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Гость do_not_do_nuts

1) имея уже 14 гарантированных на сезон, будем считать ростер Пэйсерс преимущественно-укомплектованным (шо там с Букером? тишина от моих источников). Итоговый размен хлопчиков: [Лэнс, ГР3, Джо Янг, Эл Джефферсон, Пойтрес (, Букер?)] на [МакДермотт, Тайрик Эванс, Аарон Холидэй, Кайл Оквин (подписан на рум эксепшн, $4.449), Ализ Джонсон (наиграл в ЛЛ на контрактик)] на бумаге выглядит как очень серьёзное усиление, прибавим сюда межсезонный хардворк Майлза Тёрнера, совокуплённый с практиками боксирования и йоги, получаем грозно-боевую франчизу, единицу в лице Пэйсерс способную решать высочайшие задачи и буднично бороться за титулы. Из других ростерных вопросов, отметим наличие места на двусторонний контракт (Самнер же закреплён на второй год контракта) и таже начатую работу на горизонте живой массы тренировачных тел (май мэн Элайджа Стюарт подписан на "экзибит10", означает что ждём в Джи-лигу для получения $50k чаевых, но возможен вариант утвердить и на двустороночку). On a sidenote, Ньянга взяли в Юту на тольковый контракт ну чтож удачи хоть и терпеть не могу этого чертилу но всё же его уважаю.

2) саммер лига прошла для Пэйсерс со впечатляющим оттенком, многие игроки заслужили своей выдающейся игрой нарезанных с их участием видеохайлайцов:

--> (ждём также на-командную 10минуточку от нба сюда же) <--

далее, нарезки, взято с вебсайта:

Aaron Holiday 2018 Summer League Highlights  ||  Alize Johnson 2018 Summer League Highlights  ||  Edmond Sumner 2018 Summer League Highlights  ||  

TJ Leaf 2018 Summer League Highlights

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В 24.07.2018 в 04:56, Гость do_not_do_nuts сказал:

(шо там с Букером? тишина от моих источников)

Вроде, писали уже, что клуб отказался от него в одном ряду с Джо Янгом и Пойтрессом.

Вероятно, на замену ЛеБрону пойдёт))

«Кавальерс» проявляют интерес к свободным агентам Тревору Букеру и Люку Бэббитту, сообщает Cleveland.com.

Букер начинал прошлый сезон в составе «Бруклина», но в декабре был обменен в «Филадельфию», а в феврале был отчислен и завершил в сезон в «Индиане».

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Бывший защитник «Индианы» Джозеф Янг согласовал условия контракта с китайским «Нанкином», сообщает журналист Марк Берман. Соглашение с американцем рассчитано на 1 год и 1,3 миллиона долларов.

Янг, выбранный на драфте-2015 под 43-м номером, провел за «Пэйсерс» в минувшем сезоне 53 матча, набирая в среднем 3,9 очка и 1,2 подбора.

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По стопам самого Сколы пошёл! :1f642:

Тяжелый форвард Тревор Букер близок к подписанию контракта с китайским клубом «Шаньси», сообщает HoopsHype.

30-летний Букер в минувшем сезоне провел 68 матчей за «Бруклин», «Филадельфию» и «Индиану», набирая 6,3 очка и 4,7 подбора в среднем за встречу.

За «Шаньси» в прошлом сезоне выступали разыгрывающий Брэндон Дженнингс, который потом вернулся в НБА, и знаменитый аргентинский центровой Луис Скола, который на данный момент является свободным агентом.

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0) участие Оладипо и Тёрнера в лагере сборной ЮСАБ - чек

1) Оладипо накопил 54 пойнтов в своём участии в игре "Маями Про Лига", это очень даже неплохо,а также 8 ребаундов и 2 ассистов (посмотреть твит)

2) пример подписания второго игрока Си Джей Вилкокса на двустороночку, это пример классическое чемпионское подписания для Индианы, заполучить такого матёрого мастеровитого, игрока в качестве построительного материала команды-династии, отличная работы для Индианы, нарезка с вебсайта:  C.J. Wilcox 2018 Summer League Highlights

3) сразу 3 (трое) игрока (Джо Янг, Биг Эл и Букер) оформили подписания to play in China что неотвратимо приведёт к бешенному всплеску популярности для Индианы в азиатской части мира со всеми вытекающими (раскупливание маек и фигурок игроков и тд, не удивлюсь если парочка китайских глориков объявится и здесь у нас в теме на сламдэнке, в таком случае как говорится 欢迎我的兄弟们)

4) аналитике под вышедшее расписание пожайлуй не быть, однако процитируем приятное увеличение нациаонально телевизоризируемых игор с 1 до 12 (посмотреть твит)

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Атмосфера внутри клуба радует! Ни в какое сравнение не идёт с тем, что было в последний сезон Пола Джорджа в Инди.

Защитник «Индианы» Виктор Оладипо организует мини-лагерь для игроков команды. 

Баскетболисты «Пэйсерс» соберутся в Майами. Лидер команды пригласил в лагерь нескольких персональных тренеров, с которыми работает сам.

Оладипо хочет, чтобы одноклубники позанимались по его личной программе и подготовились к официальному тренировочному лагерю «Индианы».

И даже по сути отчисленный менеджментом Лэнс уже успел соскучиться по "родной Индиане" ))

Атакующий защитник «Лейкерс» Лэнс Стивенсон не исключает, что когда-нибудь вновь вернется в «Индиану».

«Конечно. Это мой дом. Я всегда буду хотеть вернуться в «Индиану», – цитирует Стивенсона The Indy Star.

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В 02.09.2018 в 13:01, Hansbrough сказал:

Атмосфера внутри клуба радует! Ни в какое сравнение не идёт с тем, что было в последний сезон Пола Джорджа в Инди.

Защитник «Индианы» Виктор Оладипо организует мини-лагерь для игроков команды. 

Баскетболисты «Пэйсерс» соберутся в Майами. Лидер команды пригласил в лагерь нескольких персональных тренеров, с которыми работает сам.

Оладипо хочет, чтобы одноклубники позанимались по его личной программе и подготовились к официальному тренировочному лагерю «Индианы».

И даже по сути отчисленный менеджментом Лэнс уже успел соскучиться по "родной Индиане" ))

Атакующий защитник «Лейкерс» Лэнс Стивенсон не исключает, что когда-нибудь вновь вернется в «Индиану».

«Конечно. Это мой дом. Я всегда буду хотеть вернуться в «Индиану», – цитирует Стивенсона The Indy Star.

