Q. When the deal for Stephen Jackson goes through, the front office will need to be congratulated once again, supposing Jackson can be as productive as he was at the end of last season. Once the trade happens, the Pacers will have a strong core group signed for at least the next four seasons. With Jackson, Ron Artest and Jermaine O'Neal signed at least through the 2007-2008 season, the only questions remaining are at center and point guard. Both Jeff Foster and David Harrison are also signed through 2007-2008 and that has the makings of a good rotation at center supposing Harrison is as motivated as he claims. With that in mind it seems that all that remains to be resolved is the future of our point guard position. Do Donnie Walsh and Larry Bird see Jamaal Tinsley as the long-term solution, and if so will they sign him to an extension or wait for him to become a restricted free agent this offseason? (From Carlos in San Jose, Costa Rica).
A. The combination of how well he played and how well Tinsley handled the adversity of losing his job at the start of last season definitely strengthened his status with the organization. While Kenny Anderson was starting, Tinsley showed the maturity to persevere and not act defeated. Instead, he rose to the challenge, worked even harder and was thoroughly ready when Anderson was injured. He made major strides in virtually every area of his game, particularly 3-point shooting, and began emerging as more of a leadership figure in terms of running the offense with authority. There has been little in the rumor mill involving the Pacers and any veteran point guards, which tends to indicate they’re satisfied with Tinsley. It appears Anthony Johnson will re-sign to be the backup. ESPN.com reported agreement on a four-year deal. The Pacers have from Aug. 31 to Oct. 31 to extend Tinsley’s rookie contract. If they don’t, he’ll become a restricted free agent after next season. At the moment, there’s little reason to doubt a contract extension is in the offing.