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Thread: Bird cautious about free agents

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    Default Bird cautious about free agents

    http://nba.fanhouse.com/2010/07/10/p...t-free-agents/

    ORLANDO, Fla. -- Now that the great race to accumulate salary-cap room for the summer of 2010 has run its course, we present the Indiana Pacers, ready to shed salary for the summer of 2011 and become a darling destination for free agents.

    Well, maybe not.

    Yes, the Pacers are in line to have plenty of cap room next summer. But president Larry Bird said it's not necessarily the case that they will make like some of the teams did this summer by having carved out every possible dime.

    "We've never been in this to get way down and go after one player,'' Bird (right) said in an interview with FanHouse at the Air Tran Orlando Pro Summer League. "We're not that size of a market where we can absorb two maximum players. So we've got to pick and choose. We've got to wait our turn.''

    The Pacers have several top players with expiring contracts, such as Troy Murphy ($11.97 million), Mike Dunleavy ($10.56 million), T.J. Ford ($8.78 mlllion) and also have Jamaal Tinsley ($7.5 million) still on the books. Without giving names, Bird said it's possible the Pacers, instead of waiting to use their cap room on free agents and risk being left without impact signees, might make a deal by acquiring a player or players with multiple years left on their deals.

    "We've got a lot of expiring contracts,'' said Bird, whose team has endured four straight losing seasons. "We've got a lot of teams out there that are interested in some of our players. So we'll see what happens. Obviously, we're looking for a point guard. Maybe we can get involved in one of these trades that will make us a little better next year.''

    Bird said he wouldn't hesitate now to give up cap room next season if it was a deal the Pacers liked.

    "We can start right now,'' Bird said of a trade.

    The Pacers are in a different position than the teams that did everything possible to create salary cap room for this summer. Next year's free-agency class won't be nearly as strong as this year's has been. And there is plenty of uncertainty since there will be a new collective bargaining agreement after the current one expires June 30, 2011.

    "We don't know,'' Bird said of what type of salary cap there might be. "We're also hearing that the numbers are going to come down. We won't see those (maximum) contracts that we're seeing now. If the numbers come down and the cap comes down, we can still deal with it.''

    For now, Bird said the Pacers have "waited two years to be in this position and we aren't going to do something stupid.'' So, in order to preserve their cap space, Indiana plans to offer free agents just one-year deals this summer. Two point guards the Pacers are eyeing are the Lakers' Jordan Farmar (unrestricted) and Houston's Kyle Lowry (restricted).

    Also hanging over the Pacers are difficulties during these tough economic times with their lease at Conseco Fieldhouse, which has led to speculation the team might move. But Bird doesn't believe they're going anywhere.

    "I know my owner (Herb Simon) and he wants to keep it in Indiana,'' Bird said. "So we can talk about moving all we want. But I know what his goals are and hopefully he can come to terms on an agreement and get something done. ... I just know what my owner wants to do and he wants to keep it there.''

    Bird said the four straight losing and non-playoff seasons have been "frustrating for all of us.'' But Bird said the Pacers in recent years haven't wanted to make a quick fix as they got closer to shedding some bad contracts and having cap room available.

    "It's unfortunate the wins and losses the last couple of years, but we felt that we needed to go with our young core group, and try to move them forward,'' Bird said. "And once we had an opportunity with our expiring contracts, see what we can do.''

    Heading the young core group has been forward Danny Granger, an All-Star in 2008 who had injury problems last season. Other intriguing young players include center Roy Hibbert, forward Tyler Hansbrough and guard Brandon Rush.

    Continuing to exercise patience, Bird used the No. 10 pick in last month's draft to select slender Fresno State forward Paul George rather than go for a player perhaps more NBA-ready. George struggled at times in the summer league, which he finished by averaging 15.3 points and shooting just 33.3 percent.

