Vescey Speculates About Pacers' Future

With the Pacers visiting the Knicks today, Peter Vecsey made their front office situation the lead in his Sunday morning column.  Probably the biggest nugget of actual information included was this:

It says here Larry Bird, who has sold his Indianapolis home and is moving back to Florida where his son plans to finish college, general manager David Morway and Vogel are on the precipice of becoming ex-Pacers.

Well, it says here that the nugget of actual info is about the sale of Bird’s house and his impending move to Florida, and that nugget is surrounded by trademark Vecsey speculation.  The rest of the column (related to the Pacers) is more of the same, but it’s worth addressing nontheless.  Here’s are the key points of what Mr. Vecsey thinks might happen:

I’m not saying owner Herb Simon won’t try to re-enlist Bird, though that’s a distinct possibility. Should an offer be extended, however, it definitely won’t be remotely near the $5 million he will have banked for eight straight seasons — more like $1 million, tops, per year for three or four.

That’s quite the haircut.  I don’t know whether it’s true or not, but if it is, it raises two seriously disturbing questions about Herb Simon.  First, what is it exactly about the job that Larry Bird is doing that would make Simon think, “You, at $5 mil, he ain’t cuttin’ it, but at a mill, I’m cool.”?  Second, and more importantly, does this mean that he’s willing to forgo fundamental basketball goals for fiscal concerns?

For whatever reason, if Simon and Bird do part ways, the natural progression is for Donnie Walsh to return from whence he came and where his wife, daughter and dogs still live on adjoining properties.

Regardless whether James Dolan wants Walsh back next season or not, it’s easy to conceive the Knicks’ president concluding his health would be better served by escaping New York’s laboratory and its microscope-wielding multitude, and perhaps re-stake his claim to his former Pacers position, if not re-control of Conseco Fieldhouse.

Vecsey himself acknowledges that this is possibly a fantasy, but it’s one that makes some degree of sense — at least from Herb Simon’s point of view.  For roughly 22 of the first 25 years that the Simons owned the Pacers, Donnie Walsh was their de facto binky.  He basically ran everything.

In 2008, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported that Herb and Mel Simon preferred to keep Donnie Walsh and fire Bird.

Walsh’s future with the Pacers also remains up in the air. According to a high-ranking Pacers official, the team’s co-owners, Herbert and Melvin Simon, are hoping to retain Walsh and fire team president Larry Bird. The same source indicated that Walsh has too much respect for Bird to fire him and then reassume full control of the team.

So, will Donnie Walsh be coming home to the Pacers?  While I can’t say that that interest exists in Donnie Walsh’s mind, or that any plans are being made in Herb Simon’s, I have little doubt that Simon would be perfectly fine with such a scenario.

Tags: David Morway Donnie Walsh Herb Simon Larry Bird Peter Vecsey

  • kester

    If I worked in the same office as Vecsey, I’m not sure I’d trust him to tell me where the water cooler is. You get two facts and 14 possible scenarios with him. ‘As early as three years ago, the water cooler was up the hall by the copy machine. With no way to confirm its present whereabouts, and considering the pressures on any company in this economy, It says to me that the water cooler has been sold, probably to a middle eastern company, where they are notoriously low on drinking water.’

    On that 5 mill vs one mill contract…does he just pull stuff like this out of his…pants?

  • Tim Donahue

    Actually, it wouldn’t surprise me. I very much believe that owning the Pacers is becoming too much of a pain in the ass for Simon, and I would not be the least bit surprised to see him roll over, cheap it out until he can unload the team.

  • @Pacers_Chants

    Kevin Pritchard. Kevin Pritchard. And, dear Lord, Kevin Pritchard.

    Regardless of how much I respect and appreciate both Bird and Walsh, each of whom has had some hits and some misses, not unlike many GM’s and presidents, I strongly feel Indiana needs some fresh blood in the front office.

    Of course, Pritchard might command good dough, so if as Tim says, Simon’s inclined to cut back, guess you can kiss the idea good bye.

    But Pritchard would right this ship, whether he’s working under Bird but with most of the responsbility, or whether he’s working solo.

    As for Donnie, if the Knicks honco opposed the Carmelo Anthony trade, you’ve got to question his sanity anymore. That swap shouldn’t have required thinking twice. You tell the Nuggets yes and send over 1,000 batches of homemade cookies in appreciation of your good fortune.

  • Tad

    Why is owning the Pacers too much of a pain in the ass for Herb Simon? He seems to be very involved in trying to turn this thing around. I’m not sure why he would try to go cheap just for the sake of going cheap. He seems to want to win as much as anyone. Besides, did you see the Forbes billionaire list that just came out late last week? Mr. Simon is not hurting for cash. In fact, his fortune is growing, even with the hard times the Pacers have had the past few years. I wouldn’t trust Peter Vescey as far as I could throw him. He’s wrong most of the time.

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  • BarbosaSamosa

    Dime Q&A with Tyler Hansbrough. He picks Notre Dame over UNC in this year’s tourney!!