Larry Bird will return to lead the Indiana Pacers' front office after taking a year off because of health reasons, The Indianapolis Star reported. Just a year after he announced his leave because of shoulder and back problems, Bird will return as the president of basketball operations:
"He's got plenty of rings of his own, now I want him to win one for me," Pacers owner Herb Simon told The Star. "He's got his energy back, his health back and he's raring to go."
Longtime NBA front office executive Donnie Walsh had filled in for Bird during his leave with the intentions of stepping aside if Bird decided to return. Walsh's job description will be changed to "consultant" while general manager Kevin Pritchard will remain at his post.
The team will officially announce Bird's return on Thursday.
Bird had been the leader in the revamped Pacers roster that made the Eastern Conference Finals this season. He was responsible for acquiring Indiana's entire starting lineup -- that included the drafting of Roy Hibbert, Paul George and Lance Stephenson. He also signed power forward David West as a free agent and made a trade with the San Antonio Spurs to acquire point guard George Hill.
Though he won't be conducting the draft process that Walsh and Pritchard have overseen, Bird will begin his duties when free agency hits in July. Re-signing West, who is a free agent, will be the first challenge upon his return.