Posts Tagged ‘Herb Simon’

Bird Returning To The Pacers



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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – One year away from the game was apparently all Hall of Famer Larry Bird could take. The former Boston Celtics star and Indiana Pacers coach and executive is returning to his Indiana roots once again and rejoining the Pacers’ front office.

The Pacers announced Wednesday afternoon that Bird is rejoining the franchise as president, giving the Pacers a front office “Big 3″ of sorts with Donnie Walsh , who will move into his role as a consultant, and general manager Kevin Pritchard already in place.

“We are all very happy to have Larry back,” Pacers owner Herb Simon said in statement released by the team. “When he left last July, Donnie and I both told him the door would be open for him to come back when he’s ready. Larry had a huge impact on this team and where it is now so it’s fitting that he comes back at this time. Donnie has been a friend and a valuable contributor to the franchise and will continue to be both. I wanted him to agree to stay in some capacity as I believe with Larry and Kevin, it gives us three of the best basketball minds in the business.”

The Pacers that Bird built during his previous stint as president, which culminated in NBA Executive of the Year honors in 2012, pushed the Miami Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference finals this season. Bird is responsible for youngsters like All-Star Paul George and Lance Stephenson being in the Pacers’ fold alongside veterans like David West, George Hill and All-Star Roy Hibbert, not to mention coach Frank Vogel.

Bird took the Pacers to The Finals during his stint as coach, from 1997-2000. He left after that Finals trip in 2000 but returned in 2003 to work alongside Walsh in the front office as president. Walsh returned to replace Bird this past season and now they will team up again with Pritchard in a significant role as well.

Bird cited health reasons for his departure at the end of last year. He had been the Pacers’ president of basketball operations from 2003-12. The year off, however, served him well.

“The year off gave me a chance to reflect, to rest, to take care of some health issues and it re-charged me,” Bird said in that statement. “Donnie and Kevin did a great job and I will lean on both heavily as we move forward toward the goal of competing for a championship.”

Reggie Miller’s Front Office Options?




HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – For a man whose name is synonymous with a franchise, city and state, it should come as no surprise that there are rumblings about Reggie Miller one day returning to help run the Indiana Pacers.

Miller’s headed to Springfield for a glorious weekend that will include his being enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. But there will be no shortage of chatter about the TNT analyst’s future and whether or not it might one day include a return to Indianapolis and the Pacers.

There couldn’t be a more a natural fit, from this perspective.

Miller embodies everything the Pacers stood for during the height of the franchise’s NBA glory years. His return would be more than just symbolic, though, as Miller has proved himself to be not only an ambassador for the Pacers, Indiana and the game itself, but also an astute observer of the global growth of the game over the past three decades.

Our main man Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star has already broached the subject with both sides and it doesn’t sound like anyone is ready to do anything right now, but a potential reunion no doubt seems to be a hot topic for all involved:

“I never close any doors,” Miller said. “I listen to everything. (Owner) Herb Simon and I have had this conversation before. So yes, if something presented itself, I would definitely look at it and go from there.”

The Pacers have been led by either Donnie Walsh or Larry Bird for nearly the past 30 years.

Walsh returned for his second stint with the organization, replacing Bird as president, in June. Bird is taking at least the next year off. The 71-year-old Walsh hasn’t put a timetable on how long he will remain in his current capacity.

“I’m always interested,” Simon said. “Reggie would be a wonderful person to have in this franchise.”

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Miller Addresses Pacers Rumors

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Pacers fans with designs on another Hoosier legend returning home to help continue the revitalization of the franchise are holding out hope that Reggie Miller will do the honors.

Whether or not the legendary Pacers sharpshooter and current TNT analyst is headed back to Indianapolis as a general manager or in another front office capacity remains to be seen. Miller addressed the situation this afternoon in a statement given to NBA.com, leaving the door open for a possible return to the franchise, city and state he called home during his storied 18-year NBA career:

“After playing my entire 18-year career and spending the better part of my adult life affiliated with the Pacers; I’m honored to be mentioned as someone Mr. Simon, whom I respect a great deal, would consider for such an important role within the organization. I have had no formal discussions or meetings at this time with Mr. Simon or Pacers management.”

Yahoo! Sports report last week suggested that Miller would be one of the candidates Pacers owner Herb Simon would pursue to replace Larry Bird as head of the Pacers’ basketball operations.

Miller played under Bird when the Pacers reached the NBA Finals in 2000. Bird was in the Pacers’ front office when Miller’s playing career ended five years later, so there is a connection. The idea of Miller and Bird working side by side is not far-fetched.

Bird did tell the Boston Globe in June that he was ready to clear out his office but came back as a favor to Simon. He later told the Indianapolis Star that he was taking things “one year at a time.”

The notion of yet another Indiana hoops legends coming back to the fold was not lost on Pacers fans, who voiced plenty of opinions about the prospect of Miller coming back “home”. The Pacers have been down this road before. They hired both Bird and Isiah Thomas to coach the team without previous coaching experience in the league, or anywhere else for that matter.

Having lived in Indianapolis, covering Miller during the twilight of his Pacers career, I can attest to the energy the arrival an icon of his ilk could have on the Pacers’ fan base.

And if I’m reading his statement correctly, Miller didn’t say he would never entertain the idea of returning to the Pacers. He only said that these rumors of an imminent return are just that, rumors.

Pacers Boss Bird At The Crossroads

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Eight years are a mere blip in time, but it seems like an eternity in the NBA.

It’s certainly rare for executives and coaches to last that long.

So when you read that Larry Bird is eight years deep into his tenure as the boss of the Indiana Pacers, it seems a bit strange. I was there for the start, standing in the crowd at Bird’s introductory news conference and wondering, like most in that surprised sea of faces staring at him, how long the man known as “Larry Legend” would last as an executive.

Now, eight trying years later for Bird and the Pacers, Bird appears to be at the crossroads. The Pacers finally recovered fully from the infamous brawl at the Palace, making their first playoff appearance since 2006 earlier this year and pushing the top-seeded Chicago Bulls in all five games of their first round series.

In a thorough and wide-ranging piece on Bird, Julian Benbow of the Boston Globe touched on not only Bird’s lingering connections to the Celtics but also his tumultuous journey running the Pacers and how much longer he plans on doing so:

He’s been the Pacers’ top executive for eight seasons, but said that after next season he’s considering stepping away. He took the Pacers to the Finals as coach in 2000. But he’s spent the last six seasons trying to rebuild a franchise stained by the brawl with the Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

With Indiana coming off its first playoff appearance since 2006, the franchise is at a turning point. Bird and Pacers owner Herb Simon agreed that Bird would continue to guide the franchise on a year-to-year basis.

“It’s a handshake deal,’’ said Bird, who will be honored tomorrow at TD Garden as part of the Sports Museum’s The Tradition. “I don’t want a [long-term] contract.’’
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