INDIANAPOLIS – It's starting to sound like a mere formality that Frank Vogel will become the Indiana Pacers' next head coach.
Team president Larry Bird spoke on Tuesday as though it is just a matter of dealing with a few final details.
"He's going to get every opportunity to have this job," Bird said. "What we're doing now is just going through the process. Hopefully, it won't take more than a week or two."
Bird said he has spoken to other candidates, but a giveaway might be that he is talking specifically about assistants for Vogel.
"There's some things that I see that by bringing a top assistant here could help Frank," Bird said. "We want to do it right."
Another clue might be that Vogel is involved in preparation for Thursday's draft. Bird expects to brief Vogel on the team's draft possibilities and ask for his input. Bird said he has narrowed the list of players he wants with the No. 15 pick down to four.
"I'll discuss with him the four guys and what position they're at and get his opinion on what position he wants, or what he thinks we need," Bird said.
Bird has called Vogel the favorite from the beginning of the search, and nothing he said Tuesday indicated that has changed. He says the team has had several conversations with Vogel and that will continue until a decision is made.
Vogel took over for Jim O'Brien at midseason, went 20-18 to close the regular season and led the team to its first playoff berth since 2006. Bird said Vogel deserves an opportunity to coach, and every element involved with the team views him favorably.
"We like Frank," Bird said. "Our players like Frank. I like Frank. It's just a process that I knew was going to take a while."
Either way, the question on message boards and on the radio seems to be the same — what are the Pacers waiting for?
"Larry and I said from the beginning that we were going to take our time," general manager David Morway said. "We were going to do our due diligence. We were going to spend quite a bit of time talking to Frank and research some other candidates, and when we felt we had spent some time with Frank, and he had done some of the necessary work that we'd talked about, and we had looked into some options and felt comfortable with a decision, that we would talk to (owner Herb) Simon, and that's where we are right now."
Morway said he thinks Pacers fans will appreciate the team's patience in the long run.
"I know everybody's always in a rush, and at times, it's hard to be patient," he said. "We think the process has played out the way it needed to for us to make a very good decision."
Cliff Brunt can be reached at http://twitter.com/cliffbruntap