It really doesn’t make much sense for the Pacers to just play out this year and make no trades. Mike Duleavy Jr. ($10.6 million), TJ Ford ($8.5 million), Jeff Foster ($6.7 million) and Solomon Jones ($1.5 million) are all in the final years of their contracts and are thus tradeable assets — particularly since at least MDJ and Foster should widely be considered helpful players for contending teams in addition to providing cap relief.
So I have long been of the mind that they will use some combination of these guys, other players on the roster and maybe even draft picks to deal for a high-quality player that the team wants to be part of the franchise’s long-term future.
Now Larry Bird is saying similar things in the press, dropping the following nugget of info in this FanHouse piece by Chris Tomasson.
Bird, the Pacers president, said his preference is to use his assets to swing a deal by the Feb. 24 trade deadline to acquire a key player.
“I would do that,” Bird, 54, who is contemplating retiring from the NBA after this season, said in an interview with FanHouse. “I’ve got my draft choice (a 2011 first-round pick). The thing I always say is, ‘Do you save it and see what the rules are (under a new collective bargaining agreement) or do you use it?’ But, if get that opportunity, I’m going to use it (by the trade deadline). … Do you wait or do you do it? I’ve made my mind up and I’ve talked to (Pacers owner Herb) Simon about it, and I’ve told him what I want to do, if we can get a good player.”
Bird was also quick to reaffirm his commitment to wanting to keep Danny Granger on the team.
while there have been rumblings Indiana’s top player, forward Danny Granger, could be on the trading block, Bird said his desire is to retain Granger.
“Danny’s one of our integral parts,” Bird said. “I don’t really talk about Danny (in possible) trades. We’d like to add to him, try to get him some help. … Danny’s been been a good soldier. He knows what we’re doing. We’d rather add to him.”
He goes on to discuss, in detail, his uncertain future. He’s Larry so he’s talks straight and basically says “I really don’t know” about being back next year, but, to me, it sounds as though Bird will return unless Herb Simon tells him that wants to go in a different direction when they meet this summer to discuss a new contract.