Larry Bird Rumors
Adam Simon: “I’ve been in cars traveling around Europe with Jerry West. I’ve sat and scouted games next to Larry Bird. Michael Jordan, I’ve sat with him. And, of course, the first time I met Pat in 1995, I was in awe. My colleagues, my peers, the people that I work with, it blows my mind that I’m in this position. I don’t take it for granted, but I feel comfortable in my ability to work with those gentlemen because of the time and the work I put in.”
The Indiana Pacers announced Monday that Larry Bird is stepping down as President of Basketball Operations with current Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Kevin Pritchard assuming Bird’s position. Bird will remain with the team in an advisory role.
“I felt it was time to step away in a full-time capacity,” said Bird. “This has nothing to do with my health or our team. I’m 60 years old and I want to do other things away from basketball. I will do some scouting for the Pacers, NBA, college, international, do some appearances and stay in a capacity to advise senior basketball management. I love the Pacers, I grew up with the Pacers and admired them from a very young age. I want to thank the fans for their support throughout my career. I also want to thank (owner) Herb Simon for the many years of loyalty and for allowing me to stay with the team in a different role.”
Added Bird, “I’m very happy Kevin is stepping in and glad another Hoosier is in line to take over this job. He has a lot of experience from the past five years as a GM and he’s ready to step into a leading role. With us, he has had his own ideas on the draft, players, and now he gets an opportunity to push his basketball abilities to the forefront. His role will be no different than mine was. He will make all final decisions on all basketball-related matters. There can only be one voice and it will be his.”
Bird, according to sources, was unwilling to trade George before the NBA’s trade deadline in February. With Bird no longer making the Pacers’ top basketball decisions, a trade to ensure the Pacers receive compensation for George could become more of a possibility this summer. If George doesn’t make one of the All-NBA teams, he could re-sign with the Pacers for approximately $180 million over five years. In either case, he can sign with another team for four years and about $130 million.
Multiple sources close to Bird say he is turning over the franchise to General Manager Kevin Pritchard because Bird doesn’t have the patience, the will, to fight the battle that looms ahead, a battle where the first salvos will be fired by someone else.