Despite the Indiana Pacers having a president and general manager in place, a franchise official called the San Antonio Spurs for permission to speak to assistant general manager Dennis Lindsey about a prominent front-office job, Eastern Conference sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Jim Morris, who runs the organization’s business side, reached out to Spurs officials to talk to Lindsey, sources said. The call was received with trepidation, sources said, as Lindsey and the Spurs made clear there would be no conversations as long as Pacers president Larry Bird and GM David Morway still occupied their current jobs.
It is unclear whether the call was made with the blessing of Bird, or made discreetly on behalf of owner Herb Simon.
Pacers president Larry Bird is expected to meet with Simon in the next several days to discuss his future with the franchise. Bird’s contract expires in July, and league sources believe Simon wants Bird to continue at a lower salary.
Bird wants to be sure he still answers directly to Simon, not other business operations and financial people within the Pacers, sources said.
The most likely scenario would be the Pacers recruiting Lindsey to serve as the GM under Bird. Morway has been considered more vulnerable with his contract expiring this year, despite the fact the Pacers have accumulated several promising young players and played the top-seeded Chicago Bulls tough in an opening-round playoff loss. Morway has the GM title, but works under and reports directly to Bird. Most of the Pacers’ front-office staff members, including scouts and coaches, are working under expiring contracts.
Pacers interim coach Frank Vogel is expected to get serious consideration to be promoted to the full-time job, but it’s doubtful the coaching situation will be resolved until there’s clarity in the front office.
Lindsey is a respected executive, and has been considered on the cusp of taking over his own franchise. He turned down the Minnesota Timberwolves’ job in 2009 and pulled out of the Phoenix Suns search in 2010. Lindsey spent 11 years with the Houston Rockets before joining the Spurs in 2007.
- David Morway