    "He's talented,'' Bird said. "We know his skill level. But he's got a lot of things that he's got to work on. One of them is his turnovers. He's very quick to give up the ball after the play has closed up and his strength. As he gets stronger in the next year or two, I think he's got a lot of talent to do very well in this league. Hes' got the speed, the quickness the jumping ability and he can shoot. ... It's going to take him a while. He's a late bloomer. He's not going to be a big impact the first couple of years.''

    There are some who considered George a bit of reach with that high of a pick. But that doesn't bother the rookie.

    "They're entitled to their opinion,'' he said. "I know what I can do and what I'm capable of. I've just got to continue to work hard and be positive that I can be one of the steals of this draft.''

    For now, George isn't even being looked upon as the biggest draft steal on his own team. With the No. 40 pick in the second round, the Pacers selected Cincinnati guard Lance Stephenson, who averaged 14.8 points in Orlando while shooting 73.3 percent.

    "It really doesn't surprise us,'' Bird said of Stephenson's play. "He knows how to play so he's going to look good here.''

    There's another reason Bird might want to like Stephenson. He said he wore No. 33 in college because it was Bird's number while a Hall of Famer with the Celtics.

    "Larry Bird was my favorite player and that's why I (wore) 33,'' said Stephenson, who donned No. 6 in Orlando. "But now I've got to find another number because Danny Granger has 33.''

    Turns out Bird actually was Stephenson's second or third-favorite player. He had initially wanted No. 1 at Cincinnati because of Penny Hardaway and Tracy McGrady but that was taken by another player.

    Nevertheless, Stephenson is excited about playing for a rebuilding Indiana outfit. And so is George.

    "I think I'll be a key piece to this rebuilding we got going on,'' George said. "Josh McRoberts is an excellent player. And, with Troy Murphy, Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert, we've got a nice nucleus, and I think I can be a part of that.''

    Murphy, who has an expiring contract and also can play, might not be a big part of the future. But you get the point.

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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    So who's going to be a free agent next season?

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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    sounds like Bird intends on keeping Rush. He does say George won't be a factor for the first couple of years.
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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    That is actually promising to me. At least he knows where he stands and seems to be realistic about it. Before, he kept talking about cap space and I never really heard about him entertaining the idea of a trade this year to cut into it. It's good that he isn't just planning on throwing stupid money at a player who doesn't deserve it.

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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    I like that we are looking for deals, but I don't like that we aren't getting anything done. Do we seem too desperate for a PG. I know Bird won't take a bad deal, so we might be stuck at an impass with some teams.
    If OKC wanted too much for Maynor, and New Orleans wants too much for Collison who is left that we could trade for. I think we can rule out a deal with Kahn.
    If we don't sign Famar or Ridnour, and we don't deal Ford, then we might as well keep what we have. We can always hope Price comes back before the regular season starts.

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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    Quote Originally Posted by cdash View Post
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    That is actually promising to me. At least he knows where he stands and seems to be realistic about it. Before, he kept talking about cap space and I never really heard about him entertaining the idea of a trade this year to cut into it. It's good that he isn't just planning on throwing stupid money at a player who doesn't deserve it.
    Agreed, this does make me feel better.

    Of course, it also proves that ?Naptown? was right when he said it's not a 3-year plan to be in contention, it's a 3-year plan to get out of the hole.
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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem View Post
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    Agreed, this does make me feel better.

    Of course, it also proves that ?Naptown? was right when he said it's not a 3-year plan to be in contention, it's a 3-year plan to get out of the hole.


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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    Isn't it going to be difficult to sign guys to one year contracts with a potential lockout looming?

    Also: Paul George thinks Josh McRoberts is an excellent player.

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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    Having ample capspace going into a season with uncertainty in regard FTP the CBA maybe a blessing in disguise especially if it's expected that we won't be seeing huge contracts being doled out like this season.
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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    Quote Originally Posted by tora tora View Post
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    So who's going to be a free agent next season?
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/s...eeAgents-10-11
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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    Quote Originally Posted by LoneGranger33 View Post
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    Isn't it going to be difficult to sign guys to one year contracts with a potential lockout looming?

