NBA Franchise Notes: Pacers Owner Says Team Is Back With FansPublished May 30, 2012
In Indianapolis, Mike Wells wrote the Pacers “continued their trend in recent years of finishing near the bottom of the league in attendance during the regular season -- 29th out of 30 teams --but [Owner Herb] Simon is encouraged that will change since all six of their home playoff games were sold out.” Simon said, "We've gotten the franchise back with our fans. We're very excited and looking forward to improving again next year." Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird “has a year-to-year agreement with Simon” and the owner said the two will sit down and meet once Bird "recovers from the playoffs." Simon: “You don't try to twist Larry Bird's arm. He does what he thinks is best for the franchise and for himself and his family” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/27).
AT THE CORE: In Philadelphia, Bob Ford noted 76ers Owner Josh Harris “sat in with” coach Doug Collins “when he conducted individual exit interviews with the players on Sunday.” That is “unusual, and it indicates a working partnership that forms the core of the team's current decision-making hierarchy.” Harris said that Collins' contract, which is guaranteed for one more year and contains a club option for the '13-14 season, "probably will be extended soon." Harris: "We haven't sat down and had that discussion yet, but we want Doug to be here a long, long time. We consider Doug a real asset of the organization" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 5/28).
PATIENCE WEARING THIN: In Houston, Jerome Solomon wrote the way in which Rockets GM Daryl Morey handles player contracts and free agency “could determine whether he holds that position a year from now.” Rockets Owner Les Alexander “has been patient, but another year of mediocrity could end that.” Solomon asked, “What will Morey, who is 0-for-his-five-year tenure with the Rockets in blockbuster trades, major free-agent signings and draft lottery good fortune, accomplish this offseason?” Solomon: "A number of players have left the Rockets in recent years with bad tastes in their mouths because of their dealings with Morey” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/27).
END OF SOMETHING GOOD: In Oklahoma City, Jenni Carlson wrote everyone in the city seems to have “opinions about stopping the watch parties in Thunder Alley” outside Chesapeake Energy Arena. The city “has lost something special.” The watch parties were “like nothing we’d ever seen in Oklahoma City.” Carlson: “Everyone could have a piece of the action there. You could join the Thunder phenomenon gripping our state. You could feel a part of something bigger than yourself” (OKLAHOMAN, 5/27).
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NBA Franchise Notes: Pacers Owner Says Team Is Back With Fans