Hello everyone! It feels good to have time to write again after a couple of weeks away from here.
Tonight, I have three different topics all bouncing around in my head. Most of these things I haven't really been discussed much, especially lately, as we've been obsessed with Shawne Williams and Jamal Tinsley, and the dramas surrounding them. Instead of rehashing that same ground again tonight, I wanted to touch on some other, fresher topics. First up is the impressive Pacers leader and community icon, Jim Morris.
I said at the forum party, and I believe even more strongly now, that by far our most important and most successful personnel move this summer will not end up being T.J. Ford, or Brandon Rush, or Roy Hibbert. Instead, an older professional gentleman named Jim Morris as our head of the business side of PS&E will end up being the best thing that has happened to us in years.
It is hard to imagine any NBA team that has an executive as talented, well respected, as smart, and with the "gravitas" that we do now in Jim Morris. Morris has been a community activist in Indiana, the country and the world for many years, and his most recent job was to run the World Food Bank, which he did admirably for 5 years before coming back home to Indiana. Morris is so well respected and well thought of in many circles that, had he had the interest to have done so, he probably could have ran for Govenor a few years ago, and many were pushing for him to be named the President of Indiana University before the trustees named Michael McRobbie to replace Adam Herbert here in Bloomington. While Morris reportedly had no interest in politics, he supposedly deeply wanted the IU post.
IU's loss is our Indiana Pacers gain. No one is as well thought of or as well connected in the sports and business world as Jim Morris, and as our new President of the business side of PS&E, I expect our profit from marketing and publicity efforts to expand and improve more than any of us can possibly imagine. Simply put, Jim Morris is a highly trained, super efficient businessman running our franchises financial operation the way it should be ran, instead of the more basketball/lawyerly Donnie Walsh.
You already see huge differences in the openness and marketing ideas of this new visionary leader. The activities by the team at the Indy 500 in May, which were small but just the beginning of a culture change of how our beloved franchise does business. Sponsoring a car for the race, teaming up with the Colts to help Marion County schools, beginning to market Danny Granger's "human" side for the first time, all the positive Pacers press on local talk radio, the first in 15 years draft night party, the season ticket holders perks that are happening now (didnt I hear about a party for season ticket holders at Larry Bird's Nashville home?)......all are the beginning salvos into a long assault to eradicate the publics negative perception of the Pacers franchise from an off the court, salesman's point of view. The Pacers have needed a marketing genius for years and haven't had one.....now it is fair to say we may have one of the best in all of professional sports.
Jim Morris is a visionary, a person who figures out how to solve problems before they BECOME problems, and his postive and classy leadership will get the Pacers back on solid footing, and soon we will be back at the top of the food chain as a well respected, well ran (from a business side) franchise. No one knows what other creative ideas we will get from Jim Morris, but you can bet they will be fan friendly, well thought out and concieved, and will work the way they are intended.
Ill go ahead and make some predictions about some things that may happen from the desk of Jim Morris in the upcoming weeks:
1. The announcement of a weekly "Pacers beat" television show that is broadcast every Sunday morning over local free television. Jim may even host or star in it himself, like Bill Polian does for the Colts.
2. The presence of the Pacers at the Indiana State Fair. I have no idea what they may do, but I bet the Pacers make an appearance at the fairgrounds in August, in some shape or fashion.
3. I think the Pacers may sell more radio stations the rights to broadcast our games to cover the entire state. To do this, he may need to get creative and take some short deals money wise, but to not do so will be penny wise and pound foolish. One of the single best things the Pacers can do to build their future is to make sure Mark Boyle and Slick Leonard can be heard all over the state on both the AM and FM dials.
4. I think it is possible that the Pacers training camp practices may be, on some limited scale, be open to the public. Again, this will be Morris being visionary, and copying the NFL and Indianapolis Colts model. Thousands will descent upon Rose Hulman to watch the Colts work out, building a future fan base and marketing/ticket opportunities for a huge amount of young fans. Don't be surprised if the Pacers copy some of that this season, in some form or fashion.
