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Blog > Kevin's Corner > Pacers Coverage > Kevin Pritchard Talks Pacers Trade Deadline, Victor Oladipo’s Rehab, Potential For Myles Turner

Kevin Pritchard Talks Pacers Trade Deadline, Victor Oladipo’s Rehab, Potential For Myles Turner

On Friday afternoon, Pacers team president Kevin Pritchard caught up with the media to recap the NBA trade deadline. What did Pritchard have to say?

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INDIANAPOLISThe bad news from Friday: Kevin Pritchard couldn’t really talk about Wesley Matthews.

 

The good news: Pritchard dodged around that and still covered a bunch of topics in meeting the media following Thursday’s trade deadline.

 

Here were some highlights from Pritchard’s media session:

 

On the signing of Wesley Matthews:

“Well, he’s not signed so we can’t really talk about it until then. I know he’s been waived and we think a lot of him. We have a lot of people in the organization who have a relationship already with him. We are hopeful. But he’s not signed. So I can’t go into any more details on that.”

 

On adding any more players:

“I think there will be one (Matthews). I don’t think there will be another. I’m not opposed to looking into that. But there’s going to be one and I think we are going to like that one.”

 

On the goals around trade deadline:

“As we got into what they consider the heart and soul of the trading deadline, a big part of that is what you want to have happen. For us, I want to start getting a little bit more asset rich. And we had an opportunity to get a second-round pick. I wanted to get a second-round pick out of this trade deadline for the future. I want to continue to get asset rich. So, as we get into other trading deadlines and other drafts we have multiple assets. We haven’t had that in a while. I want to make that as a full complement as to how we acquire players. That was one of the big things. The second big thing is with Victor going down, we knew there was going to be some opportunity for buyouts. You don’t know for certain who is going to get bought out, but you try to keep the pulse of the market. At the end of the day, we saw who was going to get bought out and there’s some pretty good candidates and we feel we have a chance at one of them. I can’t go into too much detail, but I think pretty shortly we will be able to talk about him. It’s someone we feel really good about. We feel he’s a great fit but it’s not done until it’s done. I think we accomplished (both goals). We really didn’t give up much and we have another asset for the future to play with. There’s going to be a time that if we can collect enough picks that you can shove forward and kind of say, ‘Let’s use a bunch of picks and get better.’ And maybe look at a deeper playoff run, or hypothetically look at that. But I wanted to get a little more asset rich that way. We have intense flexibility (this summer). We keep saying it every year, ‘At times, I’d rather have less flexibility and great players under contract.’ The thing we are learning about this team with Bojan, and Thad, and DC and Cory and Tyreke is they are playing their tails off. They are playing the right way. We have a lot of options moving forward.”

 

On the remaining 25 games this season:

 

“When Victor went down, you could easily justify, ‘Let’s take it back. Let’s look to the future.’ I don’t like tank. I don’t like that word. That’s a weird word for me. We could have looked at that. That never got on anybody’s tongue. We never thought about that. We are in here to win. This organization wins. And we believe in building a strong culture. I believe that perpetuates winning. Guys know that they are expected to come in here and play their best, be for the team and be unselfish. I spoke to the team (on Friday). I always speak to the team right after the trade deadline and the truth is I couldn’t be more proud of this team. This team is competing their butts off. Maybe we are not the most talented team in the East, but I can see it in their eyes after games, they feel like they can compete with anyone. Last year we saw it with our guys in going against the best player in the world in LeBron. We took them to 7 games and we were considered, at the beginning of the year, a non-playoff team. This team needs to be given the credit that it deserves. We have a tough stretch in March. We are going to be tested in March, but we are going to be a playoff team and we are going to be a tough out in the playoffs.”

 

On a firm number on a wins goal this season:

 

“I don’t get into that. I worry about is your culture right? Are you doing three things: Are you playing hard? Are you playing smart? Are you playing together? I evaluate every game. There’s sometimes I walk out of here and we’ve won and I’m not as happy as I should be because we’ve won. We’ve had some losses. We’ve done that to the N’th degree and I’m totally happy because I see that we are doing the right things. Sometimes teams just beat you. I don’t get caught up in, ‘Oh my gosh, we’ve got to win or we’ve got to be in the 3rd spot or 4th spot.’ That’s going to take care of itself. But if we do what we are supposed to do and do those three things…Nate and his staff and our players, they have bought in. They’ve bought in. If you guys can’t tell, these guys play together. We have some tough guys. We have a team that competes their assess off and I’m thrilled about that. I’ll go into any game or any series and compete with these guys.”

