What a day this has been.
I'm just going to say it now, Bird is in charge and as of right now I like it.
This was one of the if not the most active draft days our team has ever had and I think in less than a 24 hour period Larry/David have managed to take our team from being a lower tier going nowhere franchise to being mediocre but at least with a direction.
Needless to say as you can imagine I am more than thrilled with the Raptors trade.
But before I get into breaking down the nights events for you I want to share some things.
I went to the fieldhouse tonight and let me tell you, there was a positive buzz in there. More than I have seen in years and I mean years.
When I was on the main concourse people of all types were talking about hte team and how excited they were for the new future. To me this didn't seem like people speaking out of the sides of their mouths, these people seemed genuinely happy for the first time in years about this team.
As the draft proceded you could feel the excitement level build and when Westbrook jumped all the way up to 4 there was almost a gasp that went across the fieldhouse.
There was some slight hope that Gordon was going to drop down to us but that was dashed quickly.
But as soon as our good friend Walsh picked Gallinari the section I was in once again began to light up. There was some serious hope of Lopez falling to us then when the Bucks picked Alexander and the Bobcats took Augustine we knew that one of two players we wanted would be there for us.
Of course there was also the real fear the Koufos would be called, but we were still hopefull.
Then Lopez went, a little sad but still that mean that Bayless was on the board.
Then came the announcement. Bayless name was called and our entire section erupted.
People were still talking and happy when out came Herb Simon and Jim O'Brien.
They got a very good round of applause btw. Herb spoke quietly and very breifly and turned over the mic to Jim.
While several people in our section were talking we heard Jim start talking about not thinking who is picked is who is picked. I immediatley said what the ****, is he talking about the 11 or is he talking about the 17? But we didn't know so everybody assumed that he meant the 17 or maybe he was even talking about something else. Nobody knew.
A few other picks go by, and by now we weren't paying as much attention to each pick and I was being lectured by kegboy about Bayless as I had no idea who he was or anything about him.
Then came Hibbert with the 17th pick. You would have thought we drafted the second coming with the reaction this got in the fieldhouse. I have no idea why but this was very popular. I think people were just thrilled because in one day we got rid of an albatross, replaced a useless point guard and now took a player to play center.
We were milling about in our section and everyone was universally happy. I mean even Kegboy was mildly impressed with the night so far.
Then it came.
It came like an F 5 Tornado striking a small town.
ESPN comes on and states that the Pacers have trade Bayless & etc., etc. to the Blazers.
The entire life was sucked out of our section. We had to have counciling sessions with Suaveness to keep him from jumping off of the balcony.
There were a lot of dejected and unhappy people at that moment.
However there were some of us, mostly me , who were still riding high on the fact that we had traded away Jermaine O'Neal.
So the debate began. Kegboy and Seth presented their case that Rush was who we needed all along.
Then BillS actually spoke with Slick, who said that Rush is who he wanted all night long.
So we went from high to low to back to middle ground.
I was still on a high as you would have had to have told me that they traded Granger for Artest to get me to come down after having the O'Neal trade finalized.
But overall even the most ardent hater of the trade and the biggest lover of the trade had to admit one thing.
Donnie Walsh was no longer in charge of this team. These were large bold strokes, strokes made by people who were not content and people who were willing to make change for the sake of change.
Now the truth is this, I have no idea who is better Bayless or Rush.
But I do know this. Bird/Morraway took Bayless with the intention of leveraging him for other players they wanted.
Brilliant in my opinion. According to Slick and our ticket rep who was with us, Rush is who they wanted all along. So if that is the case they got who they wanted, got another point guard in the process and unloaded a player who had no use to the team.
Rush & Bayless as of right now are a wash, that won't be able to be told for a couple of years assuming that neither of them either blow up or bomb out.
However we traded the 12th and sometimes 13th player on our team for a player who will without a doubt be in the top 8 rotation and provide us depth at a position that we have soarly lacked in for awhile.
So again in one day we have obtained starting point guard, his backup or heck let them fight it out to see who wins and worst case scenario you have more trade tools for the future. We got even more under the cap as I believe that Jack is slightly less than Ike.
We got rid of two powerforwards, one of which was never going to work here (or probably there either as I don't see how he gets any min. behind the Blazers frontline) and one which was just dragging our entire team down in salary and unfullfilled promise.
We obtained two centers, one who might be able to start or he might be part of another package. The other is young and large and can replace Harrison right now on the roster.
We got a player we can cut as I believe he is not signed. We will probably invite him to camp and see where it goes but at least we have no long term commitment to him.
We have officially made Jamaal obsolete. He is not even needed here as a backup.
That to me is what I still find exciting, no not the fact of getting rid of Tins although that does make me happy. But the fact is this, we are not done.
We can't be, we now have to many players under contract and I think we are still going to make some moves. Probably not earth shattering moves, but you have to ask yourself. Where does Daniels fit into any of this? The answer is nowhere. Do we keep Foster or use him as part of another deal? Who knows. Doug kept trying to give him away all night long.
I made the statement at the fieldhouse and I will stand behind it now. I think the fieldhouse will be differant next year. It won't be filled, not even close.
But I do beleive with all of my heart that there will be more fans present and that it will not be the funeral parlor it has been for the past few years.
I think the common fans will start to notice that the same old characters aren't here. I think the new players and the new attitude and p.r. from the team will take hold.
Again, I'm not saying full house or even 3/4 full, but it won't be the 1/4 full we had last season.
Overall, this was a great day to be a Pacers fan.
I am thrilled beyond my wildest expectations.