The Pacers have fired coach Nate Bjorkgren, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Bjorkgren spent just one season in Indiana, and reports of his uncertain future began to surface near the end of the regular season last month. The Pacers qualified for the play-in tournament, but did not make the playoffs in the East.
But it was Bjorkgren’s strained relationship with the players and even members of his coaching staff that reportedly led to the decision. By the end of the season, rumors indicated that starters Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon were among those who wanted a coaching change.
“His players don’t like his management style. They avoid him,” J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star wrote. “His assistants are micro-managed.”
Because of that, the Pacers are expected to pursue an “established” coach this time around, per Wojnarowski. Bjorkgren was in his first year as an NBA head coach after serving as as assistant with the Raptors and Suns.
He signed a three-year contract before the season, with one guaranteed year remaining.
Former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts, and current Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni are said to be among the Pacers’ potential candidates. Stotts finished his high school career at Bloomington North, south of Indianapolis.