Indiana Pacers and Lance Stephenson Need to Part Ways by kentsterling
August 16, 2010, 10:12 am
Filed under: Indiana Pacers, Kent Sterling, NBA | Tags: ,

by Kent Sterling

Second-round draft pick and recipient of an unnecessary guaranteed contract Lance Stephenson was arrested Sunday morning at five a.m. and charged with felony assault, one count of misdemeanor assault, two counts of menacing, and one count of harassment.  He reportedly shoved the mother of his child down a flight of ten stairs.

The felony, according to the New York Post, carries a minimum sentence of seven years if Stephenson is convicted.

The victim was taken to the hospital with head and neck injuries described as “not serious”.

If Stephenson is allowed to play a single minute for the Pacers, unless this entire episode is a total sham, every single season ticket holder should send cancellation notices to the team, along with their 2010-2011 season tickets.  Opening night should be used for a candlelight vigil in front of Conseco Fieldhouse in recognition of domestic violence victims.  Not a single person should walk through the gate to watch the game.

The Pacers need to get the facts, and then act on them immediately.  The alleged assault is not their fault.  Larry Bird took a chance with the 40th pick in the NBA Draft on a kid with a checkered past and incredible talent.  That’s what the second round is for.

What the Pacers are responsible for is their reaction to this episode.  If the charges have merit, Larry Bird needs to act the minute he knows it by severing all ties with Stephenson.  If the charges are baseless, he and Stephenson need to get to work immediately on repairing his image and telling the story of what really happened.

So soon after the Pacers seem to get some positive PR momentum, it all goes straight in the shitter because of what happened at 5:05 a.m. Sunday morning in a Brooklyn stairwell.  What a shame.  Darren Collison, Roy Hibbert, Brandon Rush, Tyler Hansbrough, and Danny Granger represent all the things that Pacers fans want in a team, and are capable of winning a lot of games for many years.

This isn’t Stephenson’s first brush with the law.  He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in connection with a groping incident involving a 17-year-old girl.

Bird and the Pacers released a statement saying, “We are currently in the process of gathering information and will have further comments as we learn more facts.”

That process needs to be complete but speedy, and the response immediate.  There can be no doubt that the Indiana Pacers will not condone domestic violence through their association with someone who commits that crime.

For now, the Pacers have done nothing wrong.  In trying to put a quality team on the floor, Bird took an educated risk.  He should be held accountable only for his reaction.



Pacers second-round Draft Pick Arrested by jimjohnsonpbm

by Jim Johnson

Lance Stephenson, the Indiana Pacers second-round draft pick was arrested on Sunday for pushing is girlfriend down a flight of stairs.

The second-round draft pick came in this past June’s NBA Draft.

The Indiana Pacers need to go ahead and get rid of Stephenson. They don’t need this and they don’t this type of publicity and they don’t need this type of person on their roster. They have worked too hard to restore their image ever since The Brawl in Detroit.

Indiana Pacers President of Basketball Operations, Larry Bird, released this statement late Sunday evening:

“We have been made aware of a situation involving Lance Stephenson early Sunday morning in Brooklyn.  We are currently in the process of gathering information and will have further comments as we learn more facts.”

Stephenson, 19, sent his 21-year old girlfriend head-first down 10 steps. She was treated for neck and head injuries.

This isn’t the first time Stephenson has been in trouble. He was arrested in 2008 for sexual abuse on a 17-year old inside of Lincoln High School in New York.

Email Jim Johnson at jim@johnsonmediapbm.com and follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/JJSportsFreak



Donnie Walsh’s Prayers Answered – Knicks Can’t Hire Isiah Thomas by kentsterling
August 11, 2010, 7:16 pm
Filed under: Kent Sterling, NBA | Tags: ,

by Kent Sterling

Knicks President Donnie Walsh was asked by Owner James Dolan to hire Isiah Thomas as general manager.  Walsh told Dolan that he can do it right after “you fire me.”  Today, the NBA told Dolan that he can’t hire him as a consultant while Thomas also hold the head coach position at Florida International, according to ESPN 1050 New York.

Thomas spent three years as the head coach of the Indiana Pacers while Walsh ran the Pacers franchise, so both are well acquainted with each other.  Dolan asked Walsh to meet with Thomas several days ago, which he did.  Following that meeting, Walsh told Dolan that he would not hire Thomas as the Knicks GM.

Seemingly everyone with a passing knowledge of sports and the impact Thomas has had on the entities with whom he has aligned, wonders what Dolan is thinking in considering a second trip down the aisle with Typhoid Isiah.

