Fast breaks compiled while watching Pat Riley do his best to re-assemble the 2009-10 Pacers:
>> What’s next for Miami? Replacing Erik Spoelstra with Jim O’Brien? If Riles wants another version of the Big Three, Troy Murphy is available to join Danny Granger and Josh McRoberts on South Beach.
>> Somewhere, Obie is shaking his head at the notion McRoberts, a player he once described as irrelevant, commanding more than twice the total of Granger on the open market. McRoberts agreed to sign for the full mid-level exception (four years, $23 million), while Granger will fill the bi-annual exception (two years, $4.8 million). My guess is Obie isn’t the only one shaking his head at that one.
>> In all seriousness, both players could come back to haunt the Pacers. McRoberts was slightly ahead of the curve as a stretch four but now that the league is desperate for players of that profile, suddenly he’s a hot commodity. He averaged 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists while keeping Cody Zeller on the bench in Charlotte last season. He won’t make them forget Chris Bosh in Miami, but he’s an upgrade from Rashard Lewis.
>> As for Granger, it’s a bit of a mystery. In his first full season back after knee surgery, he never really found his jump shot and faded badly at the end, totaling 16 points in his last 11 playoff appearances with the Clippers – including seven scoreless games – while shooting 4-of-24. But it’s normal for a player to struggle in his first post-surgery season, so it’s entirely possible Granger is due for a bounce-back in 2014-15. He’s only 31 so, if he can re-establish himself as a kick-out shooter, Granger should have several productive seasons left, albeit nothing close to his All-Star self.
>> As the bench takes shape, all Miami needs now is a starting lineup. Considering LeBron made The Decision four years ago today, might he offer up the sequel on the anniversary date? The man, you must admit, does have a flare for the dramatic. Odds still favor his return to Miami but the Cleveland talk has gained momentum. Dwyane Wade certainly will be back but Bosh will be tempted to take Houston’s max offer. Losing Bosh wouldn’t necessarily be bad news for Miami, though, because it could open the door for Carmelo Anthony.
>> Larry Bird has said he won’t pay attention to what’s going on with the Heat in making his roster decisions for the Pacers, and that is as it should be. After all, beating Miami is not the endgame, it is the hurdle that must be cleared before the Pacers can reach the endgame. Last year’s team was built specifically to beat the Heat, and that didn’t exactly work out.
>> Late last week, reports trickled out that the market for Lance Stephenson was drying up. Already this week, reports have trickled out of interest from the Lakers, Mavericks and Celtics. Stephenson is in a group of players including Luol Deng, Chandler Parsons and Trevor Ariza that teams currently chasing James and Anthony will turn to as Plan Bs. So there is a market, but also plenty of competition. The longer he waits, the better that five-year, $44 million offer from the Pacers will look, assuming they don’t pull it from the table.
>> And if Stephenson walks, get ready for something big. They’ve already committed their mid-level exception to C.J. Miles and Damjan Rudez, and with the re-signing of Lavoy Allen, the Pacers once again have more bigs than they can use. If a blockbuster deal including Roy Hibbert cannot be struck, don’t be surprised to see Ian Mahinmi and Chris Copeland packaged for a starting shooting guard. That wouldn’t be enough to get Goran Dragic, but it should land someone along the lines of O.J. Mayo or Gerald Henderson.
>> Just as this was beginning to look like the worst summer league roster ever, the Pacers bounced back nicely behind Willie Reed to smack the Celtics. After falling behind by 32 in the first half against the Nets, they trailed Boston by 18 in the second quarter Monday afternoon. But Reed got them going at both ends, and finished with 18 points, six rebounds and four blocks. A 6-10 center who left Saint Louis under mysterious circumstances four years ago, Reed has a nice touch around the hoop but struggled mightily against the athleticism of Mason Plumlee in the opener.
>> Christian Watford (IU), who opted to play in Israel last season rather than the D-League, is in Orlando on the Detroit roster, but did not play in the Pistons’ first game. Chris Kramer (Purdue), who has spent the past couple of years in Germany, has been in Houston’s starting lineup for both games thus far. Both players are former Pacers summer leaguers.
>> You may notice a decrease in the frequency of blog entries in the next couple of weeks. That’s because Dr. Bruno is taking his first vacation since 2010.