Pacers president Larry Bird commented on the team's coaching situation on Monday afternoon, as Gregg Doyel reported, offering wishy wash answers that covered all sides of the situation but directly left open the real possibility Bird is ready to move in a different direction with his coaching staff.
"I don't know what's going to happen," Bird said.
He doesn't know when, either. Bird said he will make the decision after meeting by conference call with Pacers owner Herb Simon, but he said no call has been arranged.
"He's busy, so it could be a week or it could be tomorrow," Bird said early Monday evening. "What I don't want to do is leave Frank hanging - there's other jobs out there he could get."
Read the whole story to get the full context of the quotes presented by Doyel in which Bird reaffirmed his disappointment with the team's offense. He didn't lay all of the blame on Vogel and essentially said, if Vogel is back, he's back, if not, he's not, but the team has to improve offensively.
The 84 points in Game 7 may have been the last straw for Bird, pushing him toward making a change. Obviously, if Bird goes away from Vogel he better have a solid successor ready.
It seems like a harsh way to treat Vogel, less than 24 hours after a tough playoff defeat following a season that was at least as successful as the most optimistic outlooks prior to the season. It is also safe to assume, the team will be at least as good next season if Vogel is retained.
But despite the solid playoff showing, there were plenty of indicators throughout the season that makes a change plausible, and not as offensive as the reaction to Doyel's story. There were several stretches in the regular season when it appeared the team wasn't responding the Vogel. Bird famously talked about teams tuning out coaches when he was coaching the Pacers, so you know he is aware of that voice fatigue.
The NBA remains a player's league regardless of the coaching salaries escalating and the Pacers will survive a coaching change. The fact Bird has already made his thoughts so public makes it hard not to believe a change will follow.
Otherwise, Bird has just made a mess of the situation and done Frank Vogel a public disservice. Stay tuned!