Tag: Herb Simon

NCAA Championship Game: Michigan State Spartans v North Carolina Tar Heels

Bird denies report he is “100% percent” not returning to Pacers


UPDATE 9:07 am: Well, that didn’t take long.

I said you could bet Bird would deny the latest report he is not coming back and he has to the Indy Star.

“Once again, no decision has been made,” Bird said by phone Thursday evening. “I’ll sit down with my owner at the end of the season and we’ll talk about things.”

 As I said below, he’s not expected to return and the people around him clearly think he’s gone, but with the Pacers entering the playoffs Bird wants the focus on the court. He has not yet sat down with the owner and discussed this. But he will, and I think we all know how that will end.

8:08 am: Larry Bird almost left last summer but came back as Indiana team president for this season because owner Herb Simon asked him to help the franchise through an unusual lockout season. He did. And the Pacers have grown with young talent into the third best team in the East and one on the rise.

But he is not coming back for another year, reports Ken Berger at CBSSports.com.

Bird, 55, had an agreement with Simon to remain team president through the end of the season and decide his future then. The Hall of Famer has been clear in conversations with friends that Simon does not need to wait any longer before formally considering candidates to replace him, one of the sources said. 
Bird is said to be “100 percent” certain he’s leaving after the most successful season of the Pacers’ post-Palace brawl rebuilding, one of the sources said, but has been extremely guarded publicly about his intentions.

When something similar was reported a month ago, Bird denied it. He’ll likely deny this, too.

But this is a lot of arrows pointing in the direction we all thought he would go anyway. It was expected Bird would leave after this season, that seems to be where this is now headed.

If Bird does leave, don’t be shocked to see former Pacers president Donnie Walsh — most recently of turning around the Knicks fortunes — to come back and take the job. Walsh has a good relationship with Simon and is said to want to get back in the game.

As expected, looks like Larry Bird will retire from Pacers

NCAA Championship Game: Michigan State Spartans v North Carolina Tar Heels

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.

Report: Pacers owner wants Reggie Miller to replace Bird


After listening to Reggie Miller broadcast NBA games, would you hire him to be your team’s general manager?

I wouldn’t even let him run my fantasy team, but if a GM gig gets him out of the broadcast booth I am fully supportive of it.

Larry Bird is going to step down at the end of this season as the guy running the Indiana Pacers basketball operations, and owner Herb Simon apparently does not watch the same broadcasts you and I do and he wants Miller to replace Bird, reports Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Simon has considered this possibility for several years, sources said, and thinks the timing could be right to groom Miller to run his basketball operations. This is likely Miller’s one chance to ever run a team. And where else would he rather do it, but in the city, the state, where he became basketball royalty?

Nevertheless, there’s risk for everyone. Miller has a cushy national TV analyst’s job with TNT, and he’d have to jeopardize his standing as an iconic Indiana figure. He’s the greatest, most beloved player in Pacers history. He’ll take hits upstairs that he never had to take on the court.

It is possible Simon would do something like re-hire Donnie Walsh (who ran the Pacers before going to the Knicks) to teach Miller the ropes for a couple years before letting Reggie have the run of the place.

If Simon is set on a star former Pacer running the show, I would go with Chris Mullin personally. But again, if this gets Miller out of the broadcast booth, I am supportive in the same way I was when the Warriors hired Mark Jackson.

Larry Bird to remain with Pacers

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Pacers owner Herb Simon has decided to keep Larry Bird around as team president.

It took a few weeks for the Pacers to get around to making this decision, but they finally got there and announced it on Tuesday.

“I’m quite pleased with the success we experienced this past season and pleased with the direction our team is going. I’m glad Larry is staying to help us continue in the positive direction we are going,” Simon said in a released statement.

Bird also made a comment in that statement.

“The past few months have been the most enjoyable since I took over as President of Basketball Operations. To see our young players develop, to see us make the playoffs and then to see us compete in a hard-fought series with Chicago are indications we are headed in the right direction and it has made me even more determined to help this team improve further and go to the next level.”

The Pacers jelled under interim coach Frank Vogel, who very well may not be interim soon. The Pacers finished the season on a 20-18 run and pushed the Bulls hard in the first round of the playoffs.

But there is still a lot of work for Bird to do. This team has a good number two star in Danny Granger and a number of good role players – but now it needs the ace. The hardest part to get. Especially when you’re not a team at the top of the lottery or in a large market that can draw free agents. Larry Bird has some real work ahead of him.

Maybe revenue sharing isn’t the answer for owner, players

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If there is one thing that both the players and owners almost, kind of agree on in the new Collective Bargaining Talks is the concept of increased revenue sharing.

The players see it as a way to help make small market teams competitive — allowing those teams to pay higher salary and avoid issues such as contraction (a loss of jobs). Small market owners want more money for obvious reasons, and NBA Commissioner David Stern said big market owners are willing to discuss the idea so long as there are safeguards to make sure that money is re-invested in the team and not just pocketed.

Behind it all is thinking of the NBA like the NFL model, where there is extensive revenue sharing, great parity on the field, increased competition and a rising tide lifts all boats. Whether that is a model which really works for the NBA — where one player like a LeBron James or Kobe Bryant can alone radically alter a game in a way no one football player can; and where stars have long driven the sport — is another debate.

But revenue sharing does not work for the players or owners, argues Adam Fusfeld at Business Insider.

He notes that that while big market teams such as the Lakers and Bulls have made money, so have franchises in Sacramento, Utah, Cleveland. Also, having that money does not automatically produce wins — see the Knicks or Clippers, two profitable but losing teams.

But the data shows that those deep-pocketed owners in New York and Los Angeles might as well keep their cash. The size of the market isn’t what makes teams profitable, and the size of the payroll isn’t what makes them winners….

Washington, in the nation’s ninth largest media market, had a nearly identical won-loss record to Indiana over the five-year span, but earned $87 million more in operating income. The Wizards generated slightly more income, but also spent $7.6 million less each year on player expenses. If the Pacers simply reduced their payroll to equal that of the Wizards, their $26 million loss would transform into a $12 million profit.

In this five-year span, eight franchises – Phoenix, San Antonio, Denver, Detroit, New Jersey, New Orleans, Chicago, and Utah – finished with more wins than Indiana despite paying substantially less in player salaries between 2005 and 2009. Of those teams, only the Nets lost more than $1 million per year.

Small market owners gripe that it’s impossible for them to stay afloat without sustained on-court success, while large-market teams rake in profits no matter what. But how does that explain the Dallas Mavericks? Mark Cuban’s $75 million loss dwarf those of Pacers’ owner Herb Simon.

Sure, Mark Cuban and Knicks’ boss James Dolan can afford to incur those losses, but they are losses nonetheless. In essence, the Pacers, Bucks, and other small market teams are griping over rival owners’ riches.

And that’s the true inequity in NBA financials.

Some owners are willing to bankroll losses to assemble the best roster they can, while others aren’t.

This disparity continues. Peter Guber and Joe Lacob purchased the Golden State Warriors and have promised to run it smarter, but also said they are not going to spend over the NBA luxury tax line. Meanwhile Mikhail Prokhorov purchases the New Jersey Nets and money is no object.

With both the Detroit Pistons and New Orleans Hornets available for purchase, the debate about the types of owners the NBA has and needs is a very relevant one.