I have to admit that as a fan dating back to the Reggie days I have never been as disinterested in the Pacers as I was the past two seasons. Now granted we all have things that are happening in our lives, some of us move to new states, some of us get new jobs, and some of us are even lucky enough to get married. With that said the Pacers most definitely have a lot of fans to win back. Now I do agree that winning brings fans back, but more on that later.
So let’s just assume hypothetically that all of us have won the lottery and as of today, June 1st 2008, we have purchased the Indiana Pacers. Now throwing out the joking comments like “Go take a vacation for a year” or “Go marry X celebrity and hire Linday Lohan as my part entertainment” what would you do to realistically win fans back.
I am not really sure how well this will go over but what I would like to do is just lay the ground work for a few changes I would make and then expand on them as time goes on. They are, in no particular order:
• Ownership and front office
• Financial Management / Player Management (I am not really aware of all the tv deals and money the team gets away from tickets so I decided to group these two together)
• Marketing/winning fans back
I have been working on this draft but if anyone wants to add to this list please feel free to do so.
So just to start this off let’s look at: Ownership and front office
We can assume that you are the sole owner just to keep things simple.
Owner – Final call on all player moves, trades, contract negotiations, draft picks, and all of the business sides of the house (merchandise, tickets, parking, etc…..)
The only big thing I would like to do would be to be more “hand’s on”. Now I know some people really like how the Simons go about their business, but I for one appreciate the Mark Cuban kind of hands on. Now the blog can be a little over the top at times (although I check it regularly and enjoy it) and the getting into it with refs can be over the top, but I love his intensity and I love how he goes about what he does. There is a fine line between going over the top and being “involved”, but this is something I would love to see the Pacers do. I know they do a meeting before the season with season ticket holder, and while that is a start I would like to see them do more. Maybe set up an email address where anyone can contact the owner. Maybe do a radio show where you can take questions and answers. On second thought that would probably be a bad idea but I am just throwing things out and seeing what sticks.
Jim Morris – Day to day operations of Pacers, Fever and the field house
Larry Bird – Runs the Pacers side of the house from a basketball standpoint, just from what I have read/heard about him I would image he will still do some scouting
David Morway – contract negotiations, runs all basketball decisions and then runs them by Larry Bird.
(Thanks to smoothdave1 from which I borrowed some of our management teams responsibilities)
Now there is no doubt that we can argue that our front office has been burnt on a few occasions. Now mind you I didn’t say they were “horrible” or “incompetent”. I simply do not think that is correct. Many wanted Donnie to take risks and he did. He got burnt badly by Ronnie and the brawl and more recently he has been burnt by JO and Tinsley. Now I happen to think part of that problem is over loyalty (which we saw with one Jonathan Bender, but the truth is if we didn’t pay JO that money he would have got in elsewhere). Now part of the problem is also perception and personally I do think that won’t be solved until everyone from the brawl is shipped out, but more on that later on.
With that said Donnie is gone so now we start a new chapter in Pacers basketball management.
We all know Larry has to prove himself. I personally think he can do better than he has (There is no way to get around it, Runi was a bust). Larry has surrounded himself with good people, but the question is will he be able to work well A. with his players and B. with other gm’s. Now I am not sure if this has been discussed, but I would assume Larry would be the one on the phones making the trades. I may incorrect and that may be part of David Morways responsibilities. I think it is common knowledge JO and Larry don’t like each other, so if Larry is hell-bent on trading JO (and Tinsley for that matter) I would like to see us get something decent in return. Even if we can’t equal value, I think a lot of how this “rebuild” will be viewed will depend on how much we get back. I guess there could be a discussion of if we really are going to be through a "rebuild" or just "re-tooling", but either way big changes are coming and what we get in return will have a big impact on if, and how soon we get the casual fans back.
In conclusion I do think we have a front office that is very capable of turning this team around, and with some youth making this team a playoff contender in a two or three years, but I am very interested to see how Bird interacts with the players along with what moves he makes, if any. I also am really happy to have Morway in his new positions, he has been really instrumental behind the scenes (Peja trade) and I am glad to see him get recognized for that.