CHICAGO -- The Indiana Pacers are stuck in reverse.
They take a six-game losing streak into tonight's contest against the Chicago Bulls, they have the NBA's fifth-worst record and their chemistry has come into question.
Fans are clamoring for team president Larry Bird to make a move, preferably to replace coach Jim O'Brien.
For fans in that camp, don't get your hopes up.
Bird said Monday he has no plans to fire O'Brien.
If anything changes, according to Bird, it will be the roster.
"Jim is going to be here; that's one thing the players have to know," Bird said. "The coach is secure. We wouldn't have picked up his option if we didn't think he was secure. If the players have a problem with Jim, the players are the ones that are probably going to leave."
The Pacers are coming off their second-worst loss since the 2004 brawl, a 34-point blowout at Miami one day after a 12-point loss against Atlanta. They are closer to catching New Jersey for the league's worst record than Cleveland for the Central Division lead.
"I don't like what I'm seeing," Bird said. "Going in, we expected to compete and be in every game. I thought last year we played very hard and had a chance to make the playoffs at the end. The play on the court now, it's no excuse. We have to be able to compete on a nightly basis."
The Pacers (9-20) are one game worse than they were at this point last season, but there's a different feel.
"I've seen it off and on throughout the season," Bird said. "I take notes every game and watch the players' performance, watch their body language. I watch them on the bench.
"It's a clear sign when guys or the team is not playing well, guys sit on the bench and they cover their face with their towel and they're talking to one another. That's not a good sign and that's something we don't like seeing."
Fans blame O'Brien, who is 81-112 in two-plus seasons. Bird doesn't. Bird said the team is still rebuilding, and extending O'Brien's contract through next season is part of the process.
"We decided awhile back that we had a plan and we're going to stick with the plan," Bird said. "If there's changes that are going to be made, it's going to be through personnel, not through the coaches."
Don't expect owner Herb Simon to step in and make a move, either.
Simon said he supports Bird and O'Brien.
"It's a problem, but it's solvable and we're going to solve it," Simon said Monday. "It's going to take some time. We always said it was going to take three years to get the flexibility we needed. This is just a little setback."
Bird is exploring trades, but he won't make a move just to appease fans.
He is looking toward the summer of 2011, when the Pacers will gain salary cap flexibility as the contracts of Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy expire. They will make $22.5 million combined next season.
"Something we have to do is really watch everything and make sure, if we make a deal, it's going to be looking forward to the future," Bird said. "We've always been looking. We talk to people, just not every day. With the cap and the (luxury) tax coming down again next year, we're in a situation where we have to be very careful what we do."