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Roy Hibbert quietly being shopped in trade talks by Pacers?

Roy Hibbert benchThe Indiana Pacers are quietly shopping center Roy Hibbert following the big man’s disappointing second half of the season, according to a report.

Sporting News’ Sean Deveney quotes a source saying the Pacers are quietly looking to deal Hibbert, who has two years and $30 million left on his contract. Hibbert went from being considered a project when drafted in 2008 to developing into a very strong center and two-time All-Star. However, he started disappearing in March, April and during the playoffs and looked like a totally ineffective player.

The Pacers are trying to re-sign guard Lance Stephenson and reportedly are offering him $44 million over five years. Stephenson has not yet decided his future.

Deveney says the Pacers — no surprise — consider Paul George untouchable, and almost have David West in the same category. If they do trade Hibbert, Deveney says they would prefer to send him to the Western Conference.

Ultimately, what Indiana does depends on what happens with Miami. If the Heat maintain their core or strengthen it, Pacers exec Larry Bird would be motivated to change his roster. If the Heat break up, he might be more inclined to keep the roster intact considering they reached the Eastern Conference finals.

This is a clear example of the Pacers trying to sell low. Maybe some teams will see value in Hibbert, but it’s hard to imagine any team being eager to pay him the $30 million he is due.

Pacers’ free agency pitch to Lance Stephenson included personal movie

Lance Stephenson LeBron James ear

Lance Stephenson made headlines for all the wrong reasons during the 2014 NBA Playoffs. The Indiana Pacers guard irritated opponents and teammates by doing stuff like blowing in LeBron James’ ear. Even Pacers president Larry Bird publicly criticized Stephenson, but that doesn’t mean the team won’t have him back.

Stephenson is officially a free agent. According to Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star, the Pacers made their pitch to the former Cincinnati star as soon as the free agency period officially began at midnight on Tuesday. They even included a personalized movie for him.

>>At 12:01 a.m. this morning, Lance Stephenson and company were with the Indiana Pacers’ team brass at a private party. The event included a viewing of a movie in Stephenson’s honor.

>>The movie was a secret to Stephenson.

>>Parts of the movie featured a few words from Larry Bird, Pacers president of basketball operations, and coach Frank Vogel.

>>Sources say things got “emotional” for Stephenson’s loved ones at certain parts, especially when the ‘Born Ready’ life story began reflecting on his journey to climb out of Coney Island.

Buckner said the Pacers always try to do something special for their free agents, but the movie was a first. We’re going to guess the film didn’t include any clips of Stephenson blowing in ears.

While you may be surprised that the Pacers are going to such lengths to keep Stephenson after the way he acted in the postseason, there aren’t many better options. He is just 23 years old and averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists last season. He’s a big part of what the Pacers do, so they’re probably hoping he re-signs and matures a bit during the offseason.

At least the Pacers’ media room dry erase board is ready for Game 2

Pacers dining room board

The Indiana Pacers haven’t exactly been prepared for the postseason, but at least the people in charge of the media room have their game faces on.

Prior to Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the Wizards and Pacers in Indiana Wednesday, the dry erase board in the media room had the above drawing and message on it, as shared by Washington Post Wizards reporter Michael Lee.

Yes, the person who put that doodle together is predicting a 97-78 win for the Pacers in Game 2 coming off their 102-96 loss in Game 1. I don’t see that happening, but I definitely appreciate the positive mojo they’re trying to send out. And that drawing of the wizard was definitely well done, too.

Charles Barkley rips Pacers, calls them ‘wussies’

Charles-BarkleyThe Indiana Pacers played very poorly throughout the final two months of the regular season, and the trend continued in Game 1 of their playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night. Despite their disappointing play down the stretch, Indiana still secured the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. You wouldn’t know it by watching them on the court.

Like many others, Charles Barkley is fed up with watching such a talented team struggle to score points. He went off on the Pacers on Sunday’s “Inside the NBA” halftime show.

“You guys talk all that noise all year,” Barkley said. “‘We want home court.’ Then you come out (Saturday) night and play like dogs.”

Barkley then complimented the Pacers for having a great front office presence in Larry Bird and a great head coach in Frank Vogel.

“But to come out and play like wussies the last month of the season, get a fresh start and then come out at home (Saturday) night… I was disappointed because I’m an Indiana fan,” he continued. “But to come out and play like flat wussies… Come on man, ya’ll are better than that. You’re embarrassing coach Vogel and the great Larry Bird.”

