At halftime of the Pacers’ fourth of five Summer League games in Orlando, Larry Bird joined the NBA TV set to discuss a number of topics.
The conversation centered on LeBron James to start, like seemingly everything in the NBA right now. Bird said he wouldn’t have ever left his situation with the Celtics in Boston but understands that things are different now.
As for the Pacers’ conference finals exit for the second straight year to Miami, Bird said, “The only difference in that series was they had LeBron and we didn’t.”
Then, they moved on to the good stuff.
Bird hasn’t been shy about his desire to bring on an aggressive, pass-first point guard who can slice up defenses. It’s not necessarily a knock on George Hill, who admits he’s not a point guard but rather simply a guard. He did what the Pacers asked of him and is motivated by others’ comments for his offseason workout program. He’s at Bankers Life Fieldhouse nearly every day.
When asked about the point guard position, Bird, who is thankfully straight forward with his comments, said he’s hoping to upgrade the position.
“Well, we’re always looking,” he said. “A great point guard is hard to get. We’re happy with George Hill, and C.J.’s done a great job for us. But you’re right, we’d like to have a guy that can break down the defenses because both of them guys can play off the ball. We’re out there looking and we’ll see what happens. If nothing happens, we’ll just go with what we have.”
There have been reports of the team looking into Phoenix’s Goran Dragic and Boston’s Rajon Rondo but thus far, nothing has developed.
So far during free agency, the Pacers have brought back Lavoy Allen and brought C.J. Miles and Damjan Rudez on board. They are in Indy to sign their contracts and will face the media as Pacers for the first time Friday morning. Before then, Bird spoke about what they’re getting in these three players.
“We’re happy about all of them,” said Bird. “We had Lavoy for less than a half a year. We like what he brings to the table. Rudez is one of the best shooters in Europe. We’ve got to figure out how to get him in the mix. C.J. (Miles) is a shooter. We need scoring. We hope he can bring something that we don’t have.”
The moratorium ended July 10th, so players can now make their deals official. However, much of the league is at a standstill awaiting James’ decision – including Lance Stephenson, whose rookie contract is up with the Pacers and they’re hoping will stick around.
Unfortunately, a question on Stephenson was not fired Bird’s way.