Bird has stated he is positive he will not return to the team next season and there appears to be nothing that will change his mind. He always wanted the flexibility of being able to leave the team at the end of any given season, which is why he never signed a long-term contract.
It seems every year there are rumors Bird will be leaving the team, yet he always decides to come back. This year was not any different with the exception that Bird indicated last month at a news conference that he would remain with the team next season.
“(I want to talk to Simon about) the direction of the team, what kind of job he thinks we’re doing, if there’s anything he sees that we should be doing better,” Bird said May 30. “Just a number of questions. I’ve got a lot of them written down to ask him, and hopefully we can get the answers we like and move on.”
That certainly does not sound like a team president ready to call it quits. It is still unknown exactly why Bird is leaving the team but it appears he feels he has accomplished what he set out to do. Not to mention, his rising health issues in which he has long suffered from a cardiac condition.
Bird has been the team president since 2003 and has turned the franchise around by building a competitive team and putting fans in the stands. He was named NBA Executive of the Year this past season, which makes him the first person to with Executive of the Year, Coach of the Year (Pacers), and Most Valuable Player (Boston Celtics). He helped the Pacers reach the postseason six times since 2003, including a division title in 2004.
It is unknown what NBA position Bird will take next but one thing is for sure, he is certainly proud of the team he helped build.
“This is one of the best locker rooms we’ve had,” Bird said. “The attitude has changed in the last few years, and it’s been a breath of fresh air. These kids have come in here. They were dedicated. We didn’t have any problems.”
Now we will have to wait and see what new frontier Bird will set out to accomplish after he most likely takes a year off from basketball.