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Lawrence: Simon Turned Down Bird's Request To Add Scorer For Pacers

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Presswire

Former Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird had a list of reason to move on from the top job with the Pacers but never laid the blame at the feet of owner and friend Herb Simon and his reluctance to spend enough to give the current roster a boost where they need it.

According to Mitch Lawrence, Bird confided in former teammates that he was looking to add a scorer to the roster but Simon had no interest in potentially exceeding the salary cap.

Simon turned down Bird's request to add a scorer, even after the Pacers had problems generating offense against the Miami Heat in their second-round playoff loss. Bird was thinking about getting into the Eric Gordon sweepstakes to make a run at the Hornets' restricted free agent and former Indiana University star.

Between health concerns about his shoulder and back and the fact that he doesn't see himself as a lifer like other execs, including his successor Donnie Walsh, Bird likely used Simon's rejection as an additional reason to hang it up, one old Celtic said.

As we've seen from the drama Eric Gordon is going through, making a serious run at EJ wouldn't have mattered since the New Orleans Hornets are willing the match the max offer he received from Phoenix. The Pacers did meet with Gordon but there were no reports of an offer which would make sense after reading this report.

This isn't about Eric Gordon, though but instead about the mind-set of Herb Simon to compete within a budget that other teams competing for playoff spots in the East aren't beholden to. The new CBA should even the playing field a bit over time both in improving the Pacers' take of the league income while also creating stiffer penalties for exceeding the luxury tax that will have more teams following the Pacers current plan.

That will happen right? With the spending this summer, it seems like the NBA is still a ways off from enjoying any competitive balance across markets.

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