series, but IMO he played much better than he did against Boston the previous year.

Anthem
08-14-2004, 04:27 PM
I am so glad we didn't sign Mercer.