Немного не по теме: куда делся Тайлер Хэнсбро? Вспомнил его из-за твоего никнэйма)

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8 часов назад, Maskar сказал:

Немного не по теме: куда делся Тайлер Хэнсбро? Вспомнил его из-за твоего никнэйма)

В Китае бабло заколачивает))

DUza37lUMAAb4cA.jpg

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на фоне сокрушительной травмы Кехинде Бабатунде «Виктор» Оладипо, в попытках отыскать позитивный моментум, стоит отметить шо Едмонд Самнер за последние 6 игр в генгста-лиге привозит по 30 очочков в среднем значении, тем самым разрывая в хламину, крепиться

Edmond Sumner (25 points) Highlights vs. Iowa Wolves

Pacers Two-Way Player Edmond Sumner Led The Mad Ants To Victory With A Team-Leading 30 PTS

Edmond Sumner drops 29 in Mad Ants' win (extra bonus: Edmond Sumner with 5 Steals vs. Agua Caliente Clippers)

Pacers Two-Way Player Edmond Sumner Notches 33 PTS For Fort Wayne Mad Ants

Indiana Pacers Two-Way Player Edmond Sumner Finishes With 29 PTS For Fort Wayne Mad Ants

Pacers Two-Way Player Edmond Sumner Tallies 33 PTS & 5 AST For Fort Wayne Mad Ants

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#ANewHope #ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond

П.С. для заинтересовавшехся свежеприобретенном Стефаном Хиксом - зычим вот и вот

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итак, на полученный после выбыта Оладипы лузинг стрик (4 матча: гризлиз, вориорс, визардс, маджикс) удалось ответить победным (3 матча: хитс, хорнетс, лакерс), также сегодняшнея победа означает наступление домашней серии (6 матчей, 5 ту гоу: клипперс, кавалерс, бобкатс, бакс, снова хорнетс) по завершении выездной (4 матча), которую удалось переломить для пейсерс

еванс вернулся в старт, сумнер сумел провести 1ый адеквтный матч, холидей также поддал игровой мощи

ну и тернер из под маски наваливает как из укрытия

 

с предыдущих игор пост-оладипского периода:

Спойлер

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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что ж грядёт реюнион макмиллиана с матьюзом, призванного на восполнение потери оладипа

9495750-large.jpg

что ж прекрасно, и непривычно наблюдать пейсерс как направление для игрока с байаута

ПС также отчислен анибогу, для принятия второраундного пика гуманиторной помощи от рокетса

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Только что, Austin Toros сказал:

что ж грядёт реюнион макмиллиана с матьюзом, призванного на восполнение потери оладипа

9495750-large.jpg

что ж прекрасно, и непривычно наблюдать пейсерс как направление для игрока с байаута

ПС также отчислен анибогу, для принятия второраундного пика гуманиторной помощи от рокетса

и хорошо, если заиграет, хотелось бы, чтобы Инди утёрла всем нос на Востоке. достойная уважения команда, всегда сражающаяся без сливов 

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"Свип" в первом раунде плей-офф НБА - не приговор, а лишь начало восхождения на вершину

Несмотря на "свип" в первом раунде плей-офф НБА от "Бостон Селтикс", "Индиана Пэйсерз" является образцом последовательности, а будущее команды выглядит ярким. Обозреватели сайта sircharlesincharge считают, что "Индиану" не следует списывать со счетов и несмотря на ряд видимых проблем, команда станет еще сильнее в следующем сезоне.

D42UXyCWkAAOJGS.png 

"Индиана" без единой звезды в составе боролась в серии против "Селтикс". Лучший и единственный звездный игрок команды Виктор Оладипо досрочно завершил сезон из-за травмы. Тем не менее, "Пэйсерс" потрепали нервы "Бостону" в каждой игре и проиграли только одну встречу (первую) с двухзначной разницей в счете.

Однако, если бы у "Пейсерз" был Оладипо, они могли бы бросить вызов "Селтикс". Возможно, даже выбить их в серии из семи игр.

"Индиана" остается конкурентной командой в течение многих лет. "Пэйсерз" являются образцом последовательности. "Индиана" вышла в плей-офф восемь раз за последние девять лет и попадала в финал Восточной конференции дважды за последние семь лет.

"Пэйсерз" задрафтовали Пола Джорджа в 2010 году и провели следующие семь сезонов, выстраивая команду вокруг него.

После того, как Джордж решил покинуть франшизу, "Пэйсерз" смогли заполучить и раскрыть Виктора Оладипо до уровня игрока, достойного быть лицом франшизы, чего на самом деле не было спрогнозировано ни одной другой командой в НБА.

Даже после потери Пола Джорджа в 2017 году, "Пэйсерз" смогли закончить регулярный чемпионат на пятом месте и затянули "Кливленд Кавалерс" во главе с Леброном Джеймсом в серию из семи матчей в первом раунде плей-офф НБА-2018.

Излишне говорить, что "Пейсерз" начали этот сезон с некоторыми ожиданиями. И изначально они превосходили эти ожидания до того, как Виктор Оладио получил травму. "Индиана" до травмы Оладипо выдавала баланс 31-15 и шла на третьем месте в Восточной конференции. В середине сезона "Пейсерз" шли по графику наибольшего количества побед за последние пять лет.

Однако, когда Оладипо выбыл из строя, "Индиана" не стала откровенно "сливать" оставшиеся матчи. Вместо этого "Пейсерз" остались конкурентоспособными, хотя и опустились на пятое место на Востоке.

Что сделали бы другие франшизы с маленького рынка при попадании в такую же ситуацию? Наверняка они бы "сливали" остаток сезона. "Индиана" продолжала играть с высокой мотивацией. В частности, одним из игроков, который выстрелил в отсутствие Оладипо, был Боян Богданович. После травмы Оладипо Богданович набирал в среднем 21 очко за игру.

Немногие франшизы смогли бы настолько успешно пережить потрясения "Индианы" за последние три сезона и выдать такой результат на площадке.

Как и в случае "Пейсерз", "Сан-Антонио Сперс" в прошлом сезоне сетовали на то, что их лучший игрок Кавай Леонард не играл весь сезон. Однако "Сперс" успели подстроиться под изменения после того, как Леонард решил вообще не выходить на площадку. И у "Сперс" был Ламаркус Олдридж , многократный участник Матча звезд, ставший лидером команды.

Защита и глубина состава является идентичностью команды "Пейсерз". В этом сезоне у "Индианы" было восемь игроков, которые набирали в среднем более 10 очков за игру и девять игроков, которые проводили на площадке более 20 минут за игру. "Пэйсерз" - определенно лучшая защитная команда в НБА. Они позволяли оппонентам набирать меньше всего очков даже во время отсутствия Виктора Оладипо.

Возможно, лучшим аспектом всего этого является то, что "Индиана Пэйсерс" все еще имеет потенциал для роста. В летнее межсезонье у "Индианы" будет множество свободных средств в платежной ведомости, чтобы хорошо доукомплектоваться. "Индиану" не следует недооценивать. Если "Пейсерз" смогут сделать правильные ходы этим летом, их будущее будет светлым.
 

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по пейсерс - в ожидании больгих перемен? свободных агентов великое множество, каким образом следует ождать возможжности выбора розмгрыша данной комбинации карт помогет раззабрацца пост-пост-сезонные матерьиялы с вебсайту

Leroux 2019 Offseason Team Previews: Indiana Pacers

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Leroux 2019 Offseason Team Previews: Indiana Pacers

By Danny Leroux Apr 22, 2019 7 

While the NBA playoffs are still going, the 2019 offseason is rapidly approaching for many teams with significant decisions to make for their present and future. CBA expert Danny Leroux breaks down the major options, opportunities and risks for the Pacers in The Athletic’s 2019 Offseason Preview series.

After a second straight 48-win season, the Pacers face a fascinating summer where more than half of their rotation hits free agency. Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis are all under contract but President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard has the opportunity to figure out what he wants around them with a shocking amount of flexibility.

Indiana had significant spending power last season too and ended up focusing most of it on short-term contracts to keep the powder dry for this summer which lined up with when so many of their key players were already going to come off the books. After drafting Aaron Holiday and Alize Johnson, Pritchard signed Tyreke Evans and Kyle O’Quinn on one-year deals and his only significant long-term contract was Doug McDermott’s $22 million over three seasons. Another important part of Indiana’s offseason was agreeing to an extension with Turner that looks very team-friendly after his strong season. Unfortunately, Oladipo went down with a ruptured quadriceps tendon in January but they were able to sign a bought-out Wesley Matthews and the veteran helped stabilize the starting lineup to close the season. After being eliminated by the Boston Celtics, Pritchard and the Pacers have the choice between remaking their roster around their young core and bringing back a very successful group for another few years.

