While fans in Oklahoma City patiently await Paul George’s introductory press conference, Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis made their Pacers debut today in Indiana. Flanked by GM Kevin Pritchard, head coach Nate McMillan and recently signed point guard Darren Collison, the men elaborated on the trade and their excitement about what’s next.
Neither Oladipo or Sabonis said anything earth-shattering, but Pritchard’s comments on George, the trade and the rationale behind making it were particularly interesting. It’s clear he and the Pacers organization are high on the former Thunder players, even if the mood in the press conference was remarkably subdued.
Watch the video below, or keep going for noteworthy quotes.
Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard
On Paul George:
“He’s been here for seven years….we wish him the best. Some great plays over the last seven years, and like I said earlier, personally and professionally it’s tough. But at the end of the day we have to move on, and the way I look at it, it’s a little bit like a rebirth. So we’re turning the page. We wish him the best and that’s not a cliche — we really wish him the best. He will have a great year in Oklahoma City and then who knows where he goes.”
On Oladipo and Sabonis:
“We got two players who are lottery players who were a part of a 47 win team, and they started. There’s been a lot of speculation that we want to go back and really start over, but that’s not the case. We went after these guys. We identified these two as players we feel great about, and that we wanted to be a part of this program.”
“We identified these two as that balance between being lottery picks, but not the pure rookies. So Domas coming off a rookie season, starting on that team that won 47 games, and Victor, whose had success, has been in his second contract, but still growing at his age. We can still grow with these guys.”
“You obviously need top-level talent. We feel like these guys are top-level talent.”
On other offers:
“We did get a lot of offers. As soon as we knew the right one came, Herb (Pacers owner Herb Simon) was involved and we pulled the trigger.”
On why the Pacers didn’t need draft picks in return:
“Who says we didnt? To me, these are the best of both worlds. They’re the second pick in the draft and the eleventh pick in the draft — we got two lottery picks. It’s not like we came out of here and said ‘Oh boy, it’s three picks’ because at the end of the day, what you have to understand is that picks are just people. You get abstract in the way you look at it in the future, like ‘Oh it’s a pick down in the future’, but the reality is we know these kids now. The certainty of their character, the certainty of what we knew what we were getting, the certainty that I have no doubt, that both these players are starting caliber players.”
On being back in Indiana:
“First of all just thankful to be here. To be up here with these guys. For Kevin and coach that believe in me and the ability that I have. But also to come home — there’s no feeling like it. To get off that plane the other day and realize I know where I’m at… you know what I mean? To see familiar faces is always a good feeling. This is where it all started for me.”
“Coming to Indiana, didn’t really know what to expect. Didn’t really know too much about the history, but I’m a Hoosier. Living, breathing, any way you can imagine, I’m a Hoosier. To be able to play for the state team and represent the Pacer organization is a blessing and I’m truly thankful.”
On his game:
“I feel like I have the opportunity to show a little bit more than I’ve done my first four years in the league. Opportunity to come in here and help lead. Lead young guys, lead the organization. I’m looking forward to it, man. It’s nothing like playing for the home team, so I’m looking forward to every minute of it.”
Domas didn’t say much:
“At first I was in Summer League.. When I found out I was in shock, but then I was really excited for this opportunity to be here with this organization. I think it’s a great opportunity for me and for all of us to grow. I’m just really, really ready for the season.”
He did speak a bit afterward, though:
Good dudes. Wish them the best.