- Last Updated: 4:03 AM, March 23, 2012
- Posted: 1:38 AM, March 23, 2012
HOOP DU JOUR
Larry Bird’s head-faking, bed-unmaking, Dwight Howard imitating stretch as Pacers president is coming to a conclusion at season’s end regardless of how the 26-18 team finishes, maintains someone very much in the know.
“He has definitely decided not to return,” the source asserted.
Hired six seasons ago as Donnie Walsh’s eventual replacement, Bird was paid $5 million per for the first five. It appeared he was about to retire to his home in Naples, Fla., after last season. However, a strong finish, topped by a promising first round playoff showing against the Bulls, and an appeal from owner Herb Simon to stick around convinced him otherwise, in spite of having his salary slashed to $1 million.
A handshake promise was given Simon last summer by Bird that he would consider re-upping for another season, but that has been ruled out. It’s believed Simon is aware of such and has a petite list of prospective replacement candidates.
Walsh, I’m told, is eager to get back to work full time for a team as soon as his consultancy contract with the Knicks expires, yet it’s doubtful he would be rehired by Simons.
“They’re just not as close as they once were,” claimed a source.
The firm belief by those with a pulse on the situation: Simon is more apt to choose a marquee name like Reggie Miller or Chris Mullin as opposed to promoting the people on site, general manager David Moray or personnel director Kevin Pritchard.
Look for Walsh to resurface as a reasonable contender for jobs in Orlando or Washington should Otis Smith be fired and/or Ernie Grunfeld not be rehired.
The latter is looming. I’m informed the former Knicks president recently turned down a three-year, $4.5 million extension proposed by Wizards owner Ted Leonsis. Most in sports management would kill a mockingbird to pull such power attached to that purse string. Then again, most people haven’t pocketed $4.5 million annually as Grunfeld has over half a decade.
Not to disparage immaculate Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson, but I would have been stun-gunned had the Knicks not assumed a role reversal after Took-A-Hike Mike D’Antoni decided enough was enough. Any new larynx would’ve been a better listen than the last guy.
Someone, perhaps Doug Collins, please explain this to me: Jeremy Lin went 4-for-17 (0-for-3 from beyond), yet was pristine from 15 (10-for-10), and almost never misses a free throw anymore. Couldn’t the 76ers have forced Lin’s hand, either made him get rid of the ball before infesting the lane or turned him into a jump shooter?Follow @NYPostsports