Here are three key storylines to watch for Indiana this offseason:

Cap Space vs. Retentions: Pritchard faces one of the most fascinating challenges in the entire league thanks to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Pacers can retain key contributors like Thaddeus Young, Bojan Bogdanovic and Cory Joseph using Bird rights but each of them carries a cap hold meant to be a placeholder that estimates how much that player will earn that season. Those exist so teams cannot game the system by clearing cap space, signing new talent and then re-signing their own free agents. While the Pacers absolutely could pick and choose who to retain, their only path to $30 million or more for new additions is letting their best players go with only the modest $4.8 million Room Mid-Level exception to use beyond that space.

As such, the fundamental choice will be whether the front office wants to run this back with largely the same talent and that poses additional challenges as their key free agents are in their late twenties or early thirties and thus at a different stage in their career and the aging curve than the 26-year old Victor Oladipo and 23-year old Turner. As a top-10 team in the league this year and even stronger than that when Oladipo was on the court, there are high stakes and serious variables to consider.

Thaddeus Young: Young is finally coming off the four-year, $50 million contract he signed with Brooklyn in 2015 before the cap explosion. He has thrived as a Pacer, but turns 31 shortly before free agency and will presumably be looking for his last big payday as a starting power forward. That makes life harder on Pritchard because Indiana has to deal with the volatility that comes with thirty front offices that each values players differently. All it takes is one or two prioritizing Young with their cap space to drive up his asking price in years, dollars or both. At the same time, Young has been an essential part of the Pacers’ defensive growth and success since McMillan took over and would be incredibly hard to replace. Bringing him back may require a significant commitment that likely runs beyond Oladipo’s contract that expires in 2021. It is an open question whether the best-case scenarios for Young in terms of salary are tolerable for the Pacers even with his importance to their competitiveness over the last few years.

Bojan Bogdanovic: Paralleling Young, the Pacers may face a brutal choice with Bogdanovic. The 30-year old averaged 20.9 points per game after the All-Star break and took on a much larger role after Oladipo’s injury, helping keep the team afloat offensively despite such a huge change. Forwards are incredibly in demand around the league and only four free-agent forwards had a higher scoring average over the full season: Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Khris Middleton and Tobias Harris. At the same point, Pritchard and the front office could try to go in a different direction at small forward, presumably by bringing in a stronger defender, someone younger or both, depending on what is available to them and at what price.

Potential Free Agents: Thaddeus Young (unrestricted), Bojan Bogdanovic (unrestricted), Darren Collison (unrestricted), Cory Joseph (unrestricted), Tyreke Evans (unrestricted), Wesley Matthews (unrestricted), Kyle O’Quinn (unrestricted), Edmond Sumner ($1.6M team option) and Alize Johnson (partial guarantee)

Likely Summer of 2019 Cap Space: None

Realistic Maximum Summer of 2019 Cap Space (using $109M estimate):$45.8 million

2019 Draft Assets: Own first (No. 18) and second (No. 50) round picks

Potential Targets: It completely depends on which track they follow. Using cap space would open up a series of intriguing possibilities for free agents or potential trades. The top tier free agents will likely head elsewhere but Pritchard could make competitive offers for Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton, Nikola Mirotic, Danny Green or Al-Farouq Aminu depending on his vision for the new-look Pacers. They could also go after players under contract like rumored trade target Mike Conley and use the prospect of giving Memphis immediate savings to lower the amount of assets necessary to complete the deal.

Retaining free agents likely keeps the Pacers as an over the cap team, though they would probably be able to use the Mid-Level exception without running into the luxury tax. Depending on who sticks around, they could add depth in the form of Patrick Beverley or Seth Curry at guard, Wesley Matthews, Jeremy Lamb or Terrence Ross on the wing or one of the Morris twins at power forward. One intriguing option would be a competitive offer sheet for Mavericks big Maxi Kleber who can either play alongside Turner and Sabonis at power forward or slide in behind Turner at backup center if they decide to move Sabonis before his extension eligibility runs out.

Pressure Scale: 9. It is genuinely rare to see a team face this many big decisions while their two biggest foundational pieces are solidly under contract. Turner and Oladipo making a combined $39 million each of the next two seasons looks like an absolute bargain, but building a team around them is complicated and perilous because the Pacers likely only get one shot at making the right moves. Pritchard could be aggressive with the knowledge that he has centerpieces on both ends of the floor or see one of the league’s best teams early on only losing that place because of injury. What makes that choice significantly harder is that the front office will have to adjust on the fly due to what offers are made to both their own free agents and potential replacements in the first part of July. It is entirely possible that the seas part and a clear path opens up but it would not take much to make it very challenging to keep this roster together much less improve the team. Additionally, they face a complicated extension negotiation with Sabonis after his successful season and the possibility that they will need to figure out whether they want to keep both Turner and Sabonis beyond the 2019-20 season.

State of the Franchise: To Be Determined. A unique part of the Pacers’ offseason is that the cap holds for Young ($20.6 million) and Bogdanovic ($13.7 million) are within the reasonable range for their next contract, making it harder to game the system. Teams are allowed to use their space then re-sign their own free agents with Bird rights but that only makes sense if the player will make more than their hold, most common for restricted free agents with comparatively low holds. If the player’s new salary is lower than the hold, they should sign quickly to open up more space. If Pritchard wants to retain some of his best free agents, it is more likely than not that they will not have much spending power for new additions. After all, if Indiana re-signs just Young and Bogdanovic to deals near their holds and let every other free agent go they would only have about $12 million to work with, barely more than the Non-Taxpayer MLE. That reality makes it tough with the point guards as well because Holiday can step into a role but keeping Young and Bogdanovic would make it harder to add a new point guard, thus giving Collison and Joseph more leverage.

It may turn out that Pritchard can work out a sense of where their negotiations are going before July 1 as agents usually have an idea of what offers will be on the table. That information proves useful for the front office and players alike because some basic understandings could be formed in June, even if they were not totally binding in case something dramatic happened for either side. Knowledge is power and that is even more pertinent here because so much will happen all at once.

Indiana’s success after trading Paul George makes this a far more significant offseason. After all, they were in the mix at the top of the East when healthy and all four teams above them in the final standings could be facing wholesale changes with significant departures. What Pritchard and the front office want and how much they are willing to pay in order to get it will have a major effect on the franchise and the league for years to come.

(Top Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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Danny Leroux is a Staff Writer focusing on the salary cap and CBA for The Athletic's NBA teams and a contributor on the Warriors beat for The Athletic Bay Area. He also co-hosts the Dunc'd On NBA Basketball podcast with Nate Duncan and hosts the weekly RealGM Radio podcast. Follow Danny on Twitter @DannyLeroux.

7  COMMENTS

Keith C.

Apr 22, 4:12pm

3 likes

I could see Pacers making a play for Terry Rozier. They could let DC & CoJo go and save money. If Boston resigns Kyrie I think they let him go.

Florencio H.

Apr 22, 5:12pm

9 likes

Like most Pacer fans I would love to see us go out and sign Kemba Walker. I don't have high hopes knowing our history in FA but I would love to see an Oladipo/Kemba backcourt.

William C.

Apr 22, 8:17pm

6 likes

Danny, do you think it's worth discussing if McMillan should get a more creative offensive assistant for his staff? 

