HoopsHype Larry Bird rumors

October 8, 2013 Updates

Larry Bird sits quietly in the stands watching practice, peering down through basketball eyes that have seen so much. Sometimes, he stands and leans on a railing, stretching his chronically achy back. His eyes, though -- squinty, a little droopy -- never avert their Hall of Fame gaze from the action on the court below. Bird is back in his element, back running the only team he wanted to run. A year off has rejuvenated him, has reminded him of a fact he probably should've already known. "If you're a lifer, you're a lifer," Bird told CBSSports.com in a quiet moment after practice last week. CBSSports.com

Bird is a lifer, all right; a private man who knows there is no use fighting the awkward bond between his small-town roots and his life's work in the public eye. He has returned after a year off to reclaim his perch as president of the Indiana Pacers, an outcome he truly didn't foresee when he left. "I never dreamed I'd be back, especially so quick," Bird said. "But I thought that's the best thing that I've done in a long time -- get away from it, refresh, watch the team play." CBSSports.com

After a while, teams started calling Pacers owner Herb Simon. What's going on with Larry? Can we talk to him? One such team was the Sacramento Kings, and after a brief but serious flirtation, Bird and Simon began the dialogue that ultimately led him back to Indiana, where he belonged. "I guess when the other owners started calling my owner up and started asking questions, that's when he called me and said, ‘Look, I want you back here,'" Bird said. "'I'd rather you be here than anywhere else.'" CBSSports.com

Bird has never been one to trade draft picks; in the small-market reality in which he lives, they're too valuable. But with the Pacers so close to title contention, Bird deviated from his playbook and sent a first-round pick to Phoenix as part of a deal for Luis Scola. "I've always liked Scola, always been after Scola," Bird said. "I made some calls knowing the price might be steep, but still feel like we got a good deal out of it." CBSSports.com

When Bird played with the Celtics, it was the Sixers, Pistons, Lakers and others. For Bird the executive, it's the Heat. "First of all, they've got the best player in the world," Bird said. "But they're a tax team. They'll spend a little bit more to get the players they want and they've got players that want to go there and play -- pretty good players for a lot less money. That makes it tough, but that's just part of the game. I've always said, the favorite is going to be the team that has the best player. ... They deserve to be No. 1 until somebody takes 'em off that spot." CBSSports.com

September 25, 2013 Updates

Indiana Pacers All-Star forward Paul George knew keeping a ‘poker face’ would benefit him in his contract negotiations ... but he couldn’t. “My heart was really here and I couldn’t see myself anywhere else,” he said Wednesday during a press conference at Bankers Life Fieldhouse announcing a multi-year contract extension. Terms of the contract were not released. The 6-8, 225-pound George averaged 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game last season, earning his first All-Star appearance and earning the league’s Most Improved Player award. “We think, going forward, he’ll continue to improve and do the thing necessary to be the face of the franchise and do the things to take us to a place we haven’t been in a long time,” team president Larry Bird said. Indianapolis Star

September 24, 2013 Updates
September 23, 2013 Updates

Although a new deal isn't complete just yet and George hasn't signed on the dotted line, everything is expected to be resolved this week. "I know Paul's worth," said Bird. "I'm not banking on what's going to happen in the future, even though you do somewhat. It's what he's accomplished now and that what we'll go off of. It's always good to have the leverage but the number has got to be a number we both like. And that's what it's all about. It's all about money. Yes, he wants to be here. He's told me that a million times. We want him here so let's just find a number that works for both." NBA.com

Scott Agness: Larry Bird says Paul George’s deal isn’t done yet. On money: “The number has got to be the number we both like. That’s what it’s all about.” Twitter @ScottAgness

September 21, 2013 Updates
September 19, 2013 Updates
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September 8, 2013 Updates

“I grew up watching Larry Bird when I was growing up in New Hamsphere which is north of Boston and he’s a 6-foot-8 or 6-foot-9 guy who can shoot and has a tremendous work ethic,“ he said. “I always want to work hard like Larry Bird and I want to shoot three-pointers like Larry Bird and I have to work hard evey game with my shooting and my stroke and I once I got into the NBA, (former NBA players) Donyell Marshall and Robert Horry helped me find my niche within the team.“ Tempo

July 27, 2013 Updates

"Luis will be a very important asset to our team and to our bench,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “He has NBA experience, international experience and is the type of player that will fit in nicely on our roster. I want to thank Gerald and Miles for their contributions. They had tough years last season, but worked hard, never complained and contributed to the great chemistry our team had. I think Gerald and Miles will be solid additions in Phoenix and we wish them well." NBA.com

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