Flying High: Kings Execs In Talks With HOFer Larry Bird To Run Basketball Operations
NBA Kings Managing Partner Vivek Ranadive "has had conversations" with Basketball HOFer Larry Bird about "running the team's basketball operations," according to Jason Jones of the SACRAMENTO BEE. But a source said that Ranadive and Bird "did not meet" yesterday. Current President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie's contract expires at the end of this month, and Dir of Player Personnel Jerry Reynolds yesterday said that he will "step down ... in anticipation of a new front-office team." Reynolds said that he wants to "continue in his role as analyst for the Kings broadcasts." Meanwhile, Bird is "not the sole focus of the search to replace Petrie." Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace, ESPN's Chris Mullin and Warriors Assistant GM & Dir of Player Personnel Travis Schlenk "have been in contact with the Kings." Former Pacers GM David Morway is "expected to meet with Ranadive soon." The Kings also have "had discussions" with TNT's Chris Webber about "bringing the former forward back in an undetermined role" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 6/6). Longtime NBA writer Peter Vecsey on his Twitter feed wrote, "Kings owner meeting with Larry Bird today means decision on hiring president is on hold. Source says asking 5M per, maybe piece of team" (TWITTER.com, 6/5).
NEVER SAY NEVER: In Sacramento, Ailene Voisin writes if Ranadive was "going to take a flyer, wanted to heave a prayer from the deep corner, of course it would be" Bird. While sources close to Bird said that they would be "stunned if the Hall of Famer accepted a position with another small-market franchise almost 2,000 miles from his hometown of French Lick, Ind., these same people were shocked that he picked up the phone." If Bird wants to "return to the NBA ... he can waltz back into his old job with the Pacers, without having to hire a moving van, disrupt his family or abandon his favorite fishing hole." Voisin: "So why might Bird leave for an extended West Coast adventure? Because he craves challenges." Because Ranadive can "offer a lucrative package" and because Bird "probably isn't happy about the hit he took when Pacers owner Herb Simon trimmed salaries." Luring Bird to Sacramento would be the "latest in an ongoing series of stunning, remarkable developments involving Sacramento, the Kings and the new ownership group." Voisin: "I wouldn't count on it." But given all that has "transpired these past five months, never say never" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 6/6).