View Full Version : Bird not stepping down after all?

01-29-2011, 01:17 PM

Alleged unrest in the Pacers' organization has been somewhat overblown, though there remains a significant degree of uncertainty as to whether team president Larry Bird, on the last year of his contract, will be back next season. That has more to do with Bird deciding his future than it does with owner Herb Simon's level of happiness with the direction of the team. "Larry loves the job," a person familiar with Bird's thinking said. "He's extremely competitive and knows he's really close to rebuilding the thing and I think he wants to be there to be a part of it and do it." Speculation about significant organizational changes has stemmed from the fact that Bird's contract has the same expiration date as GM David Morway's and coach Jim O'Brien's. That was by design, according to a source who said Simon agreed to give the trio three years to put the franchise on the right footing after the decline that followed the brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills in 2004. The plan all along has been for Simon to evaluate everyone after the season, but one source said the owner is "happy" with the progress of the team. Having said that, if Bird decides to walk away, the domino effect could be significant. The key player in this whose future would appear to be most uncertain is O'Brien, to whom Bird recently gave a faint vote of confidence by saying he'll be evaluated after the season. Currently, there are no plans to make an in-season coaching change, but Pacers officials wouldn't rule it out if the losing continues.

Indeed, the Pacers have lost 16 of 21 and appear to have little chance of climbing into the playoff hunt. So what is Simon so happy about? Bird and Morway have created arguably the most cap flexibility in the league heading into a summer of labor uncertainty, and there's reason to be forward-looking with the potential of Roy Hibbert, Paul George and Tyler Hansbrough. Obviously, they need more size and another scorer to complement Danny Granger (who has struggled in the absence of another legitimate option) and point guard Darren Collison. That's where three key pieces come into play: the expiring contracts of Jeff Foster, Mike Dunleavy and T.J. Ford. The plan had been to let those contracts, totaling $27 million, fall off the books and make the Pacers a significant player in the next two free-agent classes. But things change; with no concrete knowledge of what $27 million in cap space will be worth under a new CBA, the Pacers "would aggressively pursue a deal now" for one of those expiring contracts if the right player were offered, according to a person familiar with the team's strategy. Such a move would allow Bird, who as noted above could be on his way out, to convert expiring money into a known asset rather than wait until the summer, when its exact worth will be unknown.

01-29-2011, 01:20 PM
sound like maybe the LB is willing to retire stuff is more like 'don't joggle my elbow' than anything else.

good to see the pacers are still looking to make a trade. a trade on favorable terms to the pacers, instead of a trade just to trade.