Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird Thursday said that he will remain with the team "if he likes what he hears from" Owner Herb Simon "when they meet in the next week or so." In Indianapolis, Mike Wells notes Bird's contract "expires at the end of July," and one of his "concerns is whether Simon is willing to spend in the free agent/trade market this summer." Bird "knows he would have to take a cut from his $5 million annual salary in keeping with a trend around the NBA of teams paying less to coaches and executives." If Bird and Simon "can't come to an agreement, Bird would prefer to immediately step away so the Pacers' new president could select players he wants" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 4/29).
STARS SEARCH: Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk said that finding the team's new coach "will be slowed by the search for a new owner." Nieuwendyk added that "getting a new owner on board and allowing the owner access to the hiring process makes sense." In Dallas, Mike Heika cites sources as saying that Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi is "in the first days of a 30-day exclusive negotiating window in which his people will try to fashion an offer to purchase the Stars from a group of lenders led by Monarch Investments." If the Stars "can clear the offer through competitors and present it in an organized bankruptcy court, the Stars could be sold by July 1." One source said that Gaglardi's offer will be "significantly more than others put forward" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/29).
LOSING THAT BUZZ: In San Diego, Don Norcross writes the Padres "represented one of baseball’s feel-good stories" last season, but "twenty-five games into 2011, the buzz is long gone." Channel 4 San Diego's telecast of Sunday's Padres-Phillies game "had a lower TV rating locally than a Celtics-Knicks first round NBA playoff game." Attendance at Petco Park is "up over last year after 15 games (27,495 per game compared to 22,985)," but the schedule "has played a major factor in the increase" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 4/29).