Pacers set Bird free
THE Indiana Pacers severed ties with reigning National Basketball Association (NBA) Executive of the Year and basketball legend Larry Bird.
The former Indiana State star cited health issues among the reasons for his departure. “I just think it’s time,” he said.
Owner Herb Simon announced the move Wednesday (June 27), one day before the NBA draft. He said Bird will stay on for the draft, when the Pacers are scheduled to pick No. 26 overall in the first round.
The 55-year-old Bird was the Pacers coach from 1997-2000, taking the team to its only NBA Finals appearance that final year, before returning to the front office in 2003. He took full control as president of basketball decisions after the 2007-08 season, when Donnie Walsh left to become the New York Knicks’ president.
Walsh is returning as the Pacers’ president. Kevin Pritchard, the director of player personnel, is being promoted to general manager, replacing David Morway, who resigned Tuesday.
Bird, a three-time NBA Most Valuable Player and three-time champion with the Boston Celtics, had said just a month ago that he wanted to stay and expressed interest in a three-year deal rather than the annual “handshake” agreements he had with Simon. Noli S. Cruz