Larry Bird's Job Safe-- For Now
The Indiana Pacers have announced that team president Larry Bird's job is safe through the rest of this season. Team owner Herb Simon had concerns about the direction of the once-proud perennial playoff contender now mired in a four-year postseason drought, but is ultimately satisfied with the direction that the team is heading in.
The Pacers recently fired their head coach Jim O'Brien on Sunday and named assistant Frank Vogel as their interim head coach through the rest of the season. Vogel won in his debut on Monday, in a 114-93 win over the Toronto Raptors. The Pacers were 17-27 at O'Brien's firing, and in his 3 1/2 seasons were 121-169.
Bird has come under fire for not producing immediate results from the Pacers faithful, but he has done a great job clearing cap space, getting rid of players that were a problem (notably the players from the 2004 brawl in Detroit with Pistons fans), clearing cap space, and building through trades and the draft. With Danny Granger as the franchise player, the Pacers have their center in Roy Hibbert, traded for Darren Collison from the New Orleans Hornets to build a talented nucleus and with a ton of cap space for next season, the Pacers have what it takes to make a splash in free agency.
Simon has said that he will talk with Bird at the end of the season and see where he is at and where he wants to be and if he wants to remain team president, a post he has held since 2003. He returned to the team that year after being the head coach for three seasons from 1998-2000. In those three seasons, Bird posted a 147-67 record with two Central Division titles and an Eastern Conference championship in 2000.