INDIANAPOLIS — The trade talk around the Indiana Pacers, as it turned out, was just that, with the NBA’s trading deadline passing without a move from the struggling franchise.
While much of the pre-deadline speculation involving efficient-scoring forward Troy Murphy and a team such as Cleveland or Milwaukee, Pacers front-office types spent the last few minutes discussing a deal involving shooting guard Brandon Rush and point guard T.J. Ford to the Charlotte Bobcats for point guard D.J. Augustin, swingman Gerald Henderson and center Nazr Mohammed.
The Bobcats called off the team about 10 minutes before Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline, Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star reports.
“Sorry but trade rumors was just trade talk . . . Still a PACER!!!!” Wells reported Ford saying on his Twitter page.
Wells reported that Pacers President Larry Bird declined to discuss specifics about trade talks for either Ford or Murphy, saying the Pacers had conversations with about “20 different teams.”
“We looked at what we were going to do in the future,” Bird told Wells, “and if it didn’t make sense, we weren’t going to do it.”
Added Wells, “The Pacers are pointing toward the summer of 2011, when they will have more than $40 million to spend on free agents, and weren’t willing to make a deal to jeopardize that. Bird and general manager David Morway made no secret they wanted draft picks, expiring contracts or young players. Cleveland was interested in Murphy but traded for Washington’s Antawn Jamison. The Pacers had preliminary talks with Sacramento about Murphy. Milwaukee also was an option. The Pacers wanted multiple expiring contracts, but the Bucks wanted the Pacers to take guard Charlie Bell, who has two more years on his contract after this season.”
Wells said Pacers coach Jim O’Brien wasn’t surprised with the lack of a deadline deal.
IBR Analysis: This news understandably wasn’t thrilling to Pacers fans, not in the middle of a disappointing season. But the truth is whatever deal the Pacers made was’t going to do much to change the current season, anyway. Better to do what’s wise in the long run than go for an easy fix in the short run that would have left them unable to work the deals they want this offseason. . . .
Hansbrough struggles continue: When he has played, Pacers rookie F Tyler Hansbrough has been producitve — and very, very popular.
The playing part has been the issue.
Hansbrough, the Pacers’ first-round selection in the 2009 NBA Draft, was a tough durable player at North Carolina, and a receit Associated Press story pointed out that ironically, it has been durability that has been his major issue in his rookie season.
He missed training camp, the preseason and the first four regular-season games with a right shin injury. He returned and quickly became a fan favorite with his relentless play before his health became an issue again. He hasn’t played since Jan. 16 because of an inner ear infection that causes dizziness and makes him sensitive to light.
“It’s just giving me headaches and things like that,” Hansbrough told The AP. “Whenever I get healthy, I’ll play. I’ve been unfortunate to have some injuries. I’m just trying to fight through this and get healthy and go from there.”
Hansbrough, who has played in 29 games, has averaged 8.5 points and 4.8 rebounds.
“I was feeling like I was coming along as a player, fitting into my role on this team,” he said. “This is something new to me. I’ve never been injured like this.”
Said Bird, “I think over time, he’ll prove he’s deserving of where he’s at.”
IBR analysis: Without question, Hansbrough’s absence exemplifies a long, strange Pacers season. Watching him early, he provided the team clear energy and production, and his 8.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game seemed like they were just the beginning. He may not be All-Star bound, but given some time in the NBA, it was hard to imagine Hansbrough not being able to be a productive part of a franchise provided there were other productive parts. His absence is mostly discouraging because in what seems likely to be a non-playoff season, he’s one of the young players — maybe the young player — the team would like to see develop and improve for the future. . . .
Good stuff from Pacers.com writer Conrad Brunner in an interview with the Bobcats’ website Thursday.
Among the highlights were his thoughts on the most pleasant surprise of the season: “A.J. Price has been a revelation. Not only a second-round pick, but a low second-round pick (No. 52 overall), Price has played his way into the team’s future plans, showing superior floor generalship, sophisticated execution of the pick-and-roll and a reliable 3-point shot. Whether he’s the long-term answer at the point remains to be seen but looks to be no worse than a very solid backup.