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Their penthouse atop the Eastern Conference affords the Indiana Pacers the luxury of being particular. Snooty as they want to be, in fact.
That's why they have taken on the air of a cautious window-shopper rather than a frantic bargain hunter as today's 3 p.m. trade deadline approaches.
"We're not looking, but if something comes up that can help the team, yeah," team president Larry Bird said Wednesday.
Bird, who took over the team presidency from Donnie Walsh last July, made a bold move in August when he fired coach Isiah Thomas and hired Rick Carlisle. He has proven to be less dramatic regarding the playing roster so far, not making a single trade, but he has a few more hours to make a splash.
Although Bird has final say on trades, he consults closely with Walsh, his predecessor.Both work the telephones, discussing potential deals with other teams. Walsh's influence, however, is likely to be toward patience. He made four major deadline deals in his 17 years in charge of basketball operations, all when the Pacers had a losing record.
The most likely scenario is that they'll let this team play out the season and see what it can do in the playoffs.
"Larry and Donnie are fully prepared to do that," Carlisle said. "It appears that's where we are."
For the front office to make a major move when the team is 39-15 and holds a 61/2-game lead in the Eastern Conference heading into Wednesday's play would be out of character. But not out of the question.
Bird repeated his oft-stated desire for improved outside shooting. The Pacers rank 24th in field goal percentage after shooting a season-low 33 percent in Tuesday's loss to New Orleans, and rank 17th in 3-point percentage.
The weakness was glaring in the loss to the Hornets, who double-teamed Jermaine O'Neal in the low post and forced him to pass the ball out to perimeter shooters. The Pacers hit just 4-of-22 3-point shots in that game.
However, Reggie Miller's percentage (.421) is better than all but two of his previous NBA seasons, Jamaal Tinsley (.342) has shown improvement and Austin Croshere (.402) remains a threat.
Al Harrington has supplanted Croshere in the trade deadline hot seat this season, receiving mention in more rumors than any of his teammates.
The Pacers have been flooded with calls about Harrington, who is regarded as a valuable commodity because of his talent, perceived potential, desire to start, age (24) and a contract that isn't exceptionally long or excessive.
He'll receive $13.3 million in the two seasons following this one.
One rumor that seemed less ridiculous than most had Harrington and Scot Pollard going to Golden State for Erick Dampier and Speedy Claxton, but officials from both teams have privately denied it.
Dampier, who began his career with the Pacers, would provide them with a legitimate center. He's 6-11 and 265 pounds, and is averaging 11.9 points and 11.6 rebounds. Claxton, now starting for the Warriors in place of the injured Nick Van Exel, has averaged 16.2 points, 6.6 assists and 2.8 steals in the past 14 games.
The Warriors are thought to be unlikely to trade Claxton but willing to deal Dampier. He has requested a trade in the past and has stated a desire to return to the Pacers.
However, he can opt out of his contract after this season and is considering a switch of agents. That makes him a dangerous acquisition because he could leave at the end of the season. The Warriors have interest in keeping him because they could go under the salary cap if he exercises his option.
Bird did not address Dampier specifically but does not appear desperate to add a center.
"We'd like to get bigger, but we have one of the bigger teams in the East already," he said.
Harrington, who has been troubled all season by a sore right knee, said he neither anticipates nor desires a trade.
"I don't think anything is going to happen," he said. "We've got a good thing going, excellent chemistry and everything. I don't think anyone wants to mess that up.
"I talk to Donnie all the time and he tells me that I'm off the market and that nobody can get me, so I have to believe in what he says."
Croshere, the subject of several rumors the past two seasons, is taking a similarly relaxed stance.
"I haven't even bothered looking on the Internet this year," he said. "If it happens, Larry or Donnie will let me know. I'm not going to worry about it."
Houston, which is seeking another 3-point threat, has offered Maurice Taylor for Croshere, but the Pacers were not interested.
Still, anything can happen in the final hours of what is expected to be a busy trading session. The players know from experience their home is not guaranteed until the deadline passes.
"One thing I learned this summer is to only worry about the basketball part and let the management worry about the business part," O'Neal said.
A look at the trades the Indiana Pacers have made shortly before the NBA's February deadline since Donnie Walsh took over the basketball operations in 1986:
• • Feb. 20, 1989: Traded Wayman Tisdale and a second-round draft pick to Sacramento for LaSalle Thompson and Randy Wittman.
• • Feb. 21, 1989: Traded Herb Williams to Dallas for Detlef Schrempf and a second-round pick.
• • Feb. 20, 1997: Traded Vincent Askew, Eddie Johnson and two second-round draft picks to Denver for Mark Jackson and LaSalle Thompson. In what was technically a separate deal, they sent Jerome Allen to Denver for Darvin Ham.
• • Feb. 19, 2002: Traded Jalen Rose, Travis Best, Norm Richardson and a second-round draft pick to Chicago for Ron Artest, Ron Mercer, Brad Miller and Kevin Ollie.