Pacers Offseason, Part 1 – How Much Money Do They Have to Add Players?

With the season freshly concluded, it’s time to talk about how the Pacers can make next year even better. We’re going to start by outlining just how much “room” Indiana has to add players. Heading into next season, the Indiana Pacers have eight players under contract. (source: Shamsports)

(000′s $)

The Pacers are committed to paying those contracts in full – with one exception. The $870 thousand for Lance Stephenson is fully unguaranteed until July 15th. If he is waived before then, then that money goes away. You’ll also note that the salary for Dahntay Jones is in green. That indicates a player option. Jones could elect to terminate his contract and explore free agency, but that seems unlikely.

For reference, I have included the projected salary cap – $58.044 million. This is flat to this year. The revenue for the lockout-shortened season will probably be down, but the CBA guaranteed that the cap would not drop below this level. Based on this figure, the Pacers would have $21.767 million left between their contracts and the salary cap. That number would go to $22.637 million, should the Pacers waive Stephenson prior to July 15th.

However, while that’s the most money they’d have available, it is not what they actually have free to start the summer spending.

Cap Holds – The Hibbert and Hill Effect

Technically, the Pacers will open the summer with no available cap space.

In order to prevent teams from letting all of their contract expire, signing other free agents, then re-signing their own players with “Bird Rights” to go over the cap, the CBA places “cap holds” on a team’s free agents, draft picks, and retired players.

(000′s $)

The Pacers will enter July with over $32 million in cap holds, putting their total cap figure at close to $70 million. However, only a few of those holds really matter.

The biggest cap hold is on Leandro Barbosa’s contract, at $11.4 million (150% of his 2012 salary). As he helped late in the regular season and early in the playoffs, it was worth considering keeping him around. After the Miami series, that seems less appealing. Regardless, if you wanted to keep him, then the Pacers would need to sign him quickly for a figure much lower than his hold. However, the base expectation is that the Pacers will renounce their Bird Rights to Barbosa, thus removing all of the cap hold. (The decision to be made about Barbosa is likely low on the front office’s offseason priority list.)

I didn’t list all of the holds here, because the ones for Jeff Foster, A.J. Price, and Kyrylo Fesenko are probably moot. Indiana will renounce all of them for various reasons. However, I did include Lou Amundson. Amundson is a player that the Pacers would probably like to re-sign at the right price. However, his price probably won’t be materially different from his hold. As you’ll see later, how Indiana can or will deal with Lou will greatly depend on what direction they want to go with their other moves. (And as with Barbosa, it is not a primary concern.)

That leaves the three holds that matter – Roy Hibbert, George Hill, and the 1st Round Draft Pick. They total $11.217 million.

So what can the Pacers do? Well, a lot of things, but it’s probably easiest to look at it in two separate scenarios.

Keeping the Core Together

If you operate under the assumption that the Pacers will want to re-sign Roy Hibbert and George Hill, then that limits the money available pretty drastically. Both players are sure to command contracts greater than their cap holds, so the way to maximize the cap space would be to wait to re-sign these two until after the Pacers made their free agent acquisitions.

Under that approach, Indiana would most likely have the $10.550 million identified in red above available to sign free agents (this assumes renouncing Barbosa, Amundson, etc.). From there they would have three avenues to create more cap space – one entirely under their control, and two that would need trading partners.

Waive Lance Stephenson – This would add $870 thousand of cap space, bringing them to $11.420 million available. Making this move has the virtue of being entirely at the discretion of the Pacers. I think this is possible, but don’t consider it likely. Nor am I making a judgment on whether or not Lance should  be waived. However, it’s worth noting that Lance could be waived, then re-signed later to the minimum … which happens to be $854 thousand next year. It could be a painless option for both parties, but it also doesn’t move the needle very much.

