Will Tinsley Play Again?
By: Wendell Maxey
Jamaal Tinsley is two months away from putting his longest year in professional basketball behind him.
That's not the story though. Now it appears it could be two more years before the Indiana Pacers disenfranchised point guard plays another game in the NBA. Or will he even play in the league again?
Last February – in a loss to the San Antonio Spurs – Tinsley played 18 minutes and finished with 8 points and 2 assists on 3 for 7 from the field. Little did Tinsley know then he would miss the remainder of the 2007-08 season, likely this season and next year as well.
It's over in Indiana. He's not wanted by the Pacers, and some actually believe Tinsley's future in the league may be in jeopardy.
According to a league source familiar with the situation in Indiana, neither President of Basketball operations Larry Bird or General Manager David Morway have any intention of wavering from their stance.
"They (Bird and Morway) appear dead-set on not buying him out and they continue to explore trade options, but I think it's pretty clear no one wants him and his contract," the league source told HOOPSWORLD.
"They haven't seen him since the end of last season."
As it stands, after this season Tinsley has two years and $15 million remaining on his contract and the Pacers are essentially paying him to stay away.
Most recently, Pacers head coach Jim O'Brien – said to be the one who initially wanted Tinsley removed from the team – reiterated the organizations stance. As for Tinsley, there are murmurs he is busy working out in Atlanta, within shouting distance from his agent Raymond Brothers of IAM Sports which is based out of Atlanta, Ga.
Tinsley, 30, played 39 games last season and averaged 11.9 points, 8.4 assists and 1.7 steals per game, totals just over his career average of 10.4 points, 7 assists and 1.7 steals per game.
While Tinsley's off the floor dramatics, locker room presence, health status and over-all conditioning are constantly in question, there remain glaring similarities between the seven-year veteran's dilemma and another Brooklyn born and bred point guard: Stephon Marbury.
Starbury's story is made for Broadway, a constant song and dance turned tragic comedy played out daily in every New York rag. Will the Knicks buy him out? Will Marbury take a pay cut from a check he believes he's already earned? One thing is for certain – you probably won't see Tinsley pulling a Marbury and buying a courtside seat to watch the Indiana Pacers anytime soon.
Yet there is precedence for this kind of occasion in the case of Tinsley and Marbury.
Back in March 2006, the Chicago Bulls kept Tim Thomas – who was acquired in an October 2005 trade from New York - at home for four months before they finally cut him. Thomas eventually signed with the Phoenix Suns. The NBA basically allows teams to dictate how these situations are handled in house. It's up to the National Basketball Associations Players Association if they decide to file a grievance.
However, there is one glaring difference between Stephon Marbury and Jamaal Tinsley - two point guards banished from their teams.
Marbury may still play somewhere in the NBA this season.
Tinsley doesn't stand a chance.