This is VERBATIM
, I just fired up the interview as we speak (type/read), but it sounds great and straight to the point, as you usually expect from Bird. Emphasis mine.
Montieth: How long do you want to do this job? Do you have anything in mind?
Bird:No, I want to get it back to where it should be. You know we went through a culture change here and a lot of problems. I knew it was going to be rough, Mark. When Donnie left, I knew where we were sittin'. We were up against the tax. We had a couple of players on the team that didn't want to be here. When I sit down and put out my plan, everyone aks, "what plan is it?" Well, my plan is to get a core group of young guys together for a couple of years and win and get in the playoffs. Then have enough money to go out there and fill your roster out. We're still on board with that, all of us are still on board with that and we're moving in the right direction. My goal is to get this thing right before I get out.
Montieth: Do you see yourself doing it for a long time?
Bird:I don't know, Mark. Right now is not a good time, because if we're healthy this year, I think we're going to have a pretty good little team. I really believe in Brandon Rush. I believe in Roy Hibbert. They're both going to get a lot better. I know Danny Granger is one heck of a basketball player. Very, very good basketball player. I think Hansbrough gonna be a monster in a couple of years, a year or two, get him through this first year. And I'm not even counting the veterans that we have. I'm really relying on Rush and Hibbert and Danny getting better and Hansbrough and A.J. Price and then we're going to have two more draft picks. And then we're going to have some money and I think this thing is going to be put together the way the fans of Indiana perceive basketball. I think basketball is very important in this state, and yeah, they follow their college teams, high school teams, but on a pro level I want to give them that opportunity to get back and try to win that championship one more time.
One, the core group is coming along. Danny, Rush, Hibbert, Hansbrough. That's who I see as the "core," guys that if you want in a trade (outside of Danny, he's not going anywhere), a star is coming back.
Hansbrough will never be a "monster." At least not my in my dictionary. A very serviceable player, sure, but a monster? A monster at the PF spot puts up 20/10 with defense, I can name those guys in the NBA on a few fingers. But whatever, loose lips for the sake of selling some tix I guess.
I love Brandon Rush, if he develops consistency, while playing the starting 2 (30+ MPG, not this year, but by year 3) and performing on BOTH ends (moreso on D) people will look at the draft day trade as a steal. I have faith that he can do that. Big Roy, not so much. I do appreciate him, but I don't see him as a starting 5, at least not on anything close to a contender. A first/second big off the bench? Absolutely, but I've got to see how he's utilized this year and the coming years after JOB (as I anticipate this being his last year), I want to see how Tyler and him can work the hi-lo with Rush running the baseline.
Honestly, contractually, I think we're in very good shape come 2010/11. The PG That Shall Not Be Named's somewhat discounted deal will come off the books, Murph, Dun, Foster, TJ, all expirers, and big ones. That's something like $40mm in expiring deals. Outside of Jeff, maybe Dun (we'll see), none of those guys are just going to be expiring contracts, they're going to be expirers that can bring extreme short term value to teams thinking short term. The next two seasons, front office wise, are going to define us for the next decade.
It's going to be a long process, but I really do feel like, given the options Bird and Morway have had to work with, they've done a very solid job with an eye towards the future. Of course it'd be great to be competing next year or the year after, but find me a deal that puts us over Orlando, Boston, Cleveland, etc etc in the short term and I'll sign off. Rome wasn't built in a day as they say.