August 2, 2006
Ask the Expert
Posted by Mike Wells
Not a whole lot of new info from Wells but I do enjoy reading his take on subjects that have already been discussed.
First off, I want to apologize for not posting people's comments sooner. We have a new system where the comments don't come to my email inbox anymore. Now I know where I can find them.
(Scott) Question: Could you please answer a Jonathan Bender question for me. Do the Pacers have to pay his 7.8 million dollar salary next season?
(Answer): A team insurance policy will cover Bender’s $7.7 million salary next season. His salary, however, doesn’t count against the Pacers’ salary cap or luxury tax.
(Brandon) Question: The Pacer moves in the off season have been ok. I didn't like the trading of A.J., but getting rid of Croshere was a gift from god. Upon acquiring Baby Al (if we do so?) would the Pacers be able to sign another big name free agent such as Bonzi Wells? The Pacers need a scorer that could assist Jermaine with some of the scoring load. Stephen Jackson is far to inconsistent. What are our chances and have we engaged in negotiations w/ Sacramento?
(Answer): I’ll keep this short. Bonzi is not coming to Indiana. Team officials have said they have no interest in the former Ball State star. He doesn’t fit into what they’re trying to do on and off the court.
(George) Question: OK Lets assume that Harrington is returning back to Pacer Land what would be a better line up for the Pacers to compete for an NBA Title Tinsley Jackson Foster O'Neal Harrington Or Tinsley Jackson O'Neal Harrington Granger??? Keeping in mind that they want to run more.
(Answer): How Granger is able to handle his minutes at small forward will determine if he starts or if the Pacers go with Foster at center, O’Neal at power forward and Harrington at small forward. Granger doesn’t lack confidence, but he gets a little overwhelmed at times. You can also bring Granger off the bench with the second unit for added scoring. You also have to look at whether O’Neal wants to log heavy minutes at center. Foster will likely start if O’Neal doesn’t want to play much center.
(Bill) Question: What are the Pacers trying to accomplish this offseason? They got rid of their best point guard, but still have 5 left. They have two centers who are injury prone and one who pouts. They top it all off by having no long range shooters. Are they trying to make Jermaine understand how KG feels or what?
(Answer): The Pacers are attempting to change their image on and off the court. They want athletic, interchangeable players and they want to improve team chemistry. The Pacers will take a significant step in becoming that type of team if they’re still able to acquire Al Harrington in a sign-and-trade deal. Anthony Johnson was the Pacers best point guard the past two seasons because Jamaal Tinsley couldn’t avoid getting injured or having some kind of illness sideline him. As it’s been said before, the Pacers feel Tinsley gives them their best chance at winning if (that’s a BIG if) he’s healthy. There were numerous concerns that Johnson wouldn’t handle coming off the bench next season.
I’ve seen Jermaine a couple of times this summer and this is the best shape I’ve seen him since I’ve been in Indianapolis. Pacer fans have to hope he looks like the player that finished third in the MVP voting several seasons ago and puts the injuries of the past two seasons behind him.
(Chris) Question: Do you think Larry is going to put any pressure on Coach this year to play Saras more, or let him flounder on the end of the bench again?
(Answer): Bird said at the end of the season that he feels Jasikevicius is a point guard and not a shooting guard, but I don’t see the Pacers president trying to tell Carlisle how to do is job. Jasikevicius had plenty of chances to secure a spot in the rotation. He started the season strong, earning an invitation to the Rookie Challenge game, but then he hit a wall. The 82-game season caught up with his body. He couldn’t make his shots and he lost confidence, which caused him to fall to third string. There had been talk that Jasikevicius was on the trading block, but it looks like he’ll be back for his second season with the Pacers. Jasikevicius is experienced enough where I would be surprised if he didn’t come back mentally and physically ready to be a steady backup next season.
(Eddie) Question: I Just looked at Jones deal with Toronto 3 yrs 11M. It seems to me the pacers could have afforded a similar offer. Why let a good player going into the prime of his career walk away Please explain.
(Answer): The writing was on the wall for Jones when the Pacers didn’t offer him an extension during the preseason last year. He had a poor training camp and didn’t live up to expectations during the regular season. There’s no question Jones is talented, but he didn’t put in the time to become a better player. The Pacers would have been taking a risk by giving Jones another contract because there was the possibility that he wouldn’t work hard after securing a multi-year deal. I agree with the Pacers’ decision to let him walk.