Now that the Carmelo drama has ended, what does this mean for the Pacers and other teams in the East?
It sure doesn't help them.
The good news is, the Pacers got a win in Washington D.C. tonight, defeating the Wizards 113-96. Danny Granger had 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Tyler Hansbrough added 17 off the bench. Roy Hibbert had another solid outing with 16 points, six rebounds, and four blocks.
The Pacers used the fast break to fuel their offense, which has been reloaded and energized since the coaching change. Every player that entered the game scored for Indiana, including Paul George, who added 11 points off the bench.
Darren Collison also had another solid performance with 11 points, six assists, and five rebounds.
Indiana had a 10-0 run late in the second quarter, and a 15-3 run to open the third. Indiana outscored Washington 65-38 over the second and third quarters, with the Wizards committing 12 turnovers during that span.
Indiana went to the free throw line 45 times in the game.
The win pushes their record to 25-30, and keeps them in the playoff race at the moment.
With most every team having about 25 games remaining in the season, the Carmelo Anthony trade will have a different effect on all of them. For the Pacers, it is significant because it hurts them in many ways.
The first reason this is bad for the Pacers is obvious.
The New York Knicks are beginning their run as the next team to have a "big three", taking after Boston and Miami. Now that they have Amare and Carmelo, they will likely find their third missing piece over the next year or two, most likely a PG like Deron Williams, Chris Paul, or even Tony Parker.
Unfortunately, another team in the East is building a potential dynasty for the next decade or so. Even though Boston is nearing the end of their run, New York will take its place, and teams like the Knicks, Heat, Bulls, and even the Magic will run the East for the next decade.
Teams like the Pacers are hurt mostly by this trade because they are finally trending on the way up, but without a single "star" in the league on their team, it will be almost impossible for them to compete for championships anytime soon.
The only thing the Pacers (and other teams in this situation) can hope for is a strict new CBA. If there is a harder salary cap that will prevent multiple "stars" from joining forces on the same team, it could save the small market teams, thus giving them a fighting chance.
The Pacers have finally found themselves in a good position after this season, as they will have a lot of expiring contracts. They will have the most money to spend on free agents out of all of the teams in the NBA.
Unfortunately, the timing couldn't be worse, as there won't be any big name players to go after with that money. The year after that guys like Deron Williams, Dwight Howard, and Chris Paul will be free to go wherever they choose, but with the way things are going now in the NBA, the chances of their wearing a Pacers jersey are slim to none, at best.
Indiana will continue to fight on though, as they look to make the playoffs for the first time in five years. It will be an accomplishment that this franchise and this city can build on for the future, whatever that holds.
The Pacers are returning home tonight after their win, as they will host the Detroit Pistons tomorrow night at Conseco Fieldhouse. It will be the first of four straight home games for the Pacers, who will be tested in every game.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. local time.
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