Whispers that free agent Shawn Marion had recently made a trip to Indy quickly transformed into loud rumblings Monday evening when ESPN's Marc Stein reported that the player fondly known as the Matrix had indeed agreed to have a sit-down with the Pacers President of Basketball Operations:
ESPN sources say Shawn Marion had a face-to-face meeting earlier Monday with Pacers president Larry Bird— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 12, 2014
Unsurprisingly given the team's recent circumstances, Stein also noted that the Pacers were not widely considered to be the former NBA Champion's top choice headed into Monday's meeting:
Heading into Monday, Cavs were still regarded as frontrunners to land Marion, but invite from Larry Legend led to him making trip to Indy— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 12, 2014
While there is no way to know for certain if Marion liked what he heard from the front office, remember that Bird had a lot of success with another recent face-to-face meeting:
It was an unbelievable experience to sit down with one of the greatest players to ever play this game I love .. The legend himself #Blessed— C.J. Miles (@masfresco) July 2, 2014
This time around, it may take a little more than just a business dinner with a former legend to lure Marion, age 36, away from the possibility of being able to join forces with LeBron James in Cleveland as well as the very real opportunity to chase another title. Although, with the Cavaliers only capable of offering the league minimum, the Pacers - assuming they utilize at least part of the disabled player exception - would be able to offer Marion a more lucrative, one-year contract (Note: Without making a cost-cutting move, such an offer would make the Pacers tax-payers).
Notably, while there may be no real correlation between the day's two prominent news items, some, to say the least, have found it very interesting that the same day Marion arrived in Indianapolis the Pacers announced that Larry Bird and Coach Frank Vogel would be holding a press conference, Tuesday at 11am ET.
While the real impetus behind the press conference remains to be seen, it, for now, seems far more realistic that the team's meeting with the media was likely called to discuss Paul George's health status publicly for the first time than to hurriedly announce the signing of a new Pacer. Then again, with the way things have gone this off-season for fans of the Indiana Pacers, nothing should come as much of a surprise.