    Also: Paul George thinks Josh McRoberts is an excellent player.
    Dude has ton of athletic ability, he can be a solid contributor imo. Besides, wouldn't you consider any player with the ability to make an NBA roster to be an excellent player?
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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    George is trying to get on McRoberts good side to get him to teach him his sweet 3pt stroke.

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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    Quote Originally Posted by HC View Post
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    Dude has ton of athletic ability, he can be a solid contributor imo. Besides, wouldn't you consider any player with the ability to make an NBA roster to be an excellent player?
    Yes, I would. I just wanted to stress that part because I smiled when I read it. It's not everyday that a top 10 pick says that about an NBA player who has never averaged 15 minutes of playing time in a season. I love that he said that. Nothing makes me happier than when our players like and respect each other.

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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    It is very very interesting to hear Bird say that George isn't going to be a big factor in what we do next year. Bird simply confounds me sometimes; he'll say he wants NBA-ready players and he wants to win now, and now he's saying he's fine with waiting a couple of years on George? I mean, look at the headline here: http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/web_100624.html

    I just don't get Larry sometimes. It seems as if he wants one thing one minute and changes his entire philosophy the next. Just like when he drafts players like Rush and Hibbert who would best thrive in a more deliberate system but he drafts them for Jim O'Brien's breakneck system. I'm officially confused. What does Larry want?

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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    I personally have been EXTREMELY pleased with what our front office has done. We have been patient and that has been more important than anything else, even though our fan base has gotten a little restless (but no moreso than they were when it was forced upon us to deal all of our talent). What we need is the flexibility and LEVERAGE to make a move. We haven't had that for three years. We want them to do something I understand.

    We have a gaping hole at PG, but our best opportunity to make a beneficial move will be after the season starts. We should go into the season IMO with Ford, Stephenson, and Price as our PG's. Once Price comes back healthy it should be easy to get rid of Ford, along with Murphy and Foster. Dunleavy will be the toughest to move. I think we can take advantage of those expirings because teams will know their direction more then. Teams that start off bad and have no hope for contention will be more desperate to get rid of a great player. Teams that start out strong will be more desperate for a veteran big on an expiring deal for a late draft pick or a young player.

    Also, we are actually at a great advantage next year with so many teams being under the cap. There are more teams under the cap for next year that will catalyze trades as the third wheel in a deal. It hurts the value of our expiring contracts a little bit, but not enough to matter. Since there will be several teams under the cap, they will compete with one another to get into deals to use their space and you won't see the same premium paid to facilitate a deal.

    As for Bird and Morway, we are just starting the final phase of our three year plan. Anthem and BBall are sooooo right. I was always in this mindset, but I think many others haven't had that patience or understanding. We are a young rebuilding team and I think that is the next phase of our team. I think you will see a much different substitution pattern this year, but it won't be initially if we still have Murphy on our roster. Stephenson should start with TJ off the bench. Rush starts and DJ and Dun get bench minutes between 2-3 and Granger obviously being our man. Murphy will start and McRoberts will get significantly more burn this year overall. Hansborough depends on his health, but assuming he is ready by the season start, he will get significant burn. I see him being our starting PF by year end. Foster will get solid minutes as the backup center until we can trade him to a contender. Spurs, Thunder, Lakers, Mavs, Magic and Hawks, should all be interested in Foster and Murphy.

    I have a feeling they are going to blow that team up down in New Orleans by the end of the year. I would give NO anything they want for CP3. Two future firsts and a current young player (Stephenson possibly or George) plus an expiring might get it done at that point. Collison has looked very good in the summer league so far for them. PG is our biggest need.

