Kevin Pritchard Discusses the Pacers' Offseason

Right after today’s press conference officially welcoming back Roy Hibbert and George Hill, Pacers’ GM Kevin Prichard went on 1070 The Fan radio to discuss the team’s recent moves on The Ride With JMV. The following are some of the comments he told the radio audience.

On re-signing Hibbert and Hill: “We spent from July 1 at midnight until today trying to get it done.”

On Portland giving Hibbert a max offer right out the gate: “If you look at the history of the league, usually in the first week of free agency, big guys get the biggest offers and the quickest offers. So we were pretty prepared.”

On Pacer owner Herb Simon’s willingness to spend money to keep Hibbert and Hill in Indiana: “I give a lot of credit to Mr. Simon. He was fully prepared to do whatever it takes to make sure that we kept these two guys. We’re lucky to have him.”

On bidding on recently “amnestied” players: “That won’t be a reality for us.”

On rationale behind acquiring Ian Mahinmi: “When you go against the top teams — specifically in the East — you better have rim defenders. And we needed another rim defender. We felt like when Roy went out of the game, we didn’t have as much size. So we really needed some size.”

On the logic behind trading Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones for Mahinmi prior to signing DJ Augustin and Gerald Green:  ”We had to do that to meet certain restrictions in using our cap space. We did it a little bit differently in that we had a pretty good feeling we were going to get a good point guard in DJ Augustin … We had been in contact with his agent. He was [a restricted free agent] but, just the way it shook out, we had a good feeling that we were going to be able to bring him in. So it looked backwards the way it was reported when in actuality it wasn’t like that.”

My take on that last part: It seems as though this was all one big mega-deal in the mind of the Pacers front office.

It sounds as though all the pieces looked like they were falling into place and three players that they had been targeting were all about to converge into their lap around the same time. And given the cap holds and other such realities (namely, the need to expedite getting ink to paper for Hibbert and Hill, most likely at their agents’ requests), the quickest and most certain way to ensure it all went down as it did was to do it as it happened. The time line of how the events were reported likely didn’t mirror the exact happenings in terms of phone calls and verbal agreements, but Pritchard and the Pacers’ front office saw the deal pretty simply: losing two low-salary players on expiring deals who weren’t part of the team’s long-term vision and acquiring two that were (Green and Mahinmi) while also grabbing one more to hopefully guarantee the team didn’t backslide in 2012-13 (Augustin).

Perhaps the franchise could have gotten more back from a Collison/Dahntay package if they manned the phones for another few days and played a few offers against one another. But by that time, all the other components of this multi-transition mega-deal may have either (a) evaporated (in the case of Green signing elsewhere), or (b) become less of a good fit (in the sense of employing Augustin not being really necessary if you retained DC because the demand wasn’t great or Green being superfluous if the best offer for Collison meant bringing back a different wing scorer who was more proven than Green).

Ultimately, based on what they ended up with, we can deduce that the Pacers front office wanted (or settled for) three things:

(1) A true reserve big man (unlike Lou Amundson who filled in admirably behind Hibbert last year after Jeff Foster retired but should never be confused with a center), who can play defense and finish at the rim. Based on that guy ultimately being Mahinmi, they seemed to want someone who will be very satisfied in a reserve role and could grow into that role over several years as an ancillary, but stable, piece of a young, improving team’s nucleus.

(2) a wing scorer to come off the bench

(3) a point guard who isn’t Darren Collison but is very much like Darren Collison

Whether or not those characteristics are what they should have targeted is certainly up for debate. Even more up for debate is whether the players they chose to fill them will work out.

But because the front office’s hand was never forced and they didn’t reach to overpay anyone that they may have been luke warm on just to say they did something this summer, it seems fair to say they got what they wanted. Unless there is something I don’t know about, they did not need to trade Collison. They certainly didn’t need to take a flier on Green. And it’s only because they did trade Collison that they needed the skills that Augustin brought to the table.

So, sure, Prtichard could be talking out his ear here and trying to cover for a move that will ultimately look silly in hindsight.

