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Bird denies report he is “100% percent” not returning to Pacers

Apr 27, 2012, 9:08 AM EDT

NCAA Championship Game: Michigan State Spartans v North Carolina Tar Heels Getty Images

UPDATE 9:07 am: Well, that didn’t take long.

I said you could bet Bird would deny the latest report he is not coming back and he has to the Indy Star.

“Once again, no decision has been made,” Bird said by phone Thursday evening. “I’ll sit down with my owner at the end of the season and we’ll talk about things.”

 As I said below, he’s not expected to return and the people around him clearly think he’s gone, but with the Pacers entering the playoffs Bird wants the focus on the court. He has not yet sat down with the owner and discussed this. But he will, and I think we all know how that will end.

8:08 am: Larry Bird almost left last summer but came back as Indiana team president for this season because owner Herb Simon asked him to help the franchise through an unusual lockout season. He did. And the Pacers have grown with young talent into the third best team in the East and one on the rise.

But he is not coming back for another year, reports Ken Berger at CBSSports.com.

Bird, 55, had an agreement with Simon to remain team president through the end of the season and decide his future then. The Hall of Famer has been clear in conversations with friends that Simon does not need to wait any longer before formally considering candidates to replace him, one of the sources said. 
Bird is said to be “100 percent” certain he’s leaving after the most successful season of the Pacers’ post-Palace brawl rebuilding, one of the sources said, but has been extremely guarded publicly about his intentions.

When something similar was reported a month ago, Bird denied it. He’ll likely deny this, too.

But this is a lot of arrows pointing in the direction we all thought he would go anyway. It was expected Bird would leave after this season, that seems to be where this is now headed.

If Bird does leave, don’t be shocked to see former Pacers president Donnie Walsh — most recently of turning around the Knicks fortunes — to come back and take the job. Walsh has a good relationship with Simon and is said to want to get back in the game.

  1. nokoolaidcowboy - Apr 27, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    I’m not trying to be funny but judging from the photo above, Larry is not aging well. Can’t blame him for not coming back.

    • BigBeachBall - Apr 27, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      don’t know why larry asked his barber for a lesbian haircut…

  2. abchome - Apr 27, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    Too bad the league didn’t grant him the Charlotte expansion franchise or otherwise that team couldn’t be this bad…

  3. 28loose - Apr 27, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    I’m sure there are examples, but I can’t think of a person who has had a more successful complete NBA life. He’s a top 10 all time player; a coach who had a near .700 winning percentage, one Finals appearance, 3 Easter Conference Champion appearances all in three seasons; and as a GM he brought up a team that was in shambles since pretty much the Artest fight and Miller retiring.

    Good job, Larry. You will be missed.

  4. thestudiokida - Apr 27, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    Reporting has gone to hell. Why would there exist a report of 100% certainty only to be denied the next day?

  5. metalhead65 - Apr 27, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    ih does decide to retire I hope does not replace him,he was the guy responsible for the thugs and lousy contracts Larry had to get rid of in order to rebuild the pacers. I seem to recall Larry taking allot of abuse for not being able to get the job done faster because of those contracts by the same people praising him now and telling him not to leave. and why is it your job to report he leaving before he decides to announce it himself? would be pretty funy if he decides he is staying.

  6. chitownmatt - Apr 27, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    “…extremely guarded publicly…”

    That doesn’t sound much like Larry Bird.. ;)

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