Alex Brandon/Associated Press
It's anybody's guess if Pacers president Larry Bird is done tinkering with the lineup.
As of July 23, 8points9seconds.com's Tim Donahue reports the Pacers have committed $75,185,539 in salaries to 15 players. Donahue also adds that this season's luxury tax threshold is $76,829,000.
Does this mean Larry Legend is done tinkering with Indiana's lineup?
Indications say he isn't.
Consider the Pacers' current unbalanced depth chart, per Donahue:
- Point guard—George Hill, C.J. Watson, Donald Sloan
- Shooting guard—C.J. Miles, Rodney Stuckey
- Small forward—Paul George, Solomon Hill
- Power forward—David West, Luis Scola, Chris Copeland, Damjan Rudez
- Center—Roy Hibbert, Ian Mahinmi, Lavoy Allen, Shayne Whittington
Donahue says, "Indiana is decidedly thin on the wing and heavy at the big positions. There remains some flexibility within the roster regarding partially-guaranteed contracts."
In addition, the Pacers also need a playmaking point guard. Jameer Nelson would have been an ideal candidate, but he already signed with the Dallas Mavericks on July 24. It's anybody's guess if George Hill will still run the offense.
Based on Donahue's observation that Bird has a penchant for orchestrating deals once the free-agency period dies down (as was the case with Luis Scola on July 27 last year), the Hill issue remains a moot point.
What's clear is Roy Hibbert is still the man in the middle for Indy as no less than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was tapped to be his offseason mentor.
The Pacers are still a solid playoff club. Stephenson's loss is compensated for by Miles and Stuckey, two players who have contrasting strengths on offense. With several new faces in tow, Indiana also hopes to avoid a repeat of their epic late-season collapse in 2013-14.
All in all, the team is still a piece or two away from becoming a title contender.
Overall grade: B