There’s a chance, albeit a small one, that Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird takes over the coaching duties from Frank Vogel before the playoffs begin, as Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star tells Bleacher Report’s Adam Lefkoe in a video interview. Kravitz pegs it as a 5% chance, and cautions that the notion doesn’t come from Bird himself.
Bird told Kravitz nearly a month ago that he thought Vogel wasn’t pushing his players hard enough, and the Pacers have continued their surprising downturn. Indiana was 42-10 before the All-Star break, but the team has gone just 13-13 since and fallen behind the Heat for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The decline has been mystifying, and Bird’s midseason acquisitions of Evan Turner and Andrew Bynum haven’t panned out.
Vogel has turned the Pacers around after taking over the team for the final 38 games of the 2010/11 season, guiding them to the playoffs that season and every year since. Indiana was a game short of the NBA Finals last season, when Bird took a one-year hiatus from his job in the front office. Bird also coached the franchise within a game of the Finals in 1998, the first of his three-year tenure on the bench. His final season as coach ended with a trip to the 2000 Finals, which Indiana lost to the Lakers.
It would be surprising if the Pacers were to bring Bird back to the sidelines for the postseason, as Kravitz suggests. Even if such a move doesn’t happen, it looks as though Vogel’s job security will be in doubt unless Indiana makes a deep run in the playoffs.