[size=18:5f7086330b]Whatís Next for Pacers?[/size]
Monday, June 21, 2004
If you'd like to pose a Question of the Day to Conrad Brunner, submit it along with your full name and hometown to Brunoemail@example.com Brunnerís opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Pacers players, coaches or management.
OF THE DAY
Q. Now that the season is over, where do the Pacers go from here? Larry Bird said he wanted to evaluate the personnel we had before he made any moves. What changes can we expect him to make this offseason? Is he going to let the Pacers continue to grow as a team? Or is he going to upgrade the roster? (From Tomi in Terre Haute, IN)
A. Thatís not just the question of the day, thatís the question of the summer. Early indications are that the Pacers will be very aggressive in the personnel market. Though it now appears thereís little chance of a deal with Orlando for Tracy McGrady (who, along with Shaquille OíNeal, is trying to engineer separate deals that would land both in Dallas), thereís little doubt Bird and CEO Donnie Walsh are taking a very aggressive stance in terms of analyzing and investigating all possibilities to improve the team. When the first two names linked to the team in trade rumors are McGrady and Shaquille OíNeal, you know it could be a very interesting summer, regardless of the veracity of those reports. And because Bird waited throughout the season, studying his team and learning his players before making any major moves, thereís a lot of reason to believe the possibility of at least one substantial move is very high. The general focus is on balancing the roster, which means thinning areas of surplus (namely, small forward) and strengthening areas of need (perimeter shooting, another big man, perhaps depth at point guard). Bird has been very patient in his first year on the job. He was particularly interested in how the players responded in the crucible of the postseason. Now that heís seen what he needs to see, he can begin the process of molding the team to his liking.