Donnie Walsh addresses the media after being introduced as president of… (Michael Conroy / Associated…)
Larry Bird is calling it quits with the Indiana Pacers.
Bird, perhaps the most respected and beloved basketball figure in a state obsessed with the sport, will leave his job as the Pacers' president of basketball operations at the end of August. He spent four years building the team into an Eastern Conference contender and was last season's NBA executive of the year, but is instead moving on after saying a month ago that he was willing to stay.
Bird said health issues were among the reasons for his departure. He said he may need shoulder surgery and cited longtime issues with his back.
The 55-year-old Bird was the Pacers' coach from 1997-2000, taking the team to its only NBA Finals appearance that final year before he returned to the team's front office in 2003. He took full control as president of basketball decisions after the 2007-08 season, when Donnie Walsh left to become the New York Knicks' president.
Walsh is returning as the Pacers' president. Kevin Pritchard, the director of player personnel, is being promoted to general manager, replacing David Morway, who resigned Tuesday.
NHL may start without deal
The NHL season could start without a new labor agreement if both sides agree to continue talks beyond the Sept. 15 expiration of the current deal.
NHL union Executive Director Don Fehr said "the players haven't considered what they would do on Sept. 15 or any other date if no agreement is in place."
If players continue working without a new contract, they would do so under the old pact if both sides in the negotiations agree, Fehr said. The regular season is scheduled to start Oct. 11.
The St. Louis Bluesand Coach Ken Hitchcock, who led the team to 109 points in a resurgence last season, agreed to a one-year contract extension with a mutual option for 2014-15.
The Washington Capitals traded All-Star defenseman Dennis Wideman to the Calgary Flames for a fifth-round pick in the 2013 NHL draft and minor league defenseman Jordan Henry.
The Edmonton Oilers promoted assistant Ralph Krueger to head coach. Tom Renney's contract was not renewed
An arbitrator expects to rule within a week on arguments presented Wednesday concerning the New Orleans Saints' use of the NFL's franchise tag on quarterback Drew Brees, NFL Players Assn. outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler said.
Arbitrator Stephen Burbank, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, is handling the matter of how to interpret language in the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, which requires any club that designates a player as a franchise player for the third time to give that player a 44% raise.
Brees, once a franchise tag player with San Diego, has been designated New Orleans' franchise player in 2012. The QB seeks clarity on whether the raise for third-time franchise players applies to his career, or only his stint with one team.
U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III has selected Fred Couples and Mike Hulbert to be two of his assistants.
The Ryder Cup is from Sept. 28-30 at Medinah in Chicago.
Pat Cummings, who played with five NBA teams over a 12-year career after being selected Metro Conference player of the year at Cincinnati, was found dead in a New York apartment, according to police. He was 55.
The 6-foot-9 Cummings, a native of Johnstown, Pa., was found Tuesday afternoon, police said Wednesday.