I’m sure Indiana fans feel the same way as Sir Charles. The No. 1 seed has lost in the first round just 8% of the time in the NBA playoffs, but the Pacers look incredibly vulnerable. They have seemingly had chemistry issues for a while and have lost their identity. With the way Jeff Teague played in Game 1, Indiana fans have every right to be concerned.

H/T Eye on Basketball

Frank Vogel to Pacers: Stop complaining about in-house stuff

Frank-Vogel-Heat-floppersThe Indiana Pacers have not been shy about expressing their displeasure during their current 7-10 stretch of play. They are slowly losing their grip on the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, mainly because they can’t find ways to score. Regardless of what their issues may be, Indiana head coach Frank Vogel wants his team to stop complaining.

Or, at the very least, Vogel doesn’t want to hear the Pacers whining with microphones in their faces.

“It bothers me,” Vogel said Wednesday, via Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star. “Guys should never air in-house stuff to the media. I talked to the team about it today (Wednesday).”

More specifically, Vogel seemed bothered by Roy Hibbert’s comments last week when he called his teammates selfish.

“It was a weird thing. Roy said it a couple of days ago (after the Washington loss) and nobody really caught onto it until (recently),” Vogel added. “So I made sure to tell them that A) I don’t believe we have ‘selfish dudes’ in our locker room and B) whatever you might want to say about your teammates, don’t say it to the media. We have to get that stopped.”

Pacers forward David West also said recently that the team does not play a “good brand of basketball.” Considering Indiana was — and still is — one of the best teams in the East, that seems like a bit of an overreaction.

“Every team has stretches like this, some in December, some in January,” Vogel said. “It just happens that it’s happening to us in March. I still think our guys really believe in what we have here. I think it’s going to stabilize and turn around for us.”

Better to happen in March than in late April, I suppose. But if the Pacers don’t lose the “sky is falling” mentality before the postseason begins, their bad stretch of play may continue.

David West: Pacers look vulnerable, don’t play good brand of basketball

David-West-PacersIf you believe in momentum heading into the NBA playoffs, you understand why the Indiana Pacers desperately need to pick things up over the final nine games of the season. The Pacers, who still own the best record in the Eastern Conference, have gone just 8-8 in the month of March — their worst this season. David West spoke about his team’s struggles after Friday night’s loss.

“We look vulnerable,” West said, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. “We look like teams can just come at us. Again, it’s because we don’t play a good brand of basketball.”

West’s comments came after Indiana lost to the Washington Wizards, a mediocre team at best. The Pacers committed 17 turnovers in the game, and West was responsible for four of them. He believes his team is taking lesser opponents too lightly.

“We’re at the point where we can’t just get up for the Miamis or the Chicago Bulls and then come out and get doughnuts against the Wizards or these other teams,” West said, via ESPN.com. “I just don’t know if we are handling success and being out front the right way.”

Roy Hibbert sounded just as frustrated as West.

“I don’t know. We’re tired of talking about it,” Hibbert said. “We’ve been in this rut for a month. You take one step forward, three steps back.”

We know the Heat are going to bring it come playoff time. They have won back-to-back championships and LeBron James is hungry for a third. If the Pacers want to stop them, they’ll have to match their intensity. Indiana certainly has the talent. Hopefully they’re getting their bad games out of the way now.

Andrew Bynum reportedly convinced Pacers to sign him

Andrew BynumYou won’t find many players in the NBA who are respected less than Andrew Bynum. The Chicago Bulls acquired Bynum in a trade for Luol Deng with the Cleveland Cavaliers last month, but only to waive him for financial relief.  Now, the Indiana Pacers have decided to take a low-risk, high-reward gamble on the oft-injured center.

Why would anyone want to add Bynum to their roster? According to Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star, Bynum talked the Pacers’ brass into signing him with a convincing pitch during a three-hour dinner.

[Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard] said that during the Friday night dinner – which included team president Larry Bird and coach Frank Vogel — Bynum made quite the pitch to join the Eastern Conference-leading Pacers.

“He made it perfectly clear,” Pritchard said during the radio interview. “He was like, ‘Look, I want to win a championship, I think I can really help you, and I want to fit in. I’m not coming here to let everybody fit in with me. I got to fit in with everybody else.’

“When he said that I think the thing changed.”

That must have been one hell of a sales job. Bynum was suspended by the Cavs earlier this year for conduct detrimental to the team, though Deng later said that the team is a mess in general. Still, that was hardly the first we have heard of Bynum being a disruptive presence.

Bynum doesn’t seem to like basketball, and one former teammate said he has never seen a player who dislikes the sport more. That said, the Pacers are already a championship contender. If Bynum causes a hint of a problem, they’ll just cut him and move on. If he is healthy and actually feels like trying, he could provide some quality front-court depth.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk