Still no moves from the Pacers in this crazy offseason.
Steve Nash makes the Lakers contenders once again in the West. Ray Allen makes the Heat favorites again in the East. Native son Eric Gordon says he wants to go to Phoenix; New Orleans intends to match. Jason Kidd goes to New York, making them potentially dangerous again. Jeremy Lin has signed the Rockets' offer sheet, but New York might match. Jeff Green has reportedly agreed to sign with the Celtics again after heart surgery. The Clippers get Jamal Crawford. Brandon Roy has apparently agreed to head to the Timberwolves. Nic Batum might follow him. Kyle Lowry is reportedly on the verge of signing with the Raptors.
What do all of these offseason movements have in common? They have nothing to do with the Indiana Pacers!
The question now is: is there anyone left out on the market for the Pacers to consider?
Maybe, but first things first. They need to retain Roy Hibbert. With other teams getting stronger (especially in the East), the Pacers can't be content with staying pat. Yes, they are young and will improve, but I'm not sure that's enough to keep them from taking a step back.
Chris Kaman could still be possible, regardless of whether Hibbert stays. OJ Mayo is still a possibility (and will probably decide whether they re-sign Barbosa). George Hill is trying to recruit local boy Courtney Lee back to Indiana. And...that's about it. Not jumping up and down over these names, but something is better than nothing. The Pacers need to get to work.
Oh, by the way, George Hill's new five-year contract was for $8 mill a year. They are overpaying him now, but if he keeps improving they might be underpaying him by the end of the contract. That's my personaly wish, anyway.
And for some reason Brian Shaw just can't get a head coaching gig anywhere in the NBA. He looks like he might stay another year in Indy, which is probably the best news the Pacers have had this entire offseason.
Well this has certainly turned out to be a sh%*tty offseason for the Indiana Pacers, who apparently had so much promise with their ample "cap space."
The only good thing that has happened so far is that George Hill has re-signed for 5 years. Roy Hibbert's future remains up in the air with that max offer from Portland, meaning if the Pacers want to keep him they'll have to match, overpaying him and tying the franchise's hands a little more down the track.
Guys that would have put the Pacers in title contention are just about goooooone, showing just how sucky it is to be a small market franchise in the NBA.
The top free agent this offseason, Deron Williams has re-signed with the Brooklyn Nets, who have also acquired Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace -- and is the place where Dwight Howard wants to go, this year or the next. All I can say is dang, because that's looking like a dangerous team for the Pacers, who were never even considered in the first place.
The next best thing for the Pacers, Steve Nash, has agreed to a sign-and-trade with the Lakers (for two first round and two second round picks -- that's IT!). Bloody hell. The Lakers? You've gotta be kidding me. I've had tremendous respect for Nash throughout his entire career, but now I have to force myself to hate him for the next 3 years, or as long as he is in a Laker uniform.
Many have already pointed to that John Hollinger piece which says Nash would have been a PERFECT fit for the Pacers, one of the few teams that had the financial flexibility to sign him. Imagine Nash running the point, getting the ball to where Big Roy likes it in the middle, Granger and George shooting wide open jumpers on the wings, and David West on the pick and roll. Man...
And yet, the Pacers didn't even get a whiff of the two-time MVP. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Eric Gordon, the Indiana native fans believe is the superstar the team needs to put them over the top, has at least agreed to meet with the Pacers, but has now said his HEART is with Phoenix. WTF? By all means, stay with the Hornets if you want and play with Anthony Davis, but the Suns, especially now without Steve Nash (and they've added head case Michael Beasley, by the way)?
So I guess Gordon is gone too.
The Pacers have reportedly spoken to mass murderer lookalike Chris Kaman and they hit it off well. But is he a potential replacement for Roy or is he a potential backup for him? I guess it depends if they re-sign Roy.
Whichever way you look at it, this has been an awful offseason for the Pacers so far. Not only have they failed to sign anyone new, they're on the verge of losing one of their most important pieces. Other teams are getting better, making moves, signing big names, but the Pacers, even with all their flexibility, can't do anything.
