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Pacers Shift Direction With Scouting Department Changes

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According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Indiana Pacers didn't renew the contracts of their veteran scouts, including former scouting director, Joe Ash who has been the director of international scouting since Ryan Carr took over the scouting department (thanks for the FanShot Vernon Howell).

Woj reports, Ash along with Brian Winters and Leonard Perry weren't brought back as part of a "lockout-related cost-cutting move" by the Pacers. But it sure seems like there is more to the story when you ponder all of the possible reasons for the change in the scouting department which still includes Carr and scouts Carl Nicks and Kevin Mackey along with Kevin Pritchard as the director of player personnel.

Before Pritchard's hiring, the Pacers expected to keep their scouting department intact, which would mean renewing their contracts in July. At first blush, thinking this was merely a cost-cutting measure, I had two thoughts. First, was that this is likely temporary until the lockout is over. Also, I thought this doesn't bode well for anyone (ME) holding out hope that there will be NBA games before Christmas. If the Pacers suddenly decide in August that they're going to start trimming staff, they must not think they'll need said staff for quite awhile.

But no, I'm not giving up hope on a milder than expected lockout and the comments from Ash suggest he's not expecting to return to the Pacers which means there must be mor to the story.

"I had a great run there with Larry Bird, and appreciated the opportunity to work with Larry and the Pacers," Ash told Yahoo! Sports when reached at his Naples, Fla., home on Monday. "I would've liked to continue, but I understand the nature of the business. Hopefully something else will turn up once [the lockout] gets sorted out."

This news appears to be more of a shift in direction than a mere cost-cutting manuever -- although, it could serve both purposes at once. With Pritchard on board along with Carr, you have two quant-friendly leaders in the scouting department. Prichard may have an eye on other scouts he's familiar with who are adept at applying advanced statistical analysis.

Ash is an "old school" scout who was likely making good money as a long-time scout with the Pacers. Plus, the Pacers haven't had much success trying to tap into the international player market. Don't worry, though, we will certainly give Ash his propers should Stanko Barac arrive in Indy to make a positive impact in the future.

Still, I can't help but wonder how much of an impact Pritchard had on this move. He's been reported to be a candidate for the Toronto GM job. Is he using a little leverage to bring in a scout or two?

According to this staff listing published on July 21st, which include Frank Vogel and all of his assistants, the full scouting staff, with Ash, Winters and Perry, was still included. Seems like they would've been re-upped by late July so we either have a plausible clerical error or an equally plausible change in the directrion of the scouting staff.

Well, change may be a little strong, more like a shift in direction with the leaders taking on a bigger role and more control.