Herb Simon Rumors
The Pacers’ ownership reorganization, according to the lawsuit, came after Herb Simon wanted to retain ownership and Mel Simon grew tired of funding losses for a team “hemorrhaging cash.” The lawsuit says the team’s 2004 brawl at a game in Detroit, where players entered the stands to confront fans, started the franchise’s financial troubles. It mentions subsequent player arrests as causing the team to become “a civic and family embarrassment.”
With the Indiana Pacers languishing in public perception and on the court in 2007, team co-owner Mel Simon approached his brother and co-owner Herb about selling the team, according to a lawsuit filed in Colorado. Bren Simon, Mel Simon’s widow, is suing the Internal Revenue Service in U.S. District Court for return of $21 million that she paid in protest. She contends the IRS improperly interpreted money Mel received from an ownership reorganization of the Pacers in 2009 as a gift.
Several deciding factors would determine the Pacers’ interest in Stephenson, said Simon, and a huge consideration would be chemistry. “First of all, we don’t know if they’re really trading him, at least I don’t know,” Simon said about the Hornets. “I know they made some calls and we would have to (figure out) how he fits back into the team. Those are all basketball decisions and Larry and Kevin (Pritchard) are the best to answer that. “We have the best basketball minds in Larry Bird and Kevin Pritchard and they’re working on it every minute of every day. So, something will happen.”
Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon said he would personally be fine with bringing back Lance Stephenson in a trade, however the judgment would be up to the front office. “I’d be OK with it but it’s not up to me. Larry (Bird) has to decide if he fits,” Simon told The Star prior to Monday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Herb Simon: “I wholeheartedly endorse Commissioner Adam Silver’s swift, strong and decisive action with regard to Donald Sterling. These past days have been both sad and disturbing for the NBA family. It is our responsibility to continue as models of the diversity and inclusion the NBA has long and justly represented.”
There are 12 other NBA owners on the list, including Kroenke (Nuggets), Micky Arison (Heat, $5.9 billion), Dan Gilbert (Cavaliers, $3.9 billion), Charles Dolan (Knicks, $3.3 billion), Tom Gores (Pistons, $2.7 billion), Mark Cuban (Mavericks $2.5 billion), Josh Harris (Sixers, $2.5 billion), Robert Pera (Grizzlies, $1.95 billion), Herb Simon (Pacers, $1.95 billion), Donald Sterling (Clippers, $1.9 billion), Glen Taylor (Timberwolves, $1.7 billion) and Benson (Pelicans).
Larry Bird, who took a year off to deal with physical issues and to clear his mind, agreed Wednesday to return to the Pacers as the organization’s top man. He will start Monday. “He’s got plenty of rings of his own, now I want him to win one for me,” Pacers owner Herb Simon told The Star. “He’s got his energy back, his health back and he’s raring to go.” The Pacers will formally announce Bird’s return in a press conference at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Do you have a timeline for the possibility of Larry Bird returning as president and when that situation might be handled? Herb Simon: “I think it’ll be resolved shortly. I’m sure he’s thinking about it. We’ll see what happens. I’ll be in next week and we’ll try to get things resolved. I’ll be coming in for the draft and we’ll be spending some time and we’ll talk about a lot of things.”
Walsh hasn’t talked to Bird in more than a month, since the Pacers went deep into the playoffs. Should Bird wish to return and an agreement can be made with owner Herb Simon, Walsh said he’s prepared to step away. A three-headed monster with Walsh, Bird and Pritchard would be just that, and wouldn’t be good for the organization.
Tuesday night, we pointed out the immense enthusiasm one courtside Pacers fan had following Lance Stephenson’s buzzer-beating shot to end the third quarter in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Turns out she has more than just a rooting interest in the franchise. Sarah Simon is one of Pacers owner Herb Simon’s eight children. She apparently gets very, very into the team’s games.
