Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Larry Bird has decided to return as
president of basketball operations for the Indiana Pacers.
Bird, who chose to resign following the 2011-12 campaign to deal with health
issues, agreed to a multi-year contract to return on Wednesday as the top man
of the Pacers' organization beginning July 1.
Donnie Walsh filled in for Bird during his year away, but will now move into a
consulting role. General manager Kevin Pritchard will remain in his post as
the No. 2 man in the front office.
"We are all very happy to have Larry back," said Pacers owner Herb Simon.
"When he left last July, Donnie and I both told him the door would be open for
him to come back when he's ready. Larry had a huge impact on this team and
where it is now, so it's fitting that he comes back at this time. Donnie has
been a friend and a valuable contributor to the franchise and will continue to
be both. I wanted him to agree to stay in some capacity, as I believe with
Larry and Kevin, it gives us three of the best basketball minds in the
Bird took over as president of the team back in 2003 and was instrumental in
the Pacers' rebuilding process which built the current outlook of the team.
He acquired the draft rights to center Roy Hibbert back in 2008 and selected
combo guards Paul George and Lance Stephenson in the 2010 draft. Prior to the
2011 season, he traded for guard George Hill and signed forward David West.
Bird was honored as the NBA Executive of the Year for the 2011-12 campaign,
but abruptly left the organization just before the 2012 NBA Draft.
"The year off gave me a chance to reflect, to rest, to take care of some
health issues and it re-charged me," said Bird. "Donnie and Kevin did a great
job, and I will lean on both heavily as we move forward toward the goal of
competing for a championship."
The Sports Network