Anyone who has watched the Pacers extensively over the past few years should know that the team has one flaw that trumps all else: they can’t score. Last season, their defense vacillated between elite and very good. But they could never consistently put points on the board, something highlighted by their inability to score for minutes at a time during crunch time against the Bulls in the playoffs. Had they just been able to get a couple of points here and there, they likely would have made that series much more than the five-game gentleman’s sweep that it became.
Low and behold, it has been no surprise to hear the Pacers name continually linked to Jamal Crawford, by far the best scoring guard in this year’s free agent market. If he were to join the team, he immediately would become the team’s best player at creating his own shot, something that it is currently devoid of.
Unfortunately, it seems as though the former Sixth Man of the Year wants to play for the Knicks. Playing alongside Carmelo, Amaré and Tyson Chandler — not too mention for Mike D’Antoni — sounds like a whole bunch of fun, so this isn’t particularly shocking. Plus, Jamal used to play in NYC once upon a time. The Hawks, which were reportedly once against helping facilitate another team’s deal for Crawford, are now trying to work something out with the Knicks in which they receive some asset back for the departing guard, according to the New York Post.
Still, like with the David West scenario, the Pacers are in the background should that deal not go down.
Here is a two-part report from Indianapolis Star beat writer Mike Wells on the Pacers attempt to acquire Crawford.
Agent Andy Miller on Crawford’s situation: “We’ve had interest in Indiana. We’ve made it clear they’re one of the teams we’re considering.”
Miller continued: “But there hasn’t seemed to be much movement so we’ve had to look at other opportunities as well.”
Wells is also saying that Larry Bird’s interest in Memphis guard OJ Mayo persists. As you may remember, the Pacers seemingly had a deal for Mayo cemented at the trade deadline last year. All the major media outlets were reporting that a trade centering around Josh McRoberts for Mayo was a done deal.
Then it all fell apart, with differing parties reporting different reasons. This team pulled out or that team wouldn’t include so and so. It was a bunch of he said/he said.
But now it seems like the two teams may be revisiting a similar deal. Memphis wants Josh, who Indiana seemingly has no interest in retaining. And Larry Bird could help them get him with a sign-and-trade deal that brings back Mayo. OJ isn’t quite as gifted as a scorer as Crawford, but he can get his own shot to some degree. At least more so than Danny Granger or Paul George and probably more so than George Hill.
So he makes a good back-up plan.
Which seems to be the theme of this free agent season for the Pacers: back-up plans for back-up plans of back-up plans for back-up plans.