It's hard for a guy with the nickname "Legend" to qualify as an invisible hand, but Larry Bird's subtle alterations to the Indiana Pacers contributed to the team's ongoing collapse in subtle enough ways to qualify.
Besides, unless you're scanning the baseline seats at Bankers Life Fieldhouse (about 10 rows up), you don't see a whole lot of Bird on camera. In that sense, he's also a quiet presence.
Bird's decision to swap Danny Granger for Evan Turner silently crushed Indy's chemistry. And his curious signing of world-renowned locker-room poisoner Andrew Bynum sealed the deal.
Truth be told, we don't know where to put the blame for Indiana's late-season slide. It probably belongs in a number of places. But Bird clearly miscalculated on a couple of key moves, ultimately changing the entire playoff outlook for the Eastern Conference by trying to fix what wasn't broken.
Per Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star, Bird said after the Granger trade: "We felt we needed to make this trade to strengthen the core unit and our bench. In Evan and Lavoy, we think we got two really good players that can help us and we look forward to what they can bring."
Credit Bird for building the Pacers into what they were earlier this year, but be sure to dock him a few points for making the unsung moves that may be the team's undoing.
The ripple effects of Indy continuing its slide with a potential first-round loss to the Atlanta Hawks are huge. The Heat would get a nearly free pass into the Finals and the kind of easy conference road in the future that could entice more title-hungry vets to sign on in Miami.
Even legends drop the ball once in a while, and it seems Bird is no exception.