The Indiana Pacers have a new front office team officially in place to lead the Pacers forward, picking up the baton from former team president Larry Bird.
Donnie Walsh is back as the president of basketball operations with Kevin Pritchard working as the general manager. Both Walsh and Pritchard hit all of the right notes in the press conference on Wednesday morning. They are excited to work together and don't expect any issues making decisions, which is good because if they were worried about that on day one there would be trouble. Walsh did indicate that he will have the final say, if it ever comes to it.
Both Walsh and Pritchard spoke a little more openly in radio interviews later in the day. Walsh mentioned that Bird's departure has been in the works for a couple of weeks which is when Herb Simon reached out to have him come down to the Fieldhouse and talk about re-joining the organization. So much Bird letting the news slip without letting anyone know in advance.
On the Dan Dakich Show, Pritchard shared his thoughts on their view of the current team, mentioning their intent to maintain the starting unit while upgrading the depth off the bench.
KP: We want to keep our starting five together, we've got a good starting five. Our top priorities are Hibbert and Hill because they were so good for us this year. Then we look at our bench. How can we improve our bench? You can do that through the draft, maybe through some free agent or potentially through some trades. And that's what we're trying to analyze right now. What's the best way to improve the team and quite frankly we're going to be looking at every option we possibly can.
KP: It is.
DD: And I assume your very confident, like Larry, that you're going to be able to do that.
KP: Yeah, they're our top priorities. I mean, we're working on the draft right now and then we immediately go into free agency, but again, 1A and 1B is signing those two guys. That's the top priority. We all know it. We talk about it every day and look, that starts July 1 and it's the top of our mind today even though the draft is tomorrow.
Here are the links to the podcasts from today's interviews.