Jun 5, 2013, 4:08 PM EDT
Larry Bird built a large share of the Pacers team that came one game from reaching the NBA Finals before stepping down for health reasons. There were rumblings he could return to Indiana, but the Pacers have already replaced him with two good basketball men, Donnie Walsh and Kevin Pritchard. So, while a comeback might be possible, it would be at least a little awkward.
But if Bird wants to run a team again, he could return elsewhere with fewer complications. So, he’s reportedly talking to new Kings owner Vivek Ranadive. The sometimes-plugged-in, sometimes-rumor-mongering Peter Vecsey:
Kings owner meeting with Larry Bird today means decision on hiring president is on hold. Source says asking 5M per, maybe piece of team—
Peter Vecsey (@PeterVecsey1) June 05, 2013
If I were Larry Bird, I’d ask for a lot of money to coach the Kings, too. Their top talent, DeMarcus Cousins, can be a pain to deal with. Tyreke Evans is a restricted free agent, and Sacramento could very well face the dilemma of overpaying him or losing him for nothing. The Kings have the seventh pick in a five-, maybe six-, player draft, though someone could fall. The team’s pieces don’t fit together that well, and the salary-cap picture isn’t great. Plus, Bird wouldn’t get to choose his own coach, because Ranadive already hired Michael Malone.
The Kings can get a good GM. There are bleaker outposts, and Sacramento seems to have a committed fan base and owner.
But to get someone with the cache of Bird could be very expensive. If that’s worth it to Ranadive, more power to him.