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Simons Expecting Their Franchise's Fortunes to Change

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Mark Montieth was able to get some rare, on the record comments from Pacers co-owner Herb Simon. It is quite apparent Larry Joe Legend and Donnie Walsh are on solid ground with their bosses, but like the rest of us fans, they have high expectations for the executive team going forward.

Q: Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh have taken a tremendous amount of criticism recently. Do you believe it's warranted?

A: We all deserve criticism. This is where we are. They're big boys and they can live with it. They know what they can do to improve it. We've got some real good experience between Donnie and Larry. Donnie built the teams that stayed in the playoffs for nine straight years and Larry's got a world of knowledge. Together, we have a powerful front office.
With access to the financial bottom line, the Simons have felt the pain of the on and off court problems that have spoiled the Pacers image over the past few years. But, they haven't just lost money.
Q: Has all that's happened the past few years affected your level of dedication?

A: Yes. Quite frankly, it's embarrassing to me and my family, some of these things that have happened. We know how dedicated we are to Indiana. You just don't ever want the fans to not feel proud of our team. I'm doubly dedicated and I made it clear to Donnie and Larry that they have to be doubly dedicated.
With a Simon Mall (or two, or three) in every town, the Simons can easily endure any financial losses from the Pacers. But, the personal loss of pride in their franchise that was always lauded as an organization exemplifying quality and class has to really sting.

So now we've heard from the front office and the owner's suite. The organization appears to be on the same page promising big changes with high expectations. That's all nice to hear, but as I do with players talking about change in their games, I'll wait to judge the actions from now until training camp.

Oh, and the action may be heating up soon. The Raptors lost to the Nets on Sunday putting them one loss away from elimination. If Sam Mitchell is the first choice to coach the Pacers, we'll find out shortly after the Raptors are bounced.