Well, I haven't been posting much lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't been lurking in the shadows all season long. I always enjoy coming here and reading everyones thoughts on all things Pacers. I'm not on the inside track, but I've been visiting PD for a while now, and it's still one of my top internet destinations.

Anyway, I figure I'll get a few things off my chest today, just for the record.

1. The season.
Wow. What a freakin' roller coaster that was. From the pre-season hype over Al Harrington to the off court problems with guns and fights to the 'trade', wow, some ride. The 'tank' was the straw that broke the camel's back. The icing on the cake. I'm glad that battle is over, but our war has just begun. It blows to be in no-man's land. Seriously, this is shameful. We're up the lottery without a pick. (unless of course, we get top three of course).

2. The 'Trade'.
Being out in NorCal, I get to see all the Warriors games on TV locally. Man, it's been tough. I actually like the Warriors a little, and after the trade, they have become so fun to watch. Wow. Seeing the way they ended the season, peaking at the right time, it's been both fun and painful. I'm stoked for the fanbase out here, and for the team, finally ending this crazy long playoff drought. Obviously, bringing Al and Jax to the team helped spark some much needed life into the squad, BUT, I feel that the exit of Murphleavy did just as much or more for the Warriors. The fans hated Dunleavy out here, justified or not, he just wasn't appreciated, mostly cause he never lived up to his draft hype.
I remember seeing the Pacers beat the Warriors at Oracle Arena in the 05/06 season. Great game, with Jax basically winning the game for us. I talked to a fan at the game about the rumored trades for Murphy at the time. I didn't want him then, and I didn't like that we traded for him this year.
So, I know Jax had to go this year. It was time. But I think the 4 player trade was a huge bust. Dunleavy has potential, but does he have 'clutch' potential? does he have 'closer' potential??? I don't see it. I like the guy, I'm sure he's a nice guy, but I don't know if I want him taking the last second 3 pointer.
I'm glad that Runi is gone, but I would've much rather seen Jax packaged up with Tinsley this year. MUCH rather. I advocated the trading of Tinsley last year, and I still advocate the trading of Tinsley now. Even if we would've taken a hit, I'd have rather taken my chance on keeping Al for another season than keeping Tin. Maybe Al had an attitude, but dang, half a season isn't much time to gel. Alright, so, sour grapes. It's done, it's over. I won't say anymore about the players that are gone.

3. Jermain O'Neal.
Damn. I have always loved JO. He's a great guy, he's been through alot with the Pacers. I do feel for his problems, and his injuries. I feel for the crap he's had to deal with. But he hasn't been alone. Everyone with the Pacers has had to deal with adversity. It happens. Ok, so the Pacers have had far more than their share these past few years. Like one long painful nightmare. However, JO wants to win. I don't think JO alone can lead the team to win the title. They had a window, but it's closed. JO and Tinsley aren't going to get it done. So, either big trades need to happen to compete with JO now, or he needs to ship out. I hate to say it, but I believe it's true. And I'll always be a JO fan, and I hope that someday he can get his ring, either here or there. But, he's not entitled to a ring, just as Reggie wasn't.

4. Coach Carlisle.
Ok, been a great run Rick. I've rooted for you and stuck by you. However, I now realize that you don't have enough fire, enough in your face drive, to capture the team and lead them all the way. (show me some passion damnit - get angry - yell, scream, kick - curse - passion - ok, not always, but sometime please) Ok, maybe someday you'll get to the finals, IF you keep coaching, that is. Perhaps you'll step off into the front office and that's where you'll stay with your pal Bird. We'll see real soon. Anyway, it sucks to have to leave as coach on such a sour note. But it's time for fresh blood on the sideline. This team has hit rock-bottom, and that means it's time to really change course. Another .500 season and out of the first round isn't going to cut it. I'd rather see a slow build up with new blood. That said, if you are still around, I'll be surprised and I guess we'll have to accept that.

5. Front office.
Wow, this is looking bad for them. Will be very interesting to see how the Simons react to this. Will Donny be back? Will Bird and Carlisle be scouting together as behind the scenes guys or what? Personally, I would suggest that it's time for Walsh to take a breather, BUT - if that means Bird takes his place, I'm not sure he's up to it honestly.

6. Tinsley.

7. Murphy or Dunleavy.
Trade one of them if at all possible.

8. Granger.
Give him another year to mature before letting him go if possible.

9. Daniels.
Can he stay healthy next season or is he gonna be a bench warmer next year too?

10. Now, some words of encouragement.
Life is hard. Life lessons come even harder. I know from experience, that sometimes it takes the hardest knock before you right the ship and get back on course. Life is about cycles. Periods of prosperity and periods of decline. It's often darkest before the dawn, and so forth, etc. So, if we are at our low point (let's hope we don't sink lower yet, but it's possible) -then we can look forward to better times ahead. A good rattle, a good shakeup - is just what this team needed once the tank had happened. Getting into the playoffs wouldn't given too much false hope. Not getting in is the best thing for this team. So, let us sit back, and watch the wheels of the Pacer organization continue to turn, and hope that all the changes that take place between now and the next season will be good ones.

Meanwhile, I'll be enjoying the Playoffs. Rooting for the Suns and the Warriors !