Indianapolis Business Journal
Larry Bird is stepping down as the head of the Indiana Pacers’ basketball operations less than a week after the team was swept out of the NBA playoffs in the first round, according to numerous media reports.
Bird, 60, has been the team’s president of basketball operations since 2003, except for one year. He resigned in 2012, mostly due to a back injury, but came back a year later.
This time, Bird is expected to replaced by Kevin Pritchard, the team’s general manager, according to reports.
Pacers spokesman Bill Benner declined to confirm Bird’s departure or Pritchard’s promotion, saying the subject would be addressed at Bird’s 11 a.m. Monday press conference.
The Pacers finished seventh in the NBA’s Eastern Conference with a 42-40 record this past season and lost all four of their playoff games to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Pritchard, an NBA front-office veteran, joined the Pacers as director of player personnel in 2011 and became general manager in 2012. He has been Bird’s right-hand man and helped with draft decisions and roster composition the last five seasons.
Pritchard, 49, was born in Bloomington and from 2007-2010 was the Portland Trailblazers general manager, where he drafted Lawrence North graduate Greg Oden No. 1 in the 2007 draft over Kevin Durant. Oden only played in 114 NBA games due to injuries.
Pritchard’s philosophy comes through in a book he co-wrote with longtime friend and Stanford University instructor John Eliot. The book’s title—“Help the Helper: Building a Culture of Extreme Teamwork”—comes from basketball, but is aimed at anyone in business.
A four-year starting point guard for the University of Kansas and who played nine years of professional basketball, Pritchard told IBJ in 2013 that he never cared much about appearances, and certainly didn’t care what winning looked like.
“I didn’t care about it being a pretty game,” Pritchard said.