Daniels didn't deserve Pacers ax
By PETER VECSEY
Last Updated: 2:13 PM, October 23, 2009
Posted: 2:19 AM, October 23, 2009
YOU know the regular season is getting close when the commissioner is poised to throw out the first replacement referee.
You know we've been on a slippery slope since the change from a peach basket . . . and now we discover Mel Daniels was fired Wednesday by the Pacers as director of player personnel.
Owner Herb Simon and team president Larry Bird should be ashamed for not superseding GM David Morway's decision to hatchet one of Indianapolis' most revered sports figures, something he's wanted to do for months; conveniently he was out of the office, in Orlando, when the execution was implemented.
The no-frills, no-bulls stick rancher/barrel racer/trainer of quarter horses had been a valued member of the front office for more than 40 years.
Donnie Walsh should be embarrassed he ever hired such a paperweight as Morway, a former player agent whose basketball opinion rings hollow at his own family dinner table, to understudy him.
Daniels was the ABA's regal rookie for the Muskies in the league's inaugural 1967-68 season. The 6-foot-9 center's services were sold to Indiana (to keep Minnesota afloat, which moved to Miami, actually, and was renamed The Floridians), where the three-time MVP bulk-headed three Pacers championships.
His cruel sendoff (Daniels' chronic heart condition recently confined him to the hospital for a week) leaves the NBA unrepresented by a single ABA original.
It's enough to make a lot of us forever pick up our dribble.