Skip to content

Larry Bird: Frank Vogel’s job safe, don’t expect changes to core of team

Jun 2, 2014, 3:49 PM EDT

Larry Bird Larry Bird

When the Indiana Pacers take the court next October, they are going to look a lot like the Indiana Pacers that were the second best team in the East this season — a team that seemed to take a lateral step this season, even a backwards one the second half of the year.

Larry Bird is counting on growth from his core — maturity that comes from painful lessons learned this season combined with consistency. Things are not getting blown up.

Bird, the Pacers team president and the guy making the calls in Indiana, was unequivocal in his end-of-season press conference Monday (streamed on the Pacers’ Web site). Like when asked about coach Frank Vogel’s job being safe despite rumors he was coaching for his job these playoffs.

“There was never any doubt. When the media 800 miles away or 1,000 miles away just writes a story and everybody gets all excited about it, it doesn’t make no sense to me. If you had come and asked me I would have told you, I did tell you, his job was safe….

“His job was never in jeopardy.”

If no changes are coming to the coaching staff, what about to the core of a roster that has struggled to score enough offensively even when things are going well?

“I don’t think so. I like the attitude of our guys, they’re great people, great to be around. As far as the bench, Frank and I will sit down and Kevin (Pritchard, team GM) and talk about it. Last year we went out and changed our bench again, they were up and down.”

Even changing the bench in a big way will be easier said than done — even without re-signing Lance Stephenson the Pacers are over the salary cap. They are not going to be able to spend big on free agents, and it’s going to be hard to move any contracts — they don’t want to move Paul George, Roy Hibbert is owed $30.4 million over the next two years (and can opt out after next season, making it scary for any team that trades for him) and George Hill has three years, $24 million left on his deal.

If you want to know where the Pacers trade assets went, remember that they traded Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee and their 2014 first round pick for Luis Scola. That move did not work out like planned. At all.

Is Lance Stephenson going to be back in Indiana next fall?

“Well you don’t know, he’s a free agent and can do whatever he wants. But obviously we will talk about it the next week or two, of our game plan… He’s a free agent, he can talk to any team he wants, and when it comes down to it, it comes down to whether he wants to be here or not.”

Does Bird want him back?

“I always want him back. You just don’t let talent like that walk away if you can help it.”

Indiana is following the model that other teams — notably the Memphis Grizzlies, not to mention San Antonio — have tried to use, which is that keeping a core team together for an extended period and let them grow together.

There is something to that, so long as that core does not have an obvious and exploitable flaw. The Pacers inability to create shots the second half of this season could be that. But Bird thinks by adding some more depth, with some tweaks and growth they can overcome it.

Latest Posts
  1. USA sails past New Zealand for easy 98-71 win behind Anthony Davis, Kenneth Faried

    Sep 2, 2014, 2:01 PM EDT

    Anthony Davis Anthony Davis

    Team USA was supposed to be a perimeter-based team, but through three games the bigs are stealing the show.

  2. Stephen Curry will not stand for ‘slander’ of his Under Armour shoes

    Sep 2, 2014, 12:39 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    Curry fired back on Twitter to someone who made a joke at the expense of his shoes.

  3. Derrick Rose ‘fine’ with coming off the bench for Team USA

    Sep 2, 2014, 11:18 AM EDT

    Team USA Showcase Getty Images

    Rose was originally penciled in as the starter, but Kyrie Irving has been more deserving thus far.

  4. Pau Gasol shreds Brazil at FIBA World Cup (VIDEO)

    Sep 2, 2014, 10:37 AM EDT

    pau gasol spain olympics Getty Images

    This should make Bulls fans extremely happy.

  5. Anderson Varejao, entering contract year, says he wants to remain with Cavaliers

    Sep 2, 2014, 9:59 AM EDT

    Anderson Varejao AP

    Cleveland, now with championship aspirations, may not feel the same way.

  6. Timofey Mozgov not pushing to leave Nuggets in trade to Cavaliers

    Sep 2, 2014, 9:22 AM EDT

    Timofey Mozgov, Anderson Varejao Timofey Mozgov, Anderson Varejao

    Mozgov could play with LeBron James, for David Blatt (his Russian national team coach)

  7. Jodie Meeks wants to bring some Kobe Bryant work ethic to Detroit

    Sep 2, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT

    New York Knicks v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    The young Pistons could use this kind of locker room leader.

  8. Ray Allen on making a decision about next season: “I’m not in any rush”

    Sep 2, 2014, 7:59 AM EDT

    2014 NBA Finals - Game Four Getty Images

    “I’ve played 18 years, and the way I look at my career, I’m content with everything that I’ve done. I just want to take this summer and see how it goes.” —Ray Allen

  9. FIBA World Cup Day 3 roundup: Pau Gasol drops 26 on Brazil as Spain looks dominant

    Sep 2, 2014, 12:45 AM EDT

    Anderson Varejao, Pau Gasol AP

    Pau Gasol dropped 26 on Brazil, grabbed 9 boards and even blocked Nene at the rim.

  10. Derrick Rose after first back-to-back in years: “I’m feeling good right now”

    Sep 1, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT

    Derrick Rose Derrick Rose

    “I’m feeling good right now. Just trying to get in better shape, get in better condition, so that when I do need to score the ball, then it’ll be there.” —Derrick Rose

  11. Kings waive Wayne Ellington

    Sep 1, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

    New Orleans Pelicans v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

    Ellington, acquired in trade from Knicks, likely stretched

  12. Pacers to sign Chris Singleton

    Sep 1, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

    chris-singleton Getty Images

    Former Wizard provides depth at small forward following Paul George’s injury

  13. Mason Plumlee wants you to know Duke, Nike had nothing to do with him making Team USA

    Sep 1, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    Finland v USA Getty Images

    “If you were at our practices and our training camp, anybody that was there, they would see why I made the team.” —Mason Plumlee

  14. Elephant dunks a basketball?

    Sep 1, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Elephant dunks a basketball.

Featured video

Will LeBron get booed Christmas Day in Miami?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (3371)
  2. K. Bryant (2434)
  3. T. Mozgov (2424)
  4. R. Rondo (2283)
  5. R. Allen (2234)
  1. J. Embiid (2224)
  2. L. James (2178)
  3. K. Love (2150)
  4. A. Davis (2083)
  5. C. Delfino (2044)