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Carr Steps Down, Bird's Decision Next

May 08, 1997|From Associated Press

The question is the same as it was when Larry Bird made blind passes or amazing shots from behind the backboard: What will he do next?

M.L. Carr's resignation as director of basketball operations Wednesday left one key figure's future uncertain in the shakeup of the Boston Celtics.

And Bird's decision--to help new Celtic Coach Rick Pitino with personnel matters or, more likely, to become coach of the Indiana Pacers--should be revealed by Friday.

Pacer President Donnie Walsh and a source close to Bird denied reports that Bird already had agreed to return to his home state and succeed Larry Brown as Indiana's coach.

A Celtics spokesman said the club was unaware of any decision Bird might have made.

That decision--as Pitino said Tuesday when he was named coach--might come down to whether Bird wants to be in the front office talking by telephone to general managers or on the bench helping his team win games as he did throughout his brilliant 13-year career with Boston that ended in 1992. He has been a special consultant for the Celtics since then.

"I think he'd do better as a coach, although he'll do pretty good as a manager," said Celtic President Red Auerbach, who took Bird with the sixth pick of the 1978 draft one year before he was eligible to leave Indiana State.

WISH-TV in Indianapolis, citing an unnamed source close to the family of co-owner Herb Simon, reported that Bird had made a verbal agreement and that the deal was to be completed Wednesday night.

The Eagle-Tribune of Lawrence, which didn't cite its source, said Bird would sign a contract with Indiana on Friday worth about $4 million a year. The newspaper said Bird would coach at least two seasons, with an option to then become the team's director of basketball operations.

The Boston Globe said the offer was $4.5 million a year plus part ownership and that an unidentified source close to Bird indicated Bird would accept it but delay the announcement until after Pitino's scheduled news conference today in Boston.

Walsh said the deal for Bird to succeed Brown, who resigned April 30 and has since been named coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, wasn't final.

"I have confirmed we have made him an offer. We want him to be our coach. But he has not accepted the offer," Walsh said. "I think he's still trying to decide. That's where we are."

Carr's resignation one week after he stepped down as coach was expected. He will stay with the club under a multiyear agreement as executive vice president of corporate development.

The Celtics also announced the firings of head scout Rick Weitzman, director of basketball development Jon Jennings and assistant coaches K.C. Jones, Dennis Johnson and John Kuester.

At least 11 Celtics employees, including Carr and general manager Jan Volk, have left their jobs in connection with Pitino's decision to leave Kentucky after eight seasons and accept a 10-year deal worth an estimated $70 million.

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