I think we can all agree that the Pacers need to move Jamaal Tinsley and the sooner the better. Unfortunately, his stock has dipped like home values in Carmel and unlike real world transactions, the Pacers can't just trade Tins for nothing. The NBA CBA forces them to take back equal value, so finding the right trading partner appears nearly impossible at this point.
I'm a huge fan of Tinsley's game when he's motivated and healthy. A fresh start on a PG-needy team would certainly provide the motivation for Jamaal to move on with his career and leave behind all the drama and trauma he's been through in Indy. Plus, I love ball, so I want to see more sweetness like this gem from last year, regardless of the jersey color.
Those type of plays were common place during Mal Mal's injury-shortened 2007-08 season. I can't tell you how many times I've watched Tins handle the ball in traffic, appear stymied and then end up with a positive play which required replay to determine the sleight of hand (or ball) used to complete the play. Here's a few more, finishes to illustrate my point.
I'm convinced there's plenty more of this game left in Tins and we need to find a nice place for him to land. Now, Tins has plenty of other positives to his game. He's strong, stout PG who can get in the lane and finish. Early in the year (when he was healthy and motivated) Tins routinely took smaller guards down on the block and fed 'em a steady diet of one handers.
He's not fleet of foot nor a great one-on-one defender, but he does play well in a team defensive system and has great hands and anticipation which seems to always produce two or three steals when he's playing regular mintues.
What does a team need to help make Jamaal successful?
They need a coach who is willing to give Tins the ball and freedom to make plays. Rick Carlisle shackled Tinsley with his half-court sets and eventually sucked the life out of his game. Jim O'Brien pumped life back into 11's game by changing the pace and letting him push the ball whenever possible. JOB is very demanding, though, and is quick to point out errors in his PG's ways.
So, Tinsley needs a pace-friendly coach who won't be yelling about every missed opportunity or defenisive breakdown. Paging Coach D'Antoni, Coach Mike D'Antoni.
Off the court, Jamaal needs a big city that will let him breathe at night. A place where his Bentley won't be a rare sighting nor draw attention wherever it stops. It would also help if the local NBA point guard ranked way down the list of celebrities sightings on any night. Tinsley has found trouble being a big fish in a small pond, so a place where the locals don't try to measure their manhood by messing with a pro baller would be best. New York, L.A., Miami, Chicago. would be ideal. Phoenix, Dallas, Philly, D.C., Oakland and Cleveland would work as well with the right roster situation.
As for the ideal scenarios, forget Chicago. With Derrick Rose in the fold the Bulls are trying to unload PGs not add any. I could see the Nets working out with Tinsley playing behind Devin Harris. The minutes would have to be right for this to work, so it's not an ideal situation. The Pacers would happily take Stromile Swift. Tins would certainly be an upgrade over Keyon Dooling, but if the Nets had such inclincations they would've already looked to Tins instead of Dooling, so forget it.
Either L.A. team would be a great situation for Tins although they may not agree with that point. The Lakers are too close to take any chances and since Kobe runs the team, they don't really need a PG to direct traffic in the triangle.
The Clippers would be a much better fit. Lower profile team, plenty to prove, and between he and Baron Davis the Clips should get 82 games of solid PG work, plus they could play at the same time occasionally. The Clips could create matchup hell with playing two Cs and two PGs at the same time. Sounds like fun to me. The dynamic with Boom would be interesting but why not? Of course, the Clips just traded Brevin Knight for PG Jason Hart, so they're likely out of the market, as well.
Moving right along, let's look at the Knicks. Mike D'Antoni and the Knicks current PG situation make this an ideal situation for Tinsley. You talk about motivation. Back home at the Garden running a D'Antoni offense with low (initially) expectations. Perfect. The Knicks remain a mess, but they have plenty of finishers who would find love and happiness playing with Jamaal. Donnie Walsh is firm believer in redemption, but he's already given Tins a handful of second chances. He may not have any left. The expiring contract of Malik Rose would be a handsome trade, although I'm sure Donnie would try to pull at the local heartstrings by offering Jared Jeffries. I'd rather keep Tins for a later deal.
Okay, that leaves us with Miami and a Heat team that really needs Jamaal Tinsley but they just don't want to admit it. Mario Chalmers is the future at PG but the Heat have enough talent to start winning again, now. Tins could average 12 assists a night with that stable of finishers and still allow plenty of minutes for Chalmers to let his big league game develop. We know the Pacers and Heat have discussed Tinsley for Udonis Haslem, a deal that would certainly bolster Larry Bird's GM status around town. Haslem is exactly what the Pacers need right now and to get him for Tinsley would be a genius stroke. I wouldn't be opposed to Mark Blount coming back for Tins. Certainly not great, but Blount has played for JOB before and the move ends the Tins saga, once and for all.
Whoa, this post became a little wordy. My intention was to remind everyone that Jamaal Tinsley can play PG in the NBA and play it well in the right situation. No he's not perfect, if he was he'd be making $15 mil/yr. But at roughly $7mil/yr the guy has plenty of game to offer a team with PG needs. If you have any other good options for dealing Tinsley, I'd love to hear 'em.