I want to establish it on record today Bird (if he stays) will win GM of the year award within the next 3 seasons.
How cool will it be for Bird to win player MVP, Head coach of the year award, and GM of the year. No other person in the history of the NBA can make such a claim.
Bird has done a remarkable job of digging this franchise out from under the catastrophe of the brawl. I know many on here may fail to see it and want Pritchard but I hope Bird stays as President of Basketball Operations.
I do not want to get into previous decisions Bird has made, because the hand he was dealt in 08 was nothing special. Instead I want to look at this current team through the eyes of Larry Bird, and try to gain understanding into what his next moves from here may be. After careful consideration, I believe Bird will lead this team to contender status for the next decade, and WILL WIN GM of the Year Award (not that Bird gives a ripp about awards, but I know he wants this team to win a championship). The reason I believe in Bird is because he cares, its not just a paycheck to him like it may be to another GM. Excluding Pritchard, or Donnie (temporarily anyways), there is no one else I want to see running the Pacers organization, and Bird is my top choice at this time.
For discussion purposes throughout the threard presume $65M will be the hard salary cap for the new CBA.
gauranteed salary players:
DC, AJ, Lance, George, Rush, DJones, Granger, Posey, Tyler, Hibbert
total salary is estimated at around $36M. Leaving the Pacers with just under $30M to pursue FA's with.
I will also state that it now appears our Frontcourt is set. I want Hansbrough/Hibbert starting, McRob off the bench at either 4/5, Foster resigned for a year or two and then bring in a 5th Big. Who that is i dont know, could be a number of players. we do know Bird is interested in Landry. I will presume this is the route he will go simply for discussion purposes.
PF: Hansbrough, Landry, McRob
C: Hibbert, McRob, Foster
I hope McRob resigns along with Foster. Dependent upon who we take in the upcoming drafts this could be revised. But right now i believe our Frontcourt is established.
McRob needs to add strength so he can gaurd centers in this league. Overall, that is a very good frontcourt to build on for the next 5 years. obviously, Foster will retire but we can replace him with a 4/5 in the draft at some point.
The point gaurd rotation needs work, but right now DC, AJ, Lance are all very young, I believe the FO is willing to give it more time before we determine if we need to make changes. Good news is, i think we can get by with DC & AJ for at least another season.
I belive Mike Brown will become the next coach of the Indiana Pacers. He is the most logical candidate I believe at this time. I want to see these young point gaurds adjust under a solid veteran traditional coach.
Rush is a nice player off the bench. He is not a quality starting sg, but very capable as a b/u at the position. George has talent to become a very good player.
Other than George, I can see Rush, Granger, and DJones all being moved this offseason.
Im beginning to get a little long-winded here so I am going to summarize very briefly.
Bird will not jeopardize the 2011 cap space flexibility. At most he may go after Landry and McRob this offseason solidifying the Frontcourt rotation.
^^^^^^^^^ is solid.
DC/AJ/Lance- Pacers can continue to evaluate for one more season.
George is the only wing I feel confident saying will be back next year. If Granger is dealt, look for us to resign Dunleavy at around 5-6M.
I am going to be very optimistic and say that Bird lands Eric Gordon in some way.
Here is where it gets good. I believe the Pacers will win 40-45 games next season. The following season they will be a 50 win team for the next decade under Birds guidance.
2012 unofficial projected roster:
PG: DC, AJ if these players do not cut it in 2011 under Mike Brown, the team will look to upgrade in 2012 either via draft/trade/FA. However, for now I will give DC/AJ the benefit of the doubt.
SG: Gordon, Rush (tho im not certain he will still be around, we may fill the b/u SG position through draft/FA/trade as well.
SF: George, Dunleavy
PF: Hansbro, Landry
C: Hibbert, McRob
The estimated salary for 2012 roster is $65M give or take a million or two.
PG: DC 6M, AJ 4M
SG: Gordon will get 15M, b/u sg 5M
SF: George- still on rook contract, Dun 5M
PF: Hansbro 8M, Landry 6M
C: Hibbert 9M, McRob 5M
At the hard cap salary limit this is a very solid team that is very young for the next 4-5 years. The only player that will need to be signed from this group is George and he may get 10M. which will push us over the Salary Cap. I am not too concerned with it b/c by 2013, we can replace DC, AJ, Landry, Dun, b/u SG for potentially draft picks that will be on a lower salary contract to keep it under $65M hard cap.
Outside of the point gaurd position, I am confident everywhere else with this roster with an additional 2-3 seasons under a coach like Mike Brown. The core of these players age will be approximately 25 years old and signed for 5 years. We may need to make a change at point, but right not it has not been deteminded i believe by the FO. I believe getting a coach in here is one of the top priorites for 2011 as it should be.
Bottom line is this:
LARRY LEGEND WILL WIN EXECUTIVE GM OF THE YEAR IF HE STAYS 3 MORE SEASONS.
I apologize for the lengthy post, but I believe PacerNation, LEGEND will lead this team to 50 wins a season over the next decade.