Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird spoke today of shifting toward a small-ball approach and said that it would be the plan regardless of what Roy Hibbert does with his $15.514MM player option for next season, as Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star relays (Twitter links). Coach Frank Vogel said Hibbert’s role will be “diminished” and wouldn’t dismiss the idea that he’ll bench the center, Buckner notes (All four Twitter links). It’s forboding news for the slow-footed Hibbert, Buckner observes (on Twitter), and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com wonders if Bird’s remarks are intended to try to convince Hibbert to opt out (Twitter link). Bird said he has “no clue” what Hibbert will do with the option, Buckner points out (on Twitter). Windhorst finds it difficult to envision the big man turning down that much money, though Hibbert’s agent, David Falk, has had no shortage of success in finding the right deal on the market for Hibbert and his other clients, the ESPN scribe notes (on Twitter). There’s plenty more from the exit interviews in Indiana, and we’ll sum up the most relevant information here:
- Bird said he didn’t know what David West would do with his $12.6MM player option, though he added that West had made references to next year when they spoke earlier, Buckner tweets. Vogel said that he has a gut feeling that West will opt in, but while he expects Hibbert will also do so, he emphasized that it’s just his speculation about the center, Buckner notes (Twitter links).
- All of the Pacers who are set to become free agents expressed a desire to re-sign with the Pacers, Bird said, adding that whether that happens for all of them remains up in the air, as Buckner relays (Twitter link).
- It’s important for the Pacers that soon-to-be free agent Rodney Stuckey re-signs, Bird believes, and he’s optimistic they’ll get a deal done, according to Buckner (on Twitter). “We need guys like Rodney,” Bird said.
- Bird expressed hope that the team would re-sign Luis Scola, too, but the exec doesn’t think the Pacers will retain C.J. Watson, Buckner notes (Twitter links). It’s unclear whether Bird simply doesn’t intend to pursue a new deal with Watson or if he thinks the point guard will command more on the market than the Pacers will be willing to pay.