Franchise NotesPublished May 9, 2012
PLAYOFF PACE: In Indianapolis, Bob Kravitz writes just as the city "slowly discovered" the Pacers this season, the team's defeat of the Magic in the first round of the NBA Playoffs means now a "national audience will discover" why they had the league's fifth-best record. Pacers coach Frank Vogel said, "This is a huge step for the franchise." Kravitz writes Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird and his front office deserve credit. Kravitz: "Give Frank Vogel, who needs to have the third year of his contract guaranteed (and now) credit. And give these players credit for turning themselves into the type of team -- emphasis on team -- that this city and region can embrace without hesitation" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/9). TNT’s Reggie Miller said, “Larry Bird should get Executive of the Year for bringing in David West and really changing the culture. That building is rocking and the city of Indianapolis is poppin’ again” (“Celtics-Hawks,” TNT, 5/8).
TIME TO PONDER: Magic GM Otis Smith said yesterday that he "hasn't given extensive thought [to] whether he even wants to return" to his role next season. Smith said, "I haven't gotten into it. I'll have a conversation with a few people following the end of the season, and we'll see where we go from there." Smith, whose contract runs through '12-13, "emphasized that he re-evaluates his own situation after every season" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/9).
OUT OF RANGE: In London, Mike Wade notes a "torrent of e-mail abuse from fans helped persuade" Miller Industries Chair Bill Miller to withdraw his offer for Scottish Premier League club Rangers "just four days after he was announced as preferred bidder." The American businessman was "stunned by the vitriolic reaction from fans" following his $18M offer for the club. Underlying Miller's "refusal to proceed, however, was the simple fact that he had underestimated the calamitous state of Rangers' finances." Club 9 Sports CEO John Pritchett, an adviser to Miller, said "contingency liabilities" were a third factor in the decision (LONDON TIMES, 5/9). In England, Ewan Murray notes Rangers administrators "responded with an unspecific claim that they have had three fresh notes of interest" in the club since Miller was named preferred bidder. However, the club faces a "race against time to find new ownership, with existing funding secured only until the end of this season" (GUARDIAN, 5/9).
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