Should Bird mess with a good thing?

Originally Published: July 7, 2004
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
The Pacers won a league-best and team-record 61 games last season. They took the eventual world champs deep into the Eastern Conference finals. They still have one of the youngest rosters in the league. So why has there been so much trade talk swirling around Indiana these days?

"We're just trying to make our team better," team president Donnie Walsh told Insider. "I don't think were looking to make a major change. But we know we have a few weaknesses. During the course of the season we covered them well. But they got exposed to a certain extent in the Detroit series. It's our job to smooth out the rough edges."

It's already been an eventful summer for the Pacers.

For starters, Al Harrington, the teams' sixth man, asked Larry Bird for a trade in his exit interview. Then Ron Artest, the defensive player of the year, skipped his exit interview completely.

Add those to the team's disappointing guard play in the playoffs, and the Pacers entered the offseason willing to make a deal. Their point guard needs to get older and more experienced. Their two guard is getting older by the minute. Their perimeter game, offensively and defensively, needs help, and they seem determined to fix it.

Indiana already has been in hot pursuit of everyone from T-Mac to Shaq to Ben Gordon this summer. Don't expect Bird to stop until he gets what he wants.

Should the Pacers mess with a good thing? Here's a look at what to expect as Insider continues its summer blueprint series.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer