One thing we know for sure is that we DON'T know what happened at the Fieldhouse preceding the firing of Mel Daniels.
If you zoom in and try to dissect what went on you're wasting your time. Bob Kravitz made a valiant effort and was left with a proper conclusion that regardless of how the final details shake out, the whole situation is ugly and sad.
Bob Netolicky offered his general take on one side of the story supporting Daniels to the end. Daniels had philosophical differences with David Morway and Jim O'Brien, and thus by association Larry Bird. To be honest, I had no idea Mel Daniels was the Director of Player Personnel. He was always around the Fieldhouse and at events so I assumed he was in a figure-head position to keep a popular legend involved with the franchise.
Obviously, Daniels wanted his voice heard and made sure it was. But it had to go past a mere difference of opinion for things to end so abruptly. Now, I assume the Pacers were planning to massage Mel's departure with appropriate respect, but once Vecsey made it public they were forced to make a statement.
Zooming back out, considering the time of year and what went on this week, this news was released at the absolute worst time for the Pacers (Vecsey's no fool). For one, the team had a feel-good preseason game set to tip down at IU on Friday nignt. But more importantly, this news muffled the echo from yesterday when Frank Luntz had his megaphone and pom poms out touting the Pacers' move in a positive direction.
Makes sense that the inside source for Peter Vecsey's column on Sunday was Daniels or someone close to Daniels (Neto?). With the obvious ax to grind, those rumors are more suspect than ever. Again, zooming out to the big picture, although the immediate timing was poor, the fact that the Pacers regular season doesn't start until next week should allow the Pacers time to patch up the departure or at worst get some distance from the issue before the season starts.
The focus then turns to how Mel Daniels will handle things. But if the Pacers remain mum on the details it puts Daniels in a tough position. He already has the public sympathy no matter what details emerge. His presence and impact in this community affords him that respect. While he's definitely one of the toughest guys in town, he'll have a tough time striking a balance between fighting for what he believes in his heart is right and coming off as a whiner.
Mel Daniels a whiner? Sheesh, this is ugly and sad.