Perhaps they did just blow their valuation of Collison in the trade market. It’s overwhelmingly possible that they could have gotten a more talented player than Mahinmi in return for Collison if they held out longer. But since they got three guys that they clearly wanted within, as reported publicly, 24 hours, I think it is most reasonable to view these three acquisitions as one mega-deal that could have caved in upon itself had the front office not acted swiftly to ensure that all the component parts came together. It sounds to me like the franchise is viewing it as a “two men left, three came in” free-agency period.

So I’ll ultimately judge them on how that turns out more so than spending time trying to divine the objective value of Darren Collison on an expiring contract in an open trade market. (Although as John Hollinger has noted, the change from DC to DJ does mean that the Pacers have no Bird rights on Augustin if he has a breakout 2012-13 season, whereas they would have with Collison. So if Augustin does play well enough for them to want him to return, it will be more difficult to retain him.)

Lastly, for those wondering “what’s next?” for the Pacers in this free agency and the offseason trade period, its sounds like not much.

Pritchard on that: “There are all kinds of studies out there in the last four or five years that say one of the most important things is keeping your core together — allowing them to grow, allowing them to learn each other. And we feel like we accomplished that.”

While I agree with that sentiment and don’t think Pritchard is trying to be anything but genuine here, I think most of you can predict where this is headed.

“In management, your work is never done so you’re always looking [to improve]. But I don’t see a lot of moves coming in the near future.”

This is your offseason.

Topics: News, Summer Moves

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  • Zack

    Mr. 101 haha

  • Jack

    Hmmm. Derek U, there is a difference between being a true fan of a team, and simply admiring a team (such as how you have “admired the Thunder”). I like the Thunder, too, but that doesn’t compare to my love for the Pacers.

    Honestly, you CANNOT be a true, full-on, big-time fan of multiple teams. There’s a reason a person (like me and others on this site) is able to care so genuinely and deeply about a sports team.. It’s because IT’S THEIR TEAM.. IT’S THE ONE TEAM IN THE LEAGUE THAT THEY TRULY CARE ABOUT AND ROOT FOR. You simply can’t be a TRUE fan of more than one team, because part of being a TRUE fan is putting ALL your support behind that team; sticking with them through thick and thin, rejoicing in the good times; experiencing REAL sadness and disappointment during the bad times. Now, of course you can like some teams more than others (ex – I’ll root for any team over the Heat or the Lakers), and you can even be somewhat of a casual supporter of more than one team, but NOBODY CAN BE A TRUE FAN OF MULTIPLE TEAMS.

  • Derek U

    Adam, they stop updating once the season is done. If you liked 2k12, go back and play 2k11, the jordan moments are insanely fun!

    Zack, talking about addicting. I have to curb franchise mode a little bit, but nothing more addicting than drafting a roster and going to town all the way to the championship. Maybe Moss should play, he’d learn a thing or 2 about trading players.

    I’d put out my XBL ID, but I only play as the pacers online, and that could be an issue from other users from this blog Haha

  • Aj

    hahaha I only use the Pacers too. Me with Paul George = unstoppable online

  • Aj

    Found a cool little video of Paul George this season with some nice instrumentals. Thought I’d share it. Enjoy!

  • Zack

    Well I would probably use the Nuggets online (or the Rockets in next year’s version haha). I haven’t been playing anything other than NCAA Football 13 since it came out though.

    @ Jack – I guess you’re right, but I believe I am a (or at least will one day become) a TRUE FAN of both the Nuggets and Pacers. I’m from Colorado and they are my team. But now I live in Indiana and my fiance and her family have the Pacers as their team. I am a big Pacers fan now because of them (mostly because of my fiance). But I think I can truly be a true fan of both teams, with the one exception of how I will always root for my #1 team (Nuggets) when the Nuggets and Pacers play head to head.

