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Thread: State of the state

  1. #1
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    Default State of the state

    It was the best of time, it was the worst of times…

    Well, mainly it’s been the worst of times. If not for Danny Granger falling to 17, this would be the worst franchise in the league. Clock is ticking. The sun could be setting on the Larry Legend era with the Indiana Pacers.

    Imagine this, you come into work tomorrow morning and your boss says look you have 1 year to be significantly more productive or we’ll have to go in another direction. We’ll give you one year to get this right. Let me ask you this, do you care about 5 years from now? Hell no, you care about the next 12 months. So what do you do? You exhaust every asset you have to get to the best possible position in 12 months. This is why I think one of the greatest “players” of all time will go for broke in the next 8 months and you’ll see major, major moves made for your Indiana Pacers.

    First though, let’s take a quick look back on the Bird era. I’m not going to break down every Yesthecabbageis or Shawne Williams move and just take shots at the Legend. What I will do is point to two things, Bird got paid millions of dollars to do On the Job Training. OJT is fine when you’re paid a minimum wage job as a kid, but as a guy in control of a major corporation, that’s a tough way to go.

    Bird is a straight talking guy who doesn’t waiver in his beliefs, some say stubborn or arrogant, some think steadfast and strong. This can be a good quality if you’re say the Colts Bill Polian who’s done this work for decades. You’ve been around the block, you understand what’s worked. During Bird’s OJT he was in a position of power, which is fine you want one decider or one voice, but sometimes it can backfire. Problem was Larry Bird made decisions and when the circumstances changed, he didn’t, until it was too late.

    Case in point, acquiring Al Harrington and Stephen Jackson. With a chuckle, Bird and Carlise say, well we don’t need milk drinkers. Where was the middle ground here for Bird, where was a non yes man to say, well maybe your right, but you do need chemistry, let’s not forget that. Bird realized this, but it was too late. We all know what happened that November. OJT lesson #1.

    The past can be painful, to remedy the Milk Drinker mistake, they decided to trade for guys who were Milk Drinkers, but weren’t as good. This was actually the harder lesson to learn, since it’s still impacts the team now in the 20 million dollars tied to Murphy and Dunleavy that honestly would have been nice to have to get an impact Point Guard in the building. OJT lesson #2.

    Expensive training for the Legend. First thing people will say is well Donnie Walsh made many of those decisions or give Bird a pass because of Donnie’s presence, maybe, but really do you believe Donnie decided to do these deals or do you think maybe he just signed off on what Bird’s grand scheme was?

    Enough of the world’s most expensive internship. What about now? Well now you have Crunch time, it’s 2 weeks before the draft and you have a sub .500 team with approximately 43 million dollars of expiring contracts, an all star in his prime, an improving true center, and the #10 pick, that’s the asset side of the ledger. The debit side is too long to do a laundry list, but it starts at point guard and it ends with needing a legit 2nd best player on a good team.

    It is crunch time, this is where we know Bird understood the stakes as a player, what’s he got now? The main thing is he won’t leave any bullet in the gun. He’ll try to make every move possible, likely starting on June 24th with the draft. For those who think he’ll trade down get a couple of picks or just draft at 10, I’d guess there’s about a 2% chance of either, why? He has 8 months to keep his job, what does he need a rookie for?

    I would guess his mindset is completely to sell out and that no one is safe. I think you’ll see not just 1 slight move, but a flurry of drastic moves. Who knows when the smoke clears and I am sure Simon has to sign off on things (his money), but what I do believe is Bird will try to trade with everybody and often.

    Lastly, Bird knows success, he understands basketball. You hope that he can transfer just an inkling of that clutchness to his decisions now. What you don’t hope is it becomes desperate moves that damage the long term health of the franchise and therefore jeopardize the future of the team in Indiana. How ironic would it be that the best player to ever play as a native Hoosier would have the potential to kill professional basketball in his home state. Scary. Regardless, the next 8 months will tell more about what happens for a franchise, but also a Legend.
    Last edited by Speed; 06-08-2010 at 06:16 PM.

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  3. #2
    Go Colts! Shade's Avatar
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    Default Re: State of the state

    Bird needs to pull a "Boston Celtics" this season and trade expirings/young players/draft picks for a couple of All-Star-caliber players.

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    Default Re: State of the state

    I'm too lazy to read all of that so I'll just say......"Yes."