Walsh said yesterday he would return if Bird doesn’t and owner Herb Simon wants him to. “I like this but I don’t need to do it,’’ Walsh said. Walsh said he will definitely run the draft in June. The Pacers general manager is highly regarded Kevin Pritchard. Last month, in a visit at the Garden, Walsh told The Post, “I took this job because Larry [Bird] wanted a year off. If Larry wants to come back, I’m out. I’m leaving.’’
Walsh said he feels Bird might want to make a comeback after resting his bad shoulder. Walsh said yesterday he would return if Bird doesn’t and owner Herb Simon wants him to. “I like this but I don’t need to do it,’’ Walsh said. Walsh said he will definitely run the draft in June. The Pacers general manager is highly regarded Kevin Pritchard. Last month, in a visit at the Garden, Walsh told The Post, “I took this job because Larry [Bird] wanted a year off. If Larry wants to come back, I’m out. I’m leaving.’’
The 12 owners on the NBA’s relocation/finance committee will make the recommendation on the future of the Kings: • Peter Holt, Spurs (chairman of the board of governors) • Micky Arison, Heat • Clay Bennett, Thunder • Jeanie Buss, Lakers • James Dolan, Knicks • Wyc Grousbeck, Celtics • Ted Leonsis, Wizards • Greg Miller, Jazz • Robert Sarver, Suns • Herb Simon, Pacers • Larry Tanenbaum, Raptors • Glen Taylor, Timberwolves
If the Silnas had had their way in the ’70s, the source said, their franchise would have been brought into the NBA, and they most certainly would have sold the team by now — and likely for less profit than they’re clearing now. “These guys have gotten over unbelievably,” the source said, “and you’d think they’d say, ‘What a great deal,’ and they’d leave it at that.”
Yes, many franchises have sold for more than that over the years. But the Silnas haven’t had to pay a single coach, player, usher, secretary, PR person or janitor a dime since 1976. That $250 million is pure profit. “Worst deal in the history of sports,” lamented a team official of one of the teams Friday, “and unfair to start four teams in the hole every year … it’s an issue that no one really wants to deal with except the four teams, so it kind of keeps getting pushed to the exterior.” Pacers owner Herb Simon told Forbes Magazine last year, “something went wrong somewhere. The intent of the deal was not to have it in perpetuity. It was to compensate them for the loss of their franchise. It’s just an egregious situation now.”
Reggie Miller spent his entire professional playing career with the Indiana Pacers. Now he does not rule out returning to the franchise if the right front-office position becomes available. “I never close any doors,” Miller said. “I listen to everything. (Owner) Herb Simon and I have had this conversation before. So yes, if something presented itself, I would definitely look at it and go from there.”
Bird said he has health issues with his back and shoulder, adding, “I just think it’s time. It’s the right time to go.” He also said he has long felt that sometimes “you can be in one place too long.”
The Indiana Pacers made it official this morning that president Larry Bird is leaving the team and former CEO Donnie Walsh is returning to the team. “I feel sad to announce that Larry is leaving us,” owner Herb Simon said. “Larry could have stayed here as long as he wants, but he has his own reasons.”
The Indiana Pacers have announced that David Morway has resigned as general manager. “For the past year I have carefully and thoughtfully considered my personal, family and professional goals,” Morway said in a statement released by the team. “After discussing all of these issues with our owner Herb Simon and (president) Larry (Bird), I believe this is the right time to step away. “I want to thank Mr. Simon, Larry, (former team president) Donnie Walsh and (president) Jim Morris for the opportunity they gave me and the friendship and mentorship they provided.”
Walsh, 71, has a close relationship with Pacers owner Herb Simon and has been attending the team’s pre-draft workouts in recent weeks. He was ousted near the end of his third season in New York after Dolan refused to give him full autonomy and offered him a substantial paycut. Although he was a consultant for the Knicks this past season, he had no input with the team from his Indianapolis home.
There’s a possibility that former CEO Donnie Walsh will return to the franchise in some capacity, multiple sources told The Star. It’s uncertain what role Walsh will play with the franchise. That question should be answered next week when team owner Herb Simon returns to Indianapolis for meetings to help clear up the team’s murky front office situation.