Flying under the radar shouldn’t be regarded as a negative when it comes to reshaping a franchise during the offseason.
Look at the Indiana Pacers.
Team president Larry Bird made deals for two surefire starters (Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young) to put around franchise untouchables Paul George and Myles Turner.
He locked up a potential third new starter in massive free-agent post Al Jefferson.
But because none are named Kevin Durant, the Pacers aren’t about to be praised beyond the comfort of their own market space.
We’ll understand why if personalities collide and the chemistry is off early next season.
Or Bird could end up looking like an NBA whiz kid (although it’s highly unlikely he’ll be referred to as such given his 60th birthday is five months away).
Regardless, these are the new-look Pacers playing for a new head coach in Nate McMillan.
And Bird might not be done.
He’s rumored to be talking with unrestricted free agent Lance Stephenson, who was drafted by the Pacers in 2010 and enjoyed four somewhat controversial, yet mostly fruitful seasons here.
Recent stops in Charlotte, Los Angeles (Clippers) and Memphis weren’t nearly as productive.
I’m guessing more than a bit humbling, too.
Maybe the mercurial Stephenson returns to Indy and adopts the role as the team’s valued sixth man.
Bird likes Stephenson.
Stephenson listens to and greatly respects Bird.
If the 6-foot-5 guard/forward matured since leaving the Pacers following the 2013-2014 season, great.
If not, let him be another franchise’s migraine.
Other NBA grumblings have Indiana possibly working a trade to bring in 6-8 Sacramento Kings small forward Rudy Gay. This would give the Pacers another offensive-minded player suited to fit what Bird hopes is a high-scoring offense.
The question is who Bird would ship west in order to add Gay to the roster.
No matter what transpires between now and October, Bird has already severed ties with a successful and popular head coach in Frank Vogel, promoted former assistant McMillan and noticeably improved his roster.
Consecutive trips to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2013 and 2014 made Bird’s desire for an NBA championship in his home state that much more powerful.
Furthermore, Bird isn’t going to be doing this job forever, so the next two to three years might be his final chance.
He’s acting like it, too.