Tinsley is still a Pacer
Disturbing…so very disturbing – Jamaal Tinsley is still an Indiana Pacer
Yesterday’s trade deadline saw a host of activities between 13 different NBA teams. Players were going here and there and everywhere (and for some, eg Tyson Chandler, back again), but to be honest, there was nothing really worth noting. The biggest had to be former Pacer Jermaine O’Neal’s swap with Shawn Marion (Toronto Raptors/Miami Heat), but no one’s expecting that trade to make much of a splash. You can read about ESPN’s analysis of all trades here.
The team quietly missing from the list of teams that made trades was the Indiana Pacers. You would think if any team needed a trade it would be them. Jamaal Tinsley hasn’t played been near Conseco Fieldhouse all season and he’s being paid. His name’s been removed from the lockers. And yet for the Pacers, the trade deadline came and went like a fart in the wind. Nothing.
I, like most Pacers fans, expected Jamaal Tinsley to be gone a long time ago. If not at the start of the season, then at least before the trade deadline. I started getting nervous when the trade deadline began to approach and there were virtually no rumours surrounding the Pacers. A couple of lacklustre trade suggestions with the Bobcats for Raymond Felton, and another even worse one involving the Miami Heat. A tiny murmur when Tyson Chandler got shipped back to New Orleans. That was it. I looked everywhere for something, anything that would assure me that the Pacers would get rid of Tinsley (whom the NBA had filed a grievance on his behalf). The more I looked, the more concerned I became. Not just the lack of trade possibilities, but how crap those suggested trades were. But I think all it demonstrated was that no one was interested in Tinsley or that the Pacers were asking too much for him (or unwilling to give up other pieces in order to get rid of him – eg Jeff Foster and Brandon Rush).
According to the official Pacers.com article about the trade deadline, looks were deceiving – the Pacers were trying really, really hard. Larry Bird said: “We were everywhere. We were very, very active with a number of teams. We just didn’t get anything done. It’s frustrating.”
Seriously, not good enough anymore. They’ve had more than half a season to find a new home for Jamaal Tinsley and they’ve come up short. With the team losing money, injuries mounting, the playoffs almost certainly out of reach, big bad contracts and a lack of talent, where do the Pacers go from here?
By the way, you can tell the Pacers were clearly frustrated when in the same article they took a cheap shot at Jermaine O’Neal:
Upon arrival in Miami, O’Neal called his new team “a perfect fit” and suggested the Heat has “a really good chance to do something special.” Upon his arrival in Toronto a few months ago, O’Neal said much the same thing, suggesting the Raptors had “a shot at doing some great things.” The Raptors, who won 41 games last season, have since fired Coach Sam Mitchell and stand 21-35, 14th in the Eastern Conference.
Real classy stuff by the Pacers to kick their former All-Star when he’s down. Seems they are truly feeling the pain.
Where to now?
Like I said all along, the Pacers have no one else to blame but themselves. The problem really started when last season ended. The Pacers, who wanted to get rid of Tinsley back then, should have done all they could to trade him during the offseason, when he still had some value. Instead, they tarnished his reputation by dwelling on his past indiscretions, his injury history, lack of commitment and leadership – essentially painting him as a team cancer – and saying he’ll never be an Indiana Pacer ever again. What did the Pacers expect after this? Teams to jump at Tinsley with their best players and expiring contracts? It’s frustrating to see just how badly management has handled this situation.
Now that a grievance has been filed and Tinsley will be with the Pacers until at least the end of this season, things could get ugly if they went to an arbitrator. Imagine if they ordered the Pacers to buy out Tinsley’s contract, something they had been unwilling to do from the beginning (as the contract would continue to count against them in the salary cap). Then the Pacers would definitely be kicking themselves because they would have essentially lost Tinsley for nothing (except, well, a lot of money) and they could have done this at the start, when this issue hadn’t become such an annoying baggage on the team.
As a fan, things could not be worse. The team still sucks, they’re hemorrhaging cash, they still have bad contracts, and they still have Jamaal Tinsley. Even if they did have cap room, no superstar is going to consider coming to a small market place like Indiana. The only thing they can do is trade, but no one wants to deal with them. Looks like it will be at least another few years before the Pacers become competitive again. Did the Detroit Brawl really generate that much bad karma for the Pacers? Even after more than 4 years, they are still paying for it.
Oh, and Granger’s out for up to 3 weeks
Amidst all the Tinsley crap, I forgot to mention that the Pacers’ leading scorer, Danny Granger, is out for 10 days up to 3 weeks after a partial tendon tear in his right foot – sustained during their previous game against the Charlotte Bobcats.
This could turn out to be a blessing in disguise. I mean, they’re already missing Dunleavy (probably for season) and Foster – and even when they had those guys they still couldn’t win any games. Why not take the full three weeks for Granger to heal his troublesome right knee as well, and give the Pacers a chance at a top 5 pick next season – one that can help out immediately or be used as trade bait? With virtually no chance of making the playoffs, why not start looking forward to next year?