In a press conference that lasted a little over 10 minutes, President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird officially announced the hiring of Frank Vogel as head coach. Also announced, was that next week a press conference will be held to reveal who else will join Brian Shaw on the assistant coaching staff.
With Indiana's coaching vacancy finally addressed, the Pacers can now focus on which free agents the team is willing to spend its $20 million in cap space on, right? Actually, no they can't.
Because of the ongoing NBA lockout, teams are allowed virtually zero contact with players. The restrictions are so stringent that team personnel can be fined simply for re-tweeting the Twitter messages of any athlete in the league.
Despite labor issues halting the start of free agency, fans around the country are still doing what they do best—speculate. Who can Indiana sign to fill the holes left in the team? What free agents are available and which have team restrictions? Which available players best fit in with Pacers basketball?
To answer these questions and further add to the infinite speculation, here are 10 free agents that foremost fill the Pacers' voids.
To lead the NCAA in scoring is no easy feat. Reggie Williams did it twice and still wasn't drafted into the NBA.
After college, Williams played overseas, then made his way to the NBA Developmental League where he averaged 26 points per game while shooting 57 percent from the field for the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Then, late into the season, the Golden State Warriors came calling and Reggie responded by scoring 15.2 points per game in 24 appearances.
Williams, a career 40 percent three-point shooter, would provide instant offense to a Pacers bench that at times (the playoffs) looked inadequate while trying to score the basketball. Additionally, the former VMI star is a natural small forward whereas current players Brandon Rush and Dahntay Jones are more suited to play the 2-guard.
Plus, you can't deny that Indiana natives have been dying to cheer for a guy named Reggie since the "Knick Killer" retired in 2005.
Each offseason, there is a veteran that almost every team could use to improve their foundation. This year, that player at the center position is Samuel Dalembert.
The native of Haiti is by no means an All-Star, however Dalembert does two things particularly well: block shots and rebound. These aforementioned attributes are considered premiums that any team can use an upgrade at.
While the Miami Heat are widely rumored to be actively pursuing the free agent, Dalembert would fit in quite well as a Pacer reserve. With franchise mainstay Jeff Foster's contract up, Indiana could be looking for the first time since 1999 to replace the fan favorite. Dalembert is not only just as capable at rebounding as Foster, he can also send back shots and contribute more offensively.
If Samuel is expecting anything in the neighborhood of his last contract (six years/$58 million) from the Pacers though, then he can pack his bags and take his talents to South Beach.
DeAndre Jordan's middle name has to be "Dunk." I honestly can't say that I've seen him score any other way besides the dunk or alley-oop. I certainly haven't seen him make a free throw as evident by his atrocious career 41 free-throw percentage.
If you look past the poor free-throw shooting though, it becomes clear that Jordan has the potential to become a dominant force in the paint. His career averages of 5.6 points per game, 5.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks are solid considering he has only played 19.5 minutes per game. Let's not forget that DeAndre shot 68 percent from the field last year either.
If the Clippers decide not to retain the services of Jordan, Roy Hibbert and DeAndre "The Giant" could form one of the most imposing one-two punches at center in the NBA.
This "Big Baby" can play basketball. While Davis is a bit undersized for the power forward position and doesn't always put up the prettiest numbers, he certainly knows how to win.
During his college career at LSU, Glen was named 2006 SEC Player of the Year, leading the Tigers to the Final Four his sophomore season. The Boston Celtics obtained Big Baby's rights in a draft-day trade and Davis has more than proven his worth.
Davis is always among the league-leaders in charges taken, can consistently hit the open jumper and seems to gobble up every loose ball. He is due for a raise after averaging 11.7 points per game and 5.5 rebounds off the Boston bench last season.
Glen would be in his comfort zone by backing up Tyler Hansbrough, giving the Pacers two players who know the definition of the word "hustle."
When Marcus Thornton is given consistent minutes, he can flat-out score the basketball. Thornton, the 2009 SEC Player of the Year at LSU, was drafted 43rd overall by the Miami Heat, then had his rights traded to the New Orleans Hornets.
Marcus made a lot of people in the Hornets' front office look smart his rookie season by averaging 14.5 points per game in only 25 minutes of play. He even broke a New Orleans franchise record by scoring 23 points in a single quarter during a game against the Cavaliers.
Last season, Thornton's playing time dwindled and when power forward David West went down with an injury, Marcus was traded to the Sacramento Kings. With a starting role finally attained, the shooting guard scored 21.3 points per game, pulled down 4.7 rebounds and came up with 3.4 assists.
