The Indiana Pacers trade……
This a headline I’m expecting to see within the next couple months, and possibly as soon Thursday night when the 2014 NBA Draft takes place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.
The Pacers finished the NBA regular season as the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference, with a 56-26 record while earning another trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. Unfortunately for the Pacers, the Miami Heat were once again standing in the way of a trip to the NBA Finals, knocking off the Pacers in six games.
So what now? After three straight years of being knocked out of the NBA Playoffs by the rival Miami Heat, Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird has some tough decisions to make. To trade, or not to trade?
If history serves as a guide it’s a safe bet to assume Larry Legend makes a trade to shake up the Pacers squad this offseason. As any Pacers fan should know, Bird would always make a trade if it would make the team better, and he has done just that.
In 2008, the Pacers agreed to trade Jermaine O’Neal to the Raptors for TJ Ford, Rasho Nesterovic and the 17th pick in the 2008 NBA draft, which turned out to be Roy Hibbert. In this same 2008 draft, the Pacers selected Jerryd Bayless at pick 11th, only to have him swap hats with the 13th pick Brandon Rush in a trade that also landed the Pacers Jarrett Jack and Josh McRoberts.
In 2010, Bird made another trade. This time bringing in point guard of the future Darren Collison, in exchange for Troy Murphy, as a part of a four team deal. Unfortunately the future was short, because a year later the Pacers traded for another point guard, “Hometown Hero” George Hill in exchange for the 2011 15th overall pick Kawhi Leonard (hindsight…I know). Bird was actually very close to pulling off another trade in 2011, before a deal fell apart last minute, that would have sent Josh McRoberts to the Grizzlies for OJ Mayo.
Bird stepped down in 2012, but returned as Pacers President of Basketball Operations a year later. Bird didn’t skip a beat as he traded for veteran Luis Scola entering the season. The trade sent Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee and the Pacers 2014 1st round pick to the Phoenix Suns. Bird struck again at the NBA trade deadline by shipping their longest tenured Pacer, Danny Granger, to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen.
Many fans have blamed the Granger trade for the Pacers second half troubles to end the season, but that won’t make a difference to Larry Bird. Many fans also feel that Bird will just stand pat, and do nothing worthwhile to address some glaring team needs. To me those fans haven’t paid attention…those fans haven’t looked at recent history. If there’s a trade out there that will make the Indiana Pacers better, Larry Bird will pull the trigger, and it will be a trade out of nowhere.