Sources say the fizzled relationship is the one of the main reasons why Bird plans to replace Morway with Kevin Pritchard as general manager once Bird agrees to a new deal with owner Herb Simon to remain as president when the two meet later this week.
Pritchard was hired to be the Pacers’ director of player personnel last summer.
It takes awhile to earn Bird’s trust and once you burn that bridge he’s done with people. That’s the case right now with Morway.
The final straw with the Bird-Morway relationship, according to those close to the two, came during training camp when the Pacers failed to land O.J. Mayo and then lost out on free agent Jamal Crawford – option No. 2 to be the team’s first shooting guard off the bench – on the same day.
The Pacers had agreed to a sign-and-trade deal that would have sent Josh McRoberts to Memphis for Mayo because the Grizzlies were trying to shed salary. Sources say it was Morway that caused the deal to “fall apart” because he pushed the Grizzlies to take swingman Brandon Rush. Morway did a lot of talking to teams and some of the negotiating. Bird would then step in and make the final decision.
Bird was seething over the blown deal, according to sources. He had lost any remaining trust in Morway after that.
Bird had tried multiple times over the years land Mayo, who he felt would be the one player on the roster that could get his own shot off the dribble.
To make matters worse, Crawford and his agent got tired of waiting on the Pacers to make a decision that they told them the same day the Mayo deal fell apart that they weren’t going to sign with them.
Bird and Morway’s relationship continued to go downhill as the season progressed.