If I were a betting man, I would guess that Bird pulls off a deal or two leading up to on or right after Draft day once free agency starts. The question is, which player or players could be dealt?
Here's a look at our current roster including those players who are likely to re-sign:
The "we're not trading them unless an amazing deal comes along group":
-- Danny Granger (face of the franchise) and unless we're offered a LeBron, Kobe, Dwight or something spectacular, he's staying put. Chances of being traded: 1%
-- Brandon Rush -- The last month of the season he solidifed his starting spot and showed he belonged in the league and may prove to be the best of the Rush brothers. Chances of being traded: 3%
-- Roy Hibbert -- Can't teach height and Roy has the work ethic and skills and just needs to put it all together. Chances of being traded: 4%
The "We don't necessarily want to trade you, but if we can get something to improve the team, you're outta here"
-- Troy Murphy -- Troy had an outstanding year and his value has never been higher. In relative to his production, his salary isn't too outrageous and he is always good for at least 12 and 10 a night. He won't make any all NBA Defensive Teams any time soon, but he could be the player that puts an NBA team over the top. The Pacers have been burned in the past when they failed to trade some of their better players at their peak (see Jermaine O'Neal and potentially DUnleavy). Could Bird change his tune this time around? Chances of being traded: 30%
-- Mike Dunleavy -- As I just mentioned, there were those who wished to see us deal Jr. last summer after he came off an amazing year. His natural position is the 3 and Danny's not going anywhere. With his injury and recovery expected to take another 5-6+ months, most teams aren't calling Bird about Michael. But, in this league, anything is possible. Chances of being traded: 20%
-- Jeff Foster -- Foster's best years are probably behind the Texan, but he's a leader in the locker room and can still provide quality minutes whether off the bench or as a starter. Larry Bird seems to be pretty fond of Jeff as he's the only player remaining from the team when Bird was a coach. Plus, if the reports are true, the Pacers also turned down a nice offer from Denver at the deadline to acquire Jeff. However, if a deal came along that Bird couldn't turn down, I could see Bird reluctantly pulling the trigger. Chances of being dealt: 20%
-- Josh McRoberts -- Josh is still a young player and would just be graduating from Duke had he not gone pro after his sophomore year. I think he's got a lot of potential and could be our energy guy or Jeff Foster of the future. Plus, from his work ethic and dedication thus far during the off-season (adding 20lbs of muscle), I think the Pacers are excited about what he may be able to do down the road. Not to mention, he should sign for the minimum or fairly cheap. Chances of being traded: 15%
-- Jarrett Jack -- Solidified himself as the starter at the end of the season and had a somewhat breakout season in Indy. Still a younger player (25), is a bigger point and should be able to be re-signed for a reasonable contract. However, I wouldn't put it past Bird to do a sign-and-trade to send him elsewhere if the Pacers could land a post player. The problem is, most teams typically do not trade big for small. Chances of being traded: 15%
The "I hope you rented or have a good realtor group"
-- Travis Diener -- He gives us solid minutes off the bench and filled in when many players were injured. He's a good teammate and you don't have to worry about him off the court. But he is good for limited minutes, helping start an occasional rally and garbage minutes. Is he worth the 1.7 million he'll make next season? Chances of being traded: 50%
-- TJ Ford -- I think Ford's production was about what a lot of people expected this season. However, with the emergence of Jarrett Jack and a loaded draft with point guards, I think Ford's days in Indy could be numbered. JOB demoted him to coming off the bench later in the year and TJ and Jack had the spat during the season as well. Both guys are about the same age (Ford is 7 months older), but Ford has two years and 17 million left whereas Jack should command a longer deal, but at less money. Ford could start on most NBA teams and could be attractive to a team like Philly, Dallas, Minnesota or Miami. Chances of being traded: 60%
-- Jamaal Tinsley -- Yes, he is still on the roster and doing who knows what down in Atlanta or wherever he may be. I think Bird, despite having been this close to dealing Tinsley to Orlando at the trade deadline, may finally be able to send Jamaal on his way out of town. Granted, his worth is very minimal and I would expect Bird to receive a player back with a similar contract to years remaining. Chances of being traded: 75%
-- Stephen Graham --Is a free agent and would obviously to have to be re-signed, but could be used as a filler for another trade. Not a bad backup and will not command more the the minimum. Chances of being traded (if re-signed): 50%
I expect Rasho, Maceo and Marquis will not be back next season. Quis may come back, but only at a discount and even then he may look elsewhere.