The Vertical: Larry Bird stepping down as Pacers president

Larry Bird will be stepping down as Pacers president of basketball operations, Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

Kevin Pritchard will take over basketball operations after being Bird’s number two for last few seasons.

Bird will stay on as a consultant with the Pacers, though other teams are already interested in potentially having Bird run their front office.

Bird has stepped down suddenly in the past as well. In 2012, Bird stepped down due to health concerns but came back after just one season absent from the team.

Speculation is rampant about why Bird is leaving now in one of the biggest off-seasons in Pacers history as the Paul-George situation looms large over the organization.

Is it disagreement with ownership? Is Bird the only one in the front office that doesn’t want to trade away Paul George at this point? Or is Larry just being Larry and doing things his way? It’s impossible to know at the moment.

Bird has a press conference scheduled for Monday, so hopefully it’ll be clearer why Bird is stepping down then.

While Bird did many good things during his front office time with the Pacers (drafting Paul George, Myles Turner, Lance Stephenson, signing David West, among others), he had his share of misfires in recent years as well (Monta Ellis, Rodney Stuckey, Al Jefferson). And while much of the blame for this past season can be put on Larry’s shoulders, this is still somewhat surprising, given the timing.

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