    If the Magic are set on getting rid of Gortat, he would be a great player to trade Foster for. Essentiually the same type of player, just younger and a lot more expensive. He could come in and give us solid backup center minutes. I could even see him play NEXT to Hibbert for short stretches. But he would play 20-25 minutes a night for us. With the assumption that Murphy is traded, Hansborough, McRoberts, and Rolle could handle all the PF minutes. Gortat would ensure we don't wear Hibbert down by over using him and he brings a TON of toughness as the "Polish Hammer".

    The long and short of it:

    - Trade our expirings during the season.
    - Address starting PG, backup center, and add toughness in the front court.
    - Only take on longer term deals for players who would be part of our core... like Nazr's expiring and a young Charlotte player for Ford where the young player has a longer deal.
    - Add any and all draft picks that we can negotiate in these deals. It gives us more assets to deal than including our young roster players that we want to keep.

    We probably won't see our team do anything until the end of free agency, where I could see us pick up a cheap PG possibly, but I doubt it if a good deal doesn't come along and opens a roster spot. Don't expect us to do anything other than sign our rookies until after the season starts. Sorry so long.

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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    Oh and JOB is done after this year for sure once our young roster is ready to move forward, we can get a coach who will adapt to our players.

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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    Bird said the four straight losing and non-playoff seasons have been "frustrating for all of us.'' But Bird said the Pacers in recent years haven't wanted to make a quick fix
    They haven't wanted to make a quick fix? so why they signed guys that were taking playing time from the young players and helping the Pacers to get into a late season run?


    Murry, Watson, Head, etc,etc, all this players were the quick fix, this article is another reason why I am not believing all the BS Larry Bird is trying to feed us with

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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    I think the only "BS" we are getting from the front office is that our fans have a completely different idea of how to run a franchise than people who actually do it. No offense to you venezuela... I just think that you can't throw a player out there and kill their confidence or ability to get better. You don't want the expectations of that player to be completely out of whack with what they are capable of as a young NBA player. I don't think you can just throw players out there who aren't ready to get big minutes.

    Do I agree that I wish we had been playing some of the younger guys more, absolutely. The problem is that Hibbert and Rush played solid minutes last year and no one else was really ready to play more minutes. McRoberts probably should have played more, but he is still fairly immature as a player. Hansborough was hurt. Price was just too raw, but showed flashes. I think our young guys are going to be involved more in our team this year and even moreso when the veterans get dealt. I think you will see a very different Brandon Rush this year. I think you will see Hibbert getting consistent minutes, much like the end of last year. The substitution patterns should be more consistent with having some of our injured players back on the roster. I would love to see a lot of Stephenson, George, Rush, Granger and Hibbert when JOB wants to "go small". It prevents having to play two PGs while still having decent size across the lineup. The offensive capabilities of Stephenson, George and Granger take the pressure off of Rush and allows him to defend the other team's best player. I only want this lineup in short spurts, but it is the type of "change of pace" lineup I would rather see than Ford/Jack or Ford/Watson we have seen the last two years.

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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    Quote Originally Posted by pacergod2 View Post
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    I think the only "BS" we are getting from the front office is that our fans have a completely different idea of how to run a franchise than people who actually do it.
    ABSOLUTELY! A lot of our fans are skilled business people and think they could do a better job. However, they would be the first to tell you that their own job isn't as easy as it looks.

    1] Know basketball
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    Last edited by Will Galen; 07-11-2010 at 12:51 PM.

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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    Quote Originally Posted by LoneGranger33
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    Nothing makes me happier than when our players like and respect each other.
    Good comment, LG.

    I sometimes thing that the friendships and respect among the players and between the players and the coaches is the aspect of basketball that posters here least understand.
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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    I think the only "BS" we are getting from the front office is that our fans have a completely different idea of how to run a franchise than people who actually do it
    I disagree with this, I don't think that any fan that is right in the head is going to say that they could do a better job, the issue here is that we compare the Pacers to other teams and they rate way below other franchises, Larry is been talking about rebuilding but all we see is them signing players that are not part of the future and take playing time from the young players and not only hurt the confidence on this players but also their value in the case that they ever want to trade them to another team, hell we don't even know how good our young players are.

