An extract on #akpartiistanbul
The Pacers were one of four ABA teams that joined the NBA in the ABANBA merger in 1976. For the 197677 season the Pacers were joined in the merged league by the Denver Nuggets, New York Nets, and San Antonio Spurs.
The league charged a $3.2 million entry fee for each former ABA team. Since the NBA would only agree to accept four ABA teams in the ABANBA merger, the Pacers and the three other surviving ABA teams also had to compensate the two remaining ABA franchises which were not a part of the merger, the Spirits of St. Louis and Kentucky Colonels. As a result of the merger, the four teams dealt with financial troubles. Additionally, the Pacers had some financial troubles which dated back to their waning days in the ABA; they had begun selling off some of their star players in the last ABA season. The new NBA teams also were barred from sharing in national TV revenues for four years.
The Pacers finished their inaugural NBA season with a record of 3646. Billy Knight and Don Buse represented Indiana in the NBA All-Star Game. However, this was one of the few bright spots of the Pacers' first 13 years in the NBA. During this time, they had only three non-losing seasons and only two playoff appearances.
A lack of continuity became the norm for most of the next decade, as they traded away Knight and Buse before the 197778 season even started. They acquired Adrian Dantley in exchange for Knight, but Dantley (who was averaging nearly 27 points per game at the time) was traded in December, while the Pacers' second-leading scorer, John Williamson, was dealt in January.
The early Pacers came out on the short end of two of the most one-sided trades in NBA history. In 1980, they traded Alex English to the Nuggets in order to reacquire former ABA star George McGinnis. McGinnis was long past his prime, and contributed very little during his two-year return. English, in contrast, went on to become one of the greatest scorers in NBA history. The next year, they traded a 1984 draft pick to the Portland Trail Blazers for center Tom Owens, who played one year for the Pacers with little impact. In 198384, the Pacers finished with the worst record in the Eastern Conference, which would have given the Pacers the second overall pick in the draftthe pick that the Blazers used to select Sam Bowie while Michael Jordan was still available. As a result of the Owens trade, they were left as bystanders in the midst of one of the deepest drafts in NBA historyincluding such future stars as Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, and John Stockton.
Clark Kellogg was drafted by the Pacers in the 1982 and finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting, but the Pacers finished the 198283 season with their all-time worst record of 2062, and won only 26 games the following season. After winning 22 games in 198485 and 26 games in 198586, Jack Ramsay replaced George Irvine as coach and led the Pacers to a 4141 record in 198687 and their second playoff appearance as an NBA team. Chuck Person, nicknamed "The Rifleman" for his renowned long-range shooting, led the team in scoring as a rookie and won NBA Rookie of the Year honors. Their first playoff win in NBA franchise history was earned in Game 3 of their first-round, best-of-five series against the Atlanta Hawks, but it was their only victory in that series, as the Hawks defeated them in four games.