Q&A with former Pacers forward Luis Scola

The Pacers made the decision this past summer to completely revamp their roster. The 2015-16 team features seven to new faces and a very different frontcourt.

Scola made his first appearance back in Indy on Monday after playing the last two seasons with the Pacers. [Photo: Frank McGrath/PS&E]

Scola made his first appearance back in Indy on Monday after playing the last two seasons with the Pacers. [Photo: Frank McGrath/PS&E]

Luis Scola was interested in re-signing with the Pacers, who acquired him in a trade with Phoenix in 2013. He spent two years in Indy and played in every game except one — a coaching decision to get a look at another guy and ended his streak of 277 consecutive appearances.

Scola is 35 and at the end of his career. But he has no plans to call it quits anytime soon. He is feeling good and has a larger role with Toronto. He has started every game and is averaging 10.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

He signed a one-year deal with the Raptors in July.

Scola, who tallied 22 points in a win the night before, struggled against his former team Monday night. He managed four points and five rebounds, but had a difficult time matching up against C.J. Miles. Miles, who has accepted the role of defending opponents’ power forward, used it to his advantage scoring 17 points and connecting on all five of his 3-point field goals.

After the Pacers’ (14-9) 106-90 win over Raptors (16-10), I caught up with Scola, an exceptional and thoughtful interview, in the visitor’s locker room.

Read the Q&A below:

Did you have conversations with the Pacers during free agency in July?

There was a couple conversations but I think they were moving in another direction. We never really got to the point where they made an offer or anything like that. We [him and his agent] got the feeling that they weren’t going to make one so we had to move on.

Scola’s four children were always in the locker room and out by the court, especially his oldest, 9-year-old Tiago.

How has Toronto treated you? Are the kids liking it?

It’s great. It’s a great city, it’s a great place, it’s a great place to play basketball. It’s a great city to live overall. Very good country.

Did you take your Tesla up there?

Yep. It’s there. There’s a lot of Teslas…

(Raptors staffer who was cleaning up the adjacent locker chimed in: “There’s no snow yet. Can drive it until the electrical system freezes.”)

I drove it here [Indy] in the snow so I’m not worried.

Do you still plan on playing in next summer’s Olympics?

Yeah. We (Argentina) qualified this summer so we’re going to have a chance to play there (Rio). I’m very happy about that.

Will it be your last go-around in the Olympics?

Four years is a lot of years. I will be 36 (April 30th) at the beginning of the Olympics so that puts me at 40 for the next ones. That’s a lot of guessing. I’m just taking it year-by-year now.

And you are healthy and appear to still be in great shape. Do you plan to play another three, four years?

I’m feeling well. Hopefully I get the chance to play … [pauses] I don’t feel close. I don’t feel close to retirement.

That’s what you were saying last year.

I feel the same way as last year. Like I always say, I don’t know how fast the process is. There’s some guys that says it’s pretty fast, that it happens like that. Some guys have been playing long. I feel optimistic that I’ll be able to play a few more years. How many? Honestly, I’m not sure. It would all depends in the situations I’m in, it all depends on the team I’m on, the opportunities that I have, how I’m playing. A lot of things have to happen. But I’m very optimistic.

One of my favorite pictures from Scola's time in Indy, arriving at the arena with Tomas.

One of my favorite pictures from Scola’s time in Indy, arriving at the arena with Tomas.

Are you still following a strict Paleo diet?

Yeah. I have to.

Have you thought about what might be next for you once your playing days are over?

I don’t know. I think about a lot of different things. I change all the time. It’s hard for me to figure out what I want to do while I’m still playing.

I wasn’t sure if you have another passion that you are already looking into…

I’m struggling with the thought of it, so imagine when the time comes. I really don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s going to be hard. When my career is over it’s going to be hard. There’s options with the Federation in Argentina and maybe I’ll get involved with that. Maybe I’ll get involved with a franchise in the NBA. I don’t know.

If you did get into a front office, what role would interest you?

I’m not ready for GM yet. It’s a process. You have to go through the ladder. But honestly I don’t know. Something like that.

What have you seen from the Pacers after they made substantial offseason changes?

Well, obviously they changed a lot. They’re playing with a lot of different lineups, they’re playing with a lot of different players and they’re playing well. Moving well, running well, and they’re better offensively. And it’s hard for teams to matchup with them.

And you saw that tonight with C.J. Miles and that challenge of getting out to him at the 3-point line.

Yeah, it was very hard. They created a good scheme with Ian (Mahinmi). He’s very athletic. He’s a guy who can set a screen and roll, and protect the rim. They can put four out and Ian setting screens and rolling, and that gives them a lot of shots and a lot of layups, too. I think they’re doing a good job.

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