Monday, July 12, 2010

CIB Caves for Pacers

The Pacers are staying in Indianapolis.

Such a proclamation really isn't that big of a deal, considering that the Blue and Gold were never a realistic threat to leave in the immediate future. That's what makes the franchise's $33.5 million deal with the CIB that much more puzzling.

I couldn't help but feel that the CIB were like parents caving into their unruly 16-year old. If your kid threatens to run away, you call their bluff. In this instance, the kid said he was leaving and the parents decided to buy him a $150,000 Lexus.

Where exactly were the Pacers going to go?

The economy is still recovering from the crash two years ago. Markets with already-existing NBA teams like Memphis and Charlotte are struggling. The Pacers can say whatever they want about having "numerous sutiors" - I'd love to see who (and where). My point is: where was the immediate threat? Why the rush to bend over backwards to Pacers instead of playing a little hardball?

I think we'd all agree that retaining the Pacers is a good thing for the city of Indianapolis. It helps raise the overall profile of the city, and continues the quest to become of the premiere sports destinations in America. If a city isn't strong enough to support their own NBA team, why would Super Bowls, Final Fours, and World Cups come here?

All of that being said, just rolling over for Herb Simon & Co. was not the way to go. $10 million per over the next three years, plus footing the entire bill of capital improvements is a bigger rob job than Darko's $20 million extension. The CIB should've dug their heels in and come to a reasonable agreement. $5 million per year would've covered about one-third of the annual operating cost of Conseco Fieldhouse. Let Simon dig into his deep pockets for the rest.

$33.5 million? That's too much, Bob.

My biggest problem is the lack of responsibility on the part of the Pacers. Instead of saying "please help", it's "we need this and we need that, or we're gone". It's not the CIB's fault that the franchise took onTroy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy and the hefty contracts that came with them from Golden State in 2007. It's not Indianapolis' fault that the Blue and Gold can't put a product on the floor that consistently attracts more than 10,000 fans per home game. It's certainly not the taxpayers fault that Jamaal Tinsley was paid $7 million to sit on his keister.

I hate to think glass half-empty, but there's nothing stopping the Pacers from coming back to the with their hands out at the end of the 2012-13 season. I hope the CIB and the city of Indianapolis drive a tougher bargain next time around.

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