INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon says team president Larry Bird’s job is safe through the rest of the season, and he could be back next year.

The Pacers fired coach Jim O’Brien on Sunday. Some fans have grown restless because the Pacers have missed the playoffs for four straight seasons. Many have been critical of Bird, an Indiana native and former Boston Celtic star.

Simon told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he feels Bird has done a good job since taking full control of basketball decisions after the 2007-08 season.

The Pacers have an 18-27 record, 17 games behind the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics

This is the final year of Bird’s contract. Simon says he and Bird will meet after the season. He said Bird’s desire to remain in the role will carry significant weight.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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