Tag:Indiana Pacers
Posted on: October 5, 2010 2:54 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2010 2:55 pm
 

Report: Cavs offered Larry Bird coaching job

Posted by Royce Young

It's been over a decade since Larry Bird last coached. He led Indiana to an awesome 147-67 from 1997-2000 and last coached in the NBA Finals. He said he'd give the Pacers three years and that's exactly what he did.

Then Bird moved to the Pacers' front office, taking over completely in 2008 after Donnie Walsh went to New York, where Bird hasn't been near as successful. So the Cleveland Cavaliers, with a coaching vacancy earlier this summer, thought it might be a good idea to pull Bird back into the game.

And as Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports, the Cavs reached out to Bird prior to bringing in current head coach Byron Scott. Obviously Bird rebuffed the offer and stayed with Indiana, but it's interesting nonetheless. Bird took the call according to Stein but then quickly decided he had no interest at returning to coaching.

Bird, 53, is said to have pretty much ruled out any return to coaching because of health and family reasons. Never a guy to love the spotlight, Bird has preferred his front office chair instead of the sideline one.

The Cavs had a rough time during their coaching search. Scott is a former Coach of the Year, but now with this Bird revelation, that's two high-profile figures that said not thanks to Cleveland. Current Michigan State coach Tom Izzo was close to accepting the job, but decided to stay in East Lansing instead.
Posted on: October 1, 2010 4:55 pm
 

Jeff Foster can eat more than you

No, seriously. Jeff Foster can eat more than you.
Posted by Matt Moore

Geez, Jeff. You're on the books for $6.5 million this season. No need to go gourging on food to stock up. Especially not two 22-ounce burgers. In one sitting . Oh, what's that, Jeffrey? You deny the two 22-ounce burgers in one sitting eating? You refute the burger eating, do you, Jeffrey?

That's allright, Foster. I've got video evidence. And by me, I mean Sekou Smith and the NBA.com crew . Oh, sure, Jeff. The whole thing was part of a "team building" exercise. Right. That's like when I took up smoking in college as a "sociological experiment." You can't quit burgers on your own, Jeff. You need help.

Next time, just pass one of those burgers over to Mike Dunleavey Jr.. Dude needs some meat on them bones.

Category: NBA
Posted on: September 29, 2010 9:28 am
Edited on: September 29, 2010 10:04 am
 

Shootaround 9.29.10: Mileage Edition

Davis is a baby, Brooks wants his dough, Garnett's feeling spry, and Hayward bought a new car in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore


The only exception to the "rah-rah," "happy to be back," "excited for the season to start" mantras of NBA Media Days and training camp sessions is the public extension demands. Aaron Brooks has entered that arena in full garb. Brooks told the Houston Chronicle that his contract situation is "bothering" him . Brooks is a tough spot for the Rockets . He's emerged as one of the best players on the team, and helped keep them afloat through Yao Ming 's injury. But he's also a score-first point guard who's not terribly efficient. He gets the job done, but not well enough to make it a no-brainer. Which is likely why the Rockets have decided to wait to enter discussions on an extension with him.

Donnie Walsh denied that the Knicks tampered in any way with the now-dead four-team deal proposal for Carmelo Anthony . Very quietly, the Knicks and Nets are kind of slipping into a nasty little rivalry between the two teams, one that's likely to only accelerate when the Nets move to Brooklyn.

Charlie Villanueva is actually wracked by guilt about his performance last season. It's nice to hear that from an athlete, as they typically tend to bristle and deny that they even had a bad year, or explain it away. The question is how he'll actually improve, because the things he's typically criticized for are difficult to improve upon, often considered "you have it or you don't" territory. But stranger things have happened...

Apparently Kevin Garnett is feeling spry, prompting Boston media to claim he'll be back to 2008 standards . I would consider this to fall under the category of "jinxing yourself into oblivion." Garnett was healthy enough for the Celtics to win the East. That needs to be the expectation. Anything else is failing to acknowledge the realities of the situation.

Jacque Vaughn has joined the Spurs coaching staff, and Pop thinks he's got the same qualities as Avery Johnson. The comparisons are striking to a certain degree.

Efforts for a new arena in Sacramento have hit a gigantic iron wall. Keep your eyes on the horizon for storm clouds.

