Now that the Pacers season is in the books, it’s time to look ahead to the offseason. After re-tooling this year, Indiana didn’t put up any better of a fight against the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, and had a tumultuous run to end the season. Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported on a team he doesn’t think has any positives to show for the 2013/14 campaign. Some of the highlights:
- NBA coaching circles still believe Frank Vogel was coaching for his job in the first round of the playoffs, and perhaps second round, too, but the situation is less cut and dry now that the Pacers made it to a Game 6 in the conference finals.
- The ESPN scribe hears whispers in Indiana about Mark Jackson as a potential replacement of Vogel, should Vogel get fired. Jackson has history with both president Larry Bird and front office consultant Donnie Walsh.
- The personnel grapevine is indicating to Stein that Lance Stephenson‘s free agency market is already drying up, and he suspects Stephenson is more likely to return to Indiana because of it. While Bird has been committed to sticking with Stephenson until at least last week, a team like the Mavericks–normally open to bringing in risky players–has shown no interest in pursuing the guard as a free agent.
- Roy Hibbert would be open to a trade if the Pacers decided to try and move him, sources tell Stein. Hibbert hasn’t asked for a trade, and his contract could be difficult to move if Indiana decided to try and do so.
- The Pacers covet a more natural ballhandler to add to a roster that didn’t feature a point guard averaging even 5 assists per game this season.
- Paul George is still considered untouchable by the Pacers, but Stein wonders if he will be able to live up to growing expectations and pressures next season.