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Larry Bird is returning to the Indiana Pacers to serve as the franchise's president of basketball operations.
The Pacers will welcome back Bird at a news conference at 10 a.m. ET Thursday – one year to the day after he resigned his position with the franchise.
Bird coached the Pacers from 1997-2000 and returned to the franchise in 2003 as president. Bird was voted the NBA's Executive of the Year in 2012 after leading the Pacers' revival from the draft lottery to the Eastern Conference's elite. Bird stepped away at season's end and moved back to Florida to attend to some health issues but became eager to return to Indiana in order to complete the job in transforming the Pacers into an NBA champion.
Bird's mentor with the Pacers, longtime president and general manager Donnie Walsh, replaced Bird a year ago with an understanding that the job would return to Bird should he desire it again.
Kevin Pritchard will continue as the organization's general manager, ultimately answering to Bird. The Pacers want Walsh to continue to have a role in the organization, and that will be discussed among owner Herb Simon, Bird and Walsh, a source told Yahoo! Sports.
The Pacers advanced to the Eastern Conference finals this season before being eliminated in seven games by the Miami Heat, the eventual league champions. It was the farthest Indiana advanced in the playoffs since 2004.
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