After an $11.6 million haircut for settling the sexual harassment suit against the Knicks because of Isiah’s behavior, a redux would be unlikely for all but the densest boss.  Given that $11.6 million is tip money compared to what Isiah spent on player contracts as he built one of the worst teams in the NBA with a price tag of $120+ million annually, his return to the NBA is beyond comprehension.

What people on the outside of the Dolan circle of trust are wondering is how can they get into it, and earn a turn at the unstoppable spicket of cash that Dolan commands.  I’m not sure I have the knowledge or patience to build an NBA champion, but I can promise that if I drive the Knicks into the cellar, I won’t have to double the salary cap to do it.  I also won’t so much as look at a woman when I’m on the island of Manhattan.

Now the speculation can begin again as to what Dolan’s response to the NBA’s ruling might be.  Is there a chance that Dolan is so preposterously thick that he might return to Walsh and ask that he reconsider hiring Isiah as the GM.

With Walsh experiencing some health problems, that would be enough to get me to hang it up permanently.  There is nothing more exhausting than working for a dolt to whom you have to explain the simplest concepts.  Don’t hire a guy who already cost you 12 super large in a sexual harassment suit, shouldn’t be a lesson anyone needs to teach.



Pacers Make Up for 09′ Draft Day Mistake with Collison Trade by wesreynolds
August 11, 2010, 6:01 pm
Filed under: Indiana Pacers, NBA | Tags: ,

by Wes Reynolds

The Indiana Pacers made up for their mistake at the 2009 NBA Draft today through their latest trade that brings point guard Darren Collison and small forward James Posey to Indianapolis while dumping Troy Murphy and his expiring contract (a little less than $12M this year) onto New Jersey. In this four-team deal, New Orleans gets Trevor Ariza from Houston, who in turn, receives former Pike High School standout Courtney Lee, who was made expendable by New Jersey due to the signing of Anthony Morrow from Golden State. 

The Pacers made out the best of any of the four teams in this deal, which has been seemingly rare during the Larry Bird-David Morway regime. If you think about it, they accomplished several things. They had a commodity in Troy Murphy, who is a good player with an expiring contract, and they gave the Nets that valuable contract, and received value in return. They receive James Posey, for whom they basically pay the mid-level exception for one year ($6.9 M), in order to get Darren Collison. Collison, the former UCLA star, is not only a good point guard for the future but he also gained a lot of experience last season with the injury to Hornets all-star Chris Paul. Collison started in 37 games and ended up averaging 12.4 ppg and just under 6 assists a game. The best part of the deal is that you get a good, young player on the cheap. Collison, who was drafted #21 overall in the 09′ NBA Draft, is only in the second year of his rookie deal. He is only scheduled to make $1.36M this season, $1.46M in 2011-12, $2.32M in 2012-13 and $3.34M in 2013-14. Posey also only has two seasons left on his deal, so his expiring contract will be valuable to many teams during the 2011-12 season.

Bird and Morway, without saying so, are basically admitting they made a mistake drafting Tyler Hansbrough at #13 in the 09′ Draft. This is not to stay that Hansbrough can’t still have a productive career, but you have to forgive my cynicism when you had someone miss the entire season with what had to be the worst ear infection (ahem concussion) in the history of mankind. I realize only a few precincts are reporting at this early stage, but the Hansbrough pick is definitely having to play catch up in order to be validated. The Pacers needed a point guard for the future last summer as well and failed to take one that was available. After the Pacers’ pick of “Psycho T”, there were SIX point guards drafted in the second half of the first round including Jrue Holliday (drafted by Philadelphia at #17), Ty Lawson (drafted by Minnesota at #18 and traded to Denver), Jeff Teague (former Pike High School player drafted by Atlanta at #19, blah), Eric Maynor (drafted by Utah at #20 and now with Oklahoma City), Collison (drafted by New Orleans at #21) and arguably the best of the bunch Frenchman Rodrigue Beaubois (drafted by Oklahoma City at #25 and traded to Dallas). Holliday showed a lot of potential but is on a bad team in Philly. Lawson is playing behind Chauncey Billups in Denver, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Teague saw limited minutes in Atlanta and Maynor is now settling into his role of back-up behind future all-star Russell Westbrook. Beaubois came into his own in the playoffs and actually outplayed his French counterpart Tony Parker for long stints during the Spurs-Mavericks 1st round series.

