Conrad Brunner Caught in the Web banner headline

After A Confusing Day, McRoberts Glad Nothing's Changed

by Conrad Brunner || Caught in the Web Archive

February 25, 2011

Brandon Rush, Josh McRoberts happy to still be with Pacers. (NBAE/Getty Images)

Josh McRoberts was at the barber shop Thursday afternoon when his world turned upside down, if only briefly.

"I took my jacket off and didn't have my phone with me," he said with a smile. "I went to go pay and my phone was ringing – and it never really rings like that – and I had about 15 missed calls and 15 texts. I didn't even have to look at it. I knew what it was for.

"By the time I got out and made a few phone calls to my agent he told me, 'You got traded,' but someone was in the background was like, 'No, I just talked to Memphis, the deal's off.' It was only a few seconds where I thought I was traded."

For about an hour after the NBA Trade Deadline passed at 3 p.m. Thursday, it appeared the Pacers had traded McRoberts to Memphis and Brandon Rush to New Orleans in a three-team deal that would've netted O.J. Mayo, according to a variety of media sources. First-round picks also reportedly were involved, though it's not clear whether the Pacers would've been on the giving or receiving end – or possibly both.

The deal did not go through, apparently because either Memphis or New Orleans opted to back away while the team representatives were on hold waiting to announce the trade to NBA officials.

That period of uncertainty, though relatively brief, was the hardest part for McRoberts.

"You kind of have that feeling in your stomach like, 'Man, I didn't see that coming,' so it's tough," he said. "But at the same time I didn't have time for it to really register before they said it was off.

"It was more being nervous for about an hour. Is it really off? Is it going to happen? Who knows what's going to happen? That was the toughest part. I wanted to know one way or another."

Rush, who just returned to the starting lineup at shooting guard Wednesday after Mike Dunleavy was sidelined indefinitely with a broken thumb, didn't have as much to say.

"It's a business and you've just got to go along with it," he said. "I'm definitely looking forward to the rest of the year."

A free agent after this season, McRoberts has been playing particularly well under interim coach Frank Vogel, averaging 10.6 points and 5.4 rebounds while shooting an astonishing 75 percent (36-of-48) from the field in the last eight games. He has started the last 14 games at power forward in what amounts to a split-minutes tag-team with Tyler Hansbrough.

Though briefly shaken by the previous day's events, McRoberts was smiling and settled after the shootaround Friday morning. He'll be back in the lineup when the Pacers host the Utah Jazz tonight.

"I'm fine," he said. "I know how my teammates and my coaches feel about me and I know the things I try to do to help us win. At the end of the day I want to win no matter where I'm at – especially here. …

"It was a strange day but other than that nothing's really changed."