Boston probably were going to outgun the Pacers, but I can't tell you how many times I gnashed my teeth watching Myles Turner either occupying the low post or the baseline with Sabonis in the area, or pump-faking beyond the arc and stepping in for a 18-footer. 

The Sabonis-Turner pairing might be difficult, but there are ways to at least maximize what they can offer. Not letting/forcing Turner to space the floor makes no sense.

Joe B.

Apr 23, 12:53pm

Young's 20 million cap hold seems quite high. I assume he can be signed for much less, maybe closer to 15. That said, Bogey's cap hold is too low, so it evens out. Without knowing how well Oladipo will be when he returns makes it even harder. I see Pritchard prioritizing continuity unless a team swoops in to give Bogey a major offer, and the hope will be internal growth and hitting on a good role player with their MLE.

Joe B.

Apr 23, 12:53pm

1 like

Young's 20 million cap hold seems quite high. I assume he can be signed for much less, maybe closer to 15. That said, Bogey's cap hold is too low, so it evens out. Without knowing how well Oladipo will be when he returns makes it even harder. I see Pritchard prioritizing continuity unless a team swoops in to give Bogey a major offer, and the hope will be internal growth and hitting on a good role player with their MLE.

Bryan W.

Apr 23, 2:38pm

I feel young’s is about right and agree bogey’s is low. This coming from a mavs fan who’d be really happy to sign either in the 3yr/60m range. 
If that interest is indicative of how some front office’s would value them, they really will have to decide between continuity and balance, locking in to these guys, or letting them go to take a high upside swing elsewhere.
They should choose balance. Pacers fans like this team, their young guys can improve, and taking a swing on say Kemba leaves their forward spots bare/vulnerable

Korry B.

Apr 24, 6:32pm

I would love it if Pritchard took a wild swing for Anthony Davis. Obviously we don't know what kind of offers they will get for him, but Indy might be able to get him for Myles Turner, draft picks, and agreeing to take a relatively bad contract (Solomon Hill or E'Twaun Moore). AD only makes $9M more than Myles next year, so that wouldn't be devastating from a cap standpoint. They would have a legit All-Star to get them through the season until Vic returns, and the two of them would be a great combo in the playoffs.

They could still sign Bogey, and then they would need to find a starting PG and SG (until Vic gets back), as well as backup center behind Sabonis. Given their ages, I think they could get Derrick Rose and Redick on short deals, and someone like Ed Davis or even Kyle O'Quinn as the backup center. 

I'm sure it won't happen, but it's fun to dream.

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Pacers’ offseason to-do list: With just six guaranteed contracts, the roster could be different next season

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Pacers’ offseason to-do list: With just six guaranteed contracts, the roster could be different next season

By Scott Agness Apr 24, 2019 9 

One of the greatest advantages in the NBA today is stability at the top of a franchise, trickling down from ownership to the front office and coaching staff.

Pacers owner Herb Simon is the longest-tenured owner in the league. Kevin Pritchard is completing his eighth season with the franchise and his second as president of basketball operations. Nate McMillan, who was promoted to head coach around this time three years ago, led the Pacers to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons and is under contract for another two years.

Just two players remain from McMillan’s first year as head coach, Myles Turner and Thad Young. While there’s stability, an adjustment period may be required when the players arrive in Indy for training camp in September. Unprovoked, McMillan acknowledged that after his team’s season-ending playoff loss Sunday to the Celtics.

“We very well could look different next season,” he said. “I just appreciate what our guys did for me and the coaching staff this season and the effort that they gave.

“So, what can we learn (from this season)? I first need to figure out what my roster will look like next season. We’ve got some keys guys in our starting unit as well as our second unit who are free agents, and now work turns toward signing our guys and building this roster over again.”

The Pacers have been a model of consistency, qualifying for the playoffs 24 times over the last 30 years and posting a .500 or better winning percentage 23 times during that stretch. However, they’ve been eliminated from the playoffs in the opening round nine times during their 14 visits since 2000.

It’s time for this franchise to leap forward.

The front office is obsessed with culture and how it trickles down. They understand the factors going against them — like playing in a small market, not having a big-city appeal for players and unwilling to spend over the luxury tax — but will never make excuses. This summer is extremely important for this franchise. And while it won’t get the attention of the Warriors, Lakers or Knicks, it could be one of the most interesting in the NBA.

The Pacers have three core pieces (Victor Oladipo, Turner and Domantas Sabonis) and great flexibility (upwards of $45 million). They own picks No. 18 and No. 50 in the NBA Draft, which will be held on June 20 at the Barclays Center in New York.

Here’s a look at what needs to be done during this offseason:

Re-sign or turn elsewhere

The Pacers were in an unusual situation during the season with seven players in contract years, including four starters who finished the season: Darren Collison, Cory Joseph, Tyreke Evans, Bojan Bogdanovic, Wesley Matthews, Young and Kyle O’Quinn.

Pritchard & Co. must first decide whether to run it back with this same core and hopefully a healthy Oladipo, or make changes. One similar trait among their upcoming free agents: All the players are around the age of 30 and several may be seeking the last big, multiyear contract of their career.

Bojan Bogdanovic, who turned 30 this month, elevated his game when Oladipo went down and had a career season — averaging 18 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists per game and shooting 49.7 percent from the floor. He’s the top priority but will command much more than his $10.5 million salary from this season.

This will be his quietest summer since he was 16 and turned pro because he doesn’t have Croatian National Team duties. There will be noise around him, though, as teams seek a tough, reliable scorer. Market size doesn’t matter to him. He’s most interested in having a key role on a playoff team.

Young, meanwhile, is the backbone of the team and the glue that held it together through their roller-coaster season. The co-captain, who has now played in more than 900 career games, was available for every single game over the last two seasons and shot 52.7 percent this season.

Family means everything to him and so his wife and two kids will be part of his decision. He’s comfortable with his current situation, but he’s a businessman. And no team understands his importance to an organization better than the Pacers.

Since the Pacers aren’t able to compete for Tier-1 free agents, they must make the most of rewarding and paying their own when appropriate. They don’t feel sorry for themselves, instead channeling that energy on discovering an underappreciated or misused player. Like Oladipo.

Pacers executives and team pro scouts are constantly evaluating the rest of the league for players who fit this organization, may be overlooked and could thrive in a new situation.

Will the Pacers be able to afford Domantas Sabonis in the future? (Brian Spurlock / USA Today Sports)

Contract extension for Sabonis

A challenge for the Pacers moving forward is that two-thirds of their core (Oladipo, Turner and Sabonis) are centers. Like Turner this season, Sabonis is eligible for an extension in the offseason and negotiations can occur up until the day before the season starts. The organization is high on Sabonis and wants him to remain with the franchise.

Two questions that must be answered from within: Are they comfortable spending an estimated 35 percent of the cap on Turner and Sabonis and if so, can they play significant minutes together?

Sabonis will turn 23 in early May and earn $3.5 million next season. Turner’s four-year extension worth $72 million kicks in on July 1 and Sabonis is expected to receive at least that. The Pacers have a year-by-year salary cap model they work from, up to five years out, and preparing for Sabonis’ salary increase is a big piece to the puzzle.

The Pacers have always been financially conservative. The Warriors, for example, have a payroll of $145 million — nearly 25 percent more than the Pacers.

Bolster the backcourt

The front office must make a serious effort to significantly upgrade the backcourt. Look around at some of the most successful teams and they each have a pair of impact players.

Steph Curry and Klay Thompson of the Warriors. Chris Paul and James Harden of the Rockets. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum of the Blazers. Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton of the Bucks. Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard of the Raptors.

