On Friday, it was announced by Adrian Wojnarowski that Indiana Pacers President, Larry Bird, will step down. The former executive of the year will be taking a “consulting” role with the team.
Kevin Pritchard, who has been director of player personnel since 2011 also has experience as a GM. Pritchard was GM of the Portland Trail Blazers from 2006-2010.
Larry Bird is stepping down as Pacers president, league sources tell @TheVertical. Kevin Pritchard will take over basketball operations.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) April 28, 2017
Bird was put through the ringer for years trying to put together contending teams. He managed to come up with a few rosters that would go on to contend. Unfortunately, for Bird and the Pacers, they got as close as you can but there was always another team standing in their way. However, with Bird out after the team was swept by the Cavaliers, Paul George may legitimately be on the move this summer.
Last trade deadline saw a flurry of reported trade partners and proposals for the Pacers to send George to. While the reports of trade partners came in, it was also said that Bird would not trade the four-time All-Star. In fact, it was stated that ownership was interested in seeing what was available for George but Bird refused to move him.
The departure of “Larry Legend” changes the landscape. With one year left on Georges deal and if the Pacers can’t get an extension, they’ll look to ship him out. As it stands now, George is going to test free agency and likely walk next summer.
The Pacers would be smart to trade George this summer, but its complicated. With just one year left and seemingly destined to test free agency, most teams won’t be interested paying out multiple assets to get George if they’re not sure they can keep him. If a team like the Celtics or Nuggets were to trade for George, we might see a similar deal to what the Kings got back for Demarcus Cousins.
On the other hand, a team like the 76’rs, who has too many assets, may be able to offer more than any other team. At its current state, George is unlikely to resign with the Sixers. However, it’s something the front office has to take a chance on.
The Pacers will likely be looking for young players to put around Myles Turner as he enters his third season. Still in is mid-twenties, any team with assets is a potential partner for the Pacers. The Celtics and Nuggets both interested in George have a plethora of young players and picks. The Pacers would want to bring in to start their rebuild.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 28, 2017