Is this deal enough to say the Pacers will be a lock for the playoffs this year? Absolutely not. They will likely be fighting for the 8th spot with teams like Cleveland, Charlotte, New York and Toronto. However, this is a very good deal for the Pacers and their future. Most of the transactions during the Bird-Morway era have had mixed results at best. The deal sending Jermaine O’Neal to Toronto did bring in Roy Hibbert, who seemed to really improve during the latter part of last season, but also stuck them with T.J. Ford, who never fit in with the current system employed by Jim O’Brien. Now Ford will be paid $8.5M this year to basically play 15 minutes a night. The 08′ draft night trade that brought in Brandon Rush, Josh McRoberts, and Jarrett Jack (who basically was rented for the 08′-09′ season) has been a mixed bag for both the Pacers and Portland. Rush is a model of inconsistency and McRoberts is a spot minute guy. Portland got Jerryd Bayless, who has yet to produce in Rip City and Ike Diogu, who was basically thrown into the deal to make the money work.

This was a deal that the Pacers had to get done. They couldn’t start the 2010-11 season with rookie Lance “Born Ready” Stephenson as their starting point guard, although he was very good in the Summer League. In addition, there aren’t hardly any point guards better than Collison that will be available in 2011 free agency. The acquisition of Collison gives them less money to play with in free agency next summer, but let’s be honest, none of the big tickets (Carmelo Anthony, Yao Ming, Tim Duncan) are signing to come to the Circle City. Tony Parker, while a free agent next summer and still productive, is aging and why overpay for an older player when you can get a younger guy that can do the same things? This deal won’t exactly get the fans thinking championship, but it does give the Pacers at least some relevance in a sport marketplace dominated by the Colts. The love of the Indiana Pacers turned to hatred after the “Malice at the Palace” and the hatred has turned to apathy in the last couple years. This deal is the first step towards dissipating that apathy and making fans care again. The Pacers have a long road ahead to being what they once where, but this is a good step in the right direction.



Knicks President Donnie Walsh Incensed at Isiah Thomas Hiring by kentsterling
August 9, 2010, 3:28 pm
Filed under: Kent Sterling, NBA | Tags: , ,

by Kent Sterling

Knicks owner James Dolan called team president Donnie Walsh last night to explain the hiring of Isiah Thomas as a consultant, according to a source close to both men.  Walsh told Dolan that he would not work in the same building as Isiah.  Dolan told Walsh that for now, he won’t have to.

Dolan told Walsh that he was shocked at the critical backlash of the hiring.

Walsh refused Dolan’s request that Donnie hire Isiah as GM.  Dolan was told by Walsh that he could hire Thomas himself if he quit.

It’s hard to find the most shocking aspect of this story – that Dolan would even consider rehiring a man who cost him $11.6 million in a sexual harassment suit, rehiring a man who drove the Knicks into laughing-stock status with a series of idiotic trades and signings, or rehiring a man who has turned everything he touches into gold – but only for himself.

Donnie Walsh and James Dolan during happier times.

If Dolan is looking for a way to piss away less money that will return less damage than hiring Typhoid Isiah, I would be willing to accept half of Isiah’s annual salary to be a consultant who promises to do no damage whatsoever because I won’t do anything.  I will never be disruptive in a meeting, because I won’t attend one.  There won’t be any sexual harassment lawsuits because not only will I agree to never set foot inside Madison Square Garden, I won’t visit New York City or State for the duration of the deal.  I won’t spend any money on free agents no longer able to play, or those who will tear the team apart with their giant egos because not only won’t I recommend any signings, I won’t evaluate and players.  This offer holds true for every sports franchise around the globe.  You will never have a worry that I will do something wrong because I will never do anything at all – except run to the bank each time you send a check.  Contact me with your offers of worry-free consultancy at kentsterling11@yahoo.com.

His family made its money in cable TV, and Dolan seems intent upon giving as much of it to Isiah or to others because of Isiah as he can.

Donnie Walsh’s resume’ is complete without subjecting himself to the stress related to working for idiots.  He ran the small market Indiana Pacers for a generation, and for the decade from 1994-to-2004 in Indianapolis, he achieved great success.

There is a great axiom true for great teams in sports that Dolan should have tattooed on the inside of his eyelids so he is reminded of it each time he blinks – owners own, general managers manage, and coaches coach.  There are very few exceptions to that rule these days.  Championship teams all respect that structure, and have the discipline to adhere to it.



Knicks Hire Isiah Thomas; Confirms James Dolan’s Insanity by kentsterling
August 9, 2010, 12:19 pm
Filed under: Kent Sterling, NBA | Tags:

by Kent Sterling

Never mind the obvious rules violation for NBA employees being in contact with college basketball players, which would be the most obvious reason not to hire most college basketball coaches as consultants.