Trade, Sell or Renounce the Draft PickThe Pacers hold the 26th pick in the NBA Draft this June, and it carries with it a cap hold of $894 thousand. The Pacers could elect to trade that pick without taking back salary, sell it for up to $3 million, or renounce their rights to the pick (probably after making the pick). The first two are possible, the third extremely unlikely. The last example of renouncing the rights to a draft pick I can recall is Chicago doing it with Travis Knight in 1996. The Pacers also lost the rights to Greg Minor — whose rights they’d acquired in the Mark Jackson trade — but that was for reasons surrounding failing to file the right paperwork in time that I can’t quite recall, and in any case, was four CBAs ago. The Pacers may trade or sell the pick, but the need would have to be very specific. This path also seems unlikely to me, simply because first round draft picks are cheap players with potential, and teams don’t like to give them away.

Make an unbalanced trade, where they send out more salary than they take backThis seems unlikely to me, because Indiana would need a trading partner with either cap space or a Traded Player Exception (TPE) who would also be interested in taking a player that the Pacers didn’t want. However, since Danny Granger has the only contract on the Pacers that is guaranteed beyond the 2012-13 season, there are candidates. Seems to me that the most likely scenario of a collection of long shots would be to get some team to take back the final year of either Dahntay Jones ($2.900 million) or Tyler Hansbrough ($3.055 million), in exchange for some future considerations — second round picks, highly protected firsts. This, along with waiving Lance Stephenson, could create just under $15.400 million in cap room, while retaining the holds for Hibbert and Hill. This is close to, but not quite, big enough to make a 30% max offer. However, there’s a lot of risk in that. The Pacers would have to make that deal, before they had an agreement – or even spoken to — a free agent. Very good chance that they could come out of the exchange with more money to spend, but not be able to spend it on who they want.

Those are opportunities to get clever. However, if the Pacers prioritize re-signing Hibbert and Hill, it likely indicates a more conservative approach. Therefore, the best assumption to follow is that they’ll have just a little over $10 million available to add talent.

In this scenario, there are two players that I would put at the top of the shopping list.

First, Steve Nash. Nash would do wonders for the Pacer offense, and — I have to believe — Roy Hibbert. He reportedly has winning as a high priority, and perhaps he could be brought in on a David West-type deal…maybe even less in the right circumstances. I’m not great at predicting what his actual price tag will be, but I have to believe it would within the Pacer budget. I think it would just be a question of mutual interest.

Second, Irsan Elyasova. Again, not entirely sure of his price, but a very good, active upgrade on the Pacer reserve bigs who also could provide some sorely needed shooting ability.

In my more delusional moments, I think of getting both, but one or the other would be fine.

Other factors could derail this plan pretty quickly, though. Both Hibbert and Hill are restricted free agents, which is both a blessing and a curse for the Pacers. The blessing comes in the fact that the Pacers can match any offer made. The curse comes in that the new CBA only allows three days to match, instead of seven.

If Roy Hibbert and/or George Hill sign offer sheets very early in the process, it significantly alters the math here. In fact, if both sign on July 1st (or whenever the first day), the Pacers will be forced to make all of their major offseason decisions in a three-day time frame. This is especially concerning when you consider that the Pacers’ normal M.O. is to allow things to unfold.

In any case, I expect the Pacers to seek to keep the core together, so I think they will prioritize re-signing their two restricted free agents. Then look to add more talent. Nash and Ilyasova may or may not be on their wish list.

However, they could go another way.

Go Big Game Hunting

Really, what this amounts to is going after Deron Williams. However, the first thing I need to do here is address Eric Gordon. The Pacers have been linked repeatedly to Eric Gordon, and while the match is perfect in theory, it is fraught with practical problems.

First is the very real concern over whether Gordon will be worth the amount of money it will take to sign him. The most damning argument against is the fact that he’s missed 20, 26, and 57 games over the last three seasons. That’s not a warning sign. That’s somebody walking beside you 24 hours a day, slapping you upside the head, and saying, “He’s injury prone. He’s injury prone. He’s injury prone.”