  • Derek U

    Zack, I think that is Jack’s point.. You can never be a TRUE fan of both teams, cause in the end if they were to play each other, you have to root for one. You can’t be Archie Manning just hoping neither of his sons get hurt when the Manning Bowls occur. So in that regard Jack, I agree entirely; you’ll always have one team ahead of the other. I went to the Thunder game this year, and immensly enjoyed the BEATING the Pacers handed them.

    AJ, I started playing online again, and nobody has been able to stop my PG recently.There is nothing better than an inbounds pass from the sideline going for an open PG alley oop. Just wish I could hit his 3 pointers with some consistency.

  • Aj

    Derek, if you run that same inbounds play but run him into the left corner and shoot right away he’ll make it like everytime. Personally, they made his shot a lot more weird than it really should be because in realy life his stroke is silky SMOOTH.

  • Derek U

    lol @AJ, I don’t run plays, I just run sets, and pick n rolls. The ball gets stolen too much if I wait for a play to develope, and I agree about the shot. My game isn’t all around solid, but I have beaten “hall of famers” before just slowing the pace, and playing defense. Some guys are just freakish with hitting shots. Raged quit against a guy who hit 10 straight 3 pointers with Daniel Gibson just by creating a tiny amount of space. I think I’m a superstar level 2 as a reference, probalby doesn’t mean anything.

    Fuck it, LazyAceDU (XBL), just send a message that you’re from the boards and we’ll roll. Just don’t play as the heat and I’m golden. Get tired of everybody wanting to play as the heat, but scared of a Heat VS Heat matchup.

    How’s that for hi-jacking a thread. *brushes off the shoulder*

  • mossberg

    haha u guys are great. sorry DEREK U never was good with the english and grammer. i will try harder for you. that wasn’t a smart ass remark either. i have a job that comes natural to me so i get done way before my deadlines so i surf the web…..sorry i know not everyone can say that for themselves.

    i’m more of a mulitple player fan with one true team fan. Im falling in love with the nuggets and willing to admit that. all of the trades i post are wishes mostly but i do like bledsoe and think hes getting brushed off on the clippers.

    Glad to see some fellow xbox players out here as well, my gamertag is mighty mossberg if anyone is down to play. i have to get another copy of 2k12 tho since i stand my xbox up and the cat knocked it over and scratched the disc all to hell. since now i know people play im gonna grab a copy again and start playing. i do have 2k11 if anyone interested in going back a year.

  • mossberg

    @ gregor t- love the brad miller comment and again its only a wish. im a fan of alot of teams but only a true pacers fan. since the pacers stop making the playoffs those years back i had to find new teams to cheer for while my pacers were down and out.

    im a sports fan. i love the game, the passion, and the atmosphere when at the games.
    I urge people to go to games becuase we have one of the lowest attendences records among all the teams. i want our fans to come out and show the pacers how much we care and love what they are doing. im done with the dick comments so u wont hear anymore from me. just my lousy trade hopes and player signing wishes…..lol

  • Jesse

    Haha @the derailing of this thread. This site either needs a forum or needs to offshoot.

  • Derek U

    Moss, It’s not just me man, it’s everybody. A little proper grammar goes far on the internet when the only thing I have to associate with is how well we can read you. You post aggressively, with length, and It’s hard to read. Especially when you jump points! We appreciate the enter button!
    Also, I use the internet to slow my work down. If I work too hard, they expect too much out of me, sadly. I could do this 5 hours a day, and still exceed everybodies expectations.. sad story.

    It’s hard NOT to like the nuggets. George Karl and his cancer story, the way they battle, the pace at which they play. I’ve always liked them and the “class” they show.. They hardly ever make a bad move.

    People should go to the games, not just for the team but for Indy itself. Try to keep the team here where it belongs! I almost always sit section 113 (just a baller area), but have been all over the place this last year. It’s a great environment, great fieldhouse, it’s just freaking amazing. Not to mention, we have to keep the stands full of local supporters, and not full of bulls fans when they swing into town. Them Chi-Fucks love driving 3 hours to see the Bulls play, cause you’ll never be able to buy an affordable ticket to the United Center.

  • adam

    Is anyone on google+? This thread has completely been hijacked at least 2-3 times.

