It’s been sort of under the radar so you might have missed it, but the 2010 Summer free agency period has officially begun today. Apparently LeBron, Dwyane Wade and a few other guys might switch teams. Crazy right? I know. I was as blindsided by this as you.
The Pacers won’t be players in the market, however, as they are dangerously close to the luxury tax threshold already. They do have the Mid-Level Exception to play around with in order to fill out the roster (and hopefully find a point guard) but given how much salary they already have committed, they will probably try very hard to use as little of the MLE as possible. The official 2010-11 salary cap and luxury tax threshold will be set next week on July 7, so we will have precise figures to report, but we already have an estimate ($56.1 million for the cap, $68 million for the luxury tax) that should be pretty close to the final number.
Really, all you need to know is that the Pacers are broke and can’t sign anyone of import unless they trade away a few expirings and — somehow — manage to free up an additional $5-$6 million in the process. There is a good chance they make a deal or two, but there is probably very little chance they are able to free up that kind of cash in the process. So keep you free agency expectations to a minimum.
Mike Wells, Pacers beat writer for the Indianapolis Star, has mentioned that the Pacers may be targeting inexpensive point guards. Jordan Farmar, who the Lakers recently decided not to retain, and Kyle Lowry, a restricted free agent for the Rockets (which means Houston can match any offer given to the four-year vet out of Villanova), have both been named as possibilities. We’ll see. I like both of those guys, but it’s hard to get particularly excited about either. Lowry would be likely to provide a Watson-level impact and while Farmar has a higher upside and I am curious to see what he could do on a team that doesn’t run a restrictive (for a guy like him) triangle offense and tries to develop him more than the Lakers did, I doubt he can step in and be “the answer” at the point that Indy has lacked since Mark Jackson was around.
Stay tuned to see if any other names surface in the days and weeks to come.
The last bit of news to report is that local Purdue standout Chris Kramer has been invited to play with the Pacers during Summer League. As you probably know, I don’t watch college basketball, so I’m sure most of you readers know more about this guy than I do. This was interesting though:
The guard was bypassed in last month’s NBA draft, but he’s been selected for the Indiana Pacers’ summer league rookie/free agent camp roster. Pacers coach Jim O’Brien praises Kramer’s toughness and says he was impressed by his workout for the team before the draft. Kramer is known best for his defense and says he admires former San Antonio Spurs defensive stopper Bruce Bowen.
The Pacers need offense more than defense, but whatever works.
More than anything, however, this just reminded me of the last time the Pacers got involved with a Kramer. For those of you who don’t remember, here is the transcript of Cosmo Kramer’s run-in with Reggie Miller during a classic Seinfeld episode:
KRAMER (enters, subdued)
Hey. (grabs a water from refrigerator)
Hey, I thought you went to the game.
No. I was kicked out for fightin’ with one of the players.
Wait. Way–way–way–way–way–way–wait! Who?!
… … Reggie Miller.
Cheryl Miller’s brother?
Hey–hey–hey–wait, wait, wait, wait! What happened!
KRAMER (stops again)
Well, first of all, for some reason, they started the game an hour Late. And uh, I was sittin’ next to Spike Lee an’ he an’ Reggie were jawin’ at each other, so I guess I got involved. (leaving)
ELAINE (same time as Jerry)
Well–wait–wait–wait–wait! What do you mean “involved”?!
KRAMER (stops again)
Well I.. ran out onto the court an’ threw a hotdog at Reggie Miller. “Involved.” An’ they threw meee, an’ Reggie, an’ Spike out o’ the game.
So that’s it?
Well I, well I, felt, pretty bad about everything an’ uh, then the three of us, we went to a strip club. (leaves)
Can you believe that?
I didn’t know Cheryl Miller’s brother played basketball.
… and … scene.