Finding a solution at a cost that doesn’t handcuff the team is easier said than done, but this is an area, with Collison and Joseph coming off the books, that needs to be addressed. Aaron Holiday is poised to receive the backup point guard minutes after struggling to consistently crack the rotation during his rookie season.

Pacers guard Victor Oladipo has been rehabbing his injury this season in Miami. (Brian Spurlock / USA Today Sports)

Keeping tabs on Oladipo from afar

Almost three months ago, Oladipo ruptured his right quad tendon and has spent all but about 28 hours this past weekend rehabbing away from the team in Miami, where he had the surgery on Jan. 28. This is not the preferred option for any team, but it has become a common occurrence for star athletes.

Oladipo’s value was never more apparent than in the playoffs when the team managed a playoff-low 92 points per game without him and regularly went through dry spells on the offensive end. He’s a top-20 player, who some initially viewed as cap relief for the Thunder when the Pacers acquired him in 2017.

The team has not issued a time frame to return and that was by design. Mostly, it’s because this injury is such a rarity for elite athletes and those within the NBA. This is new territory for all. By all accounts, he is doing really well, but he still has a long road ahead of him. He’s embraced an “unbreakable” mentality and is motivated to come back stronger.

This offseason, it’s important for the Pacers to maintain frequent contact with their star and make sure he has everything he needs. The team’s training staff flies across the country in the summer to visit every player, and they are expected to make several trips to Miami to check on Oladipo.

For Oladipo, this is all new to him. At this time in 2017, he was preparing to overhaul his offseason workout regimen and it paid dividends. Perhaps he overdid it, though, and that is something for him to consider during rehab.

Preseason trip to India

One last thing the Pacers have to account for this offseason is preparing for the start of the 2019-’20 season, which will be drastically different. It won’t even be in this country. In agreeing to be part of the first-ever games to be played in India, they also agreed to the unusual schedule that comes with it.

The Pacers will play two preseason games against the Sacramento Kings — a dream come true for Vivek Ranadivé, the first Indian-American owner — in Mumbai, India, on Oct. 4-5. That means they’ll spend more than 30 hours roundtrip flying across the world and then must account for jet lag and lost time as they gear up for another season.

It’s a great opportunity for the team to bond, see the world and be exposed to a new audience, but it also raises concerns. The Warriors played in China two years ago and then were “walking around like zombies,” coach Steve Kerr said then.

The Pacers training staff, headed up by Josh Corbeil and Shawn Windle, can learn from other teams’ experience, take steps to limit its impact and guide the coaching staff in the days that follow.

(Photo of Myles Turner and Bojan Bogdanovic: Brian Spurlock / USA Today Sports)

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Scott Agness is a staff writer covering the Pacers for The Athletic Indiana. He has covered the Pacers since 2012, working first for Pacers.com and then as founder of VigilantSports.com. He is also the host of the Pacers Podcast and can be heard across Indiana as a play-by-play announcer. Follow Scott on Twitter @ScottAgness.

9  COMMENTS

Matt V.

Apr 25, 2:34am

4 likes

At this point, I'm of the mentality that they need to keep either Turner or Sabonis and trade the other. I lean more towards keeping Turner because of his rim protection, but you could convince me otherwise.

Rashad T.

Apr 25, 6:09am

Your right agree

Dustin N.

Apr 25, 7:37pm

They offer different strengths, as Sabonis is the better scorer/rebounder, but there is no denying the impact Turner has on defense. I wish there was a way to keep both, but the most likely path to improvement probably involves trading one for a wing. I feel like Turner has a higher ceiling, but my gut is Sabonis will be the better player.

MICHAEL P.

Apr 25, 3:41am

4 likes

I get the redundancy of those two bigs, but I also think that continuity and culture is huge for the Pacers. Both those guys appear to add to that culture. Each can shoot a bit and is still young. Their collective range and proficiency should improve every year, increasing their ability to play together. Utah is a top 5 team that pays two bigs, and the Pacers guys are both more mobile and skilled than Utah's guys. 

To me, that is not the problem. Similar to Utah, the Pacers must find another dynamic shot creator or shot maker to generate offense. Maybe BB proved he can do a little more of that alongside Vic, but I still think they need a combo guard that can make people miss.

Rashad T.

Apr 25, 6:09am

And Utah also going small cause going big does not work

Joe B.

Apr 25, 12:44pm

1 like

I would argue Turner and Sabonis are more agile than Gobert and Favors, and each is more offensively dynamic, too. If Sabonis can continue to stretch the floor with his jump shot, and if both improve their defensive IQs through experience, they can play together.

Mike M.

Apr 25, 11:38am

Other limitations to getting players to play here are they have to be good citizens and really want to be here like Vic. I believe Paul George got it right. Unless KP gets very lucky, the Pacers are destined to be a one All Star team at best for all the reasons listed above.

Joe B.

Apr 25, 12:49pm

A low key interesting PG could be Terry Rozier. Indiana did not want to pay Marcus Smart, but they might want to pay Rozier. He's someone who can clearly score and plays with energy, is young enough to continue to improve, etc. There's the potential to sign Rozier and retain both Thad and Bogey.

Joe E.

Apr 25, 3:58pm

I’d like a high quality distributor at point as well. 

For me, Power forward spot is most intriguing. What impact would a rebounding stretch 4 have on scoring, rebounding, spacing, opening up driving lanes, and relieving post congestion ? They are rare. Tobias Harris fits the bill, but the trade off on D has to be considered when looking at surrounding positions. 
We are not “fleet of foot” on perimeter D as it is.

READ MORE

Recap: Bob Kravitz answered your questions on May 9

By  Bob Kravitz

 May 8

Recap: Scott Agness answered your Pacers questions on May 2

Scott Agness

May 1 30 Comments

Inexplicable scoring lapses deflate Pacers’ playoff hopes against the Celtics

Scott Agness

Apr 20 10 Comments

Kravitz: Same old, same old, as Oladipo-less Pacers fall to pieces when it counts most against the Celtics

Bob Kravitz

Apr 19 8 Comments

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Reading between the lines of Kevin Pritchard and Nate McMillan’s thoughts on the Pacers’ future

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Reading between the lines of Kevin Pritchard and Nate McMillan’s thoughts on the Pacers’ future

By Scott Agness May 1, 2019 4 

It’s been 10 days since the Pacers’ season ended in a disappointing fashion, swept by the Celtics, 4-0, in a first-round NBA playoff series. The time away has allowed reflection and consideration as the front office completely shifts its focus to the draft and free agency.

Dressed in matching, but different colored polo shirts, president Kevin Pritchard and head coach Nate McMillan arrived for their usual season-ending news conference two minutes early. Punctuality matters. They discussed a bittersweet 48-win season in which two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo only suited up for 36 of 86 games, including the postseason.

It was on this exact day two years ago when Pritchard was officially promoted to president of basketball operations after Larry Bird stepped down. Pritchard is the one who will spearhead a fascinating summer for this franchise. Pritchard and McMillan fielded questions for 54 minutes, nine seconds before retreating back to their offices for their next obligation.

Here’s an analysis of what Pritchard and McMillan had to say:

On the season

Pritchard: At the end of the day, what you want is to be able to say the team overachieved and that your culture is strong. I think that our culture is as strong as ever. It didn’t show up in the playoffs because true talent really shows up then and we have to improve our talent.

McMillan: (Oladipo) was pretty much the engine that helped us go. He’s a very big part of this team and the things that we try to do out on the floor and when we lost him, we had to really establish a new culture, a new style of play to finish the season.

