Pacers' Bird: Tinsley won't play for us
INDIANAPOLIS -- Jamaal Tinsley remains on Indiana's roster, but the Pacers still have no desire to let the troubled point guard play for them again.
Tinsley has been with the team since the 2001-02 season, but he has been hampered by injuries and off-court legal problems in recent years. The Pacers told him not to show up to training camp this season, and they did not allow him to play in an effort to improve their tarnished reputation.
That stance has not changed, despite the Pacers' inability to complete a trade and get some value for a player who is owed $14.7 million the next two years, and the impending free agency of two other point guards. The NBA players' union filed a grievance for Tinsley in February, but team president Larry Bird and the franchise remain steadfast in their refusal to play Tinsley in the future.
"Later on this summer, we'll probably go into arbitration," Bird said this week. "Whether we win or lose, it's going to be the same as it is now -- we're going forward without Jamaal. Hopefully, we can trade him before it comes up, but we'll see what happens."
The Associated Press left a phone message seeking comment with Tinsley's agent, Raymond Brothers.
The Pacers traded for Jarrett Jack and T.J. Ford last summer to replace Tinsley and found them to be capable replacements. Bird said the Pacers want to keep Jack next season, and the team plans to extend a qualifying offer to him this summer to make him a restricted free agent. Jack averaged a career-high 13.1 points per game this season.
"He made a lot of turnovers at the beginning of the year," Bird said. "A lot of them cost us some games. But at the end, really, after All-Star break going forward, he was one of our best clutch players."
Jack has made it clear he wants to return, saying he feels indebted to the Pacers for giving him a chance to play. Bird said he believes the team has the money to keep Jack, but he's not sure what the market will dictate.
"I have a feeling I know what Jarrett's going to be asking for, but I don't know what's going to happen out there," he said.
Ford averaged 14.9 points and 5.3 assists and gained a reputation for hitting important shots. He is under contract for next season, with a player option for 2010-11.
Bird was pleased with both Jack and Ford.
"I think they did very well this year if you combine it," Bird said. "I thought T.J. started off strong, then went through a period where Jarrett was playing better.
"I think both of them guys can get the job done, and they're two different type of players."
Another point guard, Travis Diener, has a player option for next season. He averaged 3.7 points and 2.2 rebounds in 55 games this season. He has said he will sit down with his agent to decide what is best.
"I just told him at the end of the season that it's a decision that he's got to make," Bird said. "I hope he's back here next year. If not, best of luck."
There is no uncertainty regarding Tinsley's status.
"We made a business decision, and we're going to stick with it," Bird said. "We'd like to trade him. I hope he gets another opportunity to play in the league, gets a fresh start, but it's just not going to be here."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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