Pacers hope Perkins can help players stay out of trouble

The Indiana Pacers, looking to halt a string of embarrassing incidents involving players, have hired Sam Perkins to act as a mentor.

Perkins, who played on the Pacers squad that reached the 2000 NBA Finals, was hired as vice president for player relations.

"I'm aware of the things that went on," Perkins said Monday, according to The Indianapolis Star. "True, it's not all their faults. There's a lot reasons for some of the stuff, but there's no excuse for it. … You just have to hopefully put it in the past and use that stuff as an example.

"I want to face the challenges in front of me and help the players mature in life."

Team president Larry Bird, who played against and coached Perkins in the NBA, said he has wanted to hire Perkins for some time, according to The Star. The team believes Perkins will be able to relate to players because he spent 15 years in the NBA.

The Pacers, who struggled to a 36-46 record and missed the playoffs despite a weak Eastern Conference, have run into behavior problems in the past two seasons. Jamaal Tinsley, Shawne Williams and Marquis Daniels all had issues with the law the past two years, and David Harrison was suspended five games this season for violating the league's anti-drug program.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.