Analysis: Last season they won 48 games and overachieved. This season, despite a reset in outlook, the same could be said. They knew the final month of their schedule would be difficult, but they were disappointed in the finish and how they failed to win a game against the Celtics. Once Oladipo went down on Jan. 23, nothing was the same. He chooses to rehab away from the team and while they accept that, the team missed his personality and positive attitude more than anything. It took a total team effort to keep this season off life support. But talent wins out when it matters most. Last April it was LeBron James and this April it was Kyrie Irving. How much does that say about Oladipo, who two years ago at this time was coming off a good but not great season in Oklahoma City and was thirsty for something much greater? Now he’s a top 20 player.

The Pacers need Victor Oladipo (center) healthy and on the court next season. (Michael Reaves / Getty Images)

On the uncertainty of Oladipo’s health

Pritchard: I had dinner with him on Sunday. He has made it perfectly clear to me that he’s going to be back and a better player. When that is, I’m not sure. But it’s coming along really nicely and he feels really good about it. In Victor style, he has promised that he will come back at 200 to 300 percent of what he was. When you talk to him like that, how do you not believe him? It’s just so contagious of his personality. … The truth is, the body heals at a different rate for every person. It’s all theory and it’s not practical right now. I’m hoping in the next month to two months, it can be more of a practical decision.

Analysis: This remains the biggest question mark for which we still don’t have an answer. Nobody is to blame, it’s just far too soon to estimate when he may be able to return to game action — and they’ve wisely avoided establishing a timeline for him to return. He had surgery just over three months ago and Pritchard is hopeful to have more insight before July 1, which is the start of free agency. The reality is that this is a very difficult injury and Oladipo is on an unpaved path to recovery. Once he returns, what will he look like? It’s taken Paul George and Gordon Hayward each a full season to return to form. Oladipo’s under contract through the 2020-’21 season ($21 million per year).

On the pitch to free agents

Pritchard: Something that we work on every day is we believe that we have a very strong culture. We feel like we are very player-centric and that players come here and they know that they’re going to get taken care of. … I’m not saying that we can get the big players. We’ll go after them, we’ll make the pitches. We’re not afraid. We’re willing to think big.

Analysis: Pritchard went ahead and made his pitch for players and agents watching. He also is telling the fans, ‘We’re trying our hardest to get another All-Star, but be mindful that it’s just not easy.’ When the front office calls agents, they will be emphasizing three things for their clients: 1. You’ll be taken care of with a trusted medical team and in first-class facilities. 2. You will develop (see Oladipo, Bojan Bogdanovic and Domantas Sabonis). 3. You will make the playoffs, as they have eight of the last nine years.

On the offseason

Pritchard: We’ve got $43 million in cap space. A lot of things can be done with that. A lot of people think that’s all about just signing a player. Really what happens with $43 million in cap space (is that) it allows you to do uneven trades, it allows trades to go into that cap space, it allows you to go sign players, it just gives you a lot of flexibility. We’re going to be aggressive this summer. We’re going to be very opportunistic and when we see some opportunities come up, we’re going to be willing to pounce on those.

Analysis: Other teams, your calls are welcome. It cannot be understated how it is such a huge summer for Pritchard & Co. to make their mark on the franchise. Oladipo and Turner are under contract for $39 million and the rest is fluid. Pritchard wants to stockpile draft picks, much like the 76ers and Celtics have done, and he could potentially use a combination of assets and cap space to acquire talent they couldn’t otherwise sign in free agency. Turner, who was drafted in 2015, is their only first-round pick currently in the rotation. While many other teams may be in the red and limited on draft picks, the Pacers have leverage and flexibility to make offers.

On Simon’s willingness to spend

Pritchard: Herb wants to win. We set a budget. It’s a very high budget, I will tell you that. Herb has never told me, ‘No,’ if it makes the team better. Not one time. I want to think big, but the one thing we take a lot of pride in here is paying players appropriately.

Analysis: The Pacers haven’t gotten out of the first round in four years. Getting to the playoffs is important, but it’s time for them to elevate to another level. Simon, who will turn 85 in the fall, is the longest-tenured owner in the league and his team has made just one NBA Finals appearance (2000). You don’t become a billionaire by not spending your money wisely, and it sounds like he is willing to go into the luxury tax for a significant piece — but not just to do it. For context, the Pacers were 25th in salary spending this season and four of the final eight teams still playing are over the luxury tax, according to Spotrac.

On the offense

Pritchard: Our heart and soul of our team has been defense. We’ve been a defensive team. But you’re seeing it’s an offensive league and so much that the rules are changing to give the offensive guy even more advantage. So I think we’ve got to look at the offensive side of the ball. I think we got to bring in players in that do one of two things — or both if you can — and that is why we need someone who can create. We need a guy that can break down the defense. And then shot-making is always going to be paramount, but it’s more paramount than it’s ever been before. If you have four or five guys out there with one or two that can create and other guys that can really shoot, it’s almost impossible to stop a team.

McMillan: Your personnel allows you to play a style of basketball that can create that. We’re not going to run-and-gun, we’re not going to jack up contested threes just for the sake of getting more attempts. I believe that ball movement, the pace can create those opportunities for you.

Analysis: Although the Pacers have increased their scoring in each of the last six seasons, it’s still not enough. And as more threes are taken than ever before, the Pacers have fallen behind. They were fifth in 3-point field goal percentage, but 29th in attempts (only ahead of the Spurs). They simply didn’t have enough playmakers and guys who could attack — and that impacted their shot-making and the lack of uncontested threes available. No team scored more points from inside the arc than the Pacers (59 percent). This is a bigger conversation that the front office is having as they build the roster.

Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis could be used in a bigger role in the future. (Brian Spurlock / USA Today Sports)

On Sabonis’ future

Pritchard: He’s just a nice guy. He’s just a really good human being and all indications are that he loves it here. He loves what we’re building, he loves that he’s a part of it. I think he wants a bigger role and I think we’ve got to figure out how to get him a bigger role. He is a major force offensively and I think he can be a player that has a huge impact, not just on a sixth man, maybe as a starter but that’s yet to be seen. We don’t know that yet.

Analysis: After Oladipo’s health, the future of this center who turns 23 years old on Friday is perhaps the next biggest question. He’s under contract for one more season, paying him $3.5 million, and extension talks can begin this summer. The offense ran through him with the second unit, but is that bigger role with this team? Can it be with Turner already under contract for four more years at $18 million per year? After Pritchard talked about the need for creators and shot-makers, it sure sounded like he’d prefer to spend salary cap space on that. Sabonis, who plans to work out with the Pacers’ staff this summer, is tough, durable and should have many good years ahead of him. That has great value, whether it’s in Indy or elsewhere.

On re-signing Bogdanovic

Pritchard: Bojan had an unbelievable year and that when we signed him two years ago, the thought of him being a starter, a starter on a 48-win team, a starter that has played against some of the best teams and competed at a very high level, we would like to have extensive talks with Bojan.

Now the truth is he’s a complete free agent — he’s not restricted — so he’s going to have interest. We can feel that already. You could feel that at the trade deadline when people are talking about players. On July 1, I’m pretty sure I’m going to have a pretty good conversation with Bojan.

Analysis: Among the seven Pacers who will become free agents, Bogdanovic is their top priority to re-sign. The reality is that Bogdanovic will have options. He was a bargain at $10.5 million last season and could potentially see his annual salary double due to his reliability, growth away from the ball and being a competent defender. They liked how he had a career year, shouldering much of the load without Oladipo, but it also significantly impacted his value. Come July, Bogdanovic figures to value fit and team success as he signs what should be the largest deal of his professional career that began at age 16.

