Jon Wertheim of suggests that the Indiana Pacers are under a curse similar to the one that the Red Sox have just come out from under.

It is called "The Curse of Tom Owens."

The Pacers' coach at the time, Jack McKinney, had just led the team to the NBA playoffs for the first time.

But he had just lost center James Edwards to free agency, so he traded a first-round draft pick in 1984 to Portland for Owens, a journeyman.

Owens played just one season for the Pacers, averaging 10.5 points. That draft pick, meanwhile, turned out to be the second overall selection in 1984. The Blazers used it to take Sam Bowie, but could have taken Michael Jordan, who went third to Chicago.

The history of the Pacers, and the NBA, would have been rewritten if they had kept the pick and drafted Jordan. Instead, they are still searching for their first NBA title.

Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh, who took over the basketball operations in 1986, said he doesn't feel cursed. But he agrees he might feel differently had he made the trade.

"Then I don't know what I'd be doing," he said.

The Pacers have reached the playoffs in 13 of the past 15 seasons, and reached the Finals in 2000.

Hopes are high for the Pacers this season with the addition of Stephen Jackson to a talented core of Jermaine O'Neal and Ron Artest, as they attempt to break the curse of squandering Michael Jordan.