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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 11, 2010

NBA: Bird urges Pacers fans to remain patient


CLIFF BRUNT
AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird is urging fans to remain patient through the team's struggles.

The Pacers enter the All-Star break with an 18-34 record, well out of the playoff race. Bird said the rebuilding phase that began when the team traded Ron Artest in 2006 is on target, and will move into high gear after next season when the team gets salary-cap space.

The Pacers still are recovering from the brawl with Detroit Pistons fans in 2004 and the numerous problems players had with the law the following few years.

Bird took the pressure off coach Jim O'Brien, who is in his third year after back-to-back 36-46 seasons. O'Brien is signed to coach through the end of next season, and Bird says he isn't in danger of being replaced.