Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz hopped on the radio for his usual segment with Dan Dakich on 1070 The Fan today and as their discussion moved from bad golf to the Indiana Pacers, Dakich cooly dropped some info from a solid source that told him that Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird was not sticking around to run the team.
DD: I just had a long discussion today, and I was told Kravy, by as good a source as I will ever have, that Bird is not coming back.
BK: Yeah, that doesn't surprise me and I think I know who your source is. Was he at the golf tournament yesterday?
BK: No, ok, well then I don't know who your source is.
The desire to sit in the woods may be too strong to keep Bird in the game. Danny D doesn't throw around this type of info lightly, so I suspect his source is as solid as he indicates. Heck, might even be Bird himself.
Here's a link to the full conversation: 1070 The Fan: Bob Kravitz and Dan Dakich On Larry Bird
The Pacers info kicks in around five minutes in. Kravitz went on to discuss the business issues which may prevent Herb Simon from adding to the payroll after the team finished 29th in attendance. After Bird's positive comments to the media, if he leaves it does give the appearance that Simon does not want to boost the roster salary to the cap limit.
I understand the immediate business side of the argument but this team has a chance to take a big step forward from an attendance perspective if they can continue growing as a team on the court. I only have anecdotal evidence but it has been all around me. People who weren't paying attention to the Pacers really fell for this team with their effort in the playoffs. But they will just as quickly find something else to do if the Pacers take a step or two back next year.
Seems to me there will be far more to Bird's decision than any issues with Simon and his willingness to spend. He was front and center at the predraft workouts, so at a minimum I guess Bird would see things through the draft. But, just like last year, if he is truly leaving, then he needs to step down now so the team can move forward with the new leadership. Of course, if some form of Kevin Pritchard and David Morway remain in charge of the team, then Bird can hang around all of wants since there won't be much infrastructure to alter in the front office.