Thornton's place with the Kings appears to be firmly entrenched, but if he becomes available, several GMs around the league (David Morway better be one of them) will run towards to phone to try to steer the explosive scorer towards their city.
Off the bench, Marcus could become Indiana's super-sub.
As a Knick last year, Wilson Chandler averaged 16.4 points per game while shooting 46 percent on field-goal attempts. When he was traded to Denver late into the season, those numbers dipped to 12.5 points per game and a mediocre 41 percent from the field.
So what changed? Chandler didn't seem to really fit in with the Nuggets, who appear to be much higher on fellow small forward Danilo Gallinari. Hopefully this is only a case of a good player in the wrong system because Wilson's performance in the past suggests someone that was improving each year.
If the Nuggets do indeed begin to start Gallinari over Chandler, then he could decide to leave Denver to test free agency. As a defensive stopper and slasher, the former DePaul product would be an immediate upgrade over any current bench player the Pacers have.
Carl Landry seems to be undervalued wherever he has played in his NBA career. Drafted by Houston, Landry did not receive significant minutes until center Yao Ming was injured. In the 2009 season, Carl averaged 16.1 points and grabbed 5.5 rebounds during his 27.2 minutes per game.
The following year, Landry was traded to Sacramento where he became a starter putting up 18 points per game and 6.5 rebounds. He was then relegated to the bench and later traded to New Orleans to replace the injured David West.
Landry showed his effectiveness against the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs by scoring 15.8 points per game. Being a free agent now, many teams are surely going to have Carl at the top of their wish list.
The Pacers are most likely the team that Landry fits in with best. He is a hard-nosed player (see Dirk's elbow) that can hit the mid-range jumper and rebound effectively—all things that Indiana particularly covets.
I'm not sure if Carl would start today for the Pacers, but the competition alone between he and Tyler Hansbrough would be a sight to behold.
Throughout his whole career, Thaddeus Young has insisted that he play at the power forward position. The 76ers have been reluctant, mostly plugging in Young at small forward despite his Player Efficiency Rating actually being higher as a power forward.
I say let Thaddeus play the 4-spot in Indiana. Some of you may be wondering how a player that's only 6'8" and 220 lbs can effectively play power forward in the NBA. Well, have you seen Thaddeus Young play before?
As a power forward Young becomes an instant mismatch for the other team while on offense. His quickness, wide array of post spin moves and ability to get to the free-throw line seems to mesmerize the bigger, slower players that have to guard him.
Young's lack of size does hurt him while on defense; however, coach Frank Vogel could instead start Tyler Hansbrough when the Pacers go up against some of the larger big men in the league.
With the addition of Young into the starting lineup, Indiana would become a fast break waiting to happen.
The former seventh overall pick of the 2002 NBA draft has become quite a productive starter over the past few seasons. Formerly known as Maybyner Hilario, Nene had arguably the best year of his career last season for the Denver Nuggets.
Nene averaged 14.5 points per game and 7.6 rebounds while leading the NBA in field-goal percentage by shooting 61.5 percent. Hilario, who has played both power forward and center during his career, will garner a lot of interest from several teams this offseason.
Hilario would immediately crack Indiana's starting lineup as a power forward, even at times spelling Roy Hibbert at the center position. Tyler Hansbrough then could further develop his game as a member of the"Goon Squad" while Indiana would have two potential All-Stars in the frontcourt.
The free agent that best addresses the Pacers' biggest need also happens to be coming off a torn ACL late last season. So is David West worst the risk? More importantly, is he worth Indiana's money?
Some fans attribute West's stellar numbers with New Orleans as a starter (19.2 points per game and eight rebounds over six seasons) to the playmaking ability of point guard Chris Paul. Undoubtedly, CP3 gives the big man his share of open looks, but most people fail to realize just how good David West really is.
West attended Xavier University, where he was a three-time Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year, 2003 AP National Player of the Year and had his jersey number retired while still playing. Sports Illustrated even named David to their NCAA All-Decade Team in 2007.
Yes, he is coming off a season-ending injury but reports indicate that West is ahead of schedule on rehabbing his knee, which serves as further testament to his hard-working nature. At 31 years old, David can become a presence on and off the court in Indiana.
As a player, he gives the Pacers one of the best inside-outside combinations when paired with Danny Granger. As a veteran, he provides Tyler Hansbrough with a model to emulate his game after.
As a free agent in today's market, David West is more than worth the price tag for the Indiana Pacers.