CHICAGO – Larry Bird’s decision to walk away from the Indiana Pacers’ front office to become a consultant certainly sent shockwaves throughout the NBA landscape quickly.
And while it’s unclear exactly what it means to the Celtics and their pursuit this summer of Indiana All-Star Paul George, it does add an element of uncertainty as to the direction of the Pacers franchise.
At this point, that’s a good thing for the Celtics because Bird had made it clear both to the Celtics and to league sources that he was not interested in moving George anytime soon.
Of course, Indiana getting swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs may have eventually led Bird to soften his position if he, in fact, felt the Pacers were going to need to rebuild rather than re-tool.
And if you look at that team, the former seems to be a more likely scenario at this point, which could bode well for Boston.
But looking at the team Bird was going to have to re-make this summer, this move looks reminiscent to what the Celtics went through in 2013 when Danny Ainge traded away Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, and then-coach Doc Rivers made it clear that he did not want to start from scratch again.
Rivers had done that as the head coach of Orlando and did so with the Celtics prior to things coming together in 2008 when the franchise won its 17th NBA title.
Fast forward to the Pacers and Bird, who haven’t had that level of success since the Celtics legend took over the front office duties in Indiana.
The fact that he’s willing to remain a Pacers consultant speaks to his desire to still be in the game, which is what you would expect from one of the great competitors this league has ever seen.
And the naming of Kevin Pritchard to fill Bird’s role in the front office doesn’t hurt Boston, knowing Pritchard and Ainge have done deals with each other in the past when Pritchard was running the show in Portland.
Ultimately, it comes down to whether the Pacers have decided it’s time to move on from tweaking the roster and do what the Celtics did in 2013 and start over.
If they decide to go down that path, without question, the Celtics will be one of the first teams they have serious discussions with along those lines.
Teams that are looking to rebuild typically want draft picks and young veteran players – both of which the Celtics have more of than just about any team in the NBA.
And because most of the current Celtics have been involved in a winning culture, there are unspoken habits they bring to a franchise looking to re-establish its foundation.
For Boston, they land that much-coveted superstar that they desperately need to pair with Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford.
It sounds like a win-win for both franchises, right?