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Larry Bird is an idiot.  He is the worst GM in the league.  Yep.  I said it.  He is worse than Steve Kerr and Isiah Thomas.  He does nothing.  The only big trade he has made killed the franchise completely.  Now, this team is full of thugs and players that don't hussle.  Well, if I was the GM, I could rebuild this team.  Of course, I make more changes than anyone has suggested.  GM Irish is on the phone and is handing out pink slips.  Get ready.  After this embarrassing year, there will be changes.

I would fire Jim O'Brien.  This was not a good hire.  He was out of the NBA for a long time.  I remember his problems with Allen Iverson (but what coach hasn't?).  If he had trouble handling one thug, there's no way he can handle four.  I like O'Brien, but he is not right for the job.  I would like to have him back as a consultant or even as the assistant GM, but not as the head coach.  Of course, that means there is a roster opening.  Here is my list of head coaches to covet.

1. Marc Iavaroni-Iavaroni probably wouldn't take the job, but he would be the best option.  He has done great with Rudy Gay, and he would have a player just like him in Danny Granger.  Iavaroni runs a fastbreak offense.  I would like to see the Pacers bring that style to the Eastern Conference.  It would help them against teams like Detroit and Washington who can't run with them.
2. Keith Smart-Keith Smart is a local legend around here.  Hiring him would bring some fans back to the arena.  He won the championship for IU in 1987.  Fans have not forgotten about that.  He has been involved with the unthugging of Steven Jackson, which could be a huge help for the thugs on this team.  He runs a fastbreak offense as well.
3. Bruce Pearl-Stretch of the year.  Pearl probably wouldn't want to take the job, but if there was any coach in college that could make a transition to the pros, it would be him.

So, I will just say that Keith Smart will be the next head coach.  This means that the Pacers need a new system.  Of course, they would need to get rid of some players.  Here's what will go down this offseason.

Jermaine O'Neal will opt out, becoming a free agent.  He doesn't want to be here.  He wants to go to New York to play with the Knicks.  Isiah will sign him for about 3.5 million dollars a year for three years, setting back the team even more.  With the loss of O'Neal, the Pacers' cap space goes from 11 million over the cap to 8 million under.  Talk about overpaid.  O'Neal's contract is about as awful as Jerome James' with New York.

Jamaal Tinsley is on the Trading Block.  This is step two.  We need to find if there is a team in such a desperate need of point guard that they would pay a thug 6.3 million dollars over the next 3 years.  Cleveland, Sacremento, and Washington are the three teams I will try to pursue a trade with.

Cleveland-Tinsley and Travis Diener for Anderson Varejao and Damon Jones.  Likeliness-7.5%.  The Cavs would really need to feel like they can't resign Delonte West to do this.  They get 2 point guards for a center and a shooting guard.  This trade probably wouldn't go down.

Sacremento-Jamaal Tinsley for Quincy Douby and Shareef Abdul-Raheem.  Likeliness-25%.  Tinsley would be being traded for two backups.  However, the Kings would probably not want to pick up another long-term contract while they would have to resign Ron Artest.  Abdul-Raheem's and Douby's contracts expire in 2010 and 2009, so they wouldn't want to ditch expiring contracts for a long one.

Washington-No trade.  Contracts don't work for the teams.

Since no Trade makes sense, I terminate Tinsley's contract.  Sure, it may cause some problems, but he's a thug and a locker room cancer.  Fans would be elated if he was far, far away from Indianapolis.  With the buyout, we would gain 6 million dollars in cap when he signs to a new team.  14 million under is the new balance.

Shawne Williams and Marquis Daniels go on the Block as well.  These two may be more valuable to a team since they are younger and better than Tinsley.  However, they are hanging out with the wrong people and have gotten in trouble since they arrived in Indy.  They have to go.  Now, they are built for teams in the Western Conference that want to score.  The Clippers, T'Wolves, and Grizz are all options.

Clippers-Daniels, Williams, and Diener for Brevin Knight and Cuttino Mobley.  Likeliness-75%.  I love this trade.  The Clippers need a point guard to replace Sam Cassell.  Diener should be suitable.  The Clippers may lose Corey Maggette and Dan Dickau this offseason.  Daniels and Williams would be good replacements.  The Pacers in return would receiver a good passing point guard who averages 4.3 assists and under 1 turnover per game.  Mobley would provide good veteran leadership on a very young team, while being able to average 12 points per game and shoot 38% for three.

Timberwolves-No trade because of contracts.

Grizzlies-Williams and Daniels for Kyle Lowry and Darko Milicic.  Likeliness-50%.  This trade is alright.  The Grizzlies get receive a good backup for Rudy Gay and a player who can play almost every position on the floor.  The Pacers get a young point guard, but I do not think Darko could do anything in a running system.  Which is why...

