Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Foster’

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener, Although The Cash Can Be


VIDEO: Al Harrington gets the steal and finishes with razzle-dazzle

Al Harrington has been paid more than $86 million in his 16 NBA seasons, peaking at $10 million in 2009-10 with the New York Knicks. So from that perspective, it’s hard to second-guess the career that – across seven difference franchises and eight stops – set up Harrington and his family for life, probably for generations to come.

Then again, if Harrington is the one doing the second-guessing, it’s hard to, uh, third-guess that.

Harrington, a preps-to-pros guy who went to Indiana as the 25th pick in the 1998 Draft, spoke recently – and candidly – the other day with Mark Montieth of Pacers.com:

“It’s amazing how fast it went by,” Harrington said before Friday’s game. “I swear, I was just in (the Pacers’) locker room. Everything between then and now is just a blur. The seven years here, I can remember all of that. But from there to here, what the hell happened?”

What happened is that Harrington unwittingly traded seeming stability in Indianapolis for a journeyman’s career that sent him criss-crossing the country in search of what he voluntarily gave up. … Seemingly destined for a reserve role for seasons to come, he asked team president Donnie Walsh for a trade.

To this day, it’s his greatest regret.

Hoping for a trade to Cleveland, where he could have played with LeBron James, Harrington instead wound up in Atlanta. It was the first of his four trades, to go with his free-agent signing with Denver in 2010 and, in August, getting waived for the first time. After Orlando cut him loose, Harrington was picked up 10 days later by Washington. But he has played sparingly due to soreness in the right knee that limited him to 10 games for the Magic in 2012-13.

Between the injury limitations and the Wizards’ stop in Indianapolis for the Thanksgiving holiday – he invited the whole team to his parents’ home there for dinner – Harrington was sounding a little nostalgic.

It’s worth noting that, having played in 25 playoff games by age 24 with the Pacers, Harrington – due to the quality of his teams and injury issues – has appeared in only 23 the past nine seasons. Indiana has played 54 postseason games since Harrington first asked out, and that includes a 2007-2010 drought he might have helped them avoid.

That only fueled the what-if’s in his interview with Montieth:

“It’s one of those things, you don’t know how good you got it until you’re gone,” he said. “This is a consistent organization that always did everything the right way. You kind of take those things for granted. But I didn’t know.

“I tell people all the time, I could have been a lifetime Pacer. I think I had enough people here who liked me, I could have been like Jeff Foster. But I wanted to test my wings and see if they could fly.”

Harrington shouldn’t be too hard on himself. The whole seeking-fame-and-fortune thing is part of what the NBA is about, and if a promising backup isn’t pushing for a starter’s role and salary – think James Harden – then he might not max out his potential as player either. It’s not like he left any championship rings on the table in Indianapolis, either.

As for the money part, Harrington has always found a solid marketplace for his skills and size (6-foot-9) that allowed him to play anywhere on the front line. That has translated to about $36 million more than Foster earned in his 13-year career, all with Indiana.

The Older The Better

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Between the Boston Celtics and Grant Hill, thirtysomethings around the world woke up this morning feeling pretty good about “getting older.”

The crusty old Celtics have run their league-best win streak to 13 games and old Ben Button himself messed around a got put up 30 points and 10 rebounds for the first time since April 2, 2000 to help end the young Thunder’s five-game win streak. (Old Steve Nash dropped 20 and 10 assists in his return to action, his first since Saturday’s trade-a-palooza that sent leading scorer Jason Richardson to Orlando, among other changes.)

Keep in mind that Hill’s last 30-10 game came when Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and most of their teammates were in sixth and seventh grade. Hill is the third-oldest player in the league. But his age was nothing but a number during his duel with Durant, the Thunder’s 22-year-old MVP candidate.

“It’s good to know I’ve still got it in the bag if I need it,” Hill told our main man Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. “I was very disappointed in my energy in the Dallas game and that I didn’t have the energy I’ve had consistently. I felt I had to lift that up to chase Durant around. In the last four or five games, we didn’t have a belief we could win. I don’t know if we believed we could win. Tonight, we did.”

Just so we’re clear about how rare a feat the 38-year-old Hill pulled off, the last player in Hill’s age-range to pull off a 30-point game was TNT analyst Reggie Miller, who dropped 34 in April 2005 at the age of 39. And the last elder statesman to post a 30-10 games was none other than Michael Jordan, who rang up 35 and 11 in February 2003 at a ripe and robust 40.

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Pacers Vs. Food

Warning: If you don’t eat meat, there is footage below that might frighten you!

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — When he’s done rebounding and dishing out the hardest fouls in the NBA, Pacers center Jeff Foster has anther career waiting on him.

Kobayashi will be old news after people see this footage of Foster destroying two, yes TWO, 22-ounce burgers (“The Big Ugly Challenge” at Bub’s Burgers outside of Indianapolis):

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Sure, it’s gruesome seeing a guy consume 44-plus ounces of burger. But Foster’s teammates certainly seemed to enjoy it.

And what better way to lighten the mood in training camp than going bonkers at a place recently featured on the The Travel Channel’s Man V. Food.

