Pacers, Jamaal Tinsley Finally Part Ways
Tinsley spent the last year and a half in limbo, not quite suspended but simply unwelcome to participate in team activities, as Larry Bird desperately tried to repair his team's image by ridding the roster of malcontents and troublemakers. (Tinsley's brushes with the law include participating in a barroom brawl and being the target of drive-by shooters.)
Every now and then a trade rumor would pop up (for a stretch in October he appeared to be headed to Denver, though those plans were dashed when Chauncey Billups became available) but for the most part he's been a forgotten man, quietly biding his time knowing that his bank account would grow whether he played or not.
It's unclear just how much the Pacers gave Tinsley to walk away, but he made $6.3 million to do nothing last year and was due $14.7 million over the next two years.
Where I'm from, that's called "leverage" -- unless Tinsley was feeling unusually generous toward an employer who all but destroyed his career, I'd wager that Tinsley will receive the vast majority of what he was due. Had the two sides not come to an agreement this week, they were scheduled to take part in an arbitration hearing on Monday.
This drawn-out process undoubtedly created bad feelings, but for now, everyone is saying all the right things. "This ends a very difficult period for all parties involved," Bird said in the team's official release. "We are pleased to have this resolved."
"Jamaal and I would like to thank the Pacers for working on a resolution to this and Jamaal and I are sorry things didn't work out," said Tinsley's agent, Raymond Brothers, in the same release. "We both wish the Pacers the best of luck in the future."
So what now for Tinsley? Missing the last year and a half has certainly hurt his market value, but there will likely be interest from at least a few teams for a player who's averaged 7.0 assists for his career, including 8.4 assists in 39 games in 2007-08. Tinsley has never been much of a shooting threat, but he could rehabilitate his career as an unselfish playmaker off the bench.
The 76ers are believed to have expressed interest in Tinsley, and other teams still in the market for help at the point will probably take a look, as well. Considering his buyout, he'd be wise to accept the veteran's minimum while opting for a situation that offers playing time over a few more nickels and dimes. After such a long layoff, his top priority should be proving that he can still play before worrying about his next contract.