the Indiana Pacers are at the junction of a crossroad. Though much has been made of the Pacers impending salary space by having Dunleavy, Ford, Foster, solomon jones and Tinsley's contracts come off the book. The Pacers are definitely missing pieces to their ultimate puzzle, whether those pieces will be filled by free agents or by trade, they will need to be addressed eventaully. But before we consider which free agents not currently on the team we should pursue, the Pacers do have to consider bringing back some of the free agents currently on the team. Most of us are sure that Solomon and TJ will be long gone, the dilema lies within Foster, Dunleavy and McRoberts. All of these players are good players that are very very good role players. through the peaks and valleys of the 2010-2011 season, all three have contributed their fair share to the Pacer's win coloumn. It will be hard to let all three of them walk away since they all contribute a very unique set of skills that are very very difficult to replace.
Lets begin with Dunleavy. Many Pacer fans on IC and myself included felt in the beginning of the season that Mike Dunleavy would be packing his bags along with TJ and Solo, but after seeing how the Pacers' offense and general play became so completely inept during Dunleavy's thumb injury, we all begin to realize how valuable Mike is to the current team, albeit overpaid for his contribution. Dunleavy is without a doubt the best player on the court in terms of moving without the ball, complement that with his perimeter capabilities really space the floor for all of his team mates to either attack the rim or simply confuses the defense on the constant motion of moving parts. Paul George has hit the rookie wall since going into the starting lineup, he will improve next year, but he will still be very very green. Dunleavy can be a very good mentor for George. Much has been noted about Dunleavy's porous defense; much of it is accurate, as Mike does not have the lateral quickness to cover the elite shooting gaurds in the league. However, with that said, Mike is not as horrible as his reputation proceeds him, he is a mediocre man on man defender and an above average team defender, but everyone knows, Dunleavy's game will be evaluated by how well he's contributing to the offense side of the game. Looking through the list of free agent SGs available in the summer, Dunleavy's overall game and IQ will fit in better with the Pacers than most of those other free agents. I think 2 yrs with a team option for 4-5 mil each is a fair contract for Duns.
Josh McRoberts has overachieved all of our expectation since he arrived here 3 years ago as a complete project. Those days are long gone, Josh McRoberts has legitimate NBA talent. How many other 6'10 PF can lead a fast break or go coast to coast like Mcroberts? NOT very many. Josh does not put up the numbers that Hansbrough puts up largely because he does not look to shoot the ball. I think if Josh can put on some muscles over the summer and work on his midrange, he can be a scary player!!! He is also 2 years young than Hansbrough with athletic abilities that are very rare even in the NBA. 3 years 3-6 mil each.
Jeff Foster has been a soldier for the Pacers for a long, long time. Jeff has been there in times good and in times bad. Everyone loves Jeff for his hustle and his dirty work down in the post. The man is a rebounding machine even at the tender age of 33. I think he is per minute wise the best offensive rebounder since the time he came to the league. The decision with Jeff will come down to his age and the amount of money he's looking for. With Jeff, its all about being healthy. If it was up to me I bring him back for 2 more years on 3 mil a year.