IC Cold Links: Larry Bird Visits Nene, NBA Schedule Released Today

The Indiana Pacers, along with the rest of the NBA will officially release their 66-game regular season schedule on Tuesday evening which will be anything but regular with a chance of back-to-back-to-back games and a stretch of five games in six days keeping the Pacers busy.

As for the latest on free agency, Mike Wells reports (thanks for the FanPost MillerTime31) that Pacers president Larry Bird isn't waiting for prized free agents to show up at Conseco Fieldhouse for a chat, he's going to them to make sure his pitch is heard. That means Bird is flying to Denver today to meet with top shelf free agent big man, Nene Hilario.

The Pacers reportedly spoke by phone with David West yesterday, a secondary power forward option under consideration. The fact Bird is making the effort to go meet Nene indicates the Pacers are all in with their pursuit of the big man who could fortify the middle of the Pacers defense and help protect the tin. But how far are the Pacers willing to go?

If the bidding war pushes Nene's salary north of $15 million per year I would expect the Pacers to wish him good luck. There is always a price that's right and the Pacers will have to exceed that to have a shot at landing Nene, but they shouldn't go past it so far that they use up the bulk of the availble cap space they worked so hard to acrue.

This article has a few NBA observers take a shot at placing a value on Nene's free agent deal and the offers ranged from $9 mil to $15 mil per year. With the interest shown in Nene, that latter number should be close.

After the jump, more links of interest as the important week for the Pacers heats up.

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