Triano has no reservations about playing Barbosa at point. That's a weird thing to be discussing with both Jarret Jack and Jose Calderon on roster, making a combined eleventy billion dollars. Additionally, that seems an awful lot like a recipe for the highest turnover margin in professional basketball history.

Glen Davis is acting like a... wait for it... baby about his role with the Celtics and Doc's not particularly drawn to take care of him.

Rashard Lewis is spending more time at small forward this year. That's a pretty big move, and one that could have significant changes for how the Magic do business. The trick is that the Magic have had so much success with Lewis at the four, and a move otherwise could change their four-out, one-in approach. But it could also provide them more balance. Things are so complex.

Gordon Hayward bought a shiny new car with his contract... a Honda Accord. That's just great.


Posted on: September 24, 2010 11:46 am
Edited on: September 24, 2010 11:48 am
 

Preseason Primer: Pacers

Posted by Royce Young

The Pacers were part of the deal of the summer, a four-team trade that landed them Darren Collison and James Posey. They still acknowledge they're rebuilding, but now, it feels like a corner might start turning. They're still missing pieces and have questions headed to camp, but for the first time in a while, a plan looks evident.

Training camp site:
Indianapolis, IN

Training camp starts: Sept. 28

Key additions: Darren Collison (trade), Lance Stephenson (draft), Paul George (draft), James Posey (trade)

Key subtractions: Troy Murphy (trade), Earl Watson (free agent)

Likely starting lineup: Darren Collison, PG; Mike Dunleavy, SG; Danny Granger, SF; Josh McRoberts, PF; Roy Hibbert, C

Player to watch: To be determined power forward. Right now, the Pacers have Josh McRoberts starting at the 4. I think it's safe to assume Larry Bird has plans to make a move to have someone new there. Tyler Hansbrough is also in the mix but he's battling a condition that's hampering his ability to get on the floor.

Chemistry quiz: Any time you add a new point guard to the mix, questions come up about how the team will play together. Darren Collison isn't a complicated guard. He's pretty straightforward in the way he plays and the way he carries himself. He shouldn't have any issues fitting in to Jim O'Brien's system.

Camp battles: Two positions: The aforementioned power forward situation and also shooting guard. Is it Mike Dunleavy? Brandon Rush? Dahntay Jones? Rookie Lance Stephenson? Could lottery rookie Paul George slide down and play the 2? The Pacers have a number of rotation questions coming in and in both cases, might not have the player to fill them actually on the roster.

Handcuffed: The Pacers were a team that fought the law a bit this offseason. Brandon Rush was tagged with a five-game suspension for a drug violation and Lance Stephenson was accused of pushing his girlfriend down some stairs. So you can definitely assume there are some distractions and questions to be asked on media day.

Camp invites:
A couple of interest include Magnum Rolle, a second-round pick and Lance Allred, the first deaf player to play in the NBA.

Biggest strength: 3-point shooting. One of O'Brien's staples is to create the 3-point shot. Now with Collison creating space for shooters, guys like Danny Granger, Mike Dunleavy, Brandon Rush and James Posey will have the ability to crank up a number of 3s.

Glaring weakness: Roster holes. Again, who plays power forward? Who plays shooting guard? The Pacers took a big step in correcting a roster issue by acquiring Collison, but the trade sent power forward Troy Murphy elsewhere. Indiana isn't done making moves and it plans on improving the lineup, at this point, those guys aren't on the team.
Posted on: September 13, 2010 12:06 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2010 12:08 pm
 

Pop Quiz: Who's ready to break out?

Posted by Royce Young

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

What player makes a Durant-like leap into a new stratosphere?

Everyone wants to crown the next great NBA player. But going from solid star player on your team, to recognized NBA wide superstar is a different story.

Kevin Durant won the Rookie of the Year award, then followed that season up with a quality second season. Most folks thought he'd be the next big thing, they just weren't sure when. But his third season was a leap of another kind.

Durant became the NBA's youngest scoring champion at 21 years old, took his previous 23-win team to 50, got his group to the playoffs, pushed the eventual champions as hard as anyone and also finished second in the MVP voting. Durant in 2009-10 appeared on national TV only four times (not including the playoffs). Going into this season, he's rapidly becoming one of the faces of the league as he's slated to be on the big stage 26 times.

And after this summer's performance in Turkey, well, some are even elevating Durant to the top of the heap. But that's a whole other story.