  • gregor t.

    My favorite seat in the Fieldhouse is front row of the Club Level. It’s a great vantage point. The seats are not cheap, but if you have the scratch, fans, check it out. It is well worth the price. Because i travel, i see alot of Pacers road games. You might be surprised to know the place i’ve seen the most Pacer fans is Denver. We rep. a solid fan base at Pepsi Center. Of course, there were plenty of Pacers fans in Atlanta but, i doubt that’s a big surprise. As a Pacers fan, the place i was treated the worst by home fans was not, actually, Chicago. It was Salt Lake City. Those people are just plain nuts. In a good way. Maybe.

  • gregor t.

    As a sports fan, it’s certainly acceptable to “root” for multiple teams. As a Pacers fan, it’s completely unacceptable to claim to be a “Fan” of any other NBA team. For example, I like what the San Antonio Spurs represent, as an old school ABA team. I pull for them and wish them success, UNTIL they play the Pacers. No hats, no jerseys, no love, just respect. But, i am not a Spurs “Fan”. I am fanatical about my love for the Pacers. Obsessive. Unreasonable. Delirious. Ecstatic. Love. A Pacers Fan!

  • Realist

    I’ve been saying this site could do with a forums section for a while.

  • gregor t.

    Props to Coach Pop, a Hoosier born and raised! Just Saying.

  • gregor t.

    Man, i really wanted Courtney Lee to be a Pacer. I think the Celtics are trying to give us the “High Hat”. I do believe the rivalry is ON! For the #2 seed! Is it November, yet! Dang!

  • http://www.liveworkplayindy.com Jason

    The roster is still incomplete IMO and I’ve never been a fan of Pritchard. One of my close friends is a Blazer fan and she cries anytime his name is brought up. I would like to see the Pacers bring back Barbosa and I can only think Pritchard will try to deal Granger at some point this season. Likely looking at another 2nd round playoff exit.

  • http://www.liveworkplayindy.com Jason

    If you guys want to talk Pacers hoops, we have a sports forum at http://www.liveworkplayindy.com — you’re more than welcome to come over and post on the Pacers.

  • Realist

    I think that Granger is probably available now that Bird is gone. I think there was an understanding of some sort there. Though I love him dearly, I’ll understand if we deal him.

    Don’t think we have to, though. Paul George isn’t in the same situation as Roy was this year until 14-15, the year Granger comes off the books. It might not be a decision required for 2 years. Especially if they keep preaching about keeping the core together (which I’m fine with).

    If we do deal him I just hope we barter a little better than we did with Darren Collison.

  • Jack

    ^hopefully a lot better

  • pete

    They aren’t going to give away Granger for peanuts. I would assume they would get another quality starter. I am just not sure what the market thinks of him, but I would think that a team would offer something decent next year with 1 year left on his contract. I think the Pacers should trade him for a solid 2 that can drain the 3.

  • zlight

    I’d like to ge 8pt9sec’s feedback on an excerpt from a Grantland piece assigning quotes from Game of Thrones to happenings around the nba http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8182319/game-nba-thrones-part-ii

    “If I die, weep for me.”
    “You’ll be dead. How will you know?”
    “I’ll know.”

    Remember the 48 hours after Game 3 of the Miami-Indiana series, when it seemed like the frisky Pacers were on the verge of (a) killing the LeBron/Wade era, and (b) sneaking into the Finals? That was fun. Now they’re building around three overpaid starters — Danny Granger (two years, $27.1 million), Hibbert (four years, $58 million), George Hill (five years, $40 million) — a bunch of overpaid role players ($21 million next year for David West, Ian Mahinmi, D.J. Augustin and Gerald Green???) and one possible blue-chipper (Paul George, who absolutely stunk in the 2012 playoffs). Does Hallmark make “Congrats on locking down the no. 6 seed for the next few years” cards?

  • The Original Evan

    Maybe we can trade him for Eric Gordon after he gets hurt midway through the season!

