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News » Indiana Pacers Getting Inside 2008-07-17

Indiana Pacers Getting Inside 2008-07-17

Indiana Pacers Getting Inside 2008-07-17
President Larry Bird wanted to acquire players that would not only help the Pacers get back to the playoffs, but also be model citizens in the community.

It looks like Bird is getting his wish.

The two trades in which the Pacers acquired seven players became official July 9.

The Pacers sent Jermaine O'Neal, Ike Diogu and the draft rights to Jerryd Bayless and Nathan Jawai away while bringing in T.J. Ford, Jarrett Jack, Maceo Baston, Rasho Nesterovic, Josh McRoberts, Brandon Rush and Roy Hibbert.

"We're bringing in players that we feel fit in not only with the team, but with the community," Bird said. "The best thing about it, they can play. We feel we have a nucleus of players that can help us continue to get better and hopefully in the near future get back to where we want to be."

The Pacers will also have some financial flexibility after unloading O'Neal's contract, which is going to pay him $44 million over the next two seasons. Nesterovic's $8.4 million contract expires at the end of the season.

"We're going to get an awful lot of money (in salary cap space) and be able to be a major player in free agency down the road," Bird said. "At least we now have different options. If you're up against the (luxury) tax and can't go over the tax, you're stuck. Now we can take a hard look at our team."

The Pacers hope the new faces, along with the return of leading scorers Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy, will help them end their two-year drought from the playoffs.

"Our team will have a completely different look next year," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "Overall, the seven new players we have give us a completely different look than we had last year and we have maintained the guys that got the majority of playing time at the end of last season."

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: July 17, 2008


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