What was long rumored and expected is now official.
David Morway has resigned as the general manager of the Indiana Pacers and is leaving the organization, the team announced Tuesday. This is one of those “resign or we will can you” resignations, just so we’re clear.
This clears the way for Kevin Pritchard, the former Trail Blazers GM who has worked as an assistant GM with the Pacers the past year, to step into the big chair. That’s not official yet but it will be soon enough.
That’s not the only change in Indiana today — Larry Bird is stepping out as team president and Donnie Walsh is returning to take on that role again.
Usually these kinds of transitions are messy like a third-world government coup, but in this case the transition should be smooth. Which is good, the Pacers are a quality team — third best in the East last year — who could take some big steps forward with the right moves.
Donnie Walsh was the long-time CEO of the Indiana Pacers who took a few years off to bail the New York Knicks out of their Isiah Thomas hole. They rewarded him for that by shoving him aside (over differences about the Carmelo Anthony deal), stripping him of his power and making him a consultant.
Now, Walsh is back with the Pacers, reports the New York Daily News.
Walsh, the long-time Indiana CEO before he came to New York to rebuild the Knicks, will be leading the Pacers in their efforts to land free agents starting when the period opens Sunday, league sources said Monday. The team’s No. 1 priority is to re-sign point guard George Hill, a restricted free agent, and sources said Walsh will be spearheading the team’s efforts to keep Hill.
Walsh, 71, has a close relationship with Pacers owner Herb Simon and has been attending the team’s pre-draft workouts in recent weeks.
They’re going to have a real brain trust in Indiana — Larry Bird, who will be back as team president; Kevin Pritchard, the former Trail Blazers GM who may get the same title with the Pacers; and Walsh.
The Pacers have a good young team — led by Roy Hibbert, David West, Darren Collison and Hill — and cap space to explore bringing in a quality free agent or two. They are a team on the rise in the East and if they can lure some good free agents they could make a real leap.
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.
via Pacers: A poor relationship is the reason Bird wants to replace Morway | Pacers Insider | The Indianapolis Star | IndyStar.com.
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.
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).
We all had our laugh, time to get serious about the Orlando Magic general manager search.
How about this for a start, from Ken Berger at CBSSports.com — Mitch Kupchak of the Lakers.
So while there have been no public indications that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak will be available or wants to leave Los Angeles, Kupchak is expected to be among the first wave of candidates the Magic pursue, one of the sources said…
The Magic also are interested in speaking with Pacers general manager David Morway and former Hornets GM Jeff Bower, both of whom have interviewed twice for the Trail Blazers’ opening, and former Portland GM and current Pacers executive Kevin Pritchard, sources said. Magic officials believe former Pacers and Knicks president Donnie Walsh would be a good fit, but sources say the team is convinced that if Walsh returns to a front-office job, it will be in Indiana in the likely event team president Larry Bird retires.
I have heard from multiple sources that Kupchak is not happy with the Lakers — working closely with Jim Buss, son of long-time owner Jerry — and is looking to get out.
However, Kupchak said on Wednesday that he has not intention of leaving the Lakers and that working with the Buss family was “the best job,” as reported in the Orange County Register. Kupchak is ever the straight shooter and company man and would never say anything to harm the Buss family or the organization. It’s not his style.
Whether it is Kupchak or someone else, the Magic are clearly looking for a veteran GM to take the helm and set a direction. From there a coach will be hired, but the GM will be first. Which is as it should be.