 

On if the players spoke up like last year about wanting to keep this group together after the trade deadline:

 

“There were some subtle hints. This team has more inner belief than some teams I’ve been around. Sometimes you are around a team and you are winning and you don’t know if they actually believe. I think this team believes they can actually win. I like that. I like the confidence that Nate instills in players. Hopefully we can add another player that is part of what we are really about.”

 

On Oladipo’s injury affecting the plan for the Pacers this offseason:

 

“It affects it because with Victor you have an intense closer. I can’t tell you that with a fact. Maybe we would have been a little bit more aggressive, but it’s hard to give up on anybody on this team. You get mentally close and we’ve seen this team compete in the playoffs. We have a very competitive team and they hold each other accountable. I don’t know if I would have been more aggressive. That’s hard for me to answer.”

 

On if some of his starters were involved in possible trade talks:

 

“I think there were more inbound calls to us than outbound calls. I think other executives thought that there was a chance we would kind of blow it up. At the end of the day, we want to compete. We are in 3rd place in the East. It would have been hard for me to walk in to that locker room and say, ‘Guys we are going to look to the future.’ That’s not fair to these guys. From what they’ve put out this year and how proud we are of them…Since Victor’s injury we have lost a few, but we have also come back and won a few. It kind of tells me that this team wants to be together.”

 

On Oladipo’s rehab:

 

“I’m staying in constant contact with him. Victor and I have a very unique relationship. Sometimes he thinks that he can tell me who to go and get. He has very high opinions on players and I like that. That just means he’s invested into the team. The team met with him in Miami and you saw how we played in Miami. You don’t think that we don’t know that his infectious positivity around our guys is going to be important? He’s got to get healthy enough to travel, but him being back around at times is going to help us. I would have been surprised after his surgery if he wasn’t trying to get a little nerf hoop to shoot on. That’s just his personality. I spent a couple of days with him in Miami and I walk into his room and he has a pile of books from cooking to, one of my favorite books is called ‘The Inner Game of Tennis.’ He had that sent to him. He’s got notes and he’s marking things. Victor is one of those guys that is all about self-improvement. I have every confidence that he’s going to be back better than ever. His mental aptitude for the game will be a lot better and I have no doubt his physical ability will be back, too.”

 

On if he expects Oladipo to be ready for Training Camp in 2019:

 

“I have no idea. Don’t put me in that position. We just don’t know. I hope that he is a fast healer. The one thing that I can probably share in what this organization does is that we never bring back players early. When he’s ready, he’ll be ready and he’ll be out there.”

 

On Myles Turner’s season:

 

“What’s scary is I don’t think we have seen his potential. He’s a defensive monster right now. We are having the talks and the trades with friends around the league. They are going, ‘Holy cow, this guy is really a defensive presence, like an A-list defensive presence.’ How do you measure that at 22 years old? What’s he going to be at 26 or 28, when he is in his prime? Now, he’s making shots. He’s becoming more of a ball handler. I think he has unlimited potential. I think (the deal) was good for both sides.”

 

On knowing about Thaddeus Young’s leadership:

 

“We heard how good of a guy he was and how dedicated to winning, more than his numbers but the thing I noticed about him is he has a phenomenal feel for when he needs to be aggressive scoring and then when he really needs to lock in on defense. Every single game you know what you are getting defensively. He’s an elite defender. When I look at him, (Domantas) Sabonis, Myles (Turner), in the frontcourt, I don’t know if there’s many as good as those three. We feel very fortunate to have that 3-man rotation. You look at Sabonis, his numbers, his analytics are just amazing. He’s done some things this year coming off the bench that’s impressive. He should be a high candidate for 6th Man of the Year. I’d be shocked if he’s not that or one of the top. What he does and what’s happening is that teams are playing us and normally you don’t really game plan for a 6th or 7th man. From what I can tell from other guys around the league, they are saying, ‘How do we stop Victor? How do we stop Sabonis?’ He’s the second guy coming out of their mouth.”

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