  5. #4

    Default Re: State of the state

    Thanks for the summary and perspective. I agree that Bird will see the #10 and the expirings as his time to make hay. I also agree that using this year's draft to add to the core is only a last resort if he can't find suitable trade partners. I doubt he panics after being so patient for so long, but I would be surprised if he doesn't pull the trigger on some aggressive moves.

    The draft is normally one of my absolute favorite parts of the year, but it seems clear that Bird is looking for veteran pieces, so while I'd like to see him take a shot at Bradley, Bledsoe, George, Booker, etc., I'm not holding my breath. Should be a fun summer in spite of that, though.

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    Default Re: State of the state

    Quote Originally Posted by Day-V View Post
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    I'm too lazy to read all of that so I'll just say......"Yes."
    It's worth the time.
    .

    .

    .

    .


    “People talk about how quiet he [McKey] is, but he’s really been helpful. He gives a lot of insight to players in how to guard certain teams and what their weaknesses are. The whole team listens to him, and it makes my job a lot easier. Having players like him is what pro basketball is all about for me.” —Larry Brown

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  8. #6
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    Default Re: State of the state

    Do you really think this is his swan song to let it all out there and sink or swim? Seems like this draft and this upcoming season would just be the logical progression of our team's contract situation. Its the year to reload on and improve out talent for the foreseeable future. But I do agree somewhat that since his contract is up, unless Bird can really make a good splash with our cap flexibility and potential assets, there is really no reason to bring him back after this season. If the Pacers stand pat the whole season and just let these guys expire, then there is no reason to give Bird a chance to overpay a fist full of mediocre FA's.

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    Default Re: State of the state

    Quote Originally Posted by McKeyFan View Post
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    It's worth the time.
    Indeed, it was.


    Speed, great stuff. Loved it. Can't wait to see what happens 2 weeks from Thursday.

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  11. #8
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    Default Re: State of the state

    If the Pacers do leave Indianapolis, Larry Bird will not be going with them.

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    Default Re: State of the state

    Quote Originally Posted by hoosierguy View Post
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    If the Pacers do leave Indianapolis, Larry Bird will not be going with them.
    Neither will NDcoltsnpacers. I'm pretty sure those are both a given though.

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    Default Re: State of the state

    Nothing about losing O'B? Without that, the rest is likely a moot point. Acquisition of even veteran talent (if we are so lucky as to be able to trade for it) will be a dicey proposition without either a better coach with a better plan, or a young coach that players feel knows basketball and yet the players feel they can influence, neither of which fits O'B, and I believe the players care about that and are aware of who O'B is.

    I would much rather you be right about lots of big moves, but I really think Bird will let the fireworks happen at the trade deadline and next summer when the expirings have the most value or have actually expired to free up money, if he even does that. There still is the specter of the franchise moving / being sold, and if it is sold, I wouldn't be surprised if Bird has a small minority part of any new ownership group that comes about and is willing to keep the franchise in Indy, and would prefer a virtually blank canvas to start with.

  14. #11
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    Default Re: State of the state

    What year has a Simon owned Pacer team seemed to be in a rush to make big changes in the off season to get out of a rut?

    I think the only pressure Bird is under is whatever pressure he puts on himself... and since he doesn't write the checks, even if he did decide to shoot for the moon I don't know he'd be allowed to do it with the Pacers getting their financial house in order for the sale... err move... errr 3 year plan.
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  16. #12

    Default Re: State of the state

    Speed-

    I know that Bird HATES to lose. And I know that he will do everything
    he can to avoid being a failure and letting hoops fans in Indiana down.

    But all that aside, I'm not sure he's as desperate to keep his job as is
    implied by your (very thorough and well done) post.

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  18. #13
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    Default Re: State of the state

    Quote Originally Posted by Hillman's 'Fro' View Post
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    Speed-

    I know that Bird HATES to lose. And I know that he will do everything
    he can to avoid being a failure and letting hoops fans in Indiana down.

    But all that aside, I'm not sure he's as desperate to keep his job as is
    implied by your (very thorough and well done) post.
    Good point, desperate doesn't seem to be in Bird's psyche. It's a good thing because hopefully it keeps him from making a series of horrible deals (ala Isiah Thomas). The set up seems to be where if Simon is ever going to change the leadership, it would be after next season, though, with basically everyone in the front office/coaching staff being expired.