The list on the bad side of the ledger in evaluating Isiah Thomas as a potential employee for the New York Knicks would be several dozen entries long before using the NBA rule book as an excuse to keep Zeke off the payroll.  Oddly, the NCAA seems to have cleared Isiah to wear both hats.

The best two would be the $11.6 miilion that a sexual harassment suit cost the very same team that just hired him – the Knicks.  There are second chances, and then there are second chances.  The second would be that during his four-and-a-half year reign with the Knicks, Thomas built the highest payroll in the league will putting one of the worst teams on the floor.

Since leaving the court as a hall of fame player, Thomas has tried his hand at all kinds of things – being a coach, GM, president, and running a league among them.  He has failed ingloriously at all of them.  He even wrote a book about business.  While I’ve never read it, and doubt many have, I can’t imagine it holds much worth applying to any entity hoping to succeed, unless Thomas is simply terrible at following his own advice.

Either Thomas is the most cunning and charming man in athletics, or he is the victim of improbably horrible luck at every stop on his managerial trail of tears.

There is something oddly compelling about Isiah’s story of almost relentless failure, and his ability to rise up and talk someone else into believing that he may be the answer to the question, “How can my organization get better?”  They say you can learn a lot about how a man responds to failure.  We have learned this about Isiah – the dude gets up off the canvas with Joe Frazier in the ring against George Foreman.

Minus the reported suicide attempt a couple of years ago, Isiah has been relentless in his desire to rise from the ashes.  He’s like the films of early poorly designed aircraft.  All the hope in the world is invested in five wings pinned to a chuck wagon, and then a dozen drunk boobs push it off a bridge.  The mess collapses into the river, and so the idiots rebuild.  That’s Isiah’s career.

The current full-time job Thomas has is being the head coach at Florida International, where he compiled a 7-25 record in his first year.  It takes time to build a program, so may he’ll get that straightened out.  The rest of his managerial career has seen no success at all – only failure.

He says that he would like to be considered for another NBA coaching job in “the right spot and the right opportunity.”  Wow, really?  I would too.  The only difference in our two resumes is that I haven’t bankrupted a league, and destroyed an NBA franchise.  Could I do worse?  I don’t think so.

Isiah’s greatest attribute, other than never staying down long enough to enjoy the view from down there is balls.  A former Indiana University teammate of Isiah’s told me a story about he and another teammate walking into Isiah’s apartment in Bloomington.  Isiah was huddled in the corner of his kitchen rolling dice.  The teammates asked what he was doing, and he asked them to come closer.  Isiah showed them how he was practicing the art of swapping loaded dice for real dice in a way that was imperceptible to the eye.  He was going to get good at swapping dice so he could win at some informal craps games.

To cheat at dice in front of a couple of dozen guys with money on the floor is wrong enough that it will get you beat or cut.  That takes balls.  To sit at a conference table and tell a team owner that paying you millions to run his operation is nothing compared to cheating at craps.  Isiah has learned well the art of fooling others.  He might be the best at it in the history of sports.

That no one laughs as Isiah proclaims his interest in another shot at a job that he screwed up in every way imaginable might be his greatest con of all.



Forget 2010, bring on the 2011 offseason for the Pacers by justinwhitaker

By Justin Whitaker

With all of the free agent pandemonium nearing the overwhelmingly appreciated end, what does next year hold? More specifically what does it hold for our Indiana Pacers?

When the Pacers biggest acquisition news is whether the Pacers would trade Indiana for Seattle or move out of Conseco Fieldhouse and into KeyArena, that is a problem.

(No disrespect to either, but signing Kyle Lowry or Luke Ridnour to one-year deals does not scream “return to former playoff glory” or even fill the point guard void.)

Let us fast-forward this upcoming season, because honestly is anything expected? Assuming no trades or big transactions occur, Indiana finishes 36-46 – which shamefully is only two games out of the eight seed in the Eastern Conference. Leaving Indiana again right in the taint in regards to the draft, not bad enough to earn a high lottery pick and not good enough to make the playoffs.

Former Celtic role player turned NBA assistant coach

Jim O’Brien is fired right before the All-Star Break leaving Walter McCarty, Vitaly Potapenko, Tony Delk or whatever former Boston Celtic that was coached by JOB as the interim head coach.

Bring in former Pacers assistant Mike Brown to coach the team and start next offseason.

Entering the 2011 NBA offseason, under contract Indiana has Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert, Tyler Hansbrough, Paul George, Dahntay Jones, Brandon Rush, AJ Price, Lance Stevenson and hopefully Magnum Rolle.

(Take a look at the Indiana Pacers cap situation)

Those nine players fill up close to $28 million in cap space after the contracts of Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy, TJ Ford, Jeff Foster, Solomon Jones, Josh McRoberts and – gasp! – Jamaal Tinsley all come off the books.

If Indiana can resign Murphy, Foster and McRoberts for fair deals, then they need to so as each fit their roles well on the team. Let’s say the three take up around $13 million (Murphy – $8 million, Foster and McRoberts – $2.5 million each.) That gives the Pacers $41 million in cap space locked up with close to $20 million to spend.

After 2010’s menu of Ruth Chris-like free agents, take a look at some of the notable players on 2011’s McFreeAgents.

(These are all unrestricted free agents during the 2011 NBA offseason)

The Main Courses

Her husband would look good in a Pacers uniform, but Eva would look better in just about anything.

  1. Carmelo Anthony
  2. Yao Ming
  3. Tim Duncan
  4. Tony Parker

These are by far the four best options out there. Sad thing is, the actuality of Indiana landing any of these players is about as good of a chance as Nickelback creating an original song.

While any of these players would make the Pacers better, it is fair to say that Indiana probably is not an option to any. Out of these four, Anthony and Parker are the only ones that have a real possibility to leave their teams. Unfortunately, Monument Circle and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are probably not high up for the two player’s wives, LaLa Vasquez and Eva Longoria Parker, as hangout spots.

The Side Dishes

  1. Caron Butler
  2. Zach Randolph
  3. David West
  4. Mo Williams
  5. Tayshaun Prince

As great of a player Butler is, he would not have a spot on the team with Granger and George locked in as the future for the small forward and shooting guard positions.

Randolph made his first All-Star team last year averaging a great 20.8 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. But the statistic that sticks out the most during his ten-year career is that he has only played more than 70 games four times.

David West in Pacers uniform? Let's hope so.

Of all the side dishes, David West would really fit the best with the Pacers. The two-time All-Star (2008, 2009) can stretch the court with his midrange shooting ability and is a solid rebounder, averaging over seven rebounds per game during his seven-year career.

Williams benefited from the exposure of playing with LeBron, but his numbers were solid before joining Cleveland. He had back-to-back season of 17 points and six assists in Milwaukee from 2006-2008. But Williams is more a shoot-first point guard, than a distributor and the Pacers do not need help scoring.

If Prince ever signed with Indiana, it would feel almost sacrilegious after his infamous block against Reggie Miller in the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals. Nothing else needs to be said.

The Appetizers

  1. Michael Redd
  2. Tyson Chandler
  3. Jason Richardson
  4. Leandro Barbosa
  5. Jamal Crawford

With the exception of Barbosa, each of these players has been in the league for at least nine years.

Redd is a great shooter, but he will be 31 entering the 2010-2011 season. He also is coming off a torn ACL and MCL injury that caused him to miss 68 games last season. Pairing him and Granger together would make the Pacers hard to defend around the perimeter, but again there is a lack of space for him unless George is a bust.

During his nine-year career, Chandler has averaged a double-double with 10.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. He would be a force in the lane and give the Pacers some much-needed toughness. But could he and Hibbert play together at the same time?

Richardson, Barbosa and Crawford all would be an upgrade over the Pacers current shooting guard situation as we do not know what to expect out of George. If George does well, then do not worry about bringing any of these guys in. But if he struggles, any of these three would be a sufficient addition at the correct price.

The Dollar Menu

  1. Carl Landry
  2. Andrei Kirilenko
  3. J.J. Barea

Of these three players, none would be a difference maker, but the Pacers would improve with any.

Will the Purdue alum play in a Pacers uniform in 2011-12?

In Landry’s three-year career, he has shown flashes of being a productive player during his NBA tenure. The former Purdue standout averaged 18 points per game upon being traded to the Sacramento Kings last. But at 6’9” and 250 pounds, he is an undersized power forward who averaged 5.9 rebounds a game last season. If he continues to grow as a player, Landry might jump up on the menu and be someone the Pacers should consider signing.

Kirlienko has battled injuries the past few years as he is entering his 10th season. He has never been a strong scorer, but his defense is well noted. In the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons, he averaged over three blocks a game. If he was five years younger and healthier than this would be a player the Pacers should consider.

Barea has spent time behind Jason Kidd in Dallas during his four-year career. He is young point guard who has the potential to grow. During the past two seasons, Barea has started 33 games and averaged 7.7 points and 3.3 assists in 20 minutes per game.

During the reminder of this offseason or next season, it’s wake up time. The Pacers need to make magic happen. They have been stuck in mediocrity since the 2006 season and after much patience from the fans, it is time to show something to be excited about.