The Indiana Pacers officially announced that Larry Bird was stepping down as team president on Monday, with Kevin Pritchard tapped to take over the president role.
Following the release of the announcement, Bird spoke to the media regarding his departure which lasted about 13 minutes. He avoided rehashing his mistakes and left vague, his role as team consultant. Here's what we heard from Bird:
- Easy decision to step down at his age, with good health and Kevin Pritchard being the right guy to take over.
- Prior to the season, Bird told Herb Simon, Pritchard and Peter Dinwiddie before the season that this would be his last.
- Doesn't expect his decision to impact Paul George's decision. "Paul's going to do what Paul is going to do." Asked again about PG, didn't want to get into Paul, just hopes he stays with Pacers.
- Team is in a pretty good situation, will rely on free agency to determine future. Season was "OK" but struggles on the road didn't allow them to meet expectations.
- Plans to work next year as a consultant and then see how it goes. Didn't sound like he'd be around a lot, talked more about scouting players and being available. Does expect to have some type of office space in the new office building across the street. Doesn't want to get in Pritchard's way, wants him to be able to build a team how he wants without interfering.
- Expressed his love for the franchise and how lucky he felt being able to work so long for the Pacers as a Hoosier who grew up loving the team.
- Financial constraints, discussed having a great owner, always trying to get organization to do their best. After seeing budget for next year, Bird said he almost wanted to say.
- Spoke about Myles Turner getting better, despite flattening out toward the end of year, but still has high potential. Progress isn't always steady.
- Liked Jeff Teague, after settling in had a great season. Team likes him, would like him back.
- As a source of pride, spoke of the team evolving into and Eastern Conference contender after bringing in Paul George and Lance Stephenson. Always remembers the block Hibbert had on Carmelo Anthony in that playoff run. Fun times.
- Prefers to talk about improving team as retooling not rebuilding. Didn't comment on future "retooling" pending what happens this summer, but knows the direction will be what is best for franchise.
After Bird spoke, new team president Kevin Pritchard addressed the media and took questions which we will hit on separately. You can watch video of Bird’s press conference here.