The Uneasy Co-Existence Between T.J. Ford and the Pacers

by October 01, 2010

He doesn’t want to be there, and the Pacers can’t get rid of him. Good times in Indy, as the Star details: “T.J. Ford thought he was making his last trip inside the Indiana Pacers locker room when he packed up his belongings April 15. His tenure had been filled with more negatives than positives — he lost his starting job twice — and an obvious communication gap with coach Jim O’Brien. The Pacers clearly felt that way, too. They tried to trade him, then offered him a buyout when there were no takers. Fast-forward to late September, and here’s Ford wearing his No. 5 practice jersey, preparing to be Darren Collison’s backup this season. ‘I thought there would be more options for me to be traded in the summertime with all the movement going on,’ Ford said. ‘There was talk about a possible deal, but it didn’t happen and once the deal didn’t go through, they started talking about a buyout. That’s when I knew I would be back.’ Ford was supposed to bring stability to the point guard position when the Pacers acquired him from Toronto in the summer of 2008. The opposite happened. O’Brien twice benched him because Ford had difficulty grasping what his coach wants on offense. ‘I think he has struggled on the pick-and-roll hitting the roll guy in the past,’ O’Brien said. Ford took a lot of heat during the summer for not agreeing to a buyout. The Pacers offered $5 million. Had he agreed, the New Orleans Hornets, who had just traded Collison to the Pacers, were going to sign Ford to be Chris Paul’s backup. ‘I don’t see any reason why I should have to take less money,’ said Ford, who picked up his $8.5 million player option after last season. ‘My contract says I’m scheduled to make a certain amount of money, and that’s what I expect to get paid.'”