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NBA Roundup: Bird heads back to Pacers, Rivers assumes Clippers post

The SportsXchange

Larry Bird agreed Wednesday to return to the Indiana Pacers after taking a year off to deal with health concerns, USA Today reported.

The Pacers scheduled a news conference for Thursday morning to make a formal announcement.

Bird, 56, will return to his role as president in the organization. General manager Kevin Pritchard will remain on the staff and Donnie Walsh will become a consultant.

Bird is not participating in the Pacers' preparations for the NBA Draft on Thursday night. Walsh and Pritchard are in charge of the draft.

Bird played a key role in building the team that advanced to the Eastern Conference finals this season and lost in seven games to the Miami Heat. He had served as a Pacers executive from 2003 until 2013 and coached the team from 1997 until 2000.

---The Los Angeles Clippers introduced Doc Rivers as the team's new coach and senior director of basketball operations after the Boston Celtics agreed to release him from the final three years of his contract worth $21 million in exchange for a first-round draft pick in 2015.

The money and length of the contract are the same as what had remained on his Celtics contract.

Rivers, 51, who guided the Celtics to an NBA championship in 2008, assumes the reigns of a team that hopes to retain superstar Chris Paul and advance deeper in the playoffs next season with the goal of winning a championship.

The teams had tried to work out a trade that would send Rivers and Celtics forward Kevin Garnett to the Clippers in exchange for DeAndre Jordan, but NBA commissioner David Stern said he would veto such a deal, citing the collective bargaining agreement.

Rivers leaves a team in decline in Boston for a team on the rise in Los Angeles. The Clippers entered the playoffs as the fourth seed but blew a 2-0 lead and fell to the fifth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in six games.

The Clippers declined to renew coach Vinny Del Negro's contract last month.

---Two Miami Heat bench-warmers, Rashard Lewis and James Jones, exercised player options Tuesday to remain with the NBA champions next season.

According to multiple media reports, Lewis will make $1.4 million, and Jones will receive $1.5 million.

Lewis, a 33-year-old forward, averaged 5.2 points and 2.2 rebounds in 14.4 minutes over 55 games last season. In the playoffs, he appeared briefly in 11 games, averaging 1.5 points and 0.6 rebounds.

The 15-year veteran was in his first season in Miami. He previously played for the Seattle SuperSonics (1998-99 to 2006-07), the Orlando Magic (2007-08 to 2010-11) and the Washington Wizards (2010-11 and 2011-12). Lewis was an All-Star in 2005 and 2009. Over his final three years in Seattle, he averaged 20.9 points per game.

Jones, a 32-year-old forward, produced 1.6 points in 5.8 minutes per game over 38 regular-season appearances for the Heat last season. He averaged one point in 3.7 minutes over nine postseason games.
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