Jun 26, 2012, 9:44 AM EDT
It had long been the thought around the league that this was Larry Bird’s last year as president of the Pacers. Bird denied it. Directly. More than once.
But in the end, he was ready to leave the Pacers.
Bird is stepping down as team president, reports the Indy Star.
Bird is “100 percent sure” he will not return as president of the team, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Star on Monday. Bird, 55, is expected to meet with owner Herb Simon today to finalize his departure…
Bird, who is dealing with some health issues (back and shoulder), will likely take a year off before deciding if he wants to return to any sort of front-office position.
He almost certainly will be replaced by Donnie Walsh, who is returning to the team he lead for many years before going to New York. While this has not been confirmed it makes perfect sense.
The Pacers are a team on the cusp — they had the third best record in the East last year, led by a young core including Roy Hibbert and Danny Granger. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said recently he was more nervous when he team was down 2-1 to Indy than when they were down 3-2 to Boston. On top of their core, they have a lot of cap space to lure a free agent — if they can land a star they could be contenders in a crowded East.
There also has been buzz that Kevin Pritchard will be bumped up to general manager of the Pacers. Which is a good hire. There is a lot to like for Pacers fans, this should be a smooth transition.
- Red hot Ray McCallum leads Sacramento Kings to Summer League title with 77-68 win against Houston 2
- Lakers great Michael Cooper diagnosed with cancer 13
- Report: Stan Van Gundy tells Josh Smith, barring unexpected trade, forward will start season with Pistons 7
- Mike Krzyzewski would trade Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love with “not one second of hesitancy” 68
- Mario Chalmers: “I never thought anybody would want to leave Miami for Cleveland” 65
- Las Vegas Summer League review: How did Andrew Wiggins, other lottery picks fare? 14
- Report: Knicks open to trading Iman Shumpert or J.R. Smith 29
- Top seven free agents still on the market 49