In a press conference today, Monday June 2, Pacers' GM Larry Bird spoke candidly on what fans can expect to see on the court for the 2014-15 NBA season, and put an end to any doubt on the future of Head Coach Frank Vogel.
"(Vogel's) job was never in jeopardy," Bird told the media, bluntly.
And it appears that most of the team's core group of players are not in danger either, as Bird told reporters he expected most of the team fans saw on the court in 2014 to be back next year.
And, yes, Bird's plan for the future of the Pacers even includes class clown, Lance Stephenson. That is, if Lance and his agent are willing to play ball with the Pacers.
"There's a price we're willing to pay (for Stephenson) and we're not going to go over that," said Bird.
That price, according to experts, sits somewhere around the area of $40 million for a five-year gig. About ten times as much as he is making now.
Besides Lance's situation being up-in-the-air, the rest of the Pacers' starting roster are locked into deals that would cost the Pacers way more than they could cough up at the moment to break. And that includes Pacers' starting Center, Roy Hibbert, who has been at the center of trade rumors following a disappointing postseason.
Whether this team staying together is by design, or merely a product of the Pacers being financially stuck after a series of trades that brought in the likes of Luis Scola and Evan Turner, two big names that failed to put up big numbers this season, Bird didn't say. But the writing on the wall seems to suggest that if any of the current roster of players will not be in blue and gold next year, the smart money is on Evan Turner.
Turner's team chemistry had been called into question this season after a reported fight in the locker room with Stepehenson, and if the press conference provided any answers as to who the Pacers were putting their stock in among the two combatants, it appears that Stephenson is poised to be the face of the Pacers' future.
A fact, that even Turner readily admits.
"I really don't know to tell you the truth," Turner told the Indianapolis Star when asked about his future with the Pacers. "I really don't know what's going on even tomorrow, you know what I'm saying?"
If there's anything one can take way from today's presser with Bird, it's that, plus or minus a few role players, the same stable of players that have failed to beat the Miami Heat in the playoffs for three straight years will be back next year to give it a go for the fourth time.
Can this current team take the next step this coming season? Let us know in the comments below.