We're asking what player could be next. Not the next Durant, but the next player to go from borderline star to the next level. Maybe he's already an All-Star. But is he a superstar? Who could be the next guy mentioned along with the top players in the league? Five candidates:

Tyreke Evans, Kings
- Last season's Rookie of the Year definitely had his moments. He averaged 20.1 ppg (odd, that's exactly what Durant averaged when he won Rookie of the Year...), shot 46 percent from the floor and dished out nearly six assists a game. Evans blew people away with his ability to get to the rim and with a reportedly improved jumper, he might be unguardable .

Now his hangup is that he doesn't officially have a position. Most can't figure out if he's a point guard, a shooting guard or something that we don't even know about. No bother though, because Evans is going to get points wherever he plays.

Now can he get to the next level? He absolutely has the ability to. But what really began to take Durant up was how his elevated play improved his team. That will be crucial for Evans. If the Kings are in the basement again this year, it doesn't really matter what Evans is doing. But if he plays well and the Kings win, he could certainly be an All-Star.

Derrick Rose, Bulls - The world is waiting. Waiting on Derrick Rose to become what we know he can be. He's the kind of player that reveals glimpses, flashes, small tastes of just how ridiculously good he can be.

But he hasn't been able to put it together for a consistent period of time.

Now however, Rose has the best supporting cast he's had yet. He no longer has to be point guard, creator and scorer all wrapped into one. He can relax and pass off to Carlos Boozer. He can penetrate and kick to Kyle Korver . Or his still can take games over all by himself.

Greatness awaits Derrick Rose. It's just a matter of when he breaks out. And I'm guessing this year.

Russell Westbrook, Thunder
- Before you dismiss, consider Westbrook's stats: 16.1 ppg , 8.0 apg and 4.9 rpg . Only one other player in the league averaged at least 16-8-5. His name? LeBron James.

Westbrook had a case to make the All-Star team last season with Chris Paul out and Deron Williams pulling out at the last minute. Jason Kidd got the hometown bid, but Westbrook was right there. His game has steadily improved since he came into the league two seasons ago without a position. He has a jumpshot that's improved, he handles the game like a legit point man and he's probably the fastest end-to-end player in the league.

No matter what, Westbrook will be overshadowed by Durant, but with Durant's high profile, his teammates' rise as well. Durant's not the only guy getting all those appearances on national TV. Westbrook impressed people that hadn't seen him much in Turkey with his athletic ability and his lack of fear. The more people see him, the more blown away they'll be.

Rudy Gay, Grizzlies - Sometimes big money can make a guy complacent. Sometimes though, it can motivate him to prove people wrong.

A lot of fans, media and heck, even Rudy Gay himself, were shocked with his massive contract extension. And Gay has had to hear how he wasn't worthy of the big payday. Either he can be satisfied and just cash his checks and put up 19 and 8, or he can use it as a little extra to push him and his Memphis squad to a different level.

The Grizzlies weren't far off last season. Behind Gay's improved play, Memphis made a small playoff push for a time. The talent is there for Rudy. Actually, he's got more than enough talent. His issue is that on some nights, he disappears. He goes from dropping 25 on Tuesday to 10 on Wednesday. When he starts to put it all together, he has the makings of a star. It's easy to forget that he's just 24.

Danny Granger, Pacers - Over the past two seasons, Granger has averaged 25.8 ppg and 24.1 ppg . He shot over 44 percent from the field and over 36 percent from 3. He also averaged over five rebounds just as an extra.

Yet in the world of small forward talk, Granger gets left out. He's one of the top scorers in the league, yet most forget about him. That to me, is the definition of a breakout player waiting to happen.

Much like these other guys, Granger has been playing for a team that's not winning. Tough to be a recognized star when your team stinks. The Pacers might not be good this year, but they certainly should be better. And if Granger is the man leading that charge, maybe he starts to get a bit more recognition. The points are there. He scores at basically the same clip Carmelo Anthony has during his career. Now it's just about people seeing it.
Posted on: September 8, 2010 5:56 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2010 9:50 pm
 

Pop Quiz: Which coach is on the hot seat?

Posted by Matt Moore

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

Which coach has the hottest seat going into the season?


Scott Brooks.

No kidding, you have to put Scott Brooks on this list. Even though he's been instrumental in taking a team with nothing but young players and turning them into a playoff team that looks every bit ready to challenge for a Western Conference title, Brooks has to be on this list. Why? Because he was so good last year he won the career death sentence: the Coach of the Year award. Let's take a look at the previous winners, shall we?

