It's a paradox, do you continue to pay and play a man who doesn't know he's got a good thing when he's hurting your team? How can any team straddle the delicate balance of moral ground and god given talent?
For year's, the Portland Trailblazers were attempting to live with player off-court issues like drugs, weapons and generally abhorrent behaviour. It's possible the community would look the other way, if only the team could win. After all, winning cures everything, doesn't it? It took years of losing and carrying the moniker of "Jailblazers" before the ownership said enough is enough, good character builds strong communities and winners.
It took the Indiana Pacers a similar experience. During the much talked about "Detroit Brawl", where Indiana players took their frustration out on fans, there were 3 players who were already known for their trouble with the law, Steven Jackson, Ron Artest and Jamaal Tinsley. It didn't take too long for the Pacers to see Jackson and Artest out of town one way or another. Having team losses discussed in the media day after day is one thing, but when that negativity crosses over to the character of the franchise and it's players, that's another thing all together.
Jamaal Tinsley, the only player left over with any sort of questionable media presence is being shopped around. Maybe the Pacers want him out of town because of all the injuries, maybe it's because last season he was once again in the middle of a downtown shooting case where he and his "entourage" were the targets, but whatever the reason may be, i think we are approaching a time in the league where teams are not willing to part with peace of mind in return for only a marginal statistical chance they can win a few more games.
The Pacers sent a loud and clear message, attaining TJ Ford and Jarrett Jack this off-season in separate trades with Toronto and Portland. Ford is not a bench player by any means and Jack is a more stable influence on the court than Tinsley is. It's true that Tinsley is capable of scoring in bunches and be a team concept player at times but when the concepts don't work, you need a level head and Tinsley doesn't bring that to the table.
So the search continues now for the Pacers, how do you trade a commodity that most teams fear to take on? Not only for the monetary value of his contract but for the potential chemistry issues Tinsley can bring with his 12 points and 8 assists per game.
A quick scan of potential teams in need of point guard help:
BOSTON - Rajon Rondo is a good young point guard, knows how to get out of the way of the big boys in town, aside from him, Eddie House can handle the point but is much better suited as a shooting guard.
DENVER - If you assume that Allen Iverson will continue to play the shooting guard in that offense, then your starter is Anthony Carter, who filled in very well last season, but the only backup in Denver is Chucky Atkins.
GOLDEN STATE - Monta Ellis is injured and some question whether he should be considered a point guard anyway, beyond that, the Warriors have unproven Marcus Williams who's shown trouble playing the position when his minutes are increased. But... do the Warriors want to pair up Tinsley with shooting gallery ex-teammate Stephen Jackson?
MIAMI - The Heat are coming off a horrible season and might look to impress. The point guards there are Mario Chalmers, Chris Quinn and Marcus Banks. At this point Tinsley would be a better option, especially if you want to keep Dwane Wade from dropping back to the point from shooting guard.
WASHINGTON - Gilbert Arenas is going to miss the beginning of the season and i'm a big fan of Antonio Daniels' abilities at the point but that's all the Wizards have. Tinsley could be a big help for the Wiz, at least until Christmas, but at what cost, both to the cap and to the team chemistry?
It just seems to me, there aren't many minutes out there for Tinsley this season, of course injuries could play a part and open up a few spots this season. Some might say it's poor planning for the Pacers to acquire 2 point guards when they haven't moved their current one, but when you find what you think can make your team better, you have to jump on it.
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