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Report: Cavs offered Larry Bird coaching job

Posted on: October 5, 2010 2:54 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2010 2:55 pm
 
Posted by Royce Young

It's been over a decade since Larry Bird last coached. He led Indiana to an awesome 147-67 from 1997-2000 and last coached in the NBA Finals. He said he'd give the Pacers three years and that's exactly what he did.

Then Bird moved to the Pacers' front office, taking over completely in 2008 after Donnie Walsh went to New York, where Bird hasn't been near as successful. So the Cleveland Cavaliers, with a coaching vacancy earlier this summer, thought it might be a good idea to pull Bird back into the game.

And as Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports, the Cavs reached out to Bird prior to bringing in current head coach Byron Scott. Obviously Bird rebuffed the offer and stayed with Indiana, but it's interesting nonetheless. Bird took the call according to Stein but then quickly decided he had no interest at returning to coaching.

Bird, 53, is said to have pretty much ruled out any return to coaching because of health and family reasons. Never a guy to love the spotlight, Bird has preferred his front office chair instead of the sideline one.

The Cavs had a rough time during their coaching search. Scott is a former Coach of the Year, but now with this Bird revelation, that's two high-profile figures that said not thanks to Cleveland. Current Michigan State coach Tom Izzo was close to accepting the job, but decided to stay in East Lansing instead.
Comments

Since: Nov 26, 2006
Posted on: October 6, 2010 8:44 pm
 

Report: Cavs offered Larry Bird coaching job

This was a futile attempt by a inept owner (Dan Gilbert), I doubt Larry Bird would coach or be a part of any organization besides the Indiana Pacers or the Boston Celtics.  When he took over as GM for Donnie Walsh he gave a three year window for improving the talent level and reconstructing the Indiana Pacers.  When the three years are up you'll see Larry ride into the sunset only to be seen on occassion at ceremonies or other rare public engagements. 

Larry has had success in coaching, but his style doesn't mix with todays players.  He was known for his amazing work ethic.  There just aren't many of those type of players around anymore.:BHEAGLE33

If Larry wanted to coach he would still be successful as he was during his first tenure with the Pacers.  Don't generalize the current players as selfish, lazy, egotistic, prima-donnas.  To say that only Kobe and Durant are the only hard workers in the league is false, there are plenty of players that continue to work aggressively to improve their skills.  Just look at some of todays successful coaches that played against Larry during the 1980s-1990s (Doc Rivers, Byron Scott and Avery Johnson).  All of whom have won the Coach of the Year award and also reached the NBA Finals.  Yes there are some players that are lazy and selfish but no more than it was during his career.  A lot of former NBA greats work with currents players such as Kareem with Andre Bynum and Pat Ewing with Dwight Howard, I doubt that these HOF players would waste their time with players that weren't motivated.

I think even if Lebron did stay that Bird wouldn't have wanted to coach him.  For as good as he is he's too much of a prima donna.  If you look at the Pacer teams Bird coached they didn't have any guys like that.  Miller was a star but he was old school.: ironmic1

I remember the Michael Jackson imitation/ritual that Reggie Miller and the Pacers used to do during home game introductions, well Larry didn't demand that they stop but he explained if that's what they think the game is about then that's fine, but he also explained how foolish they looked when performing these antics instead of performing like professionals.  I guess you didn't see any of the playoff series Miller had against the Knicks?  Prima-Donna?  C'mon now?  Reggie loved the Spot-Light and attention.  Check out Reggie's 30-30 documentary on ESPN (Miller-Time), it will show you how much he liked the spot-light.




Since: Jul 16, 2010
Posted on: October 6, 2010 5:22 am
 

Report: Cavs offered Larry Bird coaching job

Why does this information come out now? Who cares?What purpose does this serve now? Larry Bird coaching LeBron James? Dan Gilbert must have thought a legend could have tamed the beast, doubtful.When Lebron James took his talents to south beach, he kept referring to Pat Riley as Pat like they were friends from high school. Couldn't he have shown more respect to an NBA legend by calling him Mr. Riley or hell, even coach?



