Why Did The Pacers Not Make A Move At The NBA Trade Deadline?
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INDIANAPOLIS – In Kevin Pritchard’s history as a man having final say on the execution of NBA trade deadline moves, activity has been a constant.
But not this season.
Pritchard knows the Pacers (32-25) are exceeding expectations this year and they are doing it with rare chemistry seen for a team littered with new faces.
So when last week’s NBA trade deadline arrived, Pritchard had nearly half his team approach him with a message.
Keep this team together.
That was unheard-of in Pritchard’s history as an executive
“They felt like they were overachieving,” Pritchard relayed to the media on Sunday night, “and (they) have a little bit of a chip on their shoulder and they wanted to have the opportunity to finish this out and try to get into the playoffs.
“We kept coming back to the same mantra that staying pat was sort of the best course of action. Unless we knew, we could really help the team, I wanted to make sure that there were no disruptions.”
Thursday’s deadline came and went with Pritchard listening to his players, who have already eclipsed the over/under win total that had been set out for them at the start of the season.
When a few possible deals developed last week, Pritchard remembered what his played had said.
“At the end of the day, there was one thing that came back to me from one player and he looked me in the eye and said, ‘We deserve to see this thing through. No one believed in us. No one thought we would be any good. We deserve this,’” Pritchard said.
“That held a lot of weight with me. What happens is you develop these relationships with players. We are not perfect. What I notice with this team is they have a foundation of respect with each other and that’s what we’ve always wanted. We want open communication with our players, our coaches, our management. A lot of times we haven’t seen small issues become big issues. When that player came in and said we deserve to see this thing through, that was powerful.”
Here are a few other comments from Pritchard meeting the media on Sunday:
On the Paul George trade: (Oklahoma GM) Sam Presti is a really good friend of mine. We’ve worked together. Where I got the most heat and truth was I played a couple of years of high school basketball in Oklahoma and my ex-teammates were sending me OKC police tweets and all of that kind of stuff, I favorited the tweet about a couple of weeks ago. It was a little wink back to my buddies, it wasn’t a wink back to Oklahoma City, it was to my buddies. It was funny. I called Sam after that and said, ‘That was to my buddies, that wasn’t to you guys.’ He laughed about it. I think it was a win-win in terms of the trade. Paul is at a place where he has a chance to compete at the highest level against some of the best teams and for us we hit a little bit of the reset button, but Victor (Oladipo) has been at the very least super special for us and somebody we can really build around. Domas is like Hoosier basketball. He’s a lunch pale, hard hat kind of guy. We love that. That’s exactly what we want. What we forget about Domas is that he’s 21 years old. Him and Myles are the same age. As they grow together…”
“With that trade, we had 2 things on things on the board. We looked around the room and I asked (General Manager) Chad Buchanan which one do you want to do? He said I want to do Victor and Sabonis. (Front office member) Peter (Dinwidddie) said that and Herb (Simon) said that. If I was going to go against those 3, I was going to be in trouble. We feel pretty good about how that worked out. We know we got the right players because, quite frankly, they love being here. How important that is to us? That’s paramount to us”
On Myles Turner: “He’s got to get stronger. He’s got to get a post-game because they are switching and they are putting smaller guys on him. There’s a thing in the league called dirty rebounds, between a couple of players. He’s got to start winning those battles. He’s fully aware of it. He knows he’s got to get stronger. He works on it. Those kinds of things are really done in the summer when you are not playing game after game after game. We’ve made him aware. He knows of that. We feel like he can take a big step if he can get stronger.”
On this upcoming summer: “We kind of have this really good balance of a few players who are going to be here for a long time that we feel like we can develop, and then adding maybe 1 this summer or 2 this summer. I don’t see us adding 10 or 8 like we have this past summer. It’s hard to acclimate. I want some continuity, too. I do believe there’s a huge value in having some continuity. It’s not quite time to make that big thing happen. It could happen around the Draft. It could happen around July 1 because then we open up potentially $30-50 million in cap and that’s where you can do some really good trades and signings.”