June 23, 2010

The day before the NBA Draft was unusually quiet, somewhat surprising given Larry Bird's aggressive pursuit of a point guard.

That began to change in the evening hours as reports surfaced of two separate trades involving the Pacers.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.com reported on his Twitter account "Thunder holding serious talks with Pacers to trade Eric Maynor, 18th and 21st picks for Indy's 10th pick."

And shortly after reports went online the Pacers had offered Troy Murphy to Minnesota for Al Jefferson in a swap of power forwards. Timberwolves president David Kahn issued a denial to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

"Murphy is yet another in a long line of desperation Hail Marys put out by Indiana on all our players," Kahn said.

Kahn previously denied rumors of a deal sending point guard Jonny Flynn to the Pacers for a package including the No. 10 pick.

There was no comment from either the Pacers or the Thunder on the Maynor report.

The 6-3 product of Virginia Commonwealth was drafted No. 20 overall last June by Utah and traded to Oklahoma City on Dec. 22. In 81 games as a rookie he averaged 15.7 minutes, 4.7 points and 3.3 assists. He had one of his best games against the Pacers, scoring 15 points with 11 assists for the Thunder on March 21.

Oklahoma City is reported to be interested in moving up to acquire Gordon Hayward of Butler. What the Pacers might do with picks 18 and 21 is uncertain. They could continue to pursue deals leveraging their picks in combination with their five expiring contracts (Troy Murphy, T.J. Ford, Jeff Foster, Mike Dunleavy and Solomon Jones). Or they could keep the picks and continue to add to their pool of young talent.

With Earl Watson a free agent, A.J. Price facing a lengthy recovery from knee surgery and Ford entering the final season of his contract after failing to hold the starting spot each of the past two seasons, the Pacers have a pronounced need for a point guard.

"If we can't get the point guard that we want (through) the draft," Bird said Tuesday, "obviously after the draft we've got expiring contracts and we'll go after one."

The Pacers have been linked in published reports in trade rumors with a number of other teams including New Orleans (Darren Collison), Denver (Ty Lawson), Charlotte (D.J. Augustin or Raymond Felton), San Antonio (George Hill or Tony Parker) and Minnesota (Flynn).

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