    I understand that they need to get out of cap hell but at the same time they need to have a plan of what are they going to do when they get all this cap space and at the moment I don't see it.

    Just look at all the teams that had cap space or still have some cap space and the moves they made to make the team enticing and attract free agents, how are the pacers going to do to do this? how are they going to compete against team like New Jersey, New York and all the other that are going to still have cap space? no free agent in his right mind is going to sign with the pacers to play for a coach like JOB, who is going to be the coach?

    I am sorry but at this moment I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel.
    Last edited by vnzla81; 07-11-2010 at 01:44 PM.

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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    Quote Originally Posted by vnzla81 View Post
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    I am sorry but at this moment I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel.
    Fans want a blueprint of a highly complex and fluid situation. Not possible. Any plan is not going to be detailed. We've known all along what the plan is.

    [1] Get rid of the players that the fans don't like. [Completed]
    [2] Build a core of young players. [Making good progress]
    [3] Turn expiring contracts into good players. [Still to do]

    I feel if you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel you must be a very, very, slow blinker.
    Last edited by Will Galen; 07-11-2010 at 03:51 PM.

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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    Quote Originally Posted by LoneGranger33 View Post
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    Also: Paul George thinks Josh McRoberts is an excellent player.
    Josh sure looked like an excellent player in Game 3.
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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    Maybe the word that describes a lot of fans (including myself) is "frustration". I'm in my late 60's and a Pacer fan from there earliest days. With a pair of expensive season ticket and the necessity of driving from Bloomington for each game, I'm less than delighted at the pace of the rebuilding process. For too long, TPB said we weren't even rebuiliding when everyone who cares about the team knew better. We have draft picks that haven't been productive, but to be fair, primarily due to injuries. We play in a less than economically vibrant environment, so again, the TPB have to discount tickets and look-on helplessly as VIP boxes sit unsold with no revenue. We have an elderly owner who has no visible ownership succession plan. We have Team management that has one-year to go on their contracts (Bird and JOB). Then, there's the flap over the cost of running Conseco. There is mondo uncertainty facing this franchise. Fans know it and don't know what to think. Perhaps the two things that 'bite' the most for me personally, are these: (1) why in the world did the Team go on a late season winning streak and forfeit a high draft choice, and (2) why was JOB's contract extended when it's clear his the best offense is no-defense philosophy is out-of-touch with a savvy base of basketball fans steeped in the traditional style of play prevalent in the Big Ten and the NBA's Eastern Conference? With all these things said, count me as just hopeful but certainly not complimentary and definitely not optimistic. One final comment, I resent the idea that fans don't know anything because they don't know the game and don't know talent. Get real! This is Indiana! Fans do know the game and they do know talent. That's why there's an NBA franchise in a city with the resources of Indianapolis, because they love and KNOW basketball like no other place in the country.

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    Default Re: Bird cautious about free agents

    Quote Originally Posted by pacergod2 View Post
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    I personally have been EXTREMELY pleased with what our front office has done. We have been patient and that has been more important than anything else, even though our fan base has gotten a little restless (but no moreso than they were when it was forced upon us to deal all of our talent). What we need is the flexibility and LEVERAGE to make a move. We haven't had that for three years. We want them to do something I understand.

    We have a gaping hole at PG, but our best opportunity to make a beneficial move will be after the season starts. We should go into the season IMO with Ford, Stephenson, and Price as our PG's. Once Price comes back healthy it should be easy to get rid of Ford, along with Murphy and Foster. Dunleavy will be the toughest to move. I think we can take advantage of those expirings because teams will know their direction more then. Teams that start off bad and have no hope for contention will be more desperate to get rid of a great player. Teams that start out strong will be more desperate for a veteran big on an expiring deal for a late draft pick or a young player.

