Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird, in what has because an annual rite of Spring, spoke with the media on Wednesday and sounded like a man who still enjoys his job and plans to sit down and talk with owner Herb Simon about keeping it. Bird wants to make sure Simon shares his vision for moving the team forward after the young core of the Pacers came together with a dose of veteran leadership to put together a strong season for the blue and gold.
Bird spoke candidly about the players on the roster (he gets nervous when Danny Granger dribbles more than three times, the bench was a weakness) and his desire to keep all of them while also admitting that they need to improve and if he can find a good fit in free agency, he won't hesitate. Of course, what makes a good "fit" is also up to Mr. Simon and his willingness to spend. Bird claimed to have several questions prepared for his discussion with Simon and I'm sure spending will be near the top of the list. But Bird left little doubt he'd like to keep his job.
"I love my job, I love my players," Bird said. "What can I say?"
Sound like a guy ready to pack it in? Nope.
In fact, I can't recall Bird ever expressing so much enthusiasm for the job. Granted, life is much better around the Fieldhouse these days but still, Bird doesn't exactly wear his emotions on his sleeve and today he threw the decision clearly in Herb Simon's lap. Considering Simon recently claimed the decision would be in Bird's hands, I guess we're at a stalemate until the two can get in a good hand-shaking room.
Here's what Simon had to say last week.
President Larry Bird has a year-to-year agreement with Simon. The owner said the two will sit down and meet once Bird "recovers from the playoffs."
"He has to think about the draft and some other things in between," Simon said. "It'll be sometime shortly after that where we'll sit down and figure out next year's plan.
"You don't try to twist Larry Bird's arm. He does what he thinks is best for the franchise and for himself and his family. Whatever that decision is will be good enough for me."
Check out Bird's press conference at Pacers.com and tell us what you think about his comments on the team, players and future of the franchise.