Larry Bird knows his career as general manager and president of the Pacers is coming to an end soon. He told owner Herb Simon he would like to walk away when they met back in May but was convinced to stick around for at least another year. The Pacers have been preparing to find a new general manager for some time it seems.
One of the names that has quickly surfaced is Reggie Miller's. But Simon has been quick to shoot down those rumors. He told Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star that it is Larry Bird's job as long as he wants it. That means along with Miller, Donnie Walsh may have to wait for one of the NBA's greatest players to step out of Indiana's front office.
Bird seems to be changing his mind on this matter as the days go on. He seems committed for the (theoretical) 2011-12 season and then will be taking things on a year-by-year basis. That leaves Simon and his organization in a constant holding pattern when it comes to searching for a new general manager and head of basketball operations.
It certainly does not help that Indiana might be one of those teams that is really struggling financially, and thus one of the franchises handicapping much progress in collective bargaining. Even though Indiana made the postseason last year and plays in one of the NBA's nicest arenas, the team finished last in attendance according to Basketball-Reference.
Even in the postseason, Chicago fans invaded Conseco Fieldhouse, creating a very large red mass amidst the yellow and blue Indiana fans wore.
Some stability at the top of the team's basketball operations would help the team move forward and build off its playoff appearance, hopefully meaning that the team's attendance would turn around. After all, winning does solve a lot of problems.
As far as Miller goes, he has his TV job to tide him over until a front office comes calling. Miller has expressed interest in joining a front office, hoping he can join the Pacers. But the fact is, and this might be part of Indiana's problems, Miller is not very connected to Indiana anymore. Wells said he has probably seen Miller at Conseco Fieldhouse three times since he retired -- once for a TNT broadcast, once for his jersey retirement and once for the premier of "Winning Time."
For now, Bird is staying as the team's head of basketball operations. And he will be until he no longer wants to.
Photo via DayLife.com.