Since: Aug 25, 2009
Posted on: October 6, 2010 12:37 am
 

Report: Cavs offered Larry Bird coaching job

In other words, the Cavaliers were looking for the biggest name they could get. Understandable under the circumstances, but I think they made a mistake in offering the job to Larry Bird. Bird has said on multiple occasions that he has no desire to go back into coaching. He did a creditable job with the Indiana Pacers, but he himself never claimed to be a superior Xs and Os coach and he has more than once given credit to his assistants and his players for the success he enjoyed during his short run as head coach. This might be simple humility, but somehow I don't think so. I believe Bird is being absolutely honest. This is not intended as any sort of slight on Bird. He took the job seriously, he did a very good job of managing the team and he was able to get them to the NBA Finals. But he has never exhibited any sort of real interest in being a coach and he only accepted the job due to pressure from the Pacers organization. As Mr. Young writes, 

Never a guy to love the spotlight, Bird has preferred his front office chair instead of the sideline one. 

This is very true. Larry Bird, unlike his great rival Magic Johnson, is not a guy who ever really wanted to be in the spotlight. He could and did trash-talk on the court with the best of them and he had his share of pride in his abilities. But he was never known (at least to my knowledge) as a guy who was arrogant, unlike some of his contemporaries (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar comes to mind fairly quickly). Like another great player, Jerry West, Bird was more interested in doing things away from the spotlight instead of being the center of attention. 

I'm sure Bird was flattered to be asked, but the speed with which he turned the Cavaliers down would seem to indicate that he lacks any real desire to return to coaching. And frankly, I think that is probably the best decision for his family as well - coaching is not exactly a secure profession, even when your name is Phil Jackson and you date the owner's daughter!

I would quibble with one small point, however, Mr. Young writes,

Then Bird moved to the Pacers' front office, taking over completely in 2008 after Donnie Walsh went to New York, where Bird hasn't been near as successful. 

It is true that Bird's reign as president of the Pacers has not resulted in any trips to the Finals. However, I do not believe that can be laid at Bird's feet. The events of the Palace Brawl destroyed the talented team he and Donnie Walsh built and the subsequent seasons saw the complete destruction of that team. Then the health of Jermaine O'Neal, the trading of Ron Artest and the emotional immaturity of Jamaal Tinsley precluded another run. Since then, Bird has drafted cautiously, not wanting to have another team where the egos and maturity level was questionable. He is beginning to bring in better talent, but it will be a while before Indiana is ready to contend. But that is life in the NBA. Unless you draft the way San Antonio has for the past decade or get lucky the way the Celtics did with the Garnett trade (and the Lakers did with the Gasol trade), it is very difficult to contend year after year. Look at the Pistons - they were a contender for years but now they are irrelevant. So I would not blame Bird for the Pacers' inability to contend since he became the front-office chief. 




Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: October 5, 2010 7:44 pm
 

Report: Cavs offered Larry Bird coaching job

Yeah i think it would be hard for a lot of guys to relate to and work with todays players.   They're way too selfish and the money and attention they get is out of this world.   There are a handful of guys out there like Kobe and Durant that are kind of throwbacks.   I think even if Lebron did stay that Bird wouldn't have wanted to coach him.  For as good as he is he's too much of a prima donna.  If you look at the Pacer teams Bird coached they didn't have any guys like that.  Miller was a star but he was old school. 




Since: Jun 8, 2010
Posted on: October 5, 2010 5:16 pm
 

Report: Cavs offered Larry Bird coaching job

It is hard to figure why anyone would want to coach the Cavs now.  Lebron is obviously gone, and there is no glam or glitz that would attract any big time free agents.  That is going to be a bad franchise for a long time. 

Larry has had success in coaching, but his style doesn't mix with todays players.  He was known for his amazing work ethic.  There just aren't many of those type of players around anymore.  Kobe is probably the hardest worker in the game, but he isn't going to Cleveland regardless of who is coaching. 



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