Pacers Announce that Larry Bird is Leaving the Organization

The news was already out there. The Indiana Pacers simply went through the formality of making it official that Larry Bird will no longer steer their front office. Per the Indy Star and AP: “Owner Herb Simon announced the move Wednesday, one day before the NBA draft. He said Bird will stay on for the draft, when the Pacers are scheduled to pick No. 26 overall in the first round. The 55-year-old Bird was the Pacers coach from 1997-2000, taking the team to its only NBA Finals appearance that final year, before returning to the front office in 2003. He took full control as president of basketball decisions after the 2007-08 season, when Donnie Walsh left to become the New York Knicks’ president. Walsh is returning as the Pacers’ president. Kevin Pritchard, the director of player personnel, is being promoted to general manager, replacing David Morway, who resigned Tuesday. Bird said health issues were among the reasons for his departure. […]‘I feel sad to announce that Larry is leaving us,’ owner Herb Simon said. ‘Larry could have stayed here as long as he wants, but he has his own reasons.’ Bird said he has health issues with his back and shoulder, adding, ‘I just think it’s time. It’s the right time to go.’ He also said he has long felt that sometimes ‘you can be in one place too long.’ Bird said he will work through Thursday’s NBA Draft and be involved in the summer league. After that, he said he’ll take a year off, and doesn’t want to be involved in any Pacers decisions. Walsh, however, said he’ll call Bird for advice often. ‘I’ve been honored to be here for nine years and three years of coaching,’ Bird said. ‘When Donnie left, I took on what I thought would be one of my biggest challenges ever and, boy, was I right.’ […] Walsh will be in charge as president. Kevin Pritchard will be the new general manager.”