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Minimal Moves by Pacers Don't Impress

Marc Stein ranked the Eastern Conference based on their offseason moves. Naturally the Pacers are bottom dwellers on this list, coming in 14th, just ahead of Miami. No surprise since there were no trades or major additions through free agency or the draft. Here is Stein's key analysis of the Pacers.

Proud as we were when Indy came to ESPN.com to hire their new coach, we are obliged to point out that Jim O'Brien has walked into a mess. The roster, as currently constituted, will force O'Brien to resurrect the careers of Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy and Jamaal Tinsley if these Pacers hope to do anything this season.

I wouldn't advocate just giving O'Neal away, because he's a proven 20-10 guy and getting better defensively as he gets older. He's become one of the league's foremost interior defensive forces.

But Indy's bloated payroll and resulting lack of flexibility offers little hope for change, with nearly $45 million committed in 2007-08 just to O'Neal and the aforementioned trio (Dunleavy, Murphy and Tinsley) that isn't attracting any trade interest.

So whether it's dealing O'Neal away for the closest thing he can get to an Odom-Bynum type of combo or moving their star for a package of youngsters, draft picks and cap-friendly contracts as Philadelphia (Allen Iverson) and Minnesota (Kevin Garnett) did, what other options does Larry Bird have?
Just add this to the pile of minimal expectations for anything good happening to the Pacers this year.