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Vecsey Defends Tinsley, Sells Trade Options

Peter Vecsey was on 1070 The Fan today and brought traffic to a stop as stunned motorists listened to him stick up for Jamaal Tinsley while offering a pretty solid sales job for any team considering a deal for the Tin Man.

We can debate the veracity of Vecsey's comments which he matter-of-factly passes off as, well, facts. But there's too much meat on these bones to avoid chewing on, so put on a bib and enjoy. Besides, this is about as close as anyone is going to get to Tinsley commenting on his situation with the Pacers.

Vecsey began by discussing the two or three teams he's reported are interested in dealing for Tinsley. Of course, they all have issues.

First, according to PV, the Denver Nuggets offered Chucky Atkins and Stephen Hunter for Tinsley and the deal was close but then the Heat became involved. One faction in the Denver front office wants Tinsley and the other doesn't which boils down to a war between Mark Warkentin and Rex Chapman. Chapman doesn't want Tinsley and it's tough to get something done when two guys with veto power don't agree. 

The Miami Heat have said they would never take a player like JT if he were cut, but if they can exchange him someone worthless on their roster then they would. Ahh, feel the love. PV doesn't believe the Pacers think they can get Udonis Haslem as has been reported.

The third team Vecsey mentioned was the Golden State Warriors, but first the conversation turned to just how things went so bad last year between Tinsley and Jim O'Brien. Vecsey revealed JT's version of the meeting room dust up between JT and JOB that lead to Tinsley being suspended for a game and him also shutting down any effort for the rest of the year. Here's how the conversation went with Bob Kravitz. Any comments in parentheses are mine.

BK: Have the Pacers, in your mind, mishandled this deal, I mean, I know you've always been a big Jamaal Tinsley fan. Do you feel like he's been mishandled or mistreated?

PV: Yeah, I do. I am a big fan of his as a person and as a player. I know people are listening in and saying how could that be, but I happen to know Jamaal better than most people and he is a great guy. Does he stay out too late at night and do bad things happen to him late at night? Yeah, he does. But if you're going to compare him to a lot of other people in this league that have screwed up way more than he has. I don't recall Jamaal going into the stands during that riot in Detroit.

BK: He just grabbed a dust pan.

PV: On the way, it wasn't a dust pan, it was a broom or something on the way out.

BK: Whatever it was (actually it was a dust pan)

PK: When they were throwing stuff at him. You know, I've stuck up for him in some of the things that have happened to him, when he was shot at. Was that his fault that he was out that late? You know, a lot of guys stay out that late and you know...I was always taught bad things happen to you when you do stay out that late, so it wouldn't have happened to me, but bad things happen to me coming up to Saratoga Springs on the Throughway, you know in daylight or in a toy store in Seattle, buying toys on a Sunday afternoon. So I don't know, you know everybody's got things that happen to them. Jamaal's a hell of a player. He was, if you want to talk about that incident that got him in trouble with O'Brien, we could do that (YES, PLEASE!!!). He was averaging what, 7.3 assists, he was like 5th in the league when this thing happened.

BK: Mmhmm.

PV: He (Jamaal) was the team's leader and swearing by O'Brien, he trusted him. And leaders are supposed to be able to yell at their teammates when things go wrong and that's what happened, he was yelling at Danny Granger. O'Brien got upset when he felt he yelled at him too much, he (JOB) told him (Tins) to stop yelling at him (Granger) and winds up suspending him for a game for trying to be a leader. And so that was it. That was the break. When you cross a guy like Jamaal Tinsley as Jim O'Brien did, you're not getting him back. So, there is no place for him there, there's no question. So, yeah, I think the whole thing was mishandled.

That's it? One major argument and this supposed leader turns tail and quits on the team while continuing to cash all his hearty paychecks. The thing was certainly mishandled but I'd submit Tinsley bobbled the situation as much as the Pacer coaches and front office.

Plus, just how do you avoid mishandling Tinsley? When Rick Carlisle was coaching, he ran a strict half-court offense but let about everything else off the court slide. Tinsley didn't like that situation, so now JOB comes in demanding excellence and effort and that won't work either. The common denominator with the problems is 11.

The talk turned back to Tinsley's current situation and the Pacers efforts to move him.

BK: Will teams be willing to make a trade for him or will they just sort of sit tight, wait to see how things shake out and hope that maybe there's a buyout somewhere along the way? Which the Pacers say they're not going to do but at some point it just makes sense.

PV: Well, again, you've got two or three teams that are interested. You've got the Nuggets, you've got the Heat. The Warriors were absolutely interested from I'm told. Chris Mullin was interested and Don Nelson said, no. But Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington certainly wanted Jamaal there and the team could certainly use him with Monta Ellis being out for several months and no more Baron Davis. So, if you're going to start the season, I mean that West is so tough your season's over before it begins unless you solidify that point guard situation.

BK: That's true.

PV: So there's still a chance that might happen. Will he (Tins) be dropped or released and paid off? I believe Bird, I don't believe they're going to do it. Donnie Walsh never did it. They've got the same owners, Simon brother still own the team. It's obviously coming from above and management is adhering to that and that's their philosophy. 

The Golden State situation doesn't sound right since reports seem to indicate the Mully may not be yielding much power in his last year under contract. Plus, Harrington would be likely trade chip, so I don't know how much he'd want to push for Tins.

Vecsey went through the Pacers recent history of dealing with Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson to strengthen his thoughts that the Pacers won't buyout Tinsley. He then moved his sights back to the Nuggets as a preferred destination for Mal Mal.

PV: I wish I could talk to Rex (Chapman) and endorse Jamaal, because I think he and Iverson would play well together because Iverson would allow Jamaal to be the ball handler knowing he'd get it back. But he (Iverson) can't dominate him as he can, you know, Smush Parker or somebody else, or Chucky Adkins whoever's going to play that point guard position for that team. He's going to dominate them and he would not be able to do that with Jamaal. They would be very cohesive and Jamaal can play very good defense and, you know, play the tougher of the guards. So I think the Nuggets are making a mistake if they don't make that deal.

I think this is where traffic came to a screeching halt around town as anyone listening slammed on the brakes and asked themselves, "Did he just say the Jamaal Tinsley can play very good defense?" The cars were stuck until the drivers composed themselves after bursting out in laughter.

I do diverge a bit from public opinion on this one though. Yes, I've witnessed plenty of poor defensive efforts from Tinsley and many of those were last year. But when he's into it, healthy and putting forth effort, Jamaal's defense within a team system is pretty good. He's incredible at floating around and picking up steals. I know, it's been awhile, but the thought isn't as big a joke as it appears at first blush.

As you may know, I'm a huge fan on Tinsley's game, so I do hope he is dealt and able to resume playing without all the drama (no, ThirtyOne, I don't want to give him another chance in Indy). Hopefully, Nugget fans from far and wide will find this Vecsey interview and begin campaigning Rex Chapman to relent and give Tins a chance. That's all we are asking.

Audio link: Peter Vecsey on 1070 The Fan