When Larry Bird was retained as President of Basketball Operations for the Pacers, there was an interesting wrinkle. Kevin Pritchard, not longer-tenured David Morway, was tapped for the GM position under Bird. It was thought that was because Morway, having interviewed for vacant positions around the league, was simply headed elsewhere. Turns out that’s true, but not because Morway’s going to get another offer (though he may). The Indianapolis Star’s Mike Wells reports:
Bird no longer has a relationship with soon-to-be ousted general manager David Morway, according to multiple sources.
Sources say the fizzled relationship is the one of the main reasons why Bird plans to replace Morway with Kevin Pritchard as general manager once Bird agrees to a new deal with owner Herb Simon to remain as president when the two meet later this week.
Pritchard was hired to be the Pacers’ director of player personnel last summer.
It takes awhile to earn Bird’s trust and once you burn that bridge he’s done with people. That’s the case right now with Morway.
Wells goes on to say that the big clincher for Bird was Morway’s mishandling of the attempted acquisition of O.J. Mayo. That failed debacle where Morway reportedly pushed the Grizzlies too hard to take on Brandon Rush (eventually shipped to Golden State) cost Morway huge points.
Morway has a pretty good shot at multiple openings, most notably the Orlando job, where he’s considered a finalist for the gig. But it’s interesting that Bird lost his confidence in him. It’s also interesting because for a while it seemed that Bird would leave the job, Pritchard would leave the job, and Morway would take over. Now Morway’s the only one on the outside.
Sometimes this happens with people who work together. Not unfair to support either side.
Report: Pacers’ Bird to replace GM Morway with Pritchard
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).
Video: Larry Bird and Magic Johnson remind you what everyone’s playing for
ESPN’s rafters commercials have been really good. The Kevin Durant one held the promise of future, the Paul Pierce one held the reminder of glory for a franchise that hasn’t seen a title since 2008. The new “A Champion Will Rise” commercials speak to the league’s history, and feature two of the greatest to ever play the game.
Chills, man. Chills.
It brings to light what’s at stake here. We think of champions so much in the context of the now, of this season, of this era. But that title represents so much more in the very lives of these men. For LeBron James, it’s validation, for Paul Pierce, it’s proof. For Durant, it’s a message of arrival, for Duncan, it’s joy.
The sacrifice is given in exchange for the banner, for the ring, for the title. In a month, someone’s going to have their legacy changed forever.
Indiana’s Larry Bird named NBA Executive of the Year
He’s an NBA MVP. He’s an NBA champion. He’s an NBA Coach of the Year.
And now he’s an NBA Executive of the Year. Not a bad resume.
Larry Bird was voted the honor by his peers, the league announced. Bird is the first person ever to be an MVP, COY and now Executive of the Year. There’s a whole bunch of other accolades we could put on his historic and unique career in basketball as well.
You have to wonder if this was not kind of a lifetime achievement/going away present for Bird, who most expect to leave the Pacers after this season.
Not that he didn’t deserve it, Bird has made a numbers of smart moves that have brought the Pacers to a 42-24 record and the third seed in the East, a team that has advanced to the second round of the playoffs and is giving the Heat all they can handle.
He drafted Roy Hibbert and Paul George in recent years to put around Danny Granger. This summer he signed David West then later traded for Leandro Barbosa. He also found and hired coach Frank Vogel.
Second place in the voting went to Spurs GM R.C. Buford, who has remade the Spurs roster around the big three and turned them into an offensive force and contender.
Third was the Clippers Neil Olshey, who has turned around the Clipper franchise and was able to swing the blockbuster trade for Chris Paul. Olshey was my choice, not simply for the Paul trade but more for being at the heart of changing the culture around at what had been the worst franchise in the Association.
Chicago’s Gar Forman was fourth, Utah’s Kevin O’Conner fifth.
“I learned from my predecessors, man,” Bryant said Tuesday. “Pippen had a (messed) up back taking charges. Bird had a (messed) up back taking charges.
“I said, `I’m not taking charges.’ I figured that (stuff) out at an early age.”
With Kobe, you know he is speaking honestly when his conversation is littered with words we need to replace with euphemisms in parenthesis on this site. He went on to say he saw Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson only take one charge each.
That quote is pretty much a Rorschach test for what you think about Kobe. If you can’t stand him you think what he said selfish and fitting with his me-first not team-first personality. If you are a Kobe fan you think that’s just smart — guys who carry the team should not be risking injury standing in front of LeBron James waiting to get run over.
I’ll say this — plenty of guys feel the way Kobe does but wouldn’t say it.