It seems that competitive zeal has followed at least one of the two off of the court and into the executive suite, where Johnson is now the Lakers’ president of basketball operations and Bird serves as a consultant for the Indiana Pacers.
During an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical made it clear that at least in part due to the presence of Bird, it might be hard for the Lakers and Pacers to work out a trade for Indiana Pacers All-Star Paul George.
"I don't know if there is a great appetite within the Pacers to give him what he wants and send him to the Lakers,” Wojnarowski said, before elaborating on that report on his own podcast.
“Larry Bird is still coming into the office every day. Larry Bird is not going to want to send Paul George to the Lakers,” Wojnarowski said on the Vertical Podcast with Woj. “Those Celtics guys? That thing is still real. They don’t want to help the Lakers.”
On some level it’s easy to say this when the Lakers aren’t offering the best deal, and they’re reportedly not even going to jump into talks with the Pacers until Indiana gets close on a trade. They also aren’t willing to give up any of their young players, because right now the Lakers have no incentive to put forth the best trade offer they can make, so it’s easy for Bird to posture.
If the Lakers come forward with the best offer that saves Indiana from losing George for nothing, however? It’s hard to imagine Bird being so petty about playing for the second-best team of the 1980s that he’d risk actually harming his current organization.