OAKLAND, Calif. -- Mike Dunleavy was traded to the Indiana Pacers from the Golden State Warriors four years ago this week.
Dunleavy, the No. 3 pick in the 2002 draft, thought he was leaving a franchise that hadn't gotten a sniff of the playoffs in 13 years and heading to one that had been a regular in the postseason.
Four years and 247 games later, Dunleavy is still searching for his first playoff appearance. Time is running out for him to make the playoffs with the Pacers. Indiana has been struggling for more than a month, and Dunleavy is a trade candidate.
The Pacers play Dunleavy's former team, Golden State, tonight.
"Unfortunately we haven't won a lot of games, but the last four years here in Indiana have been great," Dunleavy said. "From the Golden State standpoint, I still feel like I needed a change. It was the right thing."
Dunleavy had a breakout season in 2008 when he averaged a career-high 19 points in Jim O'Brien's first year as coach.
Dunleavy put up those numbers without much flash to his game.
There are no explosive drives to the basket. He uses a pump fake, one dribble and jump shot. He's more of a team defender than an individual defender.
Dunleavy, who excels at moving without the ball, hasn't had too many big games the past few seasons.
First there was a knee problem that limited him to 18 games two years ago. He spent last season trying to work his way back into form. This season, he is sharing the wing position with Danny Granger, Brandon Rush and rookie Paul George.
"What (Dunleavy) means to us is that he knows offensive basketball and he knows the schemes of defensive basketball," O'Brien said. "He does everything right every day in practice. When you have a guy that does everything right every day at practice, he's a great model for anybody that's younger than he is."
Dunleavy is shooting 43.4 percent from the field this season. His percentage is better than the previous two seasons but still significantly less than the 47.6 percent he shot during the 2007-08 season.
He's coming off a 1-of-10 shooting game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.
"There's not one 3-point shooter or jump shooter in the league who doesn't go through ups and downs," O'Brien said. "I never worry about Mike shooting the basketball. I worry about quality of shots."
Dunleavy is in the final year of his contract, which means he's a candidate to be traded before the Feb. 24 trade deadline.
"Maybe I should worry about it, but I don't at all," he said. "It's not worth it. How I look at it is, I'll always be playing basketball. It doesn't matter if it's here or at the North Pole."
If he is not traded, the odds of Dunleavy returning next season aren't high, despite O'Brien saying he wants his swingman to return. The wing is the deepest position on the Pacers' roster.
"We've got a good group of young guys," Dunleavy said. "It's been fun growing here. I love being in Indiana. I love the organization and the coaching staff. We'll see what happens."
Dunleavy, 30, is at the point in his career where winning takes center stage. The Pacers, who will have plenty of salary cap space to work with this summer, haven't finished with at least a .500 record since going 41-41 during the 2005-06 season.
"You look at everything and not just focus on one thing," Dunleavy said. "I could not tell you what's a priority right now. Obviously winning is very, very important."