Welcome Back, Indiana Pacers

Welcome back, NBA.

And welcome back, Indiana Pacers.

The early-morning agreement Nov. 26 between the league and the players’ union ensures the highest level of professional basketball will be played — albeit under a shortened schedule.

The great news for the Pacers — one of the NBA’s small-market franchises — is that this tentative collective bargaining agreement, which will give players roughly 51.2 percent of basketball-related revenue, will allow teams from any market to be competitive in free agency and, by extension, on the basketball court.

It’s been way too long, folks. Let’s get to examining what the Pacers can do before the condensed season commences and what kind of team they’ll be in 2011-12.

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Indiana Pacers Finally Hire Frank Vogel; Now What?

The Indiana Pacers finally made the long-expected hire of Frank Vogel as head coach official Wednesday.

Vogel and Pacers President Larry Bird addressed the media, each saying he felt good about the direction of the franchise going forward.

While I tend to agree — especially knowing that revered NBA assistant coach Brian Shaw will come aboard as Vogel’s associate head coach — I can’t help but question Bird’s motives in waiting this long, not to mention wonder what further complications the NBA lockout will beckon for this young Pacers team.

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