Larry Bird was leaning toward a return as Pacers president, former Celtics teammates tell Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News, until owner Herb Simon nixed the idea of adding a scorer to the team during a meeting with Bird in late June, shortly before Bird resigned June 26th. Bird was considering an offer for Eric Gordon, Lawrence writes, but Simon, who has a net worth of $1.8 billion, doesn't want to pay the luxury tax. Though Indiana has only about $36MM in guaranteed salaries for next season, the Pacers likely couldn't have brought aboard Gordon, who's signed an offer sheet with the Suns for the maximum four years and $58MM, and retained all their free agents without becoming a tax team. Bird's concerns about his shoulder and back were also reasons he stepped down, but the 55-year-old NBA legend left the door open for a return to another team's front office. Lawrence has more from around the league, and we've got the highlights here:
- Some teams avoided giving an offer sheet to Roy Hibbert because of fears about potential knee and back problems, pegging his value at around $40MM instead of the $58MM he's reportedly been offered by the Blazers. If the Pacers match, they'll do so reluctantly, Lawrence writes.
- Though the Hornets are likely to match the Suns' $58MM offer for Eric Gordon, it's about $14MM more than other teams believed he'd get. Lawrence also hears from another GM who believes the Timberwolves' offer sheet to Nicolas Batum is twice as much as he's worth.
- The Thunder added a fourth year to their offer to coach Scott Brooks after they heard the Blazers were interested in having Brooks fill their coaching vacancy. Brooks signed a four-year, $18MM deal with the Thunder last week. The Blazers are still looking for a "brand name" coach, according to Lawrence.