Also, Gordon went from being considered a promising, possible All-Star one day to the future best shooting guard in the league, all without ever actually showing any sustained reason for that jump. He has played at a very high level for relatively short periods of time in the context of a career and a contract worth upwards of $60 million.

But the biggest practical obstacle is his restricted free agent status.

Though I wouldn’t do it, New Orleans seems committed to matching any offer, up to and including a max deal. This fact closes the window on this opportunity for all but the tiniest sliver. So, I don’t consider Gordon a practical option, but the good news for those who do is: the steps needed to put the Pacers in a position to make a run at Williams will also allow them to make a run at Gordon.

Now, the math.

(000′s $)

The table above outlines the max contracts. While the overall cap will not change, the CBA has guaranteed that the cap used for establishing player max salaries will increase, driving up the max salaries available.

The two columns of importance to the Pacers are the 25% column and the 30% column. Eric Gordon (and Roy Hibbert) can be paid up to the amount in the 25% column, with a starting salary of $13.669 million. Deron Williams’ maximum is in the 30% column, with a starting salary of $16.403 million.

If the Pacers are willing to make some hard choices, they would have enough space to offer a 25% max, and they could come close to a 30% max. But, those choices would be hard, and they’d begin with renouncing the Bird Rights to George Hill.  That alone would create enough space to offer Eric Gordon the max.

From there, if the Pacers were to waive Lance Stephenson and unload their first round pick, they could offer a starting salary of just over $16.1 million to Deron Williams. This would be just below the max, and cost Williams about $1.1 million over the course of a four-year contract that any team besides the Nets could offer. Of course, the Nets max offer is worth over $20 million more due to the extra year.

Sidebar – What does renouncing a player mean?
You’re basically giving up your ability to go over the salary cap to sign that player. If the Pacers were to renounce George Hill, then they would only be able to sign him with available cap space, or to a minimum level contract. While there are scenarios where Indiana could renounce Hill (or Hibbert), then still find a way to keep him, their chances are very remote. One should assume renouncing a player would end the team’s relationship with that player. There is only one instance in which a player can be “un-renounced.” That is if he was renounced in order to make an offer on another team’s restricted free agent, and that team matched the offer. However, there are still limitations even then, so it’s safest to consider renunciation final, and be surprised if it isn’t. (As always, Larry Coon’s NBA CBA FAQ is the best source for information like this.)


Correction – Roster Charges

As wintermute notes below, there is something called a roster charge. Per Larry Coon:

“A roster charge if the team has fewer than 12 players (players under contract, free agents included in team salary, players given offer sheets, and first round draft picks). The roster charge is equal to the rookie minimum salary for each player fewer than 12.”

This changes the math enough to change a couple conclusions:

In the “Keep the core together” section, a roster charge ($0.474 million) should be added, lowering the beginning available to just over $10 million. Then both Lance and the pick would be replaced w/ roster charges, meaning those two moves would only create about $0.4 million additional space, each.

It has a bigger effect on the “Big Game” calculations, as the Pacers would not be able to get to $16.1mm. At that point, they’d have four roster charges. That would take away $1.9 million of available space. As wintermute notes, to chase Deron Williams, the Pacers will have to find someone to take on salary – probably Dahntay Jones or Tyler Hansbrough – in order to create room to make a max offer to Williams.

If that wasn’t enough, the Pacers would either have to decide to renounce Roy Hibbert’s Bird Rights (won’t happen), or try to find a team willing to take on some salary. In that case, they’d love for it to be Dahntay or Tyler, but they might have to dangle Darren Collison and his remaining $2.3 million.

No question, this is a risky, risky path, but there are ways to get there. Again, this is just about the math of creating the space to sign Deron Williams. It’s not a discussion of whether or not he would come to Indiana.

Which Way?

