Let the fog rise.
It took an entire weekend, but the Indiana Pacers finally cleared up the dense haze surrounding their roster. The team added another big man -- Atlanta's Solomon Jones -- and they will announce the official signing of Earl Watson in the next day or two. The Jones signing also means the Pacers aren't interested in Dallas backup Ryan Hollins anymore, so now the focus for this week can be solely placed on that pesky sign-and-trade with Boston.
In his latest Pacers Insider post, the Indianapolis Star's Mike Wells reports that the Pacers are expected to resume talks with the Celtics this week about finalizing a deal that would trade free agent Marquis Daniels to the green and white. But, Wells also notes that the Pacers are still heavily interested in Miami's Luther Head, who could play a Jarrett Jack-type role on the roster next season. The problem? After Watson signs early this week, the Pacers will have 13 players on contract for the 2009-10 season, leaving just two roster spots still available. One of those spots is expected to go to second-round choice A.J. Price.
The idea that the Pacers will straight up trade Daniels for a Celtics player seems less likely with each roster spot that flys off the shelf. When I asked Wells what the hold up was late last week, he tweeted back to me the following: "Pacers aren't rushing to do a deal just to do one. Luther Head is still on their radar if they can't get one of Boston's young wing players." Let's get one thing straight here. Pacers team president Larry Bird is not going to be duped by Danny Ainge. Bird isn't Kevin McHale, and it sounds as if Bird will hold out on this deal until he gets the exact player that he wants. If it doesn't work out, then it doesn't work out and we all move on. The Luther Head signing is very intriguing even though he had a down year last season compared to his first three years in the league. But I'd be much more interested to see him on the roster than one of the Celtics unproven young players.
Again, things could get murkier or clearer throughout the week regarding the Celts-Pacers deal. But while we're waiting, check out beyond the jump for links and some sweet stories about our newest Pacer -- Solo Jones.
We finally got some insight today as to know exactly what type of player Jones is on and off the court. Wells talked to his friend, and Atlanta beat reporter, Sekou Smith to get the low-down on the 6-foot-11 third-string backup. Smith noted the following:
"He's an athletic shot blocker that's not scared of anything. Even after three years in the league he's got plenty of upside. His jumper has improved dramatically since his rookie season. Pacers fans will love him because he'll play his guts out whenever he's on the floor."
Like I've said before, I would pay to watch some of the practices for this team next season. Everybody that Bird has added to the squad is known for having a nose for the ball and the determination to beat down anybody else in practice to get it. There should be some quality flying elbows and body checks during practice that would be great YouTube fodder.
- Sticking with a closer look at Jones, Sekou Smith did his own blogging this morning to give a hearty goodbye to the power forward/center. He calls Jones a "truly unique character" and he gives us some insight as to how the restricted free agent got the Hawks to rescind the qualifying offer so Jones could sign immediately with the Pacers. Jones said, "I get a chance to go somewhere else and try and start over and see if there's a chance to have a bigger role. The Pacers want me up there right away to get to work and that's a good thing. I'm looking forward to the opportunity."
- Atlanta Hawks blog Peachtree Hoops reflects on the top 10 moments of Jones' career with the Hawks. This guy really is a fan favorite. It's awesome to see the Hawks' bloggers missing him so much already and the deal hasn't even been signed yet. Anyways, one moment acknowledges that Jones steals a page out of Reggie Miller's book and practices the buzzer-beater 3-pionter at the end of warm-ups before games. But the best is, of course, listed at No. 1. More on that in the next point.
- The good news is that if there's another brawl this year, Jones might be the person to finally top J.O.'s monster sliding punch. After a shootaround during the 07-08 season, Jones and teammate Zaza Pachulia got into fisticuffs and Sekou Smith delivers the goods by noting that Jones had the cleaner punches and he bloodied ZaZa's lip. Good times.
- Bruno takes a look at the low profile moves that the Pacers have made in the past few weeks while also finding praise for A.J. Price in his latest post.
- Pacers rookie Tyler Hansbrough waved the green flag at Sunday's race at the Brickyard. The Herald-Sun talked to Hansbrough about the experience. Hansbrough is just not good at all about giving quotes. It has to be just a painful experience interviewing the guy. But, it seems like he had a good time at his first NASCAR experience.
- Finally, another writer gives out his summer grades for NBA teams and hands the Pacers a "C" for their hard work during the past month.