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Thread: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

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    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

    Sam Smith might be crazy, but there is some interesting stuff in here.



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    INSIDE THE NBA

    2 Hall of Famers, 1 savvy GM
    Sam Smith
    On Pro Basketball

    June 12, 2006

    There's a wonderful symmetry at work with two NBA franchises. Both are run by Hall of Famers who played for the Celtics. Both have superstar-level players whose values have diminished, and both are in transition.

    But only one, the Pacers with Larry Bird, knows it's in transition. The Timberwolves with Kevin McHale don't.

    Apparently not much has changed since the 1980s when Bird and McHale combined with Robert Parish as probably the best frontcourt in NBA history. Bird was the serious, hard-driving one always looking forward to getting better. McHale had the talent, if not necessarily the vision.

    That's why the talk fast-breaking around the NBA these days is that the Pacers are pushing for major moves involving their star forward, Jermaine O'Neal, while the Timberwolves are sitting back with their star forward, Kevin Garnett, and expected to go forward with pretty much what they have.

    It remains highly unlikely that Minnesota will trade Garnett. The Timberwolves are said to be looking to move their No. 6 draft pick for a veteran to complement Garnett, though it's hard to imagine they could get someone significant at that level in this draft. With Larry Brown likely out as New York's coach, it seems the Knicks will keep Stephon Marbury. So maybe the Timberwolves will make a deal for Steve Francis, who actually could help. But they look like a team just trying to make the playoffs in Garnett's waning years. What's the point?

    The Pacers understand their situation better, which is why they've been one of the most forward-thinking franchises in the league. Rather than risk going down slowly after making the Finals in 2000, they broke up their team without falling to the bottom and quickly returned to championship contention. Because of Ron Artest and the big brawl against Detroit, the plan fell apart. They made the playoffs last season, but they understand the goals are larger. They could make the playoffs again with the team they have, but why bother?

    That's why they're said to be one of the teams talking with Toronto about a trade for the No. 1 pick. Although it has been rumored that Toronto will pick Italian 7-footer Andrea Bargnani, I don't believe that. It's clear Chris Bosh, the Raptors' star forward, doesn't want that, and priority No. 1 is extending Bosh's contract. Plus, as a first-year general manager, Bryan Colangelo probably doesn't want to take such a risk with the No. 1 pick in a draft with personnel experts saying any one of six players could justify a top pick.

    One of the rumors from Toronto has been that the Raptors would add a veteran inside player to ease the burden on Bosh and try to be a playoff team immediately. Memphis' Pau Gasol has been mentioned, and one could make a case for the Grizzlies trying to get younger and save some money with an ownership change apparently imminent. The other rumor is a deal for the Pacers' O'Neal, who could be the kind of low-post presence to ease the strain on Bosh.

    Bosh is said to be pushing for Texas forward LaMarcus Aldridge as the No. 1 pick. They're even working out together now. But it would be hard for the Raptors to say no to O'Neal, a perennial All-Star.

    The talk is the Pacers would throw in their No. 17 pick, which would give the Raptors a shot at a point guard and a team ready to compete next season. The Pacers would get back forward Charlie Villanueva, whom Colangelo is said to be willing to deal.

    There are some other factors which suggest a major Pacers' makeover.

    Pacers coach Rick Carlisle is entering the final year of his four-year contract with no extension likely. He's done a remarkable job in some respects with all the turmoil from suspensions and injuries, but Bird said at the end of the season that Carlisle "probably did lose the team" at times.

    Bird also said when he left the Pacers' coaching job after three seasons that three is probably the optimum run for a coach with one group of players. Insiders say Bird privately was lobbying for major moves last summer because he envisioned the fit wouldn't work anymore, but he was persuaded by ownership to endorse the current coaching staff. Now it seems Bird has been vindicated and will have a freer hand to make moves.

    One rumor is the Pacers would take Gonzaga guard/forward Adam Morrison at No. 1 if they made the deal. But it seems more likely they'd try to re-sign Peja Stojakovic and draft a big man, probably Aldridge, to pair with Villanueva, and then move Stephen Jackson and Jamaal Tinsley and be back in contention sooner than many would expect.