It’s tough to tell. I’d say it depends on whether or not Bird returns. If Bird returns, then I’d bet heavily on the Pacers re-signing Hibbert and Hill, while trying to make another David West-level acquisition. This could come in free agency, or they could look to make a trade. If Bird leaves, then it depends on his replacement, and I don’t know who that might be. I will say this, however. If it ends up being Kevin Pritchard, then I’d expect the Pacers to make a run at Deron Williams.

To me, if you can get Williams, you have to get him. However, while I think he’d come to Indy, I don’t think Indy will be his first choice. New Jersey and – reportedly – Dallas, will likely look more attractive to Williams. So, while I’d explore the Williams opportunity, I’d plan on moves in the vein of Nash/Ilyasova, or other opportunities that may not be readily apparent to the casual observer. Of course, there is always the possibility of trading any of the players on the roster – Danny, Roy, David, DC. While that makes it hard on us prognosticators, the amount of flexibility the Pacers have leaves them in a position to be envied by pretty much everybody else in the NBA.

Plenty of questions about what will happen this summer, but this post should provide the framework for the financial options and limitations the Pacers face. Stay tuned.

Tags: Salary Central

  • gregor t.

    I would love to see the Pacers improve the bench, especially at the 2-5, with players that produce in the playoffs. That, unfortunately, will be very difficult. However, after the loss of J. Foster, the addition of Ersan Ilyasova would be a great start. Also, Granger needs a true backup (a Kawhi Leonard type) to help guard Lebron so P. George can use more energy on offense. Where the Pacers find that i have no clue. N. Batum looks out of reach. C. Delfino might help, until we play the Heat. Same with S. Novak. Patience and progression could be the best move. Stay under the cap and look for a trade deadline pick-up like the Barbosa deal, push the Bulls for the two seed in the East, aim for a rematch with the Heat in the Conf. Finals, and keep the battle going. Not sexy. Just steady.

  • Steve

    Interesting Post. My view is that we should look to upgrade our shooting guard position. I feel that all our starters plus DC have earned their spots and should be secured. Barbosa was really good in the regular season but let us down in the post season. Lou Amundson also got schooled in the post season, and Paul George has a little growing up to do and might be better as a back up depending on the quality of the players we acquire. Another sharp shooter to provide some cover for West and Hibbert, and draw the defense out of the paint, would be very useful, as well as making our bench a little more robust on the defensive side.

  • Alan

    Please no Ilyasova or Delfino they had a good YEAR with the BUCKS but dont fit in my mind. If we get Gordon where will he fit in. Start him at sg? Are you already giving up on Paul? And are we just gonna give up on the team that we built the right way with great guys who took us from 8 games below 500 to 18 games above in a shortened season. Williams is one of my favorite players in the league but its not realistic come on now.Nash is old and he might make us great for one year then we’d be down again. I like the patience approach resign hill hibbert. Try to resign Barbosa and Amundson for the RIGHT price. and look for some bench players that could help offensively. Our starting lineup is great we outscored teams more times than not with our starting group in there. Stay simple prove the doubters wrong. WE DONT NEED A STAR!

  • Nate

    I agree… But in the end, life without a star in the NBA means EC semi’s at best every year.
    That is just a fact – you need a Lebron, wade, rose, Dwight to win… Sorry. The Pacers will not beat the Heat, Bulls over the next 5 years without a star or better BEST player…

  • Nate

    Also, what does everyone think of a hypothetical Pacers vs. Boston matchup this year? How would it turn out?

  • Bat

    My only wish is Deron Williams, If we bring D.Will to Indiana, we don’t need Hill&Collison anymore. AJ Price for backup will be enough.

    Deron Williams
    Paul George
    Danny Granger
    David West
    Roy Hibbert

    We will be in ECF for sure. Can really cause big problem to Heat&Bulls.

    For people who constantly denying possibility of bringing D.Will because of his wish for playing big market teams. They need to know he get drafted, played&signed extention in Utah Jazz similar team in Pacers
    He also playing for Nets with Brook Lopez, A.Morrow etc.
    Why he’s now in his prime&no time of dreaming about playing in big city with couple of megastars. Instead he has chance to play in Indiana for 14-16million with couple of young&excellent players WHO HE NEVER EVER PLAYED WITH.

