So, remember a couple of years ago, when the young Indiana Pacers were reaching the Eastern Conference finals every year, Frank Vogel was a boy genius and it appeared Larry Bird was putting together the next great power in the East?
Yeah. Me, neither.
Interesting stuff here from Bob Kravitz of WTHR in Indy, on an unraveling that seems to be proceeding apace. Yes, that's David West, the Pacers' resident grownup in the room, opting out of his deal for several reasons, none of them reflecting well on Bird and the Pacers' brain trust.
One, he's leaving because he doesn't think the team can win, and at his age it's about rings and not jing these days.
Two, he doesn't like the way the team jacked up Roy Hibbert, basically trying to run him off by saying he was headed for the bench next year if he didn't opt out of his deal.
Along the way Bird apparently head-faked the media about West's intentions, saying before the draft he didn't know nuttin' while West was insisting the Pacers knew full well his intentions by then. It's never a winning move to jerk the media around, something Bird should know by now. But then, there are a lot of things he should know by now that apparently he doesn't.
Chief among them is you don't piss off the leader of your locker room. Bird has apparently done that, and now West is in the wind, and Hibbert's back although the Pacers clearly don't want him -- and because they talked so publicly about benching him, they've lost any leverage they might have in trying to move him.
What team is going to give up anything of value for a center upon whom you've so obviously given up? No one with a lick of sense is going to part with much for someone you've so loudly identified as a spare part.
That ship sailed the second Bird and Vogel started trying to force Hibbert out the door. And it hardly bears adding where it is that ship has sailed.
Yes, mateys. That is an iceberg dead ahead.