Mike Brown: canned.

Byron Scott: deleted.

Sam Mitchell: terminated.

Avery Johnson: gonezo.

Yeesh. Watch your back, Scottie.

Okay, besides the superstition, who's actually in danger of losing their gig this year? Here are four candidates.

Jay Triano: It's been stunning how Triano has managed to avoid harsh criticism for his squad's performance which helped lead to Chris Bosh's departure without so much as a consideration for staying in Toronto. Brian Colangelo takes all the blame for constructing a spineless defensive team with too many inconsistencies offensively, despite acquiring Amir Johnson and Reggie Evans and being willing to spend for Hedo Turkoglu (who despite all his problems, was a legit quality free agent last summer). Yet Triano's team wound up with the worst defensive marks in the league, falling out of the playoffs down the stretch, and he walked away largely unscathed. Now the Raptors are suffering with a significant lack of talent, and often, guys who underperformed with talent end up getting removed when they actually have good reasons for underperforming... much like Triano faces this season.

John Kuester: The offensive wiz of a team now considered to be one of the greater disappointments of the last decade had a rough opening season. Injuries and subpar play from their big free agents (which most people saw coming outside of the Pistons, though not to the degree) played a part, but this is a cold hearted business that very rarely provides reasonable responses to legitimate causes for losing. If Kuester can't get the Pistons turned around with that payroll, his reputation may not spare him from the axe of Joe Dumars.

Flip Saunders: If anyone in the entire league has an excuse for struggling through two seasons, it's got to be Saunders. Saunders was at the helm for one of the most disastrous seasons in league history last year, and had to preside over the meltdown, grin, and bear it as all his talent was shipped out in a rebuilding plan. John Wall was a Godsend, but Saunders has to deal with re-integrating Gilbert Arenas, containing the combustible Andray Blatche, and trying to move the franchise forward with John Wall. Throw in new majority ownership from Ted Leonsis, and Saunders may have too much stacked against him to survive a poor start, fair or not.

Jim O'Brien: Larry Bird has committed to O'Brien, has stayed by his side, and recently gave him a vote of confidence. But he's in the last year of his deal, which makes letting him go much easier to swallow. On top of that, the questions about talent are no longer going to valid this year. The Pacers now feature a legit center in Roy Hibbert, a legit star forward in Danny Granger, and a star point guard in Darren Collison. If O'Brien can't make this team work in a thin Eastern Conference, with at least some improvement, Bird may run out of patience for him.


Posted on: September 3, 2010 11:17 am
Edited on: September 3, 2010 11:18 am
 

Report: Donnie Walsh rejected trade for Fernandez

Posted by Royce Young

For anyone that thinks the Knicks are completely clueless, here's something to think otherwise. Rudy Fernandez has been lobbying to get out of Portland for months. Lobbying enough to get slapped with a $25,000 fine for it. The Knicks are on his short list of teams to be traded to and the Knicks would certainly love to have him.

And there was a deal on the table to make it happen. But Knicks general manager Donnie Walsh didn't hit the red button. According to the New York Daily News, a three-way trade sending newly acquired Anthony Randolph to Indiana, a first round pick to Portland and Fernandez to New York fell apart at Walsh's desk. Walsh evidently offered Wilson Chandler instead, but neither the Pacers nor Blazers apparently had much interest there.

The Blazers have made it clear they at least want a first round pick, something the Knicks don't have. So a third team is necessary to bring in. But the complication there is, you have to make this deal worthwhile for this third team. And Anthony Randolph would definitely be something worthwhile. I'm sure the Pacers were absolutely tickled at this deal before it felt through seeing as they desperately need a power forward.

But Walsh is smart to keep Randolph. Most agree that Randolph is one of the most uniquely talented players in the league with an absurd amount of upside. He was trapped in Golden State with Don Nelson's erratic playing time and treatment so the thinking is, out of that system and into Mike D'Antoni's, Randolph could flourish. And while the Knicks want a shooter really badly, Fernandez isn't a neccesity because of the offseason signing of Roger Mason Jr.