    Remember his best partner in NBA is Carlos Boozer in Utah which is deplorable for the talented player like him

  • Granger

    I say trade Granger sign Gordon and move P George to SF. Tell both Hill and George to beef up in the gym and prepare to attack the basket next season in addition to reigning threes. If you could get Nash fine but yes it is short term but if you had him you could move Hill into a Ginobli type role while still backing up both positions. Sign Hill for what he wants, He’s the type of player that will get better and better every year. He’s a winner. Miami is Miami but he was steady in most playoff games this year. I think Williams is not an option per him. No fan of Delfino and whoever else that was you mentioned. See if we can boost up the bench but signing a quality back up SF and Center. Still liking Mayo. Trade Collision and Jones, Amundsun if you need to to make it work but keep Barbosa and HanSolo.

    ….We would have beat Boston. I actually think if we triumphed this year over Miami we would have made it to the Finals.

  • Nate

    Williams is unrealistic. Before Dwight drama and his injury, they were the 3rd best team in the east. Now add Williams, that is a better team that Pacers addition. Do you think he wants to battle the Heat alone or with Dwight?

  • Granger prt 2

    So I guess the line up would be:

    Collison or Price

  • Bat

    Dwight eats a lot of cap space & Deron&Dwight still needs to fill other 3starter&bench even good coach.
    Also has a big risk of Dwight being injured in year or two. It will be big disaster for Deron, he will have no partners, no money bec he needs to sign lot lower amount for joining dwight and for sure NO FUTURE.

    But in Indiana, in case of any of starter goes down by injury Hibb, West, Granger or George.
    He still have 3-4 excellent partners to fight with opponents.

  • Nate

    Dwight has one one major injury his whole career! He is lebron like durable. Just watch, he will laugh at Indy. Orlando has no state tax either. Orlando has decent role players and you could get rid of Nelson and others. I think it’s naive to think Indy is a better fit. The league stars are contracting, not going to a team where he’s the one and only guy. Dwight took a team to the finals by himself… Add Williams with Anderson, but Turk and trade Nelson. Plenty of room. Miami beat us in 6 without Bosh, you think Williams will get us over the edge? Willuams knows that Indy can’t beä a still improving heat team the next 5 years…

  • Chris D.

    We need a floor-general point guard focused on assists and helping Granger, West, and Hibbert to a 50-60 pts. combined avg. per game. That’s not asking too much from those three. Nash could train DC and Price, but Hill would have to go. Nash needs a ring soon, though, which limits Indy appeal.

  • wintermute

    Hey Tim,

    I’d like to clarify this part: Eric Gordon (and Roy Hibbert) can be paid up to the amount in the 25% column, with a starting salary of $13.669 million. Deron Williams’ maximum is in the 30% column, with a starting salary of $16.403 million.

    But in your table up there, $13.7m and $16.4m are for the 2013 season. For 2012, it’s $12.9m and $15.5m isn’t it? Have you heard that these numbers will be adjusted upwards? I can’t see anything in Larry Coon’s Q16 which you referenced that says anything about the max for 2012-13 season.

    Also, it seems you’ve forgotten about roster charges (Larry Coon Q42). That makes cutting Lance even more marginal for salary cap purposes. I think your numbers are off because of roster charges. I’m pretty sure we can’t give a max offer to Deron without renouncing George Hill, or alternatively being able to dump both D. Jones and Hans for no salary in return.

  • NoLookPass

    Is it Frank’s offense, too many shooters, the addition of Shaw, Lack of a PG or something else that’s caused this teams issues shooting?

