Bird to return as Pacers president

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Updated: 6/26/2013 5:08 pm

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Larry Bird has decided to return as president of basketball operations for the Indiana Pacers.

Bird, who chose to resign following the 2011-12 campaign to deal with health issues, agreed to a multi-year contract to return on Wednesday as the top man of the Pacers' organization beginning July 1.

Donnie Walsh filled in for Bird during his year away, but will now move into a consulting role. General manager Kevin Pritchard will remain in his post as the No. 2 man in the front office.

"We are all very happy to have Larry back," said Pacers owner Herb Simon. "When he left last July, Donnie and I both told him the door would be open for him to come back when he's ready. Larry had a huge impact on this team and where it is now, so it's fitting that he comes back at this time. Donnie has been a friend and a valuable contributor to the franchise and will continue to be both. I wanted him to agree to stay in some capacity, as I believe with Larry and Kevin, it gives us three of the best basketball minds in the business."

Bird took over as president of the team back in 2003 and was instrumental in the Pacers' rebuilding process which built the current outlook of the team.

He acquired the draft rights to center Roy Hibbert back in 2008 and selected combo guards Paul George and Lance Stephenson in the 2010 draft. Prior to the 2011 season, he traded for guard George Hill and signed forward David West.

Bird was honored as the NBA Executive of the Year for the 2011-12 campaign, but abruptly left the organization just before the 2012 NBA Draft.

"The year off gave me a chance to reflect, to rest, to take care of some health issues and it re-charged me," said Bird. "Donnie and Kevin did a great job, and I will lean on both heavily as we move forward toward the goal of competing for a championship."

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