IC Cold Links: Collison Trade A Big Step Forward For Pacers, But Far From Last

Ahhhhhhh...

It's nice to exhale for a moment, isn't it?

With one move yesterday, the Indiana Pacers addressed two areas of concern that have suffocated the franchise for the past couple of years and left fans gasping for air.

The first was simply the salary cap situation which has had several clunky contracts clogging progress. With most of those big deals now classified as expiring, the Pacers were able to unload Troy Murphy's nearly $12 million salary and free up around $4 million in cap space.

Exhale.

The second major area of relief addressed was adding a point guard who isn't just a one-season rental or a stop-gap point guard until someone better surface. Darren Collison is a young and vibrant point guard who instantly energizes the backcourt and fits in well with the other young core pieces the Pacers have assembled.

Plus, the risk on Collison is minimal since he has three years remaining on his rookie contract. If things work out as planned, he's extremely valuable from a production per dollar view. If the worst case situation plays out and Collison doesn't pan out, his minimal salary doesn't become an anchor on the salary cap for the Pacers to move on.

Exhale.

So yesterday was a huge step forward for the Pacers, but there is plenty of work left to be done. I can live with James Posey's remaining contract and hope he returns this year to closer resemble the pre-knee surgery Posey that helped teams on both ends of the floor in the past. But he has to be considered one of a couple of wings on the roster that could be dealt at any t ime.

T.J. Ford is obviously going to be on the move at some point. In a story linked below and over on the Fan Posts, David Aldridge mentioned the Pacers were close to moving Ford yesterday for pure cap space in Erick Dampier's non-guaranteed salary. Talk about exhaling, the Fieldhouse would've been like an oxygen bar if that baby went through yesterday. Regardless, something will be worked out with Ford in time. But now the Pacers can remain patient, continue saying all of the right things with regard to Ford publicly while working like crazy behind the scenes to move him or buy him out.

It will happen in due time and the franchise will take another step forward in a positive direction. Just like they did yesterday.

Exhale.

After the jump, a bevy of links with reports, analysis, video and audio about the trade along with updates on Team USA, Isiah Thomas and Earl Watson.

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