Fernandez's people definitely aren't done looking to move him and Blazer GM Rich Cho will certainly continue to look for a willing partner. But it doesn't look like the Knicks will be one of those teams, at least unless Anthony Randolph is not part of the deal.
Posted on: September 2, 2010 1:17 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2010 1:22 pm
 

Pop Quiz: What teams are flying under the radar?

Posted by Royce Young

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question.. .

What teams might people be sleeping on?

When the season starts, everyone is in first place. And when the season starts, everyone has the hopes of being that sleeper team that comes out of nowhere to shock the basketball world. Everyone thinks their team could be the next Oklahoma City Thunder, the next Tampa Bay Rays, the next New Orleans Saints. Even the most pessimistic fan has that small bone in their body that thinks, "What if?"

But for some squads, it's just not realistic. Just like there has to be a best team, there also has to be a worst team. We've already tried to focus in on that really, really bad team. But what about the squads maybe flying under the radar? Not just teams that might come out of nowhere and make a playoff run, but teams like last season's Memphis Grizzlies who were simply just better than expected. Or teams that people simply aren't giving enough credence to. So, who are this season's sleeper candidates?

Sacramento Kings
The Kings are almost approaching "trendy pick" territory, which is extremely dangerous. That's the area the Clippers were in last season and where teams like the Houston Texans have perpetually been stationed. It's like sports purgatory. You're better than terrible, probably mediocre, but because of elevated expecations, you're set up to be a disappointment. It's a really odd place. And the Kings might be in that category.

But the reality is, there's a ton of talent on that roster. Tyreke Evans is obviously waiting to break out into superstardom, smart moves brought in Carl Landry and Samuel Dalembert, two players that help a lot and of course drafting maybe the most talented player last June in DeMarcus Cousins helps. The roster has talent, and lots of it, but it's about overcoming youth and learning to win. The Thunder figured those things out last season as they put together an unexpected 50-win season. That expectation might be a little high for this young Sacramento squad, but seeing them as a potential .500 team or maybe even pushing for the postseason in March isn't too hard to picture. 

Indiana Pacers
By playing much better basketball and finishing the last two months of the season 12-10, the Pacers played themselves out of a higher lottery pick. But what they might have done, is played themselves into a better 2010-11 campaign. Momentum heading into an offseason is always a good thing and even with a rag-tag roster that didn't feature a real point guard, the Pacers were able to compete. Now with Darren Collison, a proven point man, Indiana has something to get a little more excited about.

Of course losing Troy Murphy stings. Stings a lot in fact. Indiana is desperately searching for an interior replacement for Murphy, but for now, the Pacers will try and survive on Danny Granger's scoring, Collison's creating and the continued development of Roy Hibbert. The Eastern Conference is looking at a changing of the guard with teams like Cleveland falling down the line a bit. The eighth spot is wide open in the East, and the Pacers might just have enough to get there.

New Jersey Nets
Don't laugh. Seriously, don't. Everyone knows the Nets weren't truly as bad as their record indicated last season. It was a snowball effect that started in training camp and eventually led to the team flirting with the worst record ever. Simply put, that roster was just too good to win only 14 games last year.

But with the additions of Jordan Farmar, Travis Outlaw and Troy Murphy, there has definitely been a talent upgrade. An interior duo of Brook Lopez and Murphy is definitely one of the best combos in the East. Add in rookie Derrick Favors whose ceiling is so high even he can't touch it and the Nets are a lock to be better. Will they be a playoff team? Probably not. But can they be a vastly improved squad that at least can talk a little postseason around February and March? Definitely.

Portland Trail Blazers
What are they doing on here? Well, hear me out. Most aren't considering the Blazers a true Western contender this season. Most don't think Portland has what it takes to get to the Western finals. Playoff team? Certainly. But a team to be reckoned with? Hardly.

And that's where I think people might be wrong.

Everyone knows the well chronicled injury issues the Blazers faced last year. Starters missed lots of games, bench players missed lots of games, everyone missed lots of games. The team was ripped apart with injuries, but yet somehow, someway, made it into the playoffs and won over 50 games. So imagine that Blazer roster at full tilt. Of course that's a big if, because assuming Greg Oden will be healthy for a full season is like assuming Gary Busey won't say something crazy on TV. But even just having Brandon Roy, Joel Pryzbilla, Andre Miller and Nicolas Batum all together for a full 82 means that's a pretty scary roster. Is this your traditional sleeper? Not really because everyone already knows they're good. But the question is, just how good?

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com