6:33pm: Larry Bird and Pacers owner Herb Simon are expected to meet next week, tweets Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star. Bird must finalize a deal to stay with Indiana for Pritchard's promotion to become official.
4:57pm: When Larry Bird finalizes a new deal to remain president of the Pacers, he plans to promote Kevin Pritchard to general manager, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. According to Wojnarowski, Pritchard's promotion will spell the end of David Morway's successful tenure as Pacers GM.
Pritchard had been a candidate for the GM job in Orlando, where he reportedly might have teamed up with Tom Penn, a salary cap expert with whom Pritchard worked in Portland. Pritchard joined the Blazers as player personnel director in 2004/05 and held the GM job from 2007-10, compiling a mixed resume that included the drafting of LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Brandon Roy. His most prominent move was probably his worst, drafting Greg Oden instead of Kevin Durant with the No. 1 overall selection in 2007. Pritchard was fired just before the draft in 2010, and became Indiana's player personnel director last summer. The Pacers brought Pritchard aboard despite the skepticism of Morway and owner Herb Simon, Wojnarowski writes, but Bird's trust in Pritchard, a former teammate from their playing days, won out.
Morway's name has come up often in connection with teams looking for general managers this spring. He interviewed for the Blazers job before it went to Neil Olshey, and is a candidate for the position in Orlando. His exit from Indiana comes as a surprise to many league executives who credit Morway with the recent success the Pacers have had, Wojnarowski writes.
It also ends speculation that Bird, who won Executive of the Year this season, would leave the Pacers, and probably extinguishes any chance of Donnie Walsh returning to an NBA front office this year. Walsh had been linked to the Magic job, but he seemed more interested in an opening with the Pacers.