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Bird reportedly leaving as Pacers executive

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Despite a recent endorsement from his bosses, Larry Bird is set step to down as Indiana Pacers president of basketball operations, a newspaper is reporting.

An anonymous source told the Indianapolis Star that Bird is “100-percent sure” he will not return next season.

Last month, Pacers Sports & Entertainment President Jim Morris said if Bird left the Pacers it would be his choice.

“[Pacers owner] Herb Simon has said without question that he’d like Larry to stay with the franchise,” Morris said. “In our minds, Larry can stay just as long as he wants. Herb Simon and I have a lot of confidence in what he is doing. We are hopeful he will be here for a long time.”

Morris could not be reached for comment Tuesday morning. Pacers spokesman Greg Schenkel said the team could not comment on the situation.

Bird this year completed a three-year plan to rebuild the team. After several losing seasons, the Pacers finished with the fifth best record in the National Basketball Association and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. The team was eventually defeated in six games by the Miami Heat, which went on to win the NBA championship.

Team sources said Bird is scheduled to meet with Pacers owner Simon later Tuesday. The last three years, Bird and Simon have operated on a series of one-year handshake deals. Bird had said he didn’t want to make a long-term commitment to the job.

Bird this month indicated to local media members that he was ready to remain for at least one more season. He also said he needed to talk to Simon about how much the team could commit financially to improve the team. It's not clear why Bird had what appears to be such a sudden change in heart.

Bird indicated some frustration over Simon's unwillingness to go after unrestricted free agents. Securing unrestricted free agents can be an expensive endeavor because the team for whom the player last played has the opportunity to match any offer by another team.

Team sources also said Bird might have become unsettled by the prospect of former Pacers President Donnie Walsh returning in some capacity to the team next year. Walsh, who hired Bird to the Pacers front office, left Indiana in 2008 to become the president of the New York Knicks. But things didn't work out for Walsh in New York and he left the team following the 2010-11 season.

Simon this week is meeting with several team executives in Indianapolis to evaluate the team and its future direction.

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  • Bird
    Donnie Walsh is returning?!? That is depressing. That's just what this team doesn't need.

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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.

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