    The Timberwolves could do something similar, though I'm convinced they won't. In fact, the way the NBA is going these days with the perimeter dominance, if I were the Bulls I'm not sure I'd even want Garnett anymore and probably would just use my draft picks. But if Minnesota could get both first-round picks and a player, say Ben Gordon or Luol Deng, for Garnett, wouldn't they have to consider that? It would give them an exciting young nucleus. But, heck, if you can get to eighth in the West, why change?

    All that Jazz

    The Jazz finally got Brigham Young star Rafael Araujo, whom the Raptors took No. 8 in 2004. Araujo doesn't figure to be a starter, but he's a big body to help with Greg Ostertag having retired. And the Raptors could get something out of Kris Humphries, who never got a chance with Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur signed after that draft. The Jazz, though, continues to look at big men, suggesting it might have a deal for Boozer. The Jazz is said to be looking at Bradley's Patrick O'Bryant, UConn's Hilton Armstong, Duke's Shelden Williams--whose workouts hint he might go top 10--and Saer Sena, the 7-footer from Senegal who impressed Karl Malone in a workout. Said Malone: "He's hungry; he didn't start playing until 2003."

    Addition by subtraction

    Maybe the NBA should just disband several franchises and make a stronger league. How about Charlotte, Memphis, Atlanta and Portland to start?

    The Bobcats have now run out their president, chief operating officer and marketing head in the last two weeks amid declining ticket sales despite a new arena. The Trail Blazers remain for sale, and bankruptcy even has been mentioned. The Grizzlies are for sale, and there's talk of a group including former NBA player Christian Laettner coming in and cutting back. And last week a Maryland judge ruled in favor of former Atlanta part-owner Steve Belkin's claim that he be allowed to buy out the partners who ran him out, setting up more appeals and a franchise in chaos. Then there's Seattle for sale and seeking a new arena and the Jazz talking of losing millions annually.

    Hey, but it's been a good playoffs.

    Mile-high news

    Shawn Kemp gave himself a positive review after working out for the Nuggets at a free-agent camp. He told Denver reporters: "I wanted to make it through every drill, through every play and not come up hurt, not take any plays off, and I was able to do that. I actually surprised myself with my speed. I ran better than most of the big guys here." Kemp, who hasn't played since 2002-03, said he'll work out for Dallas. . . .

    Denver coach George Karl says he hasn't spoken to Kenyon Martin since he suspended Martin in the playoffs. Said Karl: "We have a frontcourt situation which Kenyon, Marcus (Camby), Nene, Carmelo (Anthony) all want to be paid $10 million. You can't have that. So there's going to have to be some cleaning out there."

    Double dribbles

    Gonzaga's Morrison says not to worry about his diabetes and mentions players who succeeded with the disease, like Chris Dudley in basketball, Bobby Clarke in hockey and Ron Santo in baseball. Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff was so impressed with Morrison's workout that he said Morrison might not get to them at No. 3. . . . Former Bull Jason Williams, trying to come back from his 2003 motorcycle accident, has worked out for or is expected to see the Raptors, Grizzlies and Nets. . . . Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said on New York radio that his relationship with Heat coach Pat Riley has been strained with the early-season departure of his brother, Stan as Miami coach. Jeff added: "I don't think they're any better coached this year than they have been in the last two years with Stan."

    Finals thoughts

    Something special about this year's Finals is two guys we didn't expect to see there, Magic Johnson and Alonzo Mourning. Johnson, who 15 years ago was diagnosed with the AIDS virus, worked for TNT leading up to the Finals and remains the NBA's No. 1 ambassador. Mourning, in his first Finals with the Heat, was diagnosed with kidney disease six years ago and had a transplant.

    "Everyone thought I was going to die, like a year later," Johnson, 46, told CNN in an interview earlier this year. "Most people who are healthy, and I'm healthy, can't even live my life. Trust me. I get up at 5:30, 6 every morning. I run a couple of miles. I lift weights, and then I'm at work until 8, 9 at night. The only time I think about HIV is when I have to take my medicine twice a day."

    Said Mourning: "I give everything I've got. It ain't a matter of pacing myself. I just go as hard as I can. Tomorrow isn't guaranteed."