If the Pacers play as well as Foster eats, their fans won’t have any complaints this season. Pacers.com’s Conrad Brunner explains how this all came to be:

In an effort to build some team chemistry, not to mention have a little fun, the players organized an outing last week. First came laser tag. Then came the trip to Bub’s. The order is important here. Think about the floor of the laser tag center had they eaten first.

Of those on hand, Roy Hibbert had been on the strictest diet, shedding 20 pounds, doing MMA training, going through boot camp with Bill Walton in a summer program that bordered on the obsessive. And yet, in the interest of team unity, he faced the Big Ugly.

“I didn’t want to be that guy that didn’t have a burger,” he said, “so I decided just to go ahead.”

According to witnesses on the scene, Hibbert ate like a man who’s been a strict diet all summer. Which is to say the Big Ugly disappeared quickly.

“I finished that whole thing,” Hibbert said. “I could’ve gone for two but with one I knew I was going to feel it the next day. It was quick. It was nothing. I could’ve eaten the second one and gotten a bigger picture on the wall but it was fun. … I ate so well this past summer, having an indulgence day was fun.”

While knocking down one Big Ugly wasn’t a major hurdle for the players, only two made it through the second round: 6-10 center Jeff Foster and 6-11 power forward Lance Allred.

“They’re 340 pounds, of course they ate two,” said Danny Granger. “Roy ate one in like a second. Seriously, in five minutes Roy was done with his. The rest of his took 30 or 40 minutes.

“I almost puked after three-quarters of a burger. Have you seen it? It’s a full pound of meat. You’re just so sick of eating meat … they had to grab me a bucket. I had to lay on my couch four hours after I got home.

Hope we didn’t ruin your lunch!

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Pacers Just Getting Started?

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Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Don’t bother trying to dissect that four-team, five-player deal that sent players in every direction and has executives from all four teams smiling and claiming victory.

(Besides my main man David Aldridge of TNT already broke it down for you.)

All you need to know is that the Pacers were the big winner of the day, though we love Trevor Ariza alongside Chris Paul in New Orleans and Courtney Lee in Rick Adelman‘s system in Houston could produce major fireworks for Rockets fans.

Whenever one of these multi-team, multi-player trades go down people start gushing about cap space gained or luxury tax thresholds avoided, but none of those (very important) things can … A) run a team, B) make a shot, or C) grab a rebound.

The Pacers snagged the best tangible piece of the deal in Darren Collison, a franchise (I didn’t say All-Star, yet, just franchise for now) point guard that would have been the first point guard taken in the June draft had he spent five years at UCLA instead of four.

It’s been a while since the Pacers had a player with this kind of talent, stability and clear-cut leadership potential at that position — someone suggested this morning that Mark Jackson was the last point guard to wear a Pacers uniform with the complete package of skills and make-up that Collison brings.

Pacers boss Larry Bird certainly seems pleased.

“We liked him coming out of college. I didn’t think he’d have the year he did last year,” Bird said (check for more of his thoughts in the video above). “He’s solid. He likes to defend. We know he can shoot the ball. He did a great job in college of putting the ball in the hole. We think he’s a complete player. He’s a young point guard to go with the rest of the core group we have, and we’ll just keep building on it.”

The locals seem pleased with the move as well, not to mention what could come next. Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star heralded the move as a “great deal” for the beleaguered franchise:

What’s not to love?

They get their point guard. They get a veteran with a defensive mind-set. And they rid themselves of a lousy contract — although, it should be said that Murphy was relentlessly productive here.

This is what the Pacers were planning for when they embarked on their long-term rebuilding plan. They knew they couldn’t count on hitting some kind of free agent bonanza next summer, not with the dearth of big names out there — and good luck getting Carmelo Anthony to Indiana. But they knew their increasingly favorable financial status would put them in a position to steal players from teams desperate to get under the luxury-tax threshold.

Like the New Orleans Hornets.

And this is just the beginning of the wheeling and dealing.

The Pacers still figure to go into the season with several players in the final year of their deals — Mike Dunleavy ($10,561,984), T.J. Ford ($8.5 million) and Jeff Foster ($6.655 million), and Jamaal Tinsley‘s $5.5 million will come off the books. They can trade them now, trade them near the trading deadline or hold onto them and watch their dollars come off the payroll at season’s end.

It’s been so long since the Pacers were a factor in the Eastern Conference playoff chase that one current NBA player laughed Wednesday night when we tried to explain to him that they were a power on par with the Utah Jazz, in terms of consistent playoff appearances, as recently as five years ago.

I know it sounds crazy to anyone with long-term memory issues, but there was a time (before LeBron James showed up in Cleveland and before the Detroit Pistons seized control of the East for half a decade) that the Pacers were considered a model franchise.

They had a blend of veterans and quality young talent, a stable front office and marquee value around the league.

Then the brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills happened (in 2004). The Pacers long road to recovery has been going on ever since, but we must admit that the road got a lot smoother with the addition of Collison.

He’s the first young, franchise-pillar they’ve added since they lucked into All-Star swingman Danny Granger with the 17th pick in the 2005 draft (courtesy of the miscalculations of a dozen teams that drafted ahead of them).

So if the Pacers are indeed just getting started with Granger and Collison as their main cogs, we like where this is going.

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