So who's left? There's still OJ Mayo, Jamal Crawford and Brandon Roy, right? Not that it's likely any of them would give the Pacers a second look. And there's also Ersan Ilyasova, but if the Pacers go after him they gotta do some reshuffling (which probably includes getting rid of Tyler Hansbrough.
Hopefully I am wrong and the Pacers pull off some magic, but thus far it has been all depressing news.
The Pacers' offseason has gotten off to a rocky start.
First of all, Roy Hibbert got a max contract offer from the Portland Trailblazers -- $58 million for 4 years. Frankly, that stinks. Not because Roy is likely to leave Indiana because I doubt the Pacers would allow that to happen, but because it means the Pacers will now likely have to offer Roy a similar contract (they can offer as much as $79 million over 5 years), which will take a significant chunk out of the team's cap and its ability to pursue other free agents. And we all know that Roy, as much as he has improved, as rare as he is, and as popular as he is with the Indiana fans, is NOT a max contract player.
Roy wants to stay in Indiana, but reports say he is "leaning" towards accepting the Blazers' offer, meaning the Pacers would have 3 days to match it if they want to keep the 7'2" big man. That's likely just a tactic from Roy's agent, who wants to maximize Roy's earnings. I don't think they intend to go to Portland. They just want to force Indiana to give him a max contract. It's a murky area. I mean, everyone will say Roy's contract will kill the Pacers' financial flexibility, but wouldn't you do the same if you were in his position?
Secondly, the Pacers have not been mentioned as a team in the running for Deron Williams or Steve Nash. They never had much of a chance anyway, but the lack of being mentioned at all has gotta hurt.
On the bright side, Eric Gordon has reportedly agreed to meet with the Pacers, but I won't read too much into it. With Anthony Davis and a massive contract awaiting him in New Orleans, why would he want to bolt?
The other big piece of news is that George Hill has apparently signed a 5-year deal for an unspecified amount. Hill is hardly the team's savior, but he's darn valauble.
The truth is, I'm disappointed. We have been hearing about what a great position the Pacers are in, with so much "financial flexibility" and cap room to play with. And all we've done so far is sign George Hill and struggle to sign Roy Hibbert, guys we already have. No big names. No David Wests this year. Sucks being a small market team, I guess.
The dust has settled and the verdict is in. The Pacers' selection with the 26th pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, Duke senior Miles Plumlee, is widely regarded as one of the worst (or as some have said, most "laughable") of the entire night. A D-, or at worst, an F, is what the majority of analysts have been giving the pick.
The general consensus is that Plumlee did not warrant a first round selection. He was tipped to be a second round guy, probably in the middle of that round. He is a white 7-footer with a 40-inch vertical but limited offensive skills. His averages at Duke in 2011-2012? 20.5 minutes, 6.6 points, 7.1 rebounds. Eek.
The Pacers, believe them or not, are describing Plumlee as their dream guy. The one they had their eyes on from the beginning. Their new Jeff Foster -- that high-energy guy that will play solid D, grab a ton of boards and change the game with their hustle and dirty work. But Foster, who played four seasons at SW Texas, at least averaged a more respectable 28.1 minutes, 14.2 points and 11.1 rebounds as a senior.
I guess there are a couple of ways to dissect this pick. The first is that Larry Bird has decided to go out on a whimper in botching the pick. Guys such as Arnett Moultrie and Perry Jones III were still available, so there's no excuse for picking this guy, whom many say isn't even the best Plumlee on the team (that honor apparently goes to his brother Marshall). The guy is raw and extremely limited offensively. Plus his game did not take any huge strides during his four years at Duke, suggesting he might have already approached his ceiling as a player. At best, he offers an insurance policy in case Roy Hibbert decides to sign elsewhere. At best, he is a bigger, more defensive-minded but less offensively capable Tyler Hansbrough.
The other way to look at it is that the Pacers made a good pick. Sure, there have been great players, or at least very serviceable NBA starters, who have been selected late in the first round (George Hill, for instance, was selected at 26 by the Spurs), but the probability is relatively low. The Pacers weren't going to find someone at 26 that could make a big splash on the team or take them to the next level. Instead, they did the safe thing by going for a guy that filled a need. It gives them a third energy guy off the bench (the other two being Hansbrough and Lou Amundson, if the latter re-signs as expected), and Plumlee would be the biggest and most athletic out of the three. Furthermore, even though Plumlee does not have eye-popping numbers, he reportedly tested extremely well during tests in Indiana. Perhaps his game will suit the NBA more than we expect?
The problem is, however, that many say the Pacers could have traded down and still gotten Plumlee, if he's the one they were really after (although some sources suggested that other teams were looking to snatch him up first).
To be honest, I think Plumlee doesn't hurt. They didn't get a star or a likely star, but they got an Indiana native would works hard, brings energy, is a big body and very athletic for his size -- PLUS he might be able to contribute right away. The Pacers are already a relatively young team, so getting a senior might be better for team chemistry. Plumlee can also battle Roy Hibbert in practice at force Hansbrough and Amundson to work even harder for minutes. I dunno, he might turn out to be better than first impressions.
The other guy the Pacers got on draft night was Orlando Johnson, the 36th pick whom the Pacers acquired from the Kings for cash. If you can get a draft pick for cash I guess it means they don't think very highly of them.
Johnson is a 6'4" guard with decent scoring capabilities but not much of a passer. Not sure how he helps the Pacers right now considering they've already got Lance Stephenson and Dahntay Jones. Another insurance policy should they find takers for Dahntay or if Stephenson loses his head again? Not sure.
Here are some of his highlights, though you gotta remember: everyone looks good in highlights.
Okay, so as it turned out, I was wrong. Larry Bird, despite sounding like he wanted to return, will resign as Pacers president. He'll apparently stick around for the draft, but after that, he will be replaced by the familiar face of Donnie Walsh, who is coming off a one-year hiatus as Knicks president.
Not that I have anything against Walsh. After all, he was the dude that drafted Reggie Miller, but it's sad to see the Legend go, especially after all that patience and hard work is beginning to finally pay off.
Oh, and as expected, David Morway will be replaced as GM by Kevin Pritchard. Several sources claim Pritchard is a colossal prick who cares more about his own career advancement than the team (partly due to his messy split from Portland) but Bird trusts him and he does appear to be pretty competent.
Pritchard and Walsh are apparently already speaking up to 15 times and meeting 5 times a day to discuss...stuff. Hopefully they know that they are doing.
Right now, the priority is to re-sign Roy Hibbert and George Hill, which I believe they will. After that, the Pacers have a bit of space, but not as lot as initially envisaged, to sign a free agent or two. The Pacers need someone to facilitate the offense, and of course, they would LOVE Deron Williams, but the chances of him coming are ZERO (he has already narrowed it down to Brooklyn and the Dallas, apparently). And the next best option, Steve Nash only has a slightly higher chance than ZERO of joining the Pacers. So you can all stop dreaming. Then again, I may have said the same thing about David West, so you never know...
So who's left after that? There's OJ Mayo, who almost came to the Pacers before Morway botched it. There's Jamal Crawford, whom the Pacers remain interested in. Both would be upgrades on Leandro Barbosa and provide much needed bench scoring.
The Pacers also need another reserve big to relieve Big Roy, and Chris Kaman had come up before in conversations, but is regarded as risky because of health concerns.
Another alternative is the Bucks' Ersan Ilyasova, a skiled big man who put up impressive numbers last season but it remains to be seen whether it was a fluke.
Indiana native Eric Gordon would be a massive boost (provided he remains healthy), but he is a restricted free agent and the Hornets have cleared up enough cap room to keep him, so he's pretty much out. Plus with Anthony Davis heading to New Orleans the team might eventually get somewhere...eventually.
Oh, and apparently Brandon Roy is making a comeback. He is supposedly better now, and the Pacers could have a shot, albeit a slim one.