    "Next year isn't guaranteed. It's not guaranteed this team will be together. Who knows?"
    Copyright © 2006, The Chicago Tribune

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    Member Frank Slade's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves

    Nice find UB... forgetting this is Sam Smith for a moment , there does seem to be a ring of truth to at least portions of the article... and if Bird still truly feels that he was unable to make "Major Moves" last summer, who else could that be in reference too but JO and or Tinsley..

    edit: or I guess he could of been referencing Artest,even though it would appear he was in Ronnie's corner publically.

    Although giving up both our 17th and JO for Villanueva and the 1 does not make sense Money wise,not to speak of how it does not match up talent wise..

    Dollars wise Toronto could trade
    Villanueva, Mike James, Mo Pete, Alvin Williams and their #1
    for Jo and the 17th pick.. strictly numbers wise that matches up. unless I am missing something in regards to Toronto being under the cap ?

    Why Not Us ?


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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves

    In regards to Bird wanting to make major moves last summer (which I think is the most newsworthy portion of the article) if you remember last summer right after the season, Bird was very critical of JO suggesting that he really needs to stand up and be the leader. I was surprised Bird said that in the media, but that might add a little credence to what Sam is writing here.

    And we pretty much know that JO was offered for Bosh last summer. We also learned that Jax, JO, went to TPTB and asked they keep the team together, and we know that the owners liked Ron a lot.

    You add everything up now, and yes it is very believeable that Bird wanted to make major moved last summer but was more or less talked out of it. Well that's history now, but what that means is he will make major moves this summer.

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    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

    We've been told somewhere that the Simons have put the kibosh on moving Artest in the past. Was that supposedly last summer or was that the summer prior to the brawl (following Artest's playoff meltdown)?

    BTW... I thought the local media has always told us the Simons were 'hands off' kind of owners and let the basketball people run the team?

    -Bball
    Nuntius was right. I was wrong. Frank Vogel has retained his job.

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    "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, thatís teamwork."

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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

    The other rumor is a deal for the Pacers' O'Neal, who could be the kind of low-post presence to ease the strain on Bosh
    Is this what jermO meant when he said he could use some help from a big man?
    Don't thank me, I'll kill ya.

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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck
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    Well that's history now, but what that means is he will make major moves this summer.
    Let us hope so anyway...

    -Bball
    Nuntius was right. I was wrong. Frank Vogel has retained his job.

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    "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, thatís teamwork."

    -John Wooden

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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

    You never know for sure what this team is going to do until it's done. That's just the way its always been. It's frustrating the way this franchise keeps everyone snowed. We have been hearing "BIG MOVES BIG MOVES BIG MOVES!!!" for at least the last three off seasons and what have we gotten? Brad for Scot and Al for Stephen. Not exactly blockbusters. I don't count the Artest for Peja deal because it was during the season and wouldn't have happened if it hadn't been forced upon us by he who we do not speak of. Hell, the only strokes of luck this franchise has gotten the last couple years was helping Reggie make it to the playoffs in his final season (which that was more heart than luck) and snagging Granger in last years draft (definitely luck and great scouting). All in all the only thing we can do is sit back and pray that Donnie and Larry make the right decisions and hope we are happy with those decisions.

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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

    Wait a minute, I just read this part again

    Insiders say Bird privately was lobbying for major moves last summer because he envisioned the fit wouldn't work anymore, but he was persuaded by ownership to endorse the current coaching staff. Now it seems Bird has been vindicated and will have a freer hand to make moves.


    And it is less clear to me now. Something doesn't make sense. The part I have in bold. When was he pursuaded to endorse the current coaching staff? Last summer or this summer. When I first read that I thought the major moves were in regards to player moves, but if you re-read that it is talking about coaching staff.

    I need Bball to read between the lines here.

    Why can't these professional writers be more clear.

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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

    I'm all for major moves but not involving JO, unless it involves getting a clearly better player here for him.

    I'd love getting KG.

    I don't think JO is a top 10 player, but he is solidly in the 12-20 range with the ability to be a top 10 player when healthy and well-motivated, and thus far above offers like Villanueva and a high draft pick in a crappy draft.

