Larry Bird kind of highjacked his own media session on Tuesday when he brought up the possibility of Paul George returning to the court toward the end of this season. Those words were like a blinking strobe light with loud techno beat thumping, drawing attention away from the other topics Bird discussed.
As usual, Bird didn't say anything definitive other than that he was disappointed with the overall play of the Pacers. Everything else was a vague collection of comments which may or may not be true tomorrow or the next day.
Bird talked about exploring trade options but also mentioned a desire to give the core group of Roy Hibbert, David West, George Hill and Paul George one more crack at a healthy season together.
With no indication whether Hibbert and/or West will opt out after this season, it seems logical Bird would quickly scrap the "one more time" idea for a good deal before the trade deadline. It only makes sense.
When asked about where the team needs to improve, upgrading the two-guard position rose to the top of the list. No word on Rodney Stuckey's reaction but it appears the one-year filler may be just that. After adding more mature, veteran players in Stuckey, C.J. Miles and even Damjan Rudez, Bird wants to add a few younger players to develop into reserve role players. Of course, by young, Bird also means cheap which keep the Pacers under the cap until it expands.
Despite all of the injuries and tough losses this season, Bird publicly remains in win-now mode as his team is in the remarkable position to remain in the playoff race in the East while also being in spot for a top five draft pick.
This all makes February interesting for the Pacers as any last gasp at making a run for a playoff spot needs to happen now, while the trade deadline on Feb. 19 may involve deals that determine the team's direction for the rest of the season.
So once again, Larry Bird slipped through a media session without saying anything that doesn't require speculation, and that speculation requires you to believe everything he said. As usual, the actions will always say more than words.
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