Pacers Insider: Fans aren't happy, but Kevin Pritchard, Donnie Walsh are upgrading the roster
The plan going into free agency was simple for the Indiana Pacers.
There would not be any off-the-wall recruiting pitches by team President Donnie Walsh or general manager Kevin Pritchard in the early hours of July 1 to try to woo All-Star point guard Deron Williams. The Pacers would not be one of many actors in the Dwight Howard soap opera with the Orlando Magic. Nor did the Pacers have interest in a one-year rental of Howard.
It’s been all about fine-tuning the roster since they lost to the Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs in May.
First, the Pacers re-signed center Roy Hibbert and point guard George Hill so the starting five remains intact. Now, they are working to upgrade a bench that did more harm than good in the Miami series.
The Pacers improved their depth Thursday when they agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent guards D.J. Augustin and Gerald Green.
Augustin, who started 142 games in his four seasons with Charlotte, agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million deal. Green signed a three-year deal for about $10 million.
Fans don’t like what they’ve seen so far. Some already want Walsh to retire and Pritchard to go somewhere else.
Have the moves been flashy? Not even close.
Are the moves good enough to catch Miami in the Eastern Conference? Not as long as the Heat have LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
But it’s all about progression for the Pacers.
They had no choice but to trade point guard Darren Collison.
Collison told Pritchard during his exit meeting in May that he didn’t have a problem returning as Hill’s backup next season, but he was being politically correct. Collison believes he’s a starter after leading the Pacers to a 34-22 record as the starter.
But Hill, who spent most of the season shuffling between the guard spots, stepped in when Collison injured his groin and helped lead the Pacers to their longest winning streak in years (seven games). Hill’s play left coach Frank Vogel no choice but to leave him in the starting lineup when Collison returned. The Pacers showed who they have more faith in when they agreed to a five-year, $40 million deal with Hill last week.