Reports have come out of the New York Post Friday that Larry Bird is leaving as the President and decision maker with the Indiana Pacers after this season. Sources are saying this.
It’s news. It shouldn’t be a surprise. I’m not sure we really need sources when Larry Bird himself said this last June.
“They asked me to stay another year through the lockout season, the owner did, for a favor. I was leaving, but he asked me to stay, and I will and I’ll get the job done.”
The Post’s sources are confirming this is over.
A handshake promise was given Simon last summer by Bird that he would consider re-upping for another season, but that has been ruled out. It’s believed Simon is aware of such and has a petite list of prospective replacement candidates.
For the record, Larry Bird is denying this. Here is his statement, via the twitter of Mike Wells of the Indy Star.
“No decision has been made, end of story,” Bird said through a team spokesman.
What do you expect him to say mid-season? Bird is loyal, he will be quiet on this until after the season, but it would be a shock if he stayed on.
Who should get the job? Well, they have former Portland GM Kevin Pritchard in house, that would seem smart. This was Donnie Walsh’s job before he went to the Knicks and he might return.
But Peter Vecsey says owner Herb Simon is leading toward a splashy big name — Chris Mullin (meh) or Reggie Miller (for the sake of Pacers’ fans, don’t do it).
Whatever happens, finding a way to get this team from good to contender without high draft picks and challenges drawing big free agents will fall to someone other than Bird.