    Trading a top 15 player for two in the 75-100 range is not a good move, EVER.
    The poster "pacertom" since this forum began (and before!). I changed my name here to "Slick Pinkham" in honor of the imaginary player That Bobby "Slick" Leonard picked late in the 1971 ABA draft (true story!)

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    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

    Quote Originally Posted by Bball
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    We've been told somewhere that the Simons have put the kibosh on moving Artest in the past. Was that supposedly last summer or was that the summer prior to the brawl (following Artest's playoff meltdown)?

    BTW... I thought the local media has always told us the Simons were 'hands off' kind of owners and let the basketball people run the team?

    -Bball
    There was an article sometime after Ron was traded February (or was in in either MM or Wells Q&A about how the owners did not want to trade Artest)

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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

    If this is true, then it is refreshing. This means that Bird is not buying into the "minor tweaks" theory. I'm not saying that JO and the 17th for CV3 and the 1st is a good trade, but the idea that Larry is not happy with the team is refreshing.

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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck
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    Wait a minute, I just read this part again

    Insiders say Bird privately was lobbying for major moves last summer because he envisioned the fit wouldn't work anymore, but he was persuaded by ownership to endorse the current coaching staff. Now it seems Bird has been vindicated and will have a freer hand to make moves.


    And it is less clear to me now. Something doesn't make sense. The part I have in bold. When was he pursuaded to endorse the current coaching staff? Last summer or this summer. When I first read that I thought the major moves were in regards to player moves, but if you re-read that it is talking about coaching staff.

    I need Bball to read between the lines here.

    Why can't these professional writers be more clear.

    I wondered about that too UB. Re-reading that you get the feeling Bird was ready to insert a new coaching staff LAST year and was told NO. I can't imagine that inserting Kevin O'Neal was how he wanted to change the staff either. But then again you have to ask yourself, "Just how much does this writer really know about the Pacer situation?"
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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

    Last year is when we had Mike Brown who now coach's Cleveland. I liked the coaching staff better with him. In fact I thought everyone did.

    Another thought, according to this it's the Simon's that want to go slow. Peck and others have always blamed Donnie for not making fast enough changes, but now an argument could be made that the team is run the way the Simon's want it run.

    Next year when Donnie's contract is up will be interesting. I think the Simon's will make every effort to keep him because he seems to accept the Simon's pace whereas Bird doesn't.

    Interesting article! Very interesting! Good post UB!

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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

    If we are going to move JO to move up in the draft,

    I wonder if Houston would part with McGrady and their #8 for JO and our #17.

    We take the risk of T-Mac's back blowing up, but we draft a solid PG at #8 and start:

    Jeff or Hulk
    Danny
    Peja
    TMac
    AJ/rookie PG

    I could go for that if docs clear T-Mac.
    The poster "pacertom" since this forum began (and before!). I changed my name here to "Slick Pinkham" in honor of the imaginary player That Bobby "Slick" Leonard picked late in the 1971 ABA draft (true story!)

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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck
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    Wait a minute, I just read this part again

    Insiders say Bird privately was lobbying for major moves last summer because he envisioned the fit wouldn't work anymore, but he was persuaded by ownership to endorse the current coaching staff. Now it seems Bird has been vindicated and will have a freer hand to make moves.


    I need Bball to read between the lines here.

    Why can't these professional writers be more clear.
    Maybe Larry told the Simons something like: "We're in trouble. This collection of players is not going to mesh. They will make life very difficult for Rick and make his job impossible"

    The Simons: "Larry, we don't make trades for the sake of trades. When we all decide there is a problem then we'll take some time to decide the best direction and address it a few months later once we talk to Donnie and we all can agree it's time to make a move... or thereabouts. Nothing rash. We don't won't to jump the gun. Isn't that right, Donnie?"

    Donnie "Patience... We must have patience"

    The Simons "So Larry, why don't you just make sure and endorse Rick and get his back so these players know who is boss"



    -Bball
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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Slade
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    Nice find UB... forgetting this is Sam Smith for a moment , there does seem to be a ring of truth to at least portions of the article... and if Bird still truly feels that he was unable to make "Major Moves" last summer, who else could that be in reference too but JO and or Tinsley..

    edit: or I guess he could of been referencing Artest,even though it would appear he was in Ronnie's corner publically.

