After the season the Pacers had you couldn’t blame them if they felt a change was due. They started last season 33-8 they were serious contenders to get to the NBA finals, they were considered a real threat to the Heat. Many had the Pacers metting the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. Then after the 33-8 start it seems like the wheels came off the Pacers season, the players underperformed and fought among themselves and the Pacers went 23-18 the rest of the way and stumbled through two rounds of the Pacers. Yet they they were challenging the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Roy Hibbert looked spooked and lost and the Pacers looked out of sync. Despite losing to the Heat and calls for bog changes to the team and even the coaching staff, give Larry Bird credit he stuck with Vogel. ”The day it (the report) happened, I went down to Frank and all of his assistants and said, ‘I want you back next year,’ and that was the end of it for us,” Bird said at a season-ending news conference.
Bird backed up his claims and extended Vogel’s contract. ”We’re very happy to extend Frank’s contract,” Bird said in a statement issued by the team. ”I believe he has done a great job and I look forward to continuing our relationship and working together to achieve all of our goals.”
Still all is not well with the Pacers…Lance Stephenson left via freeagency to sign with Charlotte and Paul George is out with a potential season ending injury when George broke his right leg when he ran into a basketball stanchion during a national team scrimmage in Las Vegas earlier this summer.
Armed with a contract extension and renewed confidence Frank Vogel made it clear this is the opportunity for other players to step up, feeling there is enough talent to win. ”The message to my team is that we have to bring a high level of competitiveness every night. We have to bring it every night,” Vogel said last week during the Pacers’ media day. ”We have enough talent here to be competitive and compete with the best.”