    FG%/2012/2011/Difference/Player/FGA +/-

    40.5/46.5 -6.0 for Hansbrough -1.5
    46.7/40.9 -5.8 for Jones -0.5
    45.0/39.9 -5.1 for Barbosa -3.0
    45.4/43.0 -2.4 for Amundson -0.5
    50.8/48.7 -2.1 for West -4.0
    45.8/44.0 -1.8 for Collison -2.3
    35.6/33.9 -1.7 for Price -2.4
    45.3/44.0 -1.3 for George +3.2
    45.3/44.2 -1.1 for Hill -0.7
    42.5/41.6 -0.9 for Granger -0.8
    46.1/49.7 +3.6 for Hibbert -0.7

    We had 11 guys take at least 2.5 shots per total team game played and 10 of those players saw their shooting percentage drop and the one who didn’t should have never been that low to start with and should probably be higher than where he is now.

    Something is flawed with our team because there is no way 91% of out guys should see a drop in FG% let alone everyone but Danny seeing a 1% or more drop and Danny was a .9% on an already low number. Some may point to lockout as the problem but this is far deeper than that.

  • Tim Donahue

    From the CBA:

    “For purposes of this Section 7 only, the Salary Cap shall be calculated in accordance with Article VII, Section 2, except that the percentage of Projected BRI to be utilized for such calculation shall be 42.14% for all Salary Cap Years. Notwithstanding the foregoing, (i) the Salary Cap for the 2011-12 Salary Cap Year for purposes of this Section 7 only will be $51.689 million, and (ii) the Salary Cap for the 2012-13 Salary Cap Year for purposes of this Section 7 only will equal the greater of (x) the Salary Cap as calculated pursuant to this Section 7(f), and (y) $54.675 million.”

    That increase adds a little under $750k starting salary to the 25%, and just under $900k to the 30%.

    I’ve got a clarifying question into Larry Coon on the precise mechanics of roster charge (specifically whether or not one is “replaced” when a player signs, making it moot for purposes of signing), but in some scenarios mentioned here, there could be as many as three in total, which would not all be “replaced.” I’ll add a note.

  • Ian

    If Nash is going to take a pay cut to win a championship, he’s not signing with the Pacers. He’s signing with the Heat or the Lakers more likely.

    Gordon will be too expensive and too much of a wild card. Larry has learned his lessons and won’t take dumb risks. Irsan Elyasova would be an awesome addition but could we actually get him? I imagine he’s going to be expensive, but also, he’s going to insist on starting wherever he goes. Dude was frickin awesome the 2nd half of the season, and even if his 3-pt shooting cools a little he’s still an excellent player and only 25.

  • wintermute

    Thanks. That’s very interesting, I don’t think anyone has reported that yet. So you’re not only a credentialed Pacer journalist, but a CBA scoop breaker as well :)

    Can’t hurt to put out a post highlighting just the max salary increases. It’s bound to get wider interest than a Pacers’ offseason article.

  • Drew

    Kawhi leonard > paul george

  • Benjamin

    Unless we can somehow get Deron Williams, the Pacers should go after some solid role players. A couple of examples that would fill needs……Jason Thompson and Courtney Lee…Thompson can play both center and PF. doesnt shoot good from range, but is effective around the basket…at 6’11″ he would be a big upgrade over Tyler/Lou….

  • Yngwie

    @NoLook The league average FG% dropped by 1.1%. In fact here’s the last 6 seasons FG%

    44.8 (this season)

    So no it’s not surprising at all that the Pacers’ FG% went down since the entire league’s went down by a similar amount.

    However, importantly, their offensive efficiency INCREASED vs. last year. This takes into account per possession so it accounts for the idea that not all missed shots are the same. Some might for example lead to putbacks or FTs. The Pacers increased from 104.8 to 106.7 points per 100 possessions, while the league average went down from 107.2 to 104.6.

    So in terms of arguably the most important and certainly the most consequential numbers, points per possession, the Pacers’ offense got measurably better despite the entire league getting worse between last season and this season

  • Derek U

    I dream of Eric Gordon coming off the bench, with the starting line-up as is.. 6th man of the year easy, and add a severly needed scoring punch from the bench.

