What Are Best Options For Roster Moves?

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Conrad Brunner

Q. With the recent news that Peja Stojakovic has agreed to an offer with the Hornets, I'm concerned the Pacers have major issues that need addressing. While Danny Granger had a productive rookie season and should be a decent starter, there is a lack of depth at the small forward position. Shawne Williams should be solid but as Larry Bird hinted he will be more of a power forward. As for the point guard situation, Anthony Johnson doesn't look like the clear-cut starter. In my opinion, the Pacers have three options: they could leave things as they are, they could look for someone in the free agent market (which is relatively weak this year), or they could trade. Which of these options (if any) will the Pacers choose? (From Oakley in Freeland, Wash.)

A. First, let's ask everyone in Pacerland to take a deep breath, let it out slowly and repeat after me: "It's only July 5, the regular season is four months away, they haven't started passing out rings and banners quite yet." There's absolutely no rationale to panic about the roster as it stands today, or to pass final judgment on the team's offseason moves when said offseason has scarcely begun.

Assuming the signing of draft picks Williams and James White, the Pacers have five players capable of sharing the load at shooting guard and small forward. Stephen Jackson, Fred Jones, White, Williams and Granger.

As you can see, there's not exactly a talent shortage. There are those who believe Granger should emerge as the starting small forward next season, regardless of developments on the free-agent market, because of his all-around game. In his final five regular-season starts, remember, he averaged 18.2 points and 10.0 rebounds.

This is not to say the roster is complete or the rotations as you see them now will resemble those in November and beyond. The point is, as painful as the weekend news was to absorb, it is a blow relatively well-cushioned by the fabric of the roster. The Pacers have some flexibility in free agency with three exceptions (mid-level, million-dollar and trade), but the trade market is the most likely place for a major move or two, and it won't heat up for a least a week or two.


It appears from all of the Pacers Media type anyway, they are determined to have Granger play some 2 this year.