Leftovers

McMillan on guard Aaron Holiday: “I feel he should be a rotational player next season and a guy that can play the one and the two.”

Pritchard on the draft: “I love the draft, I can’t wait for it. I wish it was tomorrow and we’re going to be really aggressive with that pick.”

To get an idea of what Pritchard is thinking during the offseason, he handed out a copy of David Schwartz’s “The Magic of Thinking Big” to the front office.

(Photo of Kevin Pritchard, Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, Darren Collison and Nate McMillan: Ron Hoskins / Getty Images)

What did you think of this story?

MEH

SOLID

AWESOME

Scott Agness is a staff writer covering the Pacers for The Athletic Indiana. He has covered the Pacers since 2012, working first for Pacers.com and then as founder of VigilantSports.com. He is also the host of the Pacers Podcast and can be heard across Indiana as a play-by-play announcer. Follow Scott on Twitter @ScottAgness.

4  COMMENTS

Allen M.

May 2, 4:46am

1 like

Scott
Would be clearer if you moved the “including the playoffs.” 

Including the playoffs, dipo only suited up in 36 games of 86 games.

Phil T.

May 2, 12:04pm

2 likes

@scottagnes Could you realistically see Pritchard moving up in the draft? I can’t remember the last time the pacers ever did that but we have assets and/or a future pick to move up from our current pick. Analysts are saying the draft kind of falls off after the first 3 picks or so, maybe we could move up easier than in other years.

Jerry R.

May 2, 2:11pm

2 likes

The talent level must be improved to have any playoff success! Victor will not solve all problems and Nate’s idea of offense needs a new look! Pacers did over achieve and props to them!

Joe B.

May 2, 2:30pm

2 likes

Should Sabonis be traded, my hope is it is part of a deal for an impact point guard. A backcourt featuring Conley-Oladipo or Jrue Holiday-Oladipo would immediately create the best backcourt tandem, assuming Oladipo returns to 100%, in the East.

It seems clear at this point Sabonis is the trade piece most likely to be moved, as Nate did not trust the two to play together often this year, but any move that doesn't return multiple picks and/or an impact point guard should not be entertained. Sabonis is too good.

READ MORE

Recap: Bob Kravitz answered your questions on May 9

By  Bob Kravitz

 May 8

Recap: Scott Agness answered your Pacers questions on May 2

Scott Agness

May 1 30 Comments

Inexplicable scoring lapses deflate Pacers’ playoff hopes against the Celtics

Scott Agness

Apr 20 10 Comments

Kravitz: Same old, same old, as Oladipo-less Pacers fall to pieces when it counts most against the Celtics

Bob Kravitz

Apr 19 8 Comments

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In his own words: Pacers owner Herb Simon discusses his team, arena upgrades, state of the NBA and more
 

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In his own words: Pacers owner Herb Simon discusses his team, arena upgrades, state of the NBA and more

By Bob Kravitz May 8, 2019 6 

Herb Simon is a background owner, involved in his Pacers without meddling. He’s also owned the team since 1983, making him the longest-tenured owner in the NBA.

Simon doesn’t often do interviews, but he sat down this week with The Athletic Indiana to talk about the state of the team, the league and life as an NBA owner.

Here’s our conversation:

Of all the current NBA owners, you have the longest tenure, having owned the Indiana Pacers for 36 years, since 1983. Is that something you take particular pride in?

Everything in life is timing, right? When we got it, the city fathers needed somebody to own the team and reached out to (my late bother, Melvin) and I. It wasn’t that important to me at the beginning except to keep it in the city. I had another life in business so it was just there, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more involved and it’s become more important to me and brought me greater enjoyment, so I’m all in on the Pacers.

Why did you and Mel step up and buy the team during that desperate time in the Pacers history?

Well, if you remember, the team was going to be moved to Sacramento at the time and the city fathers came to us to see if we would do something at the time. We were both so young back then; our business was just getting started. At the time, I thought, ‘Wow they must think a lot of me.’ Twenty years later (Pacers executive and longtime Indianapolis mover and shaker) Jim (Morris) admitted to me we were the sixth people they went to. But I’m glad they did.

We talked several years ago, I think around 10 years ago, and you talked about how much money the team was losing after the lean years that came after The Brawl in Detroit. Have there been times when you thought about washing your hands of the franchise?

Well, it got sticky after the Brawl and then in 2008-09, when we went into a recession. There were major cash losses during that period of time. That’s when my brother and his wife wanted to get out and sell and I took a chance and bought it. It was scary for a while, but I always felt that it was going to be OK. But yes, I’ve thought twice about it, sure, when the team was losing money and the team wasn’t worth what it is now, it was a very scary time. But I never gave up hope and I never, EVER, wanted to get rid of it.

The franchise just made a deal with the city to upgrade Bankers Life Fieldhouse and the areas surrounding the arena. Why did you feel like that was something that was necessary?

It was important for two reasons: One, we want to make sure the team is here long after I’m gone, and second, I also wanted to put in more public spaces to make the arena more enjoyable as a focal point in the city. We’re really changing the inside of the building (Bankers Life Fieldhouse) and get it ready for the 21st century the way people like to be entertained and watch basketball games. It has a lot of other activities. The inside will be especially up to date.

Bankers Life Fieldhouse will receive upgrades in the near future. (Brian Spurlock / USA Today Sports)

While you’re spending all this money, can you please fix the Internet? I’d appreciate that.

Listen (laughing), I have some of the nicest homes and my phone doesn’t work well in either one, so don’t tell me your sob story.

(Note from Kravitz: I have only one home and can barely make the mortgage, so don’t tell me about sob stories).

The one criticism I hear from fans and taxpayers is this: Why should a privately owned sports franchise be feeding at the public trough at taxpayer expense? How do you counter that argument?

I think most people understand that this deal is an economic benefit to the city and state. I’ve heard very limited criticism.

(Note: At this point, Rick Fuson, the Pacers president, is sitting in and tells me the way he helped pitch it to the city. According to economic studies he’s seen, the Pacers produce $400 million a year in revenue for the city and employ over 4,000 people. In addition, the majority of the money in this latest deal will come in from out of state).

After the lean years, when you were losing money, did you ever think about selling or moving the franchise?

Never. Moving was never an option. Because don’t forget: The city fathers came to us to keep the team in the city. Now the team is worth a lot more in another city, what kind of gratitude would that be if we moved it to make some extra money? I couldn’t live with myself.

(Note: Simon bought the Pacers in 1983 for $10.5 million; it’s now worth more than a billion).

How would you characterize the fiscal strength of your franchise now?

I think we’re as healthy as we’ve been. We’re still accumulating a lot of losses, but we’re in better shape now with the new CBA and revenue sharing. So the pressure is off for a while.

(Note: Simon also owns the WNBA’s Indiana Fever, Pacers Gaming and the G-League team, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants).

How would you describe your ownership style and philosophy? You seem to be hands on without meddling, enthusiastic without being the Clippers’ Steve Ballmer or the Mavericks’ Mark Cuban.

My ownership style has changed.

How so?

