Pacers brass gives Larry Bird vote of confidence

February 25, 2010
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Larry Bird is going to be draped in blue and gold for a while.

Despite a bit of fan disgust over Bird’s failure to upgrade the Indiana Pacers’ roster before the NBA's Feb. 18 trade deadline, team brass said Bird has a secure future with the franchise.

Pacers Sports and Entertainment President Jim Morris gave Bird, Pacers president of basketball operations, a hearty vote of confidence yesterday.

Bird’s contract expires in 2011, and some have speculated that team owner Herb Simon is becoming impatient with Bird. Morris said that’s not the case.

“Larry Bird has everyone’s confidence here,” Morris told IBJ. “He’s working as hard as humanly possible. And we know he will do what it takes to get us a championship caliber team.”

Morris said he and Simon realize the strategy to re-build the Pacers is a multi-year plan. Much of that appears to revolve around clearing player salary cap space to bring in key free agents following the 2010-11 season.

Despite falling out of playoff contention this season, Morris said Bird has put together a roster this community can be proud of.

“We’re getting a lot of positive feedback,” Morris said. “Our fans just love Roy Hibbert, T.J. Ford, A.J. Price, Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Granger.”

Morris especially praised Hansbrough, and said the rookie out of North Carolina would be even more popular with fans if it wasn’t for his struggles with an inner ear infection that has limited his playing time.

Morris said he and Simon are confident Bird will improve the roster during the upcoming off-season. While he said an off-season trade is possible, he didn’t indicate that it’s mandatory.

“Larry Bird will tell you this is going to be one of the best college drafts in a long time,” Morris said. “We are flat out committed to getting back to where we were in 2003 and 2004, competing for an NBA Championship.”

Key to the team’s future success, Morris said, is “a successful draft and continuing outreach efforts.”

The Pacers plan to get its players out doing public appearances in record numbers this off-season.

“Our players have made more community appearances than any other team in the NBA,” Morris said.

  • down that path
    As much as I hate to say it, I think the Pacers have to stick with Larry Bird through next season and off-season. If the 2011-12 season doesn't produce a playoff team, I think Larry must go.
  • grwoth
    If the team stays on the current path and is performing at 50% or less, start making cuts. If the team starts to perform better each year (to the point of playoffs in a year or two), we shall keep what we have. I just hope that Bird knows what he is doing and brings the team together to out perform other teams on a regular basis.
  • Delusional
    This is not good news. If Sam Presti in OKC can rebuild in the draft surely you guys can find someone other than the Legend to do the same.
  • Ughhh
    If his name was Larry Smith you guys would be picketing Conseco. He gets a total pass because of who he is and where he is from. I can't honestly point to a single positive that he has brought the franchise?
  • more long-term questions

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