I'm 24 years old. I grew up watching the Pacers in the 90's, and that stretch has kept me a lifelong fan. Over the last couple years I've been to many games (one of the only upsides to being a Pacer fan these days is the low cost of tickets). Every summer I check Pacers.com and Yahoo almost daily for news of what seems to me the inevitable "blockbuster trade" that will either put us in contention again or admit that we need to start from scratch, shed salary, and use the draft to build up again. Every summer I hear Larry Bird say we're going to "do some things" to make the roster more competitive. Every summer I'm disappointed.
I really, really want the Pacers to stay in Indiana. It's probably impractical, but every time I have a conversation with somebody about it and they try to talk dollars and cents, I tell them we need to pay the Pacers whatever they want to stay, things will eventually turn around, and this bad dream will be over.
Looking at our roster moves this summer, or lack therof, I have a really hard time believing this team has any long term interest in being competitive/staying in Indiana, however. As a Pacer fan I knew it was a joke to even hope for first tier free agents, but now even the second tier options (Raymond Felton, Jordan Farmar) have signed with teams that performed worse than the Pacers last season. Add to that our incomprehensible comittment to Jim O'Brien (who, despite AJ Price's breakout year had the audacity to say Price will never be more than a decent backup), and I just have a really hard time believing this team has any interest in staying in Indiana at all.
I don't want to be cynical. I want to be a Pacer fan, and I want them to stay. But their complete lack of even an attempt to put a decent product on the floor has me wondering what their comittment to Indiana actually is. If anybody can tell me why I'm being naive, or what the Pacers actually have going for them that I might be overlooking, or provide any type of evidence that they really want to stay, that's what I'm looking for.