Mike Wells confirms part of Adrian Wojnarowski's story on Larry Bird returning to the Indiana Pacers as team president with Kevin Pritchard replacing David Morway as general manager. According to Wells, Pritchard taking over as GM will indeed be part of Larry Bird's discussion with Herb Simon.
I understand Bird wanting make a change at GM and add Pritchard, but in doing so, I'm also assuming there must be something going on between he and Morway because it seems like a tough move for Morway to schlep through the muck and mire of the past few years to help the Pacers turn things around, only to get pushed aside now that things are not only turned around but actually moving in the right direction.
While Bird is getting credit for all of the basketball decisions, Morway was presiding over the salary cap management to make sure those basketball moves fit the plan. Morway was also instrumental in expanding the Pacers scouting and preparation efforts to add more advanced statistical analysis which included adding Kevin Pelton as consultant to provide regular reports.
It is certainly possible that Bird realizes the Pacers front office is moving into a different era and while Morway did a great job of helping clean up the mess, Pritchard has more experience wheeling and dealing to improve the roster. With cap space and player moves in play, that experience will come in handy for the Pacers. Still, Morway seemed to earn a shot at being a part of that process. So what else may be behind the decision?
Morway is rumored to be tough to deal with behind closed doors at the Fieldhouse. I've heard a few different folks within different parts of the organization make disparaging comments about Morway. Whatever he was doing, Morway was getting results. But he was also turning off at least some folks in the organization along the way.
Morway is also credited with the falling-out between the organization and Hall of Famer Mel Daniels. In Morway's defense, I recall an exercised Daniels in the media room during the 2009 draft, adamantly declaring that Hasheem Thabeet should be the top pick in the draft instead of Blake Griffin. Even if the Pacers had the top pick, Daniels thought Thabeet should be the pick, laughing off the possibility of Roy Hibbert developing into a key player.
I bring this story up because there are agendas and politics in every organization and sometimes he who has the loudest voice is the last one heard. I recall thinking about Daniels' draft day comments when he was let go by the Pacers. Obviously the big fella didn't see eye-to-eye with others in the front office, but his legendary status didn't mean he was right all of the time. The bottom line is that these high-pressure, high-profile working relationships are complex and not everything is easily explained.
To me, David Morway leaving the Pacers at this point in their rebuilding effort, isn't easily explained.
What do you think?