Pacers announce two trades; acquire seven players
The Indiana Pacers announced Wednesday two trades that bring seven new faces to the team. In a deal with Toronto, the Pacers acquired T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, Maceo Baston and Roy Hibbert (the 17th overall pick in June’s NBA draft) for Jermaine O’Neal and Nathan Jawai (the 41st pick in the draft). In a trade with Portland, the Pacers receive Jarrett Jack, Josh McRoberts and Brandon Rush (13th overall pick in the draft) in exchange for Ike Diogu and Jerryd Bayless (the 11th pick in the draft).
“We’re very excited about the trades we made,” said Pacers President of Basketball Larry Bird. “We know we got some good character guys and good players. I just want to help the franchise move forward and we feel with the draft, we know we picked up two good guys that our fans are going to be very supportive of and excited about.”
Added Pacers Coach Jim O’Brien: “I think Larry and (General Manager) David Morway did an outstanding job in changing around our basketball team, both with the trades and the picks. Our team will have a completely different look next year. Overall, the seven new players we have give us a completely different look than we had last year and we have maintained the guys that got the majority of playing time at the end of last season.
“An area of particular concern for us last year was the point guard spot. We certainly feel with Travis (Diener) returning and the addition of T.J. Ford and Jarrett Jack we have solidified that position. We feel getting Maceo, Rasho and Josh really gives us solid depth up front. Brandon gives us a guy who can very quickly impact both ends of the court. Defensively, we think he can be a high-level stopper and we also think Brandon has the potential to create his own shot on a regular basis as well as give us spacing on the court. Roy gives us size and low-post scoring. At the end of every game, he’s still going to be 7-2, which is a real important factor for us.”
Here are brief summaries of the players acquired and their comments:
Ford is a 6-foot guard going into his fifth year in the NBA. He has career averages of 11.6 points per game and 6.9 assists per game. Two of his four seasons were limited by injuries (55 and 51 games). “I think my health is fine,” said Ford, the eighth overall pick in the 2003 draft. “It’s always going to be a question mark every year and every time I step on the court. I understand that. I’m just going to continue to work on my body and do the things to make sure I’m good enough to perform at the highest level every night. I’m excited about this trade and excited to be going to a team that really wanted me.”
Nesterovic is a 7-foot, 270-pound center. He has been in the NBA 10 years and in the last nine years has played in at least 70 games each season. His career averages are 7.0 ppg and 5.0 rpg.
Jack, a 6-3, three-year veteran, has career averages of 9.0 ppg and 4.0 apg. He played all 82 games for Portland last season and started all 79 games he played in during the 2006-07 season. “I think this trade is definitely something good for me, coming here with a fresh start. This franchise is trying to go in a positive direction right now and I’m happy to be a part of it. Indiana came up as a team I might get traded to and it was a team I hoped to be traded to.”
Baston, a 6-10 forward, is a three-year veteran with career averages of 2.8 ppg and 1.6 rebounds per game. He’s a former Pacer, having played in 47 games in the 2006-07 season. “I’m glad to be back in Indiana,” said Baston. “I’m excited to work with my new teammates, excited to play in Coach O’Brien’s system and I want to make the most of this.”
McRoberts, a 6-10 forward, is from nearby Carmel, Ind. He played two seasons at Duke and played eight games with Portland last season, averaging 1.5 ppg. He played 15 games for Idaho in the D-League, averaging 7.7 ppg and 2.5 rpg. “I couldn’t be more happy to be coming back here and playing for the Pacers,” said McRoberts. “It’s a dream come true. I can’t even put into words how excited I was when I found out I was coming to Indiana.”
Rush is a 6-6 swingman who played for Kansas’ 2008 NCAA Championship team. In three seasons with the Jayhawks, he averaged 13.6 ppg. “I knew when I came to workout for the Pacers, they were pretty high on me, so when I was drafted and found out I was coming here, my reaction was big. I feel spending three years at Kansas and winning the national championship helped me to be NBA ready.”
Hibbert, a 7-2, 278-pound center, played four seasons at Georgetown, averaging 10.9 ppg and 5.9 rpg. Last season, he was a Second Team Associated Press All-America. “I’m really thrilled to be here,” said Hibbert. “It’s a great organization. I just want to do everything I can to help this team win. I know I have to work extremely hard and I can’t wait.”
A press conference with Hibbert and Rush is scheduled for 2:00 on Tuesday, July 15. A press conference with Baston, Ford, Jack and McRoberts is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 16. Rasho Nesterovic is currently out of the country but will be made available to the media once he is in Indianapolis.