Days after rumors first popped up about the possibility, the Indiana Pacers have hired Donnie Walsh for a front-office position, the New York Daily News‘ Mitch Lawrence reported Monday night.
Walsh, the former Indiana CEO, will return to the Pacers to lead the front office’s efforts in signing free agents, according to the report. The free-agency period begins on Sunday.
Lawrence writes in the Daily News that Walsh’s hire doesn’t mean Larry Bird is out as team president:
One indication that the NBA icon likely is staying is that Kevin Pritchard is expected to be promoted from director of player personnel to general manager. Formerly the GM in Portland, Pritchard was brought to the organization by Bird. GM David Morway has not been around the team in recent weeks and the team has not explained his absence.
The Pacers’ biggest priorities in free agency are re-signing two of their own restricted free agents — point guard George Hill and center Roy Hibbert. The Dallas Mavericks have reportedly expressed interest in Hibbert. The Pacers could match any offer for both players.
Walsh was last in an NBA position with the New York Knicks, where he helped lead the franchise out of salary-cap disaster to sign Amar’e Stoudemire in 2010. Walsh clashed with Knicks owner and Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan though, and he declined a reported 40 percent pay-cut to stay with the Knicks.