A free agency season that has suddenly caused a lot of headaches for just about every team in the league is beginning to see a trickle down effect to the Indiana Pacers. Not only were the Pacers going to be bit players in the free agency market anyway, but when everyone strikes out thanks to the player collusion of the Bro Alliance, suddenly, the pickings become slimmer.
Raymond Felton, one of the few possibilities to solve the Pacers glaring point guard issue was signed by the scrambling Knicks for a sum much higher than the Pacers could (or should) pay for Felton’s services. Jordan Farmar, another popular target, is on his way to signing with the Nets (thanks, Jalen and Ric Bucher). Larry Bird and David Morway plan to see how it all shakes out with players to help solve their PG issue, but they’re also on their way to giving them no options for the point guard position.
Though the free agent season is technically still young, with all the names committing, it feels like it’s gone for long enough that the Pacers should be concerned about falling behind in the arms race. But the Pacers remain hostages of their contract situation, and though the light is at the end of the tunnel, it’s always darkest just before the dawn. It doesn’t really matter what potent quotable you use to describe the Pacers situation, the fact is, the long term usage of these expiring deals remains more important than the short term importance of landing a stopgap point guard through free agency or trades.
Of course, holding onto the expiring deals to spend that money next summer is a bad idea, but likewise, so is trading these expiring deals for low return right now. It’s difficult to be okay with the patience and lack of movement, but I don’t see a lot of benefit in being hasty and destroying a long term fix. It’s not like management is truly okay with leading the year with T.J. Ford, but maybe a contract year Ford, looking to get out of Indiana this season, could jumpstart his trade value in time for the deadline.
Well, maybe it’s a bit delusional, but can you imagine strapping yourself with Felton for $8 million a year? What about tying yourself to Farmar for three years? The Pacers may be losing the arms race from a results standpoint, but they’re also not being foolish with assets they don’t have and though frustrating, it’s currently advisable from a long term perspective.
Obviously, there is still plenty of time for Bird and Morway to get offseason results for the upcoming season, but we should leave the pitchforks and torches at home if we fail to see the offseason results. This season will not be judged solely with on the floor results anyway. The best results the team can hope for this season regardless of who they acquire in free agency is a first round series vs. the Magic or the Unholy Trinity.
I wouldn’t mind seeing the Pacers in the playoffs, but I also don’t think a four game series against the best the East has to offer will be worth ill advised contracts to average players. It’s a front office season, and that doesn’t end until February. A lot of fans were pleased with the draft, and even though this team right now is not better than last year’s team, the front office seems focused on the long term, and if the long term nets the team some return for our expiring contracts, draft picks, and gets our youth some valuable experience, another 50-loss season and a lottery pick wouldn’t be the worst thing.
But if I have to hear Bird tell me "nothing good came along" after the deadline, I’ll go ahead and start planning that uprising.