  • pete

    @zlight – I saw that article and I didn’t care too much for what Simmons said about the Pacers. I am not sure how the Pacers are a perrenial 6 seed now. If anything they are a perrenial 3 seed. The division is the Pacers at least for now. I am also not sure what the complaint about paying West / Ian / DJ / Green 21 mill next year. That is only around 5 mill per person. West also isn’t an overpaid role player. Bill really blew it on this one.

  • Tom

    Yeah that grantland article surprised me. Bill Simmons went in to last season thrilled about the Pacers young core, and convinced we’d surprise people. He was right. Now I read him trashing that same core as “overpaid role players” and accusing a 3rd seed team that will probably just get better of being a “perennial 6th seed.” Makes no sense. What 5 teams are going to be better than us in the east every year? Nonsense article, disappointed in Simmons I guess

  • PG

    Well it’s pretty clear which 5 teams he’s talking about: Miami, Boston, Chicago, New York and Brooklyn.

    Miami is obvious. Boston is also obvious, if you read Simmons you know that he’s a huge Boston fan, a homer and clearly doesn’t try to hide that fact. Chicago if it had a healthy Rose would absolutely be better than the Pacers (even with a weaker bench). The Knicks, as long as you assume that Stoudemire, Chandler and Melo improve as a unit with more playing time and a full training camp together (not really a big leap of faith). And Brooklyn, who is at least as talented (probably more so) than the Pacers and has a stud at the most important position in Deron Williams. Now obviously if the Pacers stay healthy and catch some breaks they can finish higher in the East. Unfortunately relying on a stretch of health like the Pacers had last year is a recipe for disaster. The Pacers needed to strengthen their bench at best they’ve just changed out parts with the hope that a new combination might do the trick. Will it work? Not a clue. I guess we’ll find out in a few months.

    Note that the above all discounts whatever team Dwight ends up on. If the Hawks manage to get him and pair him with J Smoove and reliable point guard (assuming they have to give up Teague and Horford), then I’d take them over the Pacers in a heart beat.

  • dwain

    Wallace has a good point here:

    Kareem (Indiana)
    What do you think of the Pacers’ moves this offseason? Do you think they are a better team? Do you see anymore moves up their sleeves? They had significant interest in Delfino.

    Michael Wallace: (2:59 PM)
    I don’t like that they lost Bird in the front office and Collison on the court. But I do think the Pacers kept the most important player they needed to in Roy Hibbert. But that team won’t break through and reach potential title-contending status until and unless David West regains his form from New Orleans. He’s got to be Karl Malone for those guys, or as close as he can get to that level.

    anyone think West is going to be Karl Malone this up coming season?

    i do :)

  • Realist

    I love Simmons but his writing about the Pacers is usually rubbish and just filler.

    BS thinking: Oh, Indiana were the 3-seed, I guess I have to do a paragraph on them. Hmmm…

    Insert quote: “Any time you can [variable:team = Indiana | moves A, B, and C for X dollars] you have to do it.”

    Give me a fucking break, BS. What were we supposed to do? Nash sold his soul to the devil in about 30 seconds flat and then gave us the bullshit-kids-excuse. Deron Williams made it clear that Brooklyn was about a 80% chance and Dallas about 20% and everyone else 0%. After those two are off the board, bringing back Roy Hibbert and George Hill was about as good as it gets.

    David West is an overpaid role player? Are you kidding me? Okay, add BS to the list of people who we can set the line at 0.5 for “number of Pacers games watched before the playoffs last year”.

    According to his prose, our starters are overpaid and our bench is overpaid. Our entire team is overpaid, and yet, we’re not paying tax, and we’re the 6-seed at a minimum. Oh no, what a disaster. (I think we all agree, on this site anyway, that we’re contending for the 2-seed, by the way, and that locking up the 6-seed is a heap of crap. Chicago is semi-tanking this year, and we will be better than Boston again, in my opinion. The Knicks have the most talented roster outside of the Heat but it’s just a matter of them getting their shit together, and Brooklyn is a wildcard, so who knows)

    But hey, any time you can write 2,000 words on why Paul Pierce is above average, you gotta do it.