    Also, we are actually at a great advantage next year with so many teams being under the cap. There are more teams under the cap for next year that will catalyze trades as the third wheel in a deal. It hurts the value of our expiring contracts a little bit, but not enough to matter. Since there will be several teams under the cap, they will compete with one another to get into deals to use their space and you won't see the same premium paid to facilitate a deal.

    As for Bird and Morway, we are just starting the final phase of our three year plan. Anthem and BBall are sooooo right. I was always in this mindset, but I think many others haven't had that patience or understanding. We are a young rebuilding team and I think that is the next phase of our team. I think you will see a much different substitution pattern this year, but it won't be initially if we still have Murphy on our roster. Stephenson should start with TJ off the bench. Rush starts and DJ and Dun get bench minutes between 2-3 and Granger obviously being our man. Murphy will start and McRoberts will get significantly more burn this year overall. Hansborough depends on his health, but assuming he is ready by the season start, he will get significant burn. I see him being our starting PF by year end. Foster will get solid minutes as the backup center until we can trade him to a contender. Spurs, Thunder, Lakers, Mavs, Magic and Hawks, should all be interested in Foster and Murphy.

    I have a feeling they are going to blow that team up down in New Orleans by the end of the year. I would give NO anything they want for CP3. Two future firsts and a current young player (Stephenson possibly or George) plus an expiring might get it done at that point. Collison has looked very good in the summer league so far for them. PG is our biggest need.

    If the Magic are set on getting rid of Gortat, he would be a great player to trade Foster for. Essentiually the same type of player, just younger and a lot more expensive. He could come in and give us solid backup center minutes. I could even see him play NEXT to Hibbert for short stretches. But he would play 20-25 minutes a night for us. With the assumption that Murphy is traded, Hansborough, McRoberts, and Rolle could handle all the PF minutes. Gortat would ensure we don't wear Hibbert down by over using him and he brings a TON of toughness as the "Polish Hammer".

    The long and short of it:

    - Trade our expirings during the season.
    - Address starting PG, backup center, and add toughness in the front court.
    - Only take on longer term deals for players who would be part of our core... like Nazr's expiring and a young Charlotte player for Ford where the young player has a longer deal.
    - Add any and all draft picks that we can negotiate in these deals. It gives us more assets to deal than including our young roster players that we want to keep.

    We probably won't see our team do anything until the end of free agency, where I could see us pick up a cheap PG possibly, but I doubt it if a good deal doesn't come along and opens a roster spot. Don't expect us to do anything other than sign our rookies until after the season starts. Sorry so long.
    I agree totally. Based on the FanHouse article, LB and Morway will likely make a TRADE this year (before the CBA expires) and take back a long contract in return if they get a good player that fits us. With our very small market, we have to be smart and more patient and let the big market teams make their 'big splash' and then see what shakes out.

    Per LB, there were 5-6 teams that wanted to make deals with the Pacers prior to the DRAFT. These same teams will come calling again to see if they can consummate a deal now that Lebron, Bosh, Boozer, Korver, and other free agents are all signed. But, that's okay. LB and Morway realize we're still a couple of years away with both George and Lance being only 20yrs old (with Lance turning 20yrs old in Sept). George obviously needs to develop and fill out his body. It will take him (and Lance) at least 2yrs before they're ready to take on grown men in an 82 game season.

    With this timetable, LB is obviously looking for young NBA veteran prospects (starting PG & key backups) to grow with his young nucleus of core players. Fortunately...two years from now, Danny and Hans and Brandon will be 27 yrs old and Roy Hibbert will be 26yrs old (when Lance and George are 22yrs old). So acquiring a young 23-25yr old PG now, the Pacers could be a very dangerous team in this league (with Kobe turning 34yrs old in 2012). Unfortunately....in two yrs, Chris Bosh and Lebron James will be 28 yrs old and Wade will be 30yrs old.

    If LB and Morway can keep this team together, I like our chances.

    Go Pacers!!!

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