So maybe Larry Bird does have enough sense to come in out of the rain. Opinions have varied.
Opinions definitely varied when he sent Frank Vogel packing, saying he wanted a "new voice," and then gave Vogel's old job to one of his assistants, Nate McMillan, who'd been around for three years and was demonstrably not a new voice. Was this Larry's backdoor way of coaching the team from the shadows, ala Pat Riley in Miami (or so some used to claim)? Was it just that there was a dearth of quality candidates out there at the time (which there was)? Or had Larry commenced leaking marbles?
Not so much.
Not so much, because Larry and the Pacers just swung a deal that makes all kinds of sense, from both a basketball and an esthetic standpoint. Basketball-wise, swapping George Hill for Jeff Teague in a three-way deal with Atlanta and Utah brings to town a player who averaged 15.7 points last year playing with, Teague claims, a torn patellar tendon in his knee; a year earlier, minus the injury, he averaged 15.9 points, 7.0 assists and 1.7 steals for a Hawks team that went 60-22 and reached the Eastern Conference finals.
The Pacers figure they'll get that Jeff Teague, once the knee heals. Which is a good thing.
And then there's this: He's an Indiana guy coming back to Indiana. A hometown guy, in fact.
He played his high school ball at Pike over on the west side of Indianapolis, and his Indiana hoops bonafides run deep. His dad, Shawn, is an Anderson Indian from the golden days of Indiana high school buckets; long ago and far away, I spent more than a few cold winter nights in the Wigwam watching Shawn Teague run the show for the Tribe against Marion and Muncie Central and Madison Heights.
Shawn could play. His son can play, too.
Opinions don't vary there at all.