    Although giving up both our 17th and JO for Villanueva and the 1 does not make sense Money wise,not to speak of how it does not match up talent wise..

    Dollars wise Toronto could trade
    Villanueva, Mike James, Mo Pete, Alvin Williams and their #1
    for Jo and the 17th pick.. strictly numbers wise that matches up. unless I am missing something in regards to Toronto being under the cap ?
    Toronto is under the salary cap, so matching salaries is not an issue in any potential trade with them.
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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

    I thought it was pretty clear he was referring to Larry wanting a coaching change.

    However, didn't Jay tell us before that Monday columns are where Smith just throws crap on the wall to see what sticks, and it's mostly just BS?

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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks
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    However, didn't Jay tell us before that Monday columns are where Smith just throws crap on the wall to see what sticks, and it's mostly just BS?


    Yes he does, but they are still enjoyable to read.

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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

    This doesn't seem to be the "Sam pretends he's the GM of the Bulls" schtick that we normally see on a Monday - that's when he's clearly just making stuff up and calling it "opinion". This seems to have some research behind it. It could all be wrong (unless he's relying on an unnamed Vecsey he's rarely got the Pacers behind-the-scenes stuff right) but I don't know what to think about this one.

    I didn't see a column from Sam in the print edition yesterday.

    Nevermind, I did see it. For the fourth time in this season's playoffs, he attempted to predict Shaq's demise. So far he's 0-3, with some massive games against the Bulls and Pistons along the way.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck
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    Yes he does, but they are still enjoyable to read.


    Yes, I just love journalism as entertainment.

    Anyway, regardless of who wrote this, I find it very hard to believe that Larry wanted to get rid of Rick last year. Maybe he wanted to get a better replacement for Mike, as opposed to just promoting O'Neill and making Chuck official, but that's it.
    Come to the Dark Side -- There's cookies!

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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

    All I can think is that more & more our team is a mess because our upper management is a mess.

    It appears we have a vast differance of philosophy's between the Simons/Walsh & Bird.

    Every single article I read keeps saying that last season Bird was ready to chuck this team.

    I truely wonder if Bird will stay once Donnie leaves because if the Simons are actually behind the slow moves then I wonder if Bird will tolerate it that long.

    BTW Will, I agree. If it has been the Simons all of these years my entire world view will have to be changed.

    Either way though, if the article is true I will say this. It makes me happy, I like the way Bird is not content. We've had 20 years of contentment & I look forward to something new, if we get to see it.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

    It seems that everyone in the media keeps saying how good Brandon Roy is. If we got Roy, he could fill a void in our backcourt, especially if we deal Jackson. Say we do this deal with Toronto.... why not pick Roy? If we don't are we going to regret it later?

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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

    Quote Originally Posted by Peck
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    Every single article I read keeps saying that last season Bird was ready to chuck this team.
    Maybe that's the spin... "We really were concerned about this team, Larry even spotted it but the players persuaded us to give them one final chance together."

    Sounds like revisionist history to me. Aren't they basically admitting they let the inmates run the asylum or that they didn't really believe this enough to "pound the table" and insist that it was the right action.

    In this case, I still think actions speak louder than words.

    Will says Bird is in charge. Everyone else thinks DW is in charge. But nobody did anything to prevent the problem that Bird now allegedly saw last summer. If that's even true?

    These guys have gone from "good liars" to "bad liars".
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay@Section204
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    revisionist history
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    Default Re: Sam Smith on the Pacers: Bird making major moves involving JO

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam
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    The Pacers understand their situation better, which is why they've been one of the most forward-thinking franchises in the league. Rather than risk going down slowly after making the Finals in 2000, they broke up their team without falling to the bottom and quickly returned to championship contention.
    How can the darksiders like an article which has this gem in it?

    As far as Smith on Larry being talked to by ownership: it was written inregards to coaching changes.

    Edit: I agree with Jay.
    "They could turn out to be only innocent mathematicians, I suppose," muttered Woevre's section officer, de Decker.

    "'Only.'" Woevre was amused. "Someday you'll explain to me how that's possible. Seeing that, on the face of it, all mathematics leads, doesn't it, sooner or later, to some kind of human suffering."

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