    Or Irsan Elyasova. This kid boards and stretches all day. I’d take him over “Psycho T” or Amundson anyday. ANYDAY.

    And someone mentioned Jason Thompson. Love this kid too, plays hard, boards and has a finesse too him. Dog housed in Sacremento, but he’s very underappreciated and poorly managed there.

  • Realist

    I agree we should absolutely have a crack at D-Will, and I also agree he will probably say no, as will Nash.

    At least are issues are mainly on the offensive end and the D seems fine. Much better than the other way around, for sure.

    But, does anybody else think that our team is actually okay as is? Give these guys (ie keep Hibbert and Hill) a full 82 games together and surely we’re at least a 4-seed, probably contending for the 2-seed (I think after Miami, it’s between us and maybe… New York if they get it together? maybe? I don’t know. Chicago will do okay without Rose but won’t be elite I guess).

    Anyway, standing pat doesn’t sound too terrible, in my opinion. Obviously we have the lingering point guard / assists issue and Steve Nash would solve that in an instant. But in that scenario does that mean we’re not keeping HIll (obviously Collison is the cheaper backup)? So he would be effectively a one-year rental that we gave up Leonard for, not to mention the hometown ties? Hmmm.

    I just hope Larry sticks around for it and doesn’t let somebody else screw it all up.

  • Realist

    Oh, but don’t keep Barbosa of course. *shudder*

  • Vincent

    Adding Ilyasova would be awesome, but as someone said before, I think he’s going to be very expensive, players like him are quite rare in this league.

    Courtney Lee would be also a good option at the SG spot, imho way better than Mayo.

    Nash would be of course great for the team, not only on the court but also in the locker room, but sadly I don’t think he’ll be interested in joining the team..

  • dwain

    wonder if Jason Kidd might be on the free market if Nash says no….

  • Joe B

    @ Drew: Leonard is not better than Paul George (look at the numbers, think of what each brings, and note athleticism and ceiling). George (much) > Leonard

    My hope is that Nash or Williams come to Indiana and the Pacers finally upgrade their weakest area: passing. The Pacers offense stalled because DC and Hill are average point guards (slightly above average some games) who do not have elite passing and scoring ability. Nash and Williams give you that. If you cannot get a better point guard, then focusing on improving the bench through a big man who can shoot is the best way to go, while keeping your fingers crossed that Hill and DC take another step in point guard development.

  • mattie

    This is Deron or bust. If we get Deron, the Pacers have a true chance to compete. If we don’t, we’ll just be a perennial “good” team that never truly has a shot at winning a title.

    That’s why as much as I love Larry Bird, I hope we don’t bring him back. Larry has already made up his mind that Deron Williams wouldn’t want to sign here. So he won’t even make an attempt.

  • Jared Jammer

    I started a thread on Pacers Digest six weeks ago regarding Ersan Ilyasova as a free agent target. The responses were, for the most part, surprisingly negative. Comparisons to Troy Murphy and Charlie Villanueva came up.

    It all depends on how you view Ilyasova’s past season. If you feel that’s the Ilyasova you’ll be getting for the foreseeable future, he’d be a great signing. If, instead, you view it as a one-year, contract-season fluke, and that he’ll regress back into the decidedly average player we saw last season, then we should avoid him.

    One name worth adding to the list of potential targets is the Rockets’ Goran Dragic. He’s like Ilysova in that he’s spent most of his career being nothing better than average, before coming into his own recently. In 28 games as a starter this season, Dragic put up 18 points, 8.4 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game, and he did it on fantastic 50/38/84 shooting — All-Star-caliber production.

    If given a choice between Ilyasova or Dragic, I’d probably take the latter.

