This month in Indiana Pacers history: Artest demands a trade

Ron Artest, INdiana Pacers (Photo by STEVE C. MITCHELL/AFP via Getty Images)
Ron Artest, INdiana Pacers (Photo by STEVE C. MITCHELL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Many of us don’t realize how much history we inherit as Indiana Pacers fans. We are the beneficiaries of an ABA and NBA heritage that spans across generations. As we revisit an important moment in Indiana Pacers history today, it’s important we take a step back and realize the magnitude of this history and the things that have shaped our beloved franchise.

Setting the scene

Reggie Miller and Jermaine O’Neal, Indiana Pacers (Photo by: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Reggie Miller and Jermaine O’Neal, Indiana Pacers (Photo by: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

In the 2005-06 season, the Pacers were beginning to decline in terms of their winning ways. The previous season they had been involved in one of the worst moments in NBA history, the infamous Malice at the Palace. At the end of that season, filled with suspensions and uncertainty, Reggie Miller’s career came to an end as he decided to hand up the jersey and retire. It was the end of an era of Pacers’ basketball.

The event

However, there was optimism that the Pacers could quickly get back to their winning ways with talented players such as Ron Artest and Jermaine O’Neal, a multiple time all-star, still on the roster. Certainly the Pacers could turn this around to once again compete with the top of the eastern conference.

Unfortunately, in December of the 05-06 season, Ron Artest told a reporter that he wanted to be traded from the Indiana Pacers. He listed a possible preferred destination of the New York Knicks. Later that month in December, Jermaine O’Neal responded to the news by saying that he would only want people to play for the Pacers that want to be here, and that others are welcome to leave. The situation quickly spiraled.

Indiana Pacers
Ron Artest, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images) /

Later that month in December, Ron Artest was fined by the league for publicly requesting a trade, something that other stars such as Anthony Davis have received in recent years when a request for a trade is made public. Ron Artest would eventually be traded to the Sacramento Kings where he would never again quite become the brilliant player he looked to have the potential to become in Indiana.

The Pacers on the other hand, began headed towards the dark ages, not to reclaim true playoff glory until the arrival of a young Paul George years later. It was really the end of an era as the loss of Reggie Miller the season prior really proved to be the loss of the glue holding the team together.

A golden era of Pacers basketball was over.

So what can we learn from the events of the Ron Artest saga? Some could say that we haven’t, given that we have struggled in Indiana to keep stars such as Paul George and Victor Oladipo content in the Circle City. The front office has continuously had to be proactive in keeping stars happy or looking to quickly get return on them.

There is a chance that this began degrading the trust that the Pacers have had in their stars over the years, knowing that if the franchise gets complacent that the star player can demand a trade at any moment.

Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Our hope is for a new Reggie Miller, a new Hoosier hero to emerge, one who stays here and builds a foundation of a career to resurrect Indiana pro basketball. But then sees it through and is content to fight for Indiana. We hope that Tyrese Haliburton is that new Reggie Miller, who will lead us into a new golden age of Pacers basketball, just like the one we lost one December in 2005.

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