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Bird is still the word in Indiana

Larry Legend to stay with Pacers

Associated Press / May 11, 2011

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Larry Bird will get to see his rebuilding project through, after all.

The Pacers announced yesterday that they will keep Bird as team president after he met with owner Herb Simon in Los Angeles.

The Pacers made their first playoff appearance since 2006 this season in the final year of Bird’s contract, and the future looks bright. Danny Granger, the veteran starter, is 28, and none of the remaining starters — Darren Collison, Tyler Hansbrough, Paul George, or Roy Hibbert — is older than 25.

“I’m quite pleased with the success we experienced this past season and pleased with the direction our team is going,’’ Simon said.

The team also announced that David Morway will stay as general manager.

Things didn’t look so good for Bird, the Celtics’ legend, at the beginning of the year. The Pacers were 17-27 when the team fired coach Jim O’Brien. But interim coach Frank Vogel went 20-18 and guided the team to the playoffs, where Indiana challenged the Chicago Bulls before losing the first-round playoff series, 4-1.

The Pacers now will decide if the 37-year-old Vogel fits into their plans.

“I hope we can keep our core basketball group together, and one of my first priorities will be to address the coaching situation,’’ Bird said.

Bynum suspended Lakers center Andrew Bynum has been suspended for the first five games of next season for his flagrant foul on Dallas guard J.J. Barea in Los Angeles’s final playoff game. The NBA also fined Bynum $25,000 for ripping off his jersey while heading to the locker room. Bynum expressed remorse for his actions, calling them terrible and unacceptable . . . Heat president Pat Riley and Bulls GM Gar Forman are co-recipients of the NBA Executive of the Year award . . . Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson underwent surgery in Vail, Colo., to repair a torn labrum in his left hip . . . The Wizards unveiled their new new red, white, and blue uniforms, a blast from the past as the new duds conjure up memories of the Bullets, the team’s name until 1997.

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