  19. #14
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    Default Re: State of the state

    i agree that bird will be ready to sacrifice the future (the #10, possibly future picks) for veteran players. however, i suspect bball is right that bird is under financial restraint from the owners, hence why he's so adamant that the pacers aren't taking back big contracts in any deals. that's too bad because if you look at the league's blockbuster trades over the last few years, financial relief has been a big part of the motivation for the teams moving the big name players.

    i think the pacers will look to make waves in the trade market, but the unwillingness to add salary will ultimately limit the moves they can do. on the other hand, the pacers' gm in 2011 (whether it's bird or someone else) would be in a good position to (finally) remake the team. so i guess what i'm saying is, i think the big moves are coming in 2011, not in 2010 as your post suggests.

  20. #15
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    Default Re: State of the state

    There are various things in this well written post I disagree with, but here are a couple I'll point out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Speed View Post
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    ...it ends with needing a legit 2nd best player on a good team.
    I think it ends with getting a "best player on the team". If all that is done is to get a player who is second fiddle to Granger, that is not going to be enough to make a difference - short or long term. I believe Granger is best suited to being the number two player on a good team.

    How ironic would it be that the best player to ever play as a native Hoosier...
    That would be Oscar Robertson.

    Bird played on better teams, and thus won more championships. Oscar didn't have much help, but when he finally did (1971 Milwaukee Bucks with Kareem), he won a ring. He was also the only player to average a triple double for a season, and darn near averaged it for his career.
    Last edited by Tom White; 06-09-2010 at 09:20 AM.

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    Default Re: State of the state

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom White View Post
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    That would be Oscar Robertson.

    Bird played on better teams, and thus won more championships. Oscar didn't have much help, but when he finally did (1971 Milwaukee Bucks with Kareem), he won a ring. He was also the only player to average a triple double for a season, and darn near averaged it for his career.
    Technically, Oscar Robertson isn't an Indiana native. He grew up in Indy, but he was born in Tennessee.

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    Default Re: State of the state

    Quote Originally Posted by tsm612 View Post
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    Technically, Oscar Robertson isn't an Indiana native. He grew up in Indy, but he was born in Tennessee.

    Picky, picky, picky!

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  25. #18
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    Default Re: State of the state

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom White View Post
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    Picky, picky, picky!
    Sorry...

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    Default Re: State of the state

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom White View Post
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    Picky, picky, picky!
    Given that he moved here when he was very young and graduated from Crispus Atticks, I'll give Tom a pass.

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  27. #20
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    Default Re: State of the state

    Quote Originally Posted by Speed View Post
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    It was the best of time, it was the worst of times…

    Well, mainly it’s been the worst of times. If not for Danny Granger falling to 17, this would be the worst franchise in the league. Clock is ticking. The sun could be setting on the Larry Legend era with the Indiana Pacers.

    Imagine this, you come into work tomorrow morning and your boss says look you have 1 year to be significantly more productive or we’ll have to go in another direction. We’ll give you one year to get this right. Let me ask you this, do you care about 5 years from now? Hell no, you care about the next 12 months. So what do you do? You exhaust every asset you have to get to the best possible position in 12 months. This is why I think one of the greatest “players” of all time will go for broke in the next 8 months and you’ll see major, major moves made for your Indiana Pacers.

    First though, let’s take a quick look back on the Bird era. I’m not going to break down every Yesthecabbageis or Shawne Williams move and just take shots at the Legend. What I will do is point to two things, Bird got paid millions of dollars to do On the Job Training. OJT is fine when you’re paid a minimum wage job as a kid, but as a guy in control of a major corporation, that’s a tough way to go.

    Bird is a straight talking guy who doesn’t waiver in his beliefs, some say stubborn or arrogant, some think steadfast and strong. This can be a good quality if you’re say the Colts Bill Polian who’s done this work for decades. You’ve been around the block, you understand what’s worked. During Bird’s OJT he was in a position of power, which is fine you want one decider or one voice, but sometimes it can backfire. Problem was Larry Bird made decisions and when the circumstances changed, he didn’t, until it was too late.

    Case in point, acquiring Al Harrington and Stephen Jackson. With a chuckle, Bird and Carlise say, well we don’t need milk drinkers. Where was the middle ground here for Bird, where was a non yes man to say, well maybe your right, but you do need chemistry, let’s not forget that. Bird realized this, but it was too late. We all know what happened that November. OJT lesson #1.

    The past can be painful, to remedy the Milk Drinker mistake, they decided to trade for guys who were Milk Drinkers, but weren’t as good. This was actually the harder lesson to learn, since it’s still impacts the team now in the 20 million dollars tied to Murphy and Dunleavy that honestly would have been nice to have to get an impact Point Guard in the building. OJT lesson #2.

