SLAM: I think you would probably agree that when you look at this current Indiana Pacers team, youíre looking at a challenge, and I think youíve been looking at a challenge for the past several years, do you think this is the biggest challenge youíve faced?
LB: Oh yeah, no question about it. We havenít had any money at all. Weíve been up against the cap to go out and get a free agent. When we lose a player when his contract ends for $6 or $7 million, we might have to go out and get three players. We can use the money but to stay under the cap we only have $5 or $6 or $7 million to go out and get three players to try to stay under it. So, you know, thatís just part of the struggle. Obviously losing is very difficult, but when youíre rebuilding you know youíre going through stages, itís going to be tough, but as long as you draft the players and you see a bright future, I think itís going to be lights at the end of the tunnel, itís going to be very good, not only for me, but for the franchise and thatís whatís most important.
SLAM: Absolutely, and I feel like each season this team and this franchise takes a step forward and looks a little better each season. What is it going to take before you, and this franchise, and this team can take that final step and be a powerhouse in the NBA and a threat towards other teams around the League and fight for a title?
LB: Whatís happening is weíre drafting young players, maybe some of them wonít be superstars, but will be great fill-ins, some will be back-up players, some will be starters. And when you get your salaries down, which weíre going to be down to about $28-30 million after next year and thatís the first time, I think, in the history of this franchise weíre going to have an opportunity to go out and look for players and try to fill this roster with the type of players we want here and ones that can win games.
SLAM: What do you like to see in a basketball player? What do you look for when youíre trying to bring guys to Indianapolis?
LB: Well first of all, they give as much off that court as they do on and weíve been very fortunate for that for the last four or five years. Even when we had players here that got themselves into some trouble, they were excellent in our community. They were out there and they were giving, but overall I think if you want to get the type of players in here thatís going to play the game the right way, and not only give it to you in games, but do the right things in practice to prepare themselves.
SLAM: Now, how has the process of scouting changed since 2004? Or has it changed? What are you doing differently now?
LB: Well the kids are so young now. I mean, thereís a lot of kids that come out that have great talent, but theyíre so young you donít know how theyíre going to mature of the years and I think itís really just a guess. You know they have the talent, you know they have the fundamentals, itís just about whether theyíre going to get better and better. Thatís probably been the hardest thing. We like to take guys that have had a lot of college experience and that had good coaching, and been good kids along the way, but you just never know until youíve had then for a couple years because you never know how theyíre going to turn out.