with Larry Bird

Steve Hammer

Larry Bird, the NBA legend and current president of the Indiana Pacers, spoke with local media on Dec. 29 about the Ron Artest situation. Following is a partial transcript of the press conference, as provided by the team.

Q: Do you feel a sense of urgency to make a trade?

A: It's going to take time. We can't get it done overnight because we're not dealing with one or two teams, we're dealing with 14 or 15 and you get new calls every day. We feel we can be very patient with this and once we make our decision, we're going to do it and move ahead.

Q: Because the team is struggling, are other teams low-balling their offers?

A: They always do that. What you have to do is just go through and weed out the ones that are not really serious about making a good offer. The ones that are serious, you deal with.

Q: Are you at the point where you feel you have to make a move soon?

A: No. We feel we're very deep. These guys have played without guys before. Obviously, the last three games were tough games but I think they'll bounce back and do just fine.

Q: How is this latest controversy affecting the team? Is it bringing the players closer together?

A: It'll take time. I've been in this league a long time and I know when you lose players with injuries or other things, it takes awhile to regroup. At first you get going, and then you have a sort of a lag in the play. But they'll bounce back. They've been through a lot and I think they'll bounce back. We've got a good team, it's just that we have to stay together.

Q: Coach Rick Carlisle hasn't had a full stable in a long time, has he?

A: It's been tough on him but he's done a fine job. We've got tough players, mentally tough. It seems like when things get bad they really back each other up and they come out and play harder and get things done.

Q: You mentioned earlier this week that you felt betrayed by Artest's trade demand. Do you still feel that way or have you resolved those emotions?

A: When you decide to move forward, you move forward. That's what this team's trying to do and what we're trying to do. We will survive. We'll get by. It's just unfortunate the situation happened. I feel really worse for the players and the coaches than myself. We'll move ahead and we'll get a player who can help us.


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