The hiring of Kevin Pritchard, who received a one-year contract and the title “director of player personnel,” seemingly puts a very definite countdown on the days remaining for Larry Bird in Indiana’s front office. Would a guy with a resume like Pritch really join the front office of a team just to be third in command?
Well, according to the executives already on staff, he has.
Bird, who played alongside both Pritchard and soon-to-be associate head coach Brian Shaw (until he was traded) on the 1991-92 Celtics, has stated adamantly that Pritch is not being brought in to replace Larry as the Pacers top exec.
Bird and Morway recently spent several days having candid discussions with Pritchard about the direction the team is headed and how he could be a positive addition for them.
Bird said Friday that they are not bringing Pritchard in as his future replacement.
“That’s not the case at all,” Bird said. “I’ve known Kevin for a number of years and we’re in the position to improve, and his knowledge will help us.”
Bird makes his stance pretty clear here. But just because the stated, public plan is not to give Pritch a one-year apprenticeship under Larry before giving him the keys to the franchise, it doesn’t mean that won’t be the eventual outcome.
Kevin’s reputation has been sullied somewhat around the league given his fallout with Paul Allen in Portland. Some have called him arrogant, self-congratulatory and “green at managing people.” So perhaps he is just viewing this as a good opportunity to get back on an NBA team’s payroll and re-prove that he can still do what he does best, evaluate talent, better than most. He goes back very far with Bird, so Indiana, his home state, gives him a great chance to do just that.
We see former NBA head coaches take assistant roles all the time as they wait for new jobs to open. Dwane Casey and, quite likely, Lawrence Frank have both done exactly that of late. It’s not out of the question that Pritch is doing the same thing.
But it does seem hard to believe that Pritchard would stick around Indy for any longer than one year in anything but a lead decision-making position.
Either way, this would seem to put David Morway in an odd position.
There are now three chefs in the kitchen and all three will likely have some divergent views on how the franchise should spend the salary cap room Bird and owner Herb Simon have spent years patiently waiting for. How much weight will Pritchard’s “advice” have on the final decisions?
I’m not going to speculate what Morway is thinking right now about the direction of the team and his future in it, but here he is speaking on the hire. (via Pacers.com)