Larry Bird has decided to return as the guy steering the ship for the Indiana Pacers, but he is bringing in a new No. 2.
Bird is replacing existing general manager David Morway with a guy down the Pacers ladder, former Trail Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo.com.
Despite joining the organization as a subordinate to Morway, Pritchard rapidly usurped power and influence since his hiring a year ago, league sources said. Pacers owner Herb Simon and Morway were wary of bringing Pritchard into the organization, sources said, but Bird trusts Pritchard’s counsel and has pushed for this change….
The Pacers’ move is largely baffling to league executives who believe Morway played a significant part in the franchise’s rise to contention in the Eastern Conference this season. Morway helped replenish the Pacers through the draft and trades. Indiana lost in six games to the Miami Heat in the East semifinals.
When was the last time a successful GM was let go just after the team’s best season in a while? Something smells a little odd.
Morway will not be unemployed for long. He reportedly has been interviewed for the Orlando job and had been in the running for the Portland job before they went with Clippers GM Neil Olshey (Los Angeles is another open job, while we’re talking about it).
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.
For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.
His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).
“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”
Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.
We’re going to miss Kobe.