View Full Version : Mark Montieth's Q&A, some interesting stuff

08-16-2004, 11:15 AM
Mark must have cleaned out the bottom of the question box because there are a couple of strange questions.


Mark Montieth: Pacers Q&A

August 16, 2004

Question: Do you think anything might happen with the "rumor" of Ron Artest for Peja Stojakovic? Ron is a great all-around player who has shown improvement this past last year, but that means nothing if he doesn't really play when it counts. Peja does. If the "rumor" becomes reality, do you think Peja would be good for the Pacers? (Matt from Indianapolis)

Answer: I believe that trade remains a possibility, but not until late September or early October.

I don't know that you can say Artest doesn't play when it counts and Stojakovic does. Artest didn't play well consistently against the Pistons, but was very good against the Celtics and Heat. Stojakovic played poorly in the playoffs this past season and was criticized by many people in Sacramento -- including Chris Webber -- but he played very well in the 2003 postseason. It's too early to brand either player a "choker."

As for whether Artest or Stojakovic is better for the Pacers, that could be debated endlessly. And if you listen to local talk radio, it will be. Artest is obviously a far better defender, and defense wins championships (so they tell us).

Stojakovic's shooting ability would open up the court and allow players such as Jamaal Tinsley, Stephen Jackson and Jonathan Bender to penetrate. If you add him to Reggie Miller, Bender and Jackson, the Pacers would have one of the best shooting teams in the NBA. But every time another player goes off for 30 against them, people would long for Artest.

Question: If defense wins championships, why would the Pacer organization even consider giving up the Defensive Player of the Year for Peja? Or is this more about Larry Bird wanting a white all-star player for our team? (Terrelle from Indianapolis)

Answer: I don't think race has anything to do with it. Stojakovic is a special shooter, probably the best in the league, and would be a welcome addition to any team. It's debatable whether it would be wise to trade Artest for him, but some people believe Artest brings too many distractions. You also could argue Artest will continue to mature, however.

Question: Do you think that if the speculated trade involving Ron Artest and Peja Stojakovic goes through, the Pacers will finally have that replacement for Reggie Miller on the roster that they have been looking for? I am looking forward to getting his replacement, but I think getting rid of Ronnie at this point would be taking a big chance.

We had a pretty great thing going last year (you would have to to get to the conference finals) and I think making this trade would change too much of the team and its style. Do you think we could still be prepped for a championship after this trade? Or will Reggie retire without a ring? (John from Lakewood, Ohio)

Answer: You make good arguments for keeping Artest and a lot of people would agree with you. The Pacers believe they acquired Miller's replacement in Stephen Jackson, however. Stojakovic is a small forward, primarily, rather than a shooting guard.

The Pacers are likely to be a title contender whether they make the trade or not. It's certainly possible, even probable, that Miller will retire without a ring, however. In other words, their odds of winning the title next season are likely to be less than 50-50.

Question: With the Pacers set at the guard spot, and Jermaine O'Neal basically pleading for another big body (to match up with the Pistons come playoff time), how are the Pacers planning to use Jonathon Bender in the upcoming season with his size, quickness, and shooting? Should we expect a bigger, stronger Bender at the 4/5 spot or a leaner quicker Bender at the 3/4 spot? (Jeremy from Providence, R.I.)

Answer: I believe you'll see a bigger, stronger Bender at the 3/4 spot. I don't think he can get much leaner. I'm told he's working hard this summer. I've been told that every summer, and I have no reason to believe he lacks a legit work ethic. He reportedly is working more with personal trainers and coaches this summer.

I think you'll see Bender used much like Al Harrington was last season -- as a sixth man who can play either forward position. I believe he's more a shooting guard than a power forward, but I get the impression the Pacers will play him more on the frontline than in the backcourt.

I've always believed he has more advantages on the perimeter, however. He was the team's best 3-point shooter last season and can get by most people who will guard him out on the court. His lack of strength works against him around the basket, although he's quicker than most forwards.

Question: I read somewhere that Jermaine O'Neal has been wooing Erick Dampier to join the Pacers and that Jermaine has also requested management to help make room for Dampier. Is Dampier a priority compared to the likes of Peja Stojakovic? Also, does Dampier have any qualms regarding rejoining the Pacers considering he was traded for Chris Mullin years ago? (Noel from San Jose, Calif.)

Answer: I'm not sure where you read it, but that story originated in the Star. I talked with O'Neal a couple of weeks ago in Las Vegas and he talked of his desire for the Pacers to add a big man. Dampier, being a free agent, seems the most likely candidate, but the Warriors are unlikely to trade him and the Pacers have only about $2.5 million to spend on a free agent. They would like to sign him, but it might not be possible.

Dampier would love to come back to the Pacers. He's been saying that since they traded him in 1997, and has repeated that sentiment to friends this summer.

Question: I saw where Chris Mullin offered the Pacers Erick Dampier for Austin Croshere and Jonathan Bender. If this is true, why would Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh pass it up? (Bryson from Terre Haute, Ind.)

Answer: I wouldn't count on that being true, although it's possible. Croshere and Bender will receive nearly $15 million in salary next season, so the Pacers would have to give Dampier an outrageous contract, at least for one season, to make that trade. They're also very hesitant to give up Bender before he's had a legitimate chance to prove himself -- which should happen next season.

Question: As a kid growing up on 19th and Park in the early '60s my friends and I used to see a red and white bus pass through the neighborhood. It said on the side Indianapolis Warriors. I was wondering if that team was one of the original NBA franchises from back in the day. (Paul from DeRidder, La.)

Answer: Indianapolis has had professional teams called the Kautskys, Jets and Olympians, but I'm not aware of any Warriors. The city had no professional basketball team from 1953 through 1967. I'm sure one of our readers can identify the Warriors. I'm guessing they were a minor league team of some sort.

Question: I was just wondering if the Pacers are thinking of trading Scot Pollard. Coming into last season he was going to be the starter, but then he became a bench player. I personally think it would be good to trade him for a big man. (Chris from Kokomo, Ind.)

Answer: Pollard doesn't seem to be a good fit for the Pacers' style of play and they have drafted another center, so it's certainly possible Pollard will be traded. It's difficult to estimate his trade value, but a team with a need for an experienced center might be interested.

The Pacers aren't likely to get another big man back in trade, however. I've heard one "rumor" that they might trade Pollard to Atlanta for a draft pick and cash. The Hawks have room under the salary cap, and if they can't sign Erick Dampier they might be willing to absorb Pollard's salary.

08-16-2004, 11:24 AM
Why would a Peja/Artest trade, if it happens, have to be late September/early October? That's a very strange time to make a trade, especially for this franchise.

08-16-2004, 11:30 AM
Hicks, the only reason I could think of is if Peja threatens to not report to camp unless he is traded, or if Peja is even more insistant on being traded.