  • Tom for Realist

    ahahaha what a great little critique there, realist. you should email that to simmons asap

  • Germanator

    AJ Price signed with the Wizards… Hibbert took Area 55 laser-tagging… I’d love to see some new articles up here, there’s absolutely nothing left to say about this article lol

  • Zack

    My guess would be maybe Simmons is talking about the next 3-4 years, locking up the 6 seed. Obviously, after this season Rose will be back and probably healthy again. I would assume the teams in front of the Pacers are: Heat, Celts, Nets, Knicks, Bulls in some order (w/ Heat being #1 of course). I can absolutely see the Pacers contending for the #2 seed in the East this season, if they can manage to stay relatively healthy. But if the Nets/Knicks can play well then they could both be above the Pacers. And the Celtics, if they can stay healthy as well, can be above the Pacers.

    I just can’t wait for the season to start.

  • Aj

    I’ve been refraining from getting back on this thread, because I figured we would have a new article by now. Alas, nothing has really changed. So I’m back haha.

    As for the BS article: I totally agree with you Realist. I’d also add that the only time he would ever say anything good is when he could use it in a way to praise Larry Bird, a guy I’m pretty sure he would turn gay for if given the chance.

    Now that Bird is gone, I totally expect him to trash us until we prove people wrong…..again. I’m expecting big things from Paul George this year. Everyone on the team quietly gives him the praise for being a “budding superstar”. I think being with the USA select team is going to do wonders for his game this upcoming season. If PG can average 15-18 points a game this season, along the continued development of guys like Hibbert and George at the point, and our overall team chemistry we can challenge for the 2 seed without question.

    Expect West to bring his A game too. I’d be really surprised if he averaged 12.4 points again this season. There were many times last year where he was absolutely wide open at the top of the key, and just didn’t hit those shots. Doctors always say it takes two years to completely recover from an ACL tear. Just something to keep in mind.

    People shouldn’t be upset about the BS article though. We are in very, very good shape moving forward, and the guy is not an analyst, or even really a journalist. He’s paid for his opinions which at times are biased to his home team and the larger market teams. At the end of the day, he can only talk about is what he saw, and game 4-6 of the Heat Series we stunk it up. Expect more national exposure next year though, and hopefully more objective opinions about the Pacers.

    I posted this video about Paul George earlier, but it didn’t get added until a couple weeks, so I’m adding it again. Watch this and tell me this guy can’t be the face of our franchise someday.

  • Jack

    nice comment, Realist. And I’m also absolutely sick of ppl putting teams like the Nets in front of the Pacers next year. That is BS in every way. If you wanna make the argument that the Celtics will be better, I’ll at least listen (but still disagree). But the Nets.. absolutely no way they’re better than the Pacers next season.

  • Derek U

    Hopefully you’re right Jack, but a roster with D.will, J.johnson, G.wallace, K.humphries, and B.lopez is pretty damn solid, and they have the right coach. They may have silently built a super tough roster. Brook Lopez was out all last year, and can easily average 20 points a game, same with johnson, and d.will. They’re athletic, fast, and will surprise the shit out you.. This isn’t your junk bunker Nets team of the past 3 years. Pacers will have to play theire A game EVERY game (no sacremento stinkers giving up 20 point leads) if they want a chance to crack the top 4. Just being a realist, not a homer.

  • gregor t.

    Doesn’t P George have better playoff stats than Kobe in his first two years. Give the dude a chance. He may not ever get to Kobe’s level, but dang people! Give the dude a chance! He is 22, right!

  • tard

    gregor t. –>
    in Kobe’s first 2 seasons he was hitting game winners and was a go-to guy in the clutch

    If PG gets the ball near the end of the game he looks like he is going to have a panic attack

    thats the difference

  • gregor t.

    Really? Tard? Please, just stop. Or don’t you remember the air balls? Check the stats, youngster. Being “clutch” is a myth. Unless you play for the hard rock band from D.C.!