INDIANAPOLIS – The circus went a couple thousand miles away in Las Vegas, but Larry Bird still had his mind on one single team.
But yet he still couldn’t deny just how much of an impact Lebron James had on his Pacers team’s chances to win the NBA Title in 2014.
It was one of a few things that Bird talked about during a halftime interview with NBA TV on Thursday afternoon from Amway Arena in Orlando when the Pacers faced the Heat in their final summer league game of the season.
“The only difference in that series is that they had Lebron and they didn’t,” said Bird on NBA TV when talking about the Eastern Conference Finals, which the Pacers lost to James’ Heat in six games.
Whether the forward debates whether to take his talents back to South Beach or perhaps to Cleveland amidst a whirlwind of rumors and speculation, Bird is trying to look forward to what he has to do once the situation with James is settled.
Already the team has offered a contract to guard Lance Stephenson, but the guard and his agent turned down that 5-years, 44 million dollar offer made by the team. Stephenson figures to remain in limbo with the Pacers and other interested teams until James and Carmelo Anthony’s signings are complete.
The team has already made three free agent moves as they’ve agreed to terms and are getting ready to sign guard C.J. Miles from Cleveland, Damjan Rudez from Croatia and re-sign center Lavoy Allen, moves that Bird could now confirm on Thursday after the NBA-imposed moratorium period ended on Thursday.
“We’re happy about all of them,” said Bird on NBA TV. “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. is a shooter and we need scoring and we hope he can bring something that we don’t have.”
Right now the Pacers do have a point guard in George Hill, who Bird said in a news conference following the draft that he’s seen working out hard at Bankers Life Fieldhouse all summer.
When asked by NBA TV analyst Kendall Gill about the team’s effort to find a point guard in the offseason, Bird did admit the team has taken a look.
“We’re always looking. A great point guard is always hard to get. We’re happy with George Hill and C.J. (Watson) has done a great job for us but sure we’d like to have a guy that can break down defenses because both those guys can play off the ball,” said Bird. “But we’re out there looking and we’ll see what happens.
“If nothing happens, we’ll just go with who we have.”