The Pacers, as Larry Bird has assembled them, are absolutely on a rampage in these playoffs. I don't know whether or not it's a result of the lockout shortened season, but while teams who center themselves around one or two superstars are falling out of contention like flies, teams like the Spurs, Thunder, and Pacers just keep getting stronger as they demonstrate the upside of team basketball.
As much as I love what the Pacers are doing, there is a downside to their doing so well right now-- Roy Hibbert and George Hill will both be free agents this summer. The further we go in the playoffs (and I hope it's a championship), the more valuable these players look to other teams.
The way folks around here have talked this past year, it's been suggested that we keep our core, and then add a big name player through free agency. Some suggest Eric Gordon (while others throw up in their mouths at the idea), some suggest Deron Williams, some say Steve Nash. This was before the playoffs. The question now becomes, do we really need them? With another year to develop, and a full offseason to work together, the current Pacers team should only get better next year. My fear is that another GM would come and try to "put his stamp" on the organization instead of keeping our current core together. He might go after one of these big names, at the expense of letting George Hill or Roy Hibbert go, or at the expense of not extending David West. The reality is, these guys are going to be much more expensive to re-sign now that the Pacers are doing so well. Is Roy looking at something close to a max contract now? Something tells me there will be a team out there who is willing to offer it, and the Pacers can't afford to let him go. Is George Hill now a 10/m per year guy? Am I completely talking out of my ass?
Just some thoughts. I'm loving the ride right now, and I want to see what this group of players can do together for years to come. My hope is that Larry sticks around for another year and locks these guys up, making the next GM's job really easy for the foreseeable future.