After his Pacers were left in their expected 12th position in
yesterday's NBA draft lottery, new Indiana coach Larry Bird found
himself in a familiar situation.
"I was rooting for the Celtics," he said.
though the Boston legend still has strong feelings for his old club, he
acknowledged that remaining with the organization wasn't best for
anyone involved. He told Rick Pitino at first contact that if Pitino came to the Celts from Kentucky, he would probably not have Larry Bird to work with.
while the Celtics did ask him to stay, Bird agreed with reports that
owner Paul Gaston might have been more than a little concerned with his
"I like Paul, but he
probably was scared about that," Bird said. "The thing is, if I was the
one making the decisions on players and they didn't work out right, then
I'd take the blame for it. I wouldn't go blaming anyone else. I just
didn't want to be in a position where I was signing a guy that the coach
wanted but I didn't. I don't mind putting myself on the line, but that
wasn't how it would have been with the Celtics."