  • Daniel

    I think that the pacers should go after d will even if bird is here or not keep the core but keep dc or hill to back up d will. Indianapolis offers a nice city and team. We all saw how far they went all they need is d will to get past that hump

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  • PG

    Yea, I agree w/ J Jammer. If D. Williams is unrealistic (which in all likelihood he is) I think Dragic would be a great option. We would have to renounce G. Hill in that scenario. Unfortunately I don’t know how likely of an option Dragic is. It seems like there are issues between the Rockets coaching and management and Kyle Lowry. Maybe that means that Lowry will be available? He’s a restricted free agent and I think he’d definitely be an upgrade over our current point guard tandem.

  • Alan

    I know you all think we need a star but we dont. Look at this spurs team. Many great players no superstar. They play as a team and look for an open shot. No isolation. Duncan was a superstar but he isnt anymore. They all play off each other that’s how we need to play. We can make it as a team. Remember this is only year one with this core as a whole, and with the lockout they took us to the east conf semis and lost to the HEAT in 6. It took all lebron and dwade had and we still gave them a good fight. If we dont get higher than this in 3 years then make a move. Patience Pacer fans

  • PG

    Be realistic Alan. Tony Parker just made 2nd team All NBA (has a definite argument for first team) and can get into the lane whenever he wants. The Pacers have no one who can get inside when they need to. Duncan may not have the stats of a superstar but if you extrapolated his numbers per 36 they would be better than any frontcourt player we have. It’s fine to say that the Pacers don’t need a superstar to succeed, if that’s what you believe. I personally don’t but I can understand the argument. However don’t use the Spurs as your example, because even though they play great team ball, they do also have great players and that makes a big difference.

  • little B

    Championship teams are won by veterans. Simple. So the real question is can the Pacers afford to keep this team together for a FEW more years, not just one year, and develop them into an elite team?
    If they can, then why not let this team try to grow and mature.
    Hibbert is still improving and had an All-star season.
    Hill had half a year at point(if that), he still has alot to learn but I think he has the tools.
    Danny obviousley was a huge part to this team seeing how he went down in game 5 and had nothing left in the second half and game 6 where we got destroyed in both once he left. Also Danny is still learning he doesn’t have to shoot as much.
    Paul George was only in his second year and held Wade to his worst playoff performance ever,(so you would expect Wade to have his best sometime in that series because he is that good).
    West had a shortened season with a new team coming off ACL surgery.

    So yes it is true, this squad right now can’t match up to the all-star Heat team. But in 2 years, no one will be able to stop them if they build on what they have already shown. But if you can’t afford to keep this young core together for 3-4 more years, then they need to try and go get Dwill or Nash. Hill was behind Parker, and Collison was behind Paul, they learned alot from them, they just need time to develop. They whole team just needs more playing time. Can everyone be patient and can the Pacers afford the contracts when the come up, that the answer I want to know.

  • little B

    @ Nate
    If BOS gets swepts by MIA. Pacers would have beaten the Celtics in 6 to 7 games.
    If BOS wins 1 or 2 puts and they are in some of the other games. BOS would be Pacers in 7.
    If BOS goes 7 with MIA or beats MIA well Pacers get beat by BOS as well.
    Veterans come out for the playoffs somehow. So it depends what they have in the tank. All good things come to an end eventually and BOS is flirting with it. Hence why they were almost dismantled this year. Rondo keeps them just enough, but probalby not enough. It kills me to say that because I dislike BOS and Rondo, but you have to respect what they have done.

  • Alan

    I get you PG but Parker doesn’t get his numbers and get the room to drive by without everyone else coming in to help. He is a great player just not a superstar. Duncan has been great of late and i hope he continues but lets be realistic numbers or no numbers he isnt a superstar anymore. Although i believe the spurs are a TEAM if you would rather have the pistons back in 04 as an example then thats ok. You can win a championship without a superstar. Have confidence bro this is a great young team that can and will do big things. A team might not get fans in the stands but it has been proven to work for a championship.

  • Super Trade

    Collison, Granger and HansSolo for Aldridge and a first round pick