In the beginning, I had another business and I was just checking in on it, honestly. It was in very capable hands with Donnie Walsh and (president) Rick (Fuson, who has been with the organization for 35 years). As I got more involved with the league and finally owned the whole team, I became more involved. But as an owner, I’m not a basketball man. I don’t consider myself an expert. I played in the schoolyard as a kid, but never anything beyond that. I still have to make the final decision, but it’s wholly dependent on what the basketball people think. I’ve seen too many times when people (in ownership) think they know basketball. It’s not a science; even the greatest make mistakes. But with Donnie, Larry (Bird) and now Kevin (Pritchard), I feel very comfortable letting them do what they have to do. We haven’t had much turnover here and all three guys are still with us, as a matter of fact.

Donnie Walsh (left), owner Herb Simon and consultant Larry Bird watch the Pacers play the Celtics last month. (Brian Spurlock / USA Today Sports)

Is it safe to assume that owning an NBA team is a whole lot different than owning a mall or real estate?

Absolutely. When you own a piece of real estate, there’s no real emotion to it. It’s nothing like owning a team. With a team, you’re talking about young men, exciting plays, emotion, great plays up and down the court.

You seem like an intense fan. You watch very closely without getting wildly emotional.

I’m not pleasant to be with, that’s why I sit next to Donnie, we both take it seriously.

What are some of the challenges you face as one of the smaller markets in the NBA?

Some days, it can be a problem but right now, it’s not a problem. And we don’t want to use it as an excuse. You look at San Antonio, they’re about the same size market as we are, and they’ve had a lot of success. You see what Milwaukee is doing right now. So we have no excuses.

You would acknowledge, though, that you have to approach team building differently than a large-market team that can lure a Kevin Durant or a Kawhi Leonard.

Well, sure, there are limitations. But you look at Milwaukee, they did it the right way through the draft. Not that there’s a right way or a wrong way, but they’ve done it the way we try to do it: Through the draft and strategic acquisitions while knowing that maybe we’re not going to get the No. 1 free agent. And when Victor (Oladipo) gets healthy; he’s a better person than he is a basketball player and he’s a pretty good basketball player.

You’ve paid into the luxury tax before. Are you willing to go that route if your management team comes to you and says, ‘We can get a high-level player who’s going to increase the payroll and possible mean paying the tax?’

To be honest, the luxury tax is something you don’t want to enter into, especially on a repeating basis because it gets very prohibitive. You’ve got to be creative. There’s always that time when you think you can go for the whole thing, then you think you can go into the tax, but just as a matter of course, we haven’t been faced with it (largely because the Pacers don’t draw big-name free agents). My philosophy is we’ll do what we have to do, but we’ll do it for the right reasons. Not because someone is threatening to leave, and not because we’re afraid of the press because mean guys like you say we won’t spend any money. We don’t care what you guys have to say because you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Wait, I’ve never criticized you for failing to spend more money.

I meant that generically. You know, you started out sassy, but I’ve come around to like you (smiling).

So just to clarify, if Kevin (Pritchard) came to you and said he could get the kind of stud free agent who rarely, if never, comes to Indy, you’ll say …

Absolutely. If it’s for the right player and for the right reasons, I’ll do it.

(Note: Oklahoma City’s payroll was more than $145 million and they paid more than $91 million into the luxury tax. They won one more game than the Pacers, who not only had the 25th-ranked payroll in the NBA, but lost Oladipo in the 36th game of the season).

After the Brawl, you were forced to trade away players like Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson and Jamaal Tinsley. That would have been a perfect time to tank, but the franchise refused to embark on a version of The Process. Management often talks about your distaste for tanking.

When Donnie was struggling early, we tried to win every game even though we didn’t have a very good team. We never started dumping in order to get higher draft picks. It was never in our DNA and never will be. It’s the one thing I tell them, I want to play to win, not dump. It’s just not the way we do business.

Does it bother you when a team like Philadelphia adopts a strategy of losing in order to position themselves at the top of the draft?

It takes a lot to bother me right now (smiling).

Am I bothering you now?

No, I told you, you used to be tough on us, but I’ve come around on you.

What was your takeaway from the four-game playoff loss to the Boston Celtics?

It’s a sore spot with me. We were ahead in every game. Maybe we were just missing Victor. Don’t get me wrong, I think our team played very hard and very well and we had a chance to win every game, and that’s all you can expect out of them. We didn’t give up at all. I’m very proud of them.

So much has changed in the NBA during the 36 years you’ve owned the Pacers. What are some of the biggest changes?

I’d say the biggest thing is the fact it’s more and more international now. I’ve been on the NBA China Board since its inception and we’ve seen that business grow a lot in China and we’re looking in other areas of the world. Basketball along with soccer are now the two universal games. It’s really encouraging to see what’s happening internationally. We had a game in China; did you know there was a Pacers fan club out there? They came in the hotel lobby, a Pacers fans club; we had no idea they existed.

Is this a good pro basketball town?

(After a three-second pause): I think we have the enthusiasm here. We still don’t get the income other teams get; we’re still below the league average. But I think we put out a pretty good product – 24 times in the playoffs in 30 years, 30 straight years of winning records at home – and I think people appreciate what we’re doing. I believe that.

(Top photo of Simon: Jeff Haynes / Getty Images)

What did you think of this story?

MEH

SOLID

AWESOME

Bob is an award-winning columnist who has worked for Sports Illustrated, the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, the Indianapolis Star and other publications. He has covered sports as a columnist and feature writer for 36 years. A graduate of Indiana University. Follow Bob on Twitter @bkravitz.

6  COMMENTS

Joe E.

May 8, 10:09pm

1 like

“It’s a sore spot with me, ahead in every game, maybe we were just missing Victor”

PERFECT response from the man who writes the checks.

Keith C.

May 9, 1:31am

1 like

Diplomatic answer to the last question. I’ve always wondered if the team was marketed that well in Metro-Indy area. I think Paul George was more popular in China than Greenwood.

Shawn D.

22h ago

Great interview

Joe B.

22h ago

Solid interview. 

It really is a shame more people do not attend Pacers or Fever games, in general. If I lived in Indianapolis, I'd be a season ticket holder...but I live an hour a way. In 30 years, when I retire, I'll be there--until then,the one or two games a year will have to do.

Zack K.

22h ago

1 like

You can love the Pacers, but also despise this private corporation's need for public money. Citing how many people you employ in a city does not earn you the right to public money. If you look at Major League Soccer teams around the country many are privately financing hundred-million dollar stadiums without public money. It is time that the most successful sports leagues in this country do the same for their own venues.

Eric M.

16h ago

1 like

He doesn’t have ears (or eyes) that work then. There are many of us here in central Indiana that criticize the billions we are forced to give to the Simons, Irsays, Hulmans, and now Ozdemirs.

READ MORE

Recap: Bob Kravitz answered your questions on May 9

By  Bob Kravitz

 May 8

Recap: Scott Agness answered your Pacers questions on May 2

Scott Agness

May 1 30 Comments

Inexplicable scoring lapses deflate Pacers’ playoff hopes against the Celtics

Scott Agness

Apr 20 10 Comments

Kravitz: Same old, same old, as Oladipo-less Pacers fall to pieces when it counts most against the Celtics

Bob Kravitz

Apr 19 8 Comments

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Hi guys, для многих команда пейсера стала увиденным в чернобелом телевизере чудо-проводником во взрослый путь из тежелого детства, поетому возникновения таких вопросов как нащёт качественного и трудоемкого уселение состава в погоне за намеченной борьбе за обозначенном титуле вопринимаются с выховом через призму антузиазма, конкретно в команду сватают и Волкера, и Конли, и ДиАнхеля Расселя, при таком покрытия талантов ожидать можно любого сюрприза с подвыподвертом, appreciate it

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