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Mark's Mailbag: Playoffs Edition

by Mark Montieth | askmontieth@gmail.com

May 25, 2013

Editor's Note: Have a Pacers-related question for Mark? Want to be featured in his mailbag column? Send your questions to Mark on twitter at @MarkMontieth or by email at askmontieth@gmail.com.

Q. I wanted to know your thoughts on what the Pacers do with David West and David Granger next season? I love West but would think we could re-sign him and package those two before the All-Star break. If Granger gets back to his old ways! What do you think? l.

— Dereck

A. I think you shouldn't say that too loudly, or you might get hurt by an angry fan.

West is invaluable to this team, on the court and off. The front office will make every effort to sign him this summer when he becomes a free agent, and lock him up for at least a few more years. He's 32, and given his body and style of play, should still be effective for at least a few more years.

Granger is a different issue. He has one more year on his contract and will receive a little more than $14 million next season. He also has a questionable knee that kept him out of all but five games this season. He would have trade value because of his expiring contract if he fully recovers, but the Pacers aren't likely to want to take on more salary. They'll need some salaries to come off the books in future years to keep West, give Paul George his max contract and keep Lance Stephenson.

The Pacers, who are 1-1 in their series with the Heat as I write this masterpiece of literature, are a legit title contender, this year and presumably for a few more. They're not going to ruin that by trading West. To package West with Granger next season would require taking back a contract of about $25 million. You could get an awfully good player for that amount of money, but a team isn't likely to trade a superstar for David West and an expiring contract, right?

I'm curious, who would you want the Pacers to receive for a package of West and Granger?

Q. With all the improvements and success we have had under Coach Vogel, he is probably a hot commodity for teams looking for a new coach. In particular, I am worried about the Brooklyn Nets. We all know Coach is an “East Coast" guy, and you can hear it when he talks. Anyways, do you see the Nets making a run at our Coach after the season? From what I understand he is very happy here in Indy, but the Nets can probably pay him much more than we can, and there really is “no place like home.” Am I just being overly pessimistic, or should we really be concerned?

— Michael

A. You are being overly pessimistic.

For one thing, Vogel signed a contract extension during the season and cannot go anywhere for a few more years. For another, he's coaching a young, competitive team with a bright present and future. Why would he want to leave? And, for another, while he might sound like an East Coast guy, he fits well in the Midwest. He's lived several years in Lexington, Ky and in Indianapolis, so I doubt he's got a great desire to uproot his family and go fight the traffic in Brooklyn.

Q. Hey Mark, big fan of your work, I read regularly. My question concerns the media blowing Vogel's post game 6 comments about Miami being “the next team in our way” out of proportion. I believe Vogel simply meant that they want to bring a title to Indy and Miami is the next team in the way of that goal, and that he meant no disrespect towards the Heat. What is your opinion? Thanks again! Big fan!

— Andrew

A. No doubt about it, Vogel's comment was twisted slightly to sound like an insult. You interpreted it correctly. Somehow, an Associated Press reporter from Miami presented it in a slightly different form to LeBron James, whose response was not out of line given the way he heard it. I don't know if the AP reporter was misinformed about Vogel's comment or intentionally altered it to get a response, but it was a non-story from the start.

Q. Do you think my Pacers are mentally tough enough to win a title now?

— Jmwallace

A. When you first posed this question a few weeks ago, I thought no, this team needed more time to grow into a tough-enough team to win a title. But now that the Pacers are 1-1 with the Heat, I'd say yes, they are. They are growing with each game, and have all the confidence they need.

Who knows? At the rate they're going, by the time the playoffs are over they might be burned out, grizzled veterans.

Q. I have read your great blog post on George McGinnis' playoff triple-doubles, but noticed one discrepancy with turnovers. Pacers playoff Media Guide lists 11 turnovers on 4/16/75 as single game franchise record for an individual, while you list 12 turnovers as part of McGinnis' stat line on 4/30/75. Is the record actually 12 or you made a typo?

How about Pacers regular season ABA triple-doubles? I am really curious to see that list. Perhaps in some of the future blog posts?

— Nikola

A. I would have to go back and check the box score, which I'm unable to do now. There are bound volumes of all the Pacers box scores in the media relations department, so if I get a chance and I think of it I'll double-check.

As for the regular season ABA triple-doubles, that would require someone to go through nine years of box scores to tally them up. I don't know anybody with that kind of time right now, but if you would like to volunteer I'll pass along the request. Kidding. Perhaps a team of interns can get to it someday. I'll admit, I'm curious as well. George McGinnis would have a lot of them, I know that.

Q. I moved to Indiana about six months ago, am now watching the series and following the Pacers, found your name on the internet.

What will the Pacers be looking for in the draft? How good is Granger; will he be a Pacer next year? So now they will play the Heat; I am mainly interested to know your views about what they might do in the off-season so they can win the NBA title next year!

— David

A. The Pacers have the 23rd pick in the draft, so barring a trade they will have to fall back on that time-tested strategy of going with the “best available” player. You're not likely to get a future star that late in the draft, but it can happen, and with so many young players coming out, you might get lucky.

How good is Granger? Regarding talent, he's very good. He led the team in scoring the past five seasons, and was an All-Star once. Regarding his health, it's questionable, as he's had a knee issue that kept him out of all but five games this season, and that clouds his future. I expect he will be with the team next season. The best-case scenario for the Pacers is that he recovers fully and becomes a factor. Either he or Lance Stephenson would have to come off the bench in that case, but that would be a good thing. I have the feeling Granger would accept that role at this stage of his career, and Stephenson probably would as well. Stephenson, if he could improve his point guard skills, could back up both guard positions. Whichever one plays the sixth man role would get starter's minutes.

We're getting ahead of ourselves, though, because we have no idea how Granger's knee will be when training camp opens in the fall.

Q. Love your column and your articles and your features.

I am a life-long Pacers fan from Denmark. I have a question about the Pacers free agency. What are the thoughts about our point guard situation? D.J. is a free agent and hasn't proven to be the solution at the back-up point guard. Personally I would LOVE to see A.J. Price back - this time as the premier back-up for George Hill and not as the third string. Are the Pacers looking at him (I think he would be close to a perfect fit)? And if not, what are your thoughts about the Pacers point guard situation for next year?

Thanks again for your contributions to Pacers.com :-)

— Jacob

A. It will be interesting to see what the Pacers do to address their point guard spot. A.J. Price was a popular teammate while with the Pacers, and becomes a free agent again this summer. From all I've heard, he would love to come back. One could argue he is as good or better than Augustin, and his stats were superior, but he played more minutes per game (when he played) and was on a much weaker team.

There are options out there, but remember, the Pacers won't have a lot of money to spend for a backup point guard with all the other items on their to-do list – starting with re-signing David West. At times such as these it's appropriate to quote those legendary basketball analysts The Rolling Stones, who reminded us that “you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.”

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