Marquis Daniels, Travis Diener, and Shawne Williams go to Los Angeles for Brevin Knight and Cuttino Mobley.  This trade is great.  Now, let's look at the lineup for the Pacers so far this year before free agency starts.

PG-Brevin Knight
SG-Mike Dunleavy, Cuttino Mobley
SF-Danny Granger
PF-Jeff Foster
C-Troy Murphy

So free agency will be interesting.  They have a lot of free agents and there are a lot of free agents that need a new home.  Let's start with the ones who plays for us.

I will not resign Steven Graham, Andre Owens, and David Harrison.

I would assume you already know why Harrison is gone.  He's a pyscho who needs help before he can play in the NBA again.  So he is pretty much a talentless Ron Artest who is on drugs.  Great.  Graham and Owens are benchwarmers who will probably come back for summer league if they are not signed.

I will try to resign Kareem Rush, Flip Murray, and Ike Diogu.

Flip Murray will get the veterans minimum.  He will probably accept as that is what he is earning right now.  I will offer Kareem Rush and Ike Diogu the same contract.  1.5 million dollars a year for 2 years and a signing bonus of $100,000.  It's not much, but why would two players who don't do much geta big signing bonus.  They are lucky they are in the NBA.  I will just assume they both sign and are greatful that a team wants them.  With the loss of Graham, Harrison, and Owens and the resignage of Diogu, Murray, and Rush, the Pacers will gain 3.2 million dollars in cap space, giving approxiametly 18 million dollars of cap space for the upcoming free agent period.  Here is the look at my lineup.

PG-Brevin Knight, Flip Murray
SG-Mike Dunleavy, Cuttino Mobley, Kareem Rush
SF-Danny Granger
PF-Troy Murphy, Ike Diogu
C-Jeff Foster

Now, it's time for free agency.  We have 18 million dollars to spend, and I plan on using as much as possible.  Here are the top 40 free agents including opt outs but not restricted free agents (I'll leave out JO for obvious reasons).

1. Allen Iverson
2. Gilbert Arenas
3. Shawn Marion
4. Baron Davis
5. Elton Brand
6. Ron Artest
7. Corey Maggette
8. Antawn Jamison
9. Matt Barnes
10. Chris Duhon
11. Kurt Thomas
12. Eddie House
13. James Posey
14. Bonzi Wells
15. Sam Cassell
16. DeSagana Diop
17. Eduardo Najera
18. Trevor Ariza
19. Grant Hill
20. Beno Udrih
21. Mickael Pietrus
22. Patrick O'Bryant
23. Francisco Elson
24. Austin Croshere
25. Melvin Ely
26. Shannon Brown
27. Gerald Green
28. James Jones
29. Ricky Davis
30. Lindsay Hunter
31. Keyon Dooling
32. Anthony Carter
33. Ime Udoka
34. Stromile Swift
35. Primoz Brezec
36. Kwame Brown
37. Bostjan Nachbar
38. Derek Anderson
39. Michael Finley
40. Dikembe Mutombo

These guys are the 40 best out there assuming all restricted free agents are resigned.  Of course, there are some that I wouldn't consider for four reasons--money, style, resigning with former team, and attitude/legal.

Money-Allen Iverson, Gilbert Arenas, Shawn Marion, Elton Brand, Antwan Jamison.

Style-Kurt Thomas, James Posey, DeSagana Diop, Patrick O'Bryant, Francisco Elson, Melvin Ely, Primoz Brezec, Kwame Brown, Dikembe Mutombo.

Resigning-Baron Davis, Eddie House, Grant Hill.

Attitude/Legal-Bonzi Wells, Ricky Davis, Lindsay Hunter.

So that leaves Ron Artest, Matt Barnes, Chris Duhon, Sam Cassell, Eduardo Najera, Trevor Ariza, Beno Udrih, Mickael Pietrus, Austin Croshere, Shannon Brown, Gerald Green, James Jones, Keyon Dooling, Anthony Carter, Ime Udoka, Stromile Swift, Bostjan Nachbar, Derek Anderson, and Michael Finley.

I'm going to cut it down to the needs.  Throw out shooting guard (aka Brown, Green, Carter, Anderson, and Finley).  So now let's use that 18 million.