I'm sure Morris will have many many different ideas that I or no one else have thought of too, that he will study and implement to again make Conseco Fieldhouse the most exciting place to be in Indiana on a cold winter night. Singlehandledly, with the hiring of this extraordinary executive, I think the Simon's ended any worry on my part from the Pacers leaving Indianapolis anytime soon. And that my friends dwarfs any trade news or draft picks we could have made.
Moving on to draft night now.
Trading Bayless and Diogu for Rush, Jack, McRoberts and cash is a move that has been discussed and analyzed over and over ad nauseum on this board for weeks now. I don't intend to discuss that move anymore in this thread, but instead I want to discuss a similar move we could have made with Portland instead, and see if it would have made us better in the eyes of this board. What if, instead of the trade we actually did make, we had made this move:
Pacers trade #11 (Bayless) and Ike Diogu to Portland
Portland trades us #13, #32, and Martell Webster.
Adding Webster means we don't need Brandon Rush, so instead at #13 we (in my idea) PF/C Marresse Speights, from Florida.
Adding Speights at #13 means we dont need Hibbert, so instead at #17 we take Mario Chalmers, PG from Kansas.
By taking the #32 draft pick instead of the cash from Portland (I believe the Pacers had a choice and took the money, although I cant prove it), we could have taken Darrell Arthur, PF from Kansas.
With the money we would have saved from not having Jarrett Jack's salary, we could sign my favorite wing man defender, Quinton Ross.
Would doing the draft day trade like this instead of what actually happened been better or worse? I like Speights alot as you know, so that probably influences my opinion somewhat admittedly. Since I dont view Rush as the great defender the Pacers do, I like the idea of getting Webster instead of him. And I would have totally rather had the #32 pick instead of the amount of money (whatever it was) that Portland paid us.
Your potential roster:
PG Ford/Chalmers/Deiner/(Tinsley in limbo.)
Wings: Granger/Dunleavy/Webster/Ross(Marquis Daniels in limbo)
Bigs: Foster, Speights, Nesterovic, Arthur, Murphy, Baston(Williams in limbo)
Is that better or worse than what we have now? I think its a bit better, with much more potential and upside, but Ill let you make the call.
I think Portland would have done the deal with this structure too.....
Feel free to discuss.
Shawne Williams almost certainly wont be a Pacer when the season begins. Who is a possible suitor for him now?
I'll go out on a limb and say we deal Shawne to a team like Atlanta. The Hawks make the most sense to me, as they need a cheap replacment to their front court after losing Josh Childress, and perhaps losing Josh Smith if they keep lowballing him. They have the room on their roster just to take Shawne and trade us nothing but cash and a future draft pick for him, which helps our salary situation and financial statement. We will probably get something like a conditional second rounder, or a right to swap places in the second round, or something like that.
With his baggage, I think Shawne has lost all possibility of being used as a "sweetener" in a Tinsley deal, instead Shawne will just have to be dumped for salary relief and a relatively low cost future pick.
Is that selling Shawne too low? I dont think so, not at this point......what other team in the league makes sense for Shawne? Anyone else a better fit than Atlanta?
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Lastly, I wanted to commend this board for all the outstanding writing lately, particularly from some of our new posters. There are a huge number of high quality, intelligent writers who have joined us lately, and I won't even try to mention them all. I already thought this board had a very high IQ on most nights anyway, with great posters like UncleBuck, Peck, Naptown Seth, and so many more contributing regularly. But now, I think we have more smart, sensible, intelligent fans participating than we've ever had since I have been here, and I think that is a great thing to see.
Even though I dont want to leave anyone out or make anyone upset by omitting one of our high quality newbies, there is one person I do want to mention by name. "Count55", I can't speak for anyone else, but I have really enjoyed your postings and contributions to the board. Not only in helping advance the knowledge of the game, but in doing so in a solid, intelligent, non condescending, and well spoken way. I commend you sir, and all the other new writers who continue to make this the best fan message board in the NBA.
No matter what the topic, it appears that in every way, our proud Pacer franchise has its mojo back. Things are truly looking up, from the desk of Jim Morris to the keyboards and computer screens of Pacer nation.
As always, the above is just my opinion.