Last week Larry Bird said the Pacers spoke with Shawn Marion but acknowledge the veteran forward indicated his preference to play for a championship on a contending team.
Sadly, Bird wasn't describing what the Pacers had to offer Marion and after a week to mull it over, it appears Marion is set to join LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
What the Pacers did have to offer is money, or at least more money than the Cavs' could offer. But to really make it work, the Pacers would've needed to make a deal that freed up enough cap space to use the full disabled player exception, as Stein explains.
The Pacers confirmed this week that they've already been granted a $5.3 million disabled player exception by the league in the wake of George's season-ending injury suffered on Team USA duty, so Indiana did have the means to outbid Cleveland. But the Pacers would stray into luxury tax territory if they spend more than $1.7 million of that exception, with Bird vowing at his news conference that Indiana -- maintaining a longstanding team policy -- remains unwilling to be a tax team.
Marion may have been waiting for the Pacers to try to make a move or at least give him an indication that they wouldn't be able to free the extra money before committing to the Cavs for the $1.4 milllion veteran minimum. Without the extra $4 million for the season, the decision for Marion was about playing for a championship or just playing a lot.