    Expensive training for the Legend. First thing people will say is well Donnie Walsh made many of those decisions or give Bird a pass because of Donnie’s presence, maybe, but really do you believe Donnie decided to do these deals or do you think maybe he just signed off on what Bird’s grand scheme was?

    Enough of the world’s most expensive internship. What about now? Well now you have Crunch time, it’s 2 weeks before the draft and you have a sub .500 team with approximately 43 million dollars of expiring contracts, an all star in his prime, an improving true center, and the #10 pick, that’s the asset side of the ledger. The debit side is too long to do a laundry list, but it starts at point guard and it ends with needing a legit 2nd best player on a good team.

    It is crunch time, this is where we know Bird understood the stakes as a player, what’s he got now? The main thing is he won’t leave any bullet in the gun. He’ll try to make every move possible, likely starting on June 24th with the draft. For those who think he’ll trade down get a couple of picks or just draft at 10, I’d guess there’s about a 2% chance of either, why? He has 8 months to keep his job, what does he need a rookie for?

    I would guess his mindset is completely to sell out and that no one is safe. I think you’ll see not just 1 slight move, but a flurry of drastic moves. Who knows when the smoke clears and I am sure Simon has to sign off on things (his money), but what I do believe is Bird will try to trade with everybody and often.

    Lastly, Bird knows success, he understands basketball. You hope that he can transfer just an inkling of that clutchness to his decisions now. What you don’t hope is it becomes desperate moves that damage the long term health of the franchise and therefore jeopardize the future of the team in Indiana. How ironic would it be that the best player to ever play as a native Hoosier would have the potential to kill professional basketball in his home state. Scary. Regardless, the next 8 months will tell more about what happens for a franchise, but also a Legend.
    Eh, I disagree with the general idea of this post. First, the whole "milk drinker" theory is just goofy. It's not an either-or situation of "good player"-to-"bad person" ratio. It's getting old to hear it all the time. There's no "lesson to be learned" there.

    Second, while Bird may not be moving as fast as you like, he might be doing the right thing. The Pacers were dealt a massive blow back in 2004. Huge. The had to tread lightly, be extremely careful with their moves, and start putting themselves in position to recover, and it's not easy in our small market, and in this economy that has seen very hard times in the past few years.

    So it's not do-or-die time. It's "slow recovery" time, which is just how it is, and we're still in the middle of it. I actually think we're getting close to the end of that recovery period --- we've shed a bunch of huge contracts, got rid of the trouble-makers, gathered some talent, and really the only major thing left is just getting rid of Murphy's contract, who, while overpaid, is actually not near as bad of a player as most people make him out to be, and has some market value. It's mostly a juggling act with player contracts until that all shakes out, which is happening, it's just taking a few years, which is realistic. We had to overhaul the roster, and we had to do it with a roster full of people that no one wanted.

    Smart moves are nice. Stupid moves for the sake of making moves are not.
    Last edited by Kid Minneapolis; 06-09-2010 at 11:42 AM.
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  29. #21
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    Default Re: State of the state

    I disagree with the entire post. If the lovely folks of Indiana didn't care so much about "image", we would still be contending. If I was GM, Artest and Jackson would have been sent to Anger Management classes and worked a LOT of community service to shed their thug image.

    On a different note, I LOVE our current core of players. Personally, I believe that Bird has done a great job of positioning this team with nice young talent and CAP flexibilty while AT THE SAME TIME changing the image of the team. I swear, we have to be the only team in the NBA whose GM has to worry about Talent and Image at the same time. Bird could have probably done more moves, if he didn't have to worry about image so much...in a small market.

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    Default Re: State of the state

    I'd rather have a luvable group of losers than a criminal group of winners.
    There are two types of quarterbacks in the league: Those whom over time, the league figures out ... and those who figure out the league.

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    Default Re: State of the state

    Quote Originally Posted by Kid Minneapolis View Post
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    I'd rather have a luvable group of losers than a criminal group of winners.
    That's not true at all.

    If we had a team full of 12 convicted felons that won 60 games a year no one would be saying a peep.

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    Default Re: State of the state

    Quote Originally Posted by Trader Joe View Post
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    That's not true at all.

    If we had a team full of 12 convicted felons that won 60 games a year no one would be saying a peep.
    That's not true at all.



    I'm sure at least ONE person would make a peep.

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    Default Re: State of the state

    Quote Originally Posted by Trader Joe View Post
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    That's not true at all.

    If we had a team full of 12 convicted felons that won 60 games a year no one would be saying a peep.
    Except that we did have a 61 win season, and people did have issues with liking that team.

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