The Indiana Pacers have a new brain trust after Larry Bird stepped down as the team’s president over the weekend.
This could potentially mean a brand-new relationship with star forward Paul George, who has been vocal about the direction of the team.
George himself wouldn’t commit to a long-term future with Indiana after it was eliminated from the playoffs in the first round against the Cleveland Cavaliers last month.
Despite this, Pacers president and GM Kevin Pritchard seems to believe the two sides are on the same page heading into the offseason.
“We talked about a lot of different things. In every scenario he talked about being here. That’s important,” Pritchard said, via the Indy Star. “He wants to win. Picking up Lance late in the year made us a better team and got us into the playoffs. We want to win. We want successful teams year in and year out, and that has to do with Paul. He wants to win, the Pacers want to win, we’re on the same page.”
George is set to become a free agent following the 2017-18 season. He was also bandied about as trade bait during the deadline this past February. A Southern California native, conventional wisdom has clearly indicated that George might end up with the Los Angeles Lakers, either via trade or when he hits the free-agent market.
George himself was critical of the Pacers during the trade deadline. And in reality, Pritchard was part of the front office process at that time. It remains to be seen if Bird removing himself from the decision-making role in Indiana can mend broken fences. Pritchard seems to think so.