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Pacers plan to chase Heat again next year
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On June 4, 2013 @ 4:42 am In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI — The moment after a losing a competitive seven-game series to the defending champions usually doesn’t provide for a dose of perspective.
But even with the raw emotions of the loss still stinging, Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel reinforced the obvious for next season.
“They’re disappointed,” he said after the Miami Heat eliminated the Pacers 99-76 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals Monday. “They felt like we could have won this series. They wanted badly to win this series. So I think disappointed but encouraged about the future.”
The Pacers already head into next season as the Heat’s main challenger in the East, and they come back with the starting forward Paul George, center Roy Hibbert and guards George Hill and Lance Stephenson intact.
Power forward David West is a free agent, but management wants West back, and West wants to return.
“That’s something I’ll sit down and discuss, but this is my group. These are my guys,” West said. “I can’t see myself going anywhere else. We’re the second best team in the Eastern Conference, one of the top four teams in the league, in my estimation, based on this year.
“This group is a solid group. Gives me as an individual the best chance to accomplish the goals that I have left in terms of my future, and that’s competing at this stage of the game every single year from here on out.”
Earlier in the series, Pacers President Donnie Walsh told USA TODAY Sports, “David, we want to keep him for sure.”
The two sides will need to work out the financial details. West made $20 million in his two seasons with Pacers, but it appears West and the Pacers will find common ground.
“David West is a big part of our team,” Vogel said. “Our intent as a franchise is to try to bring back our whole core for next year and hopefully get Danny Granger back.”
Yes, don’t forget about Granger, who missed all but five games with a left knee injury. West, Hibbert, George and Granger all have been All-Stars but never in the same season for the same … [For more on Indiana Pacers plan to chase Miami Heat again next year, click here.]
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