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Pacers offseason: Is Larry Bird done with basketball?

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Larry Bird has stepped away from the game in the past, but will he return the game after leaving the Pacers this time?

Miami Heat v Indiana Pacers - Game Three

It made sense after thinking about it.

Dark, freaky clouds out of the southwest rolling through the heart of Indy, filled with roaring thunder, alarming lightening, heavy rain and thumping hail.

No, it wasn’t the end of days, although it felt like it if you were caught in evening traffic trying to navigate low visibility and flash flooding to find shelter. More likely, the basketball gods were simply ranting about the day’s news, coming to grips with their glorious game going forward without Larry Bird involved.

Around lunchtime, Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted the news that Larry Bird was stepping down as the Pacers team president, turning over basketball decisions to Kevin Pritchard.

Is this it for Bird and basketball? Was his last official action with the Pacers, driving an Indy Car in NYC?

Bird has taken breaks from the game before, but always returned in some vital capacity. Woj mentioned Orlando may have an interest in Bird and likewise. But Brian Windhorst reports that Orlando’s first choice is Cleveland GM David Griffin.

So that leaves Bird in a potential consultant role with the Pacers which sounds more like a pension plan than reality for Bird. If he’s not in charge, I can’t see Bird engaged in any serious role consulting Pritchard. After an NBA career at includes awards for MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year, this could be it for Bird in a meaningful NBA role.

Obviously, by rush hour, the basketball gods connected those dots as well and the storms still haven’t stopped rolling through Central Indiana.

And now, less than a week after the Pacers were eliminated from the playoffs, the offseason is rolling full steam ahead. Bird will tip off week two with a press conference where he will presumably confirm Woj’s report and explain his side of the story.

From there, Pritchard will deal with Paul George, Jeff Teague, the onerous contracts of Monta Ellis and Al Jefferson in an effort to set the future direction of the franchise.

Bird stepping down certainly isn’t a big surprise. His latest run at improving the Pacers didn’t work. Hindsight looks horribly on the moves even if some of the key moves, dealing George Hill and not re-signing Frank Vogel, were defensible if not playing the end result.

It doesn’t matter if the reasoning was defensible if the end result doesn’t work. Bird knows that and obviously doesn’t want to spend the time to take another swing, especially if that means doing so without Paul George.

Pritchard has to be hyped regardless of the way he has to move forward (with or without PG). He was aggressive while running the Blazers and if the Pacers have to start over, KP will need to take some big swings.

Are you willing to endure a rebuild that may have the Pacers near the top of the draft lottery for a year or two? Or would you prefer to at least remain relevant in the playoff race with a team that would struggle making a championship run?

The Pacers offseason is off and running and we’ll be dealing with more questions than answers for awhile.

Larry Bird and the Pacers past, present and future were topics on the latest Locked on Pacers podcast. Check it out!