NBA

Report: Bird leaving Pacers after nine years

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Associated Press
6/26/2012 9:02:58 PM
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INDIANAPOLIS -- David Morway resigned Tuesday as general manager of the Indiana Pacers amid reports that Larry Bird is on the way out, too.

Morway was hired by the Pacers in 1999 and had been GM since 2008. The Indianapolis Star reported Tuesday (http://goo.gl/uqp0u ) that Bird is expected to leave the Pacers, citing an unidentified person with direct knowledge of the situation. The Pacers and owner Herb Simon declined comment.

"I think change is great. I really do. New ideas, new creativity, new vision and new energy -- I think all of that is important for a franchise," Morway said. "However Mr. Simon decides to do this, I think is going to be good for the franchise. I'm sure he'll make a good decision because he's a terrific owner."

The 55-year-old Bird was Pacers coach from 1997-2000, taking the team to its only NBA Finals appearance that last year, before returning to the front office in 2003. He took full control of basketball decisions after the 2007-08 season, when Donnie Walsh left to become the New York Knicks' president.

This year, Bird was the NBA Executive of the Year after building a tough, young team that lost to eventual champion Miami in six games. He is the only person in league history to win that award, the MVP award and Coach of the Year.

The former Indiana State star won three MVP awards and three NBA titles during his Hall of Fame career with Boston.

Bird has spent the last four years building the team into an Eastern Conference contender and said a month ago that he was willing to stay. He indicated then that he had not yet met with Simon to discuss his future.

His status with the team had been the subject of speculation for months. He had stayed with the Pacers on a season-by-season basis, discussing whether to return with Simon each off-season.

Morway's departure comes literally on the eve of the NBA draft, where Indiana was scheduled to pick No. 26 overall on Thursday night.

"I'm happy," he said. "This is something I spent several months talking to my wife and my kids and Mr. Simon about and Larry. We had a lot of success this year, but at the same time, there was a lot of personal sacrifice that came with it the past few years."

The Pacers, well under the salary cap, are expected to be a significant player in free agency.

Larry Bird (Photo: John W. McDonough /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

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(Photo: John W. McDonough /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)
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