Did you see I left Ron Artest off the Attitude/Legal problem?  I didn't forget him.  I'm signing my favorite player in the NBA and a contributor on the floor.  I will offer Ron Artest a 3 year, 18.5 million dollar contract with a $750,000 signing bonus.  Ron Artest has always said he wanted to come back to Indianapolis.  I offer him a contract that pays well but not enough that if he underperformed he would be too hard to trade.  He could play the 3 or the 4 in my system.  He is one of the best defenders in the NBA, and the Pacers need better defenders.  They have the worst defense in the Eastern conference, and Ron Artest could make a huge difference.  Even though he was in trouble with Stern in Indiana, he was not in trouble with the law besides the brawl where, let's face it, he was not the biggest offender.  Artest threw no punches.  He pushed over the first guy, but that was it.  Ben Wallace and the Pistons fans incited it, and Steven Jackson, JO, David Harrison, Anthony Johnson, and the thugs in Detroit were the ones who were fighting.  Artest should have been suspended for 25 games and Jackson and O'Neal for the rest of the year.  Artest still has fans here, and he should bring some people back to the arena.  Strike 6 million off of the cap so it's at 12 million dollars.

Let's take a look at our new roster.

PG-Brevin Knight, Flip Murray
SG-Mike Dunleavy, Cuttino Mobley, Kareem Rush
SF-Danny Granger
PF-Ron Artest, Ike Diogu
C-Troy Murphy, Jeff Foster

Next, the Pacers need a player that has experience in the system Coach Smart will run.  Maybe a former player.  Someone who can play a multitude of positions.  Like the 2, 3, and 4.  I will offer Matt Barnes a contract worth 33 million dollars over 4 years.  Barnes is perfect for this system.  He can play almost any position, which is a valuable asset for a team that runs and needs subs constantly.  Barnes is going to be the Boris Diaw of the Pacers.  Barnes should be a great player.  I doubt the Warriors, who will have almost no cap room, will be able to resign him.  He'll be wearing a different shade of gold and blue under GM Irish.  The cap is down to 4 million dollars.

New roster time.

PG-Brevin Knight, Flip Murray
SG-Mike Dunleavy, Cuttino Mobley, Kareem Rush
SF-Danny Granger, Matt Barnes
PF-Ron Artest, Ike Diogu
C-Troy Murphy, Jeff Foster

So there is one more spot on the active roster.  I might as well sign someone.  I need a big man.  Someone who can run the floor.  Stromile Swift would provide that need.  I would sign Stromile Swift a contract worth 3 million dollars over 2 years.  Swift won't get to much attention, but I think he could really help the Pacers.  He's big (6-10) and he can run the floor.  Maybe he could finally have his big break in the Run 'n' Gun system.  Cut the budget down to 2.5 million dollars.  Now it's draft time.  We would have the #8 and #38 picks in the NBA Draft.  With those picks, I would select DJ Augustine and DJ White.  Augustine is a point guard who has led his Texas team without Kevin Durant.  He is the best point guard in this draft.  White is a local star who can rebound and block shots.  New lineup time.

PG-DJ Augustine, Brevin Knight, Flip Murray
SG-Mike Dunleavy, Cuttino Mobley, Kareem Rush
SF-Danny Granger, Matt Barnes
PF-Ron Artest, Ike Diogu, Stromile Swift
C-Troy Murphy, Jeff Foster, DJ White

Here is the order of options on offense.

1. Mike Dunleavy
2. Danny Granger
3. Ron Artest
4. Matt Barnes
5. Troy Murphy
6. Cuttino Mobley
7. DJ Augustine
8. Ike Diogu
9. Stromile Swift
10. Kareem Rush
11. Flip Murray
12. DJ White
13. Jeff Foster
14. Brevin Knight

Of course, that's not the order.  Here is the best all-around players on my team in my rotation.

Starters
1. Danny Granger
2. Mike Dunleavy
3. Ron Artest
4. Troy Murphy
5. DJ Augustine

Bench Rotation
6. Matt Barnes
7. Cuttino Mobley
8. Ike Diogu
9. Brevin Knight
10. Stromile Swift
11. Jeff Foster
12. Kareem Rush

Injury List
13. Flip Murray

Fort Wayne Mad Ants
14. DJ White

I would have Barnes used as a sixth man even though he is our second or third best player on the team.  Mobley will be the veteran leader.  Diogu will come in to provide a post game.  Brevin Knight will provide relief and leadership to DJ Augustine.  Stromile Swift is a player who I would hope could be a factor as a cheaper player who can surprise some people.  Jeff Foster will be used when we play a team with a dominant big man.  Kareem Rush will come in when we need to make some threes.  Flip Murray will be used in case of an injury.  DJ White will stay in the D-League unless there is an injury or he is playing great in Fort Wayne.

With this roster, the Pacers could become a playoff contender.  They could score 120 points every night and keep the opponent under 100 every night.  The defense with Artest and Foster could be strong.  If anything, this team is an improvement over what we have now.

That is my plan.  Now, Herb.  Where do I sign up?

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