Originally posted on The Sports Rocker  |  Last updated 7/28/13
The Indiana Pacers traded three players for Phoenix Suns guard Luis Scola yesterday in a trade that will probably pay immediate dividends for the Pacers. The Pacers have been competitive in the Eastern Conference playoffs in the last two years, and took the eventual champion Miami Heat to a seventh game in the conference finals last season.Scola will add veteran leadership, and front court depth to a team that lacked an inside presence once Roy Hibbert was on the bench. Larry Bird, the Pacers President of Basketball Operations deserves much of the praise for the Pacers recent success on the court.The Front Office ExecutiveLegendBird took the front office job with the Pacers in 2003, and has been in charge of roster moves and draft decisions since then, except when he stepped away for the 2012-13 season, even though he practically built that team.The Pacers haven't gone overboard in free agent acquisition, choosing instead to draft wisely and make smart trades. Let's look at the Pacers starting five from their most recent playoff run.Roy Hibbert - Drafted out of Georgetown by Toronto and immediately traded to the Pacers. The Pacers gave up Jermaine O'Neal and a few other appetizers.Lance Stephenson - Drafted in 2nd round by Pacers in 2010.George Hill - Traded for during the 2011 NBA draft for Pacers pick Kawhi Leonard.David West - Signed as a free agent in December 2011 to a two year deal. This July, he signed a new deal with the Pacers.Paul George - Drafted by the Pacers in first round of the 2010 draft.West is the only one of the five that was signed as a free agent, and I surely wouldn't have called that a splashy signing considering he was coming off an ACL injury to his left knee.These are all solid players in their own right, and none of them come with the drama you might get if you had Lebron, Carmello, or Derrick Rose on your team. But playing in a small market like Indianapolis, there is only so much you can do to acquire talent. Bird talked about this regarding the Oklahoma City Thunder to OKNews.com:Bird then said something interesting. He said the Pacers owners essentially have done the same thing the Thunder’s owners have done. That’s sign off on the front office assembling a roster that is as competitive as possible but one that doesn’t push the team past the tax threshold. Indiana’s payroll also is approaching $70 million. The projected tax threshold for the 2013-14 season is $71.6 million. “Our owners went out and have done everything they could this year so we could be up close to the tax,” Bird said. “We just can’t fight the tax. It’s always going to be a disadvantage for us. I feel bad for Oklahoma. They had a great team and they had to make a trade. They were right there. But we’re going to have to do the same in the future. We’re always fighting an uphill battle with revenues. But that’s part of who we are. And we do the best we can with what we have.”Sure, Pacers fans want a championship, no doubt. But if the Pacers get there, it's going to be the hard way: with a lot of hard work and a lunch-pale attitude. Just like Larry Bird.
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