Pritchard Says The Pacers Will "Compete" With Oladipo and Sabonis
INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- Indiana Pacers President Kevin Pritchard says the Pacers will "compete" next year, even without Paul George.
George, who said he would not re-sign with the team when he becomes a free agent in 2018, was traded to Oklahoma City last week. In exchange, the Pacers picked up big man Domantas Sabonis and former IU standout Victor Oladipo.
Pritchard says the Pacers can grow with these two new additions.
"We wish him (Paul George) the best, and that's not a cliche," Pritchard continued. "In the beginning of this process, we wanted tough kids, kids who played together, and smark kids. We really feel like they (Oladipo and Sabonis) are a part of what we want moving forward."
Victor Oladipo spent three seasons at Indiana University under then-head coach Tom Crean. He says there is no feeling like coming home.
"I'm a Hoosier. Living, breathing, anyway you can imagine, I'm a Hoosier," Oladipo said. "To be able to play for the state team and represent the Pacers organization is a blessing."
Sabonis, who played for Gonzaga and is coming into his second year in the NBA, is also excited about putting on a Pacers jersey next season.
"At first, I was in shock, but then I was really excited," said Sabonis. "Now, I'm just really ready for the season."
Pritchard was asked at the press conference at Banker's Life Fieldhouse about not pursuing draft picks in the process of trading away Paul George. He says it's better to go with players you know now, rather than take too many risks on the future.
"You look at it and it's like, 'oh it's a pick down the future'," Pritchard said. "But the truth of the matter is, we know these kids now. Maybe you don't have the 'complete superstar', but Nate (McMillan) and I want to build teams that you put out on the floor and five guys play together."
Indiana also signed free agent Darren Collison. Collison played for the Pacers from 2010 to 2012, before joining the Sacramento Kings.
The Pacers made the playoffs last season as the 7th overall seed, finishing the regular season 42-40. They were eliminated in four games by the Cleveland Cavaliers, who lost to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
(PHOTO: 1070 The Fan)