The Star’s list of potential replacements include former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts, Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni, Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups, former Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger and former Pacers point guard Mark Jackson, formerly the coach of the Warriors and currently an ESPN analyst.
Stotts mutually parted ways with the Blazers last week after nine seasons, including eight straight trips to the Western Conference playoffs. He is an alum of Bloomington North High School, south of Indianapolis.
More than 20 candidates interviewed from a pool in which Bjorkgren was ultimately chosen last summer, and many could be pursued again, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
A strained relationship with the players and members of the coaching staff reportedly led to the decision to dismiss Bjorkgren, after the Pacers finished with a 34-38 record and missed the playoffs.
“The 2020-21 season was not what any of us hoped or anticipated it would be, and our results on the court certainly did not meet the standards for what our organization and our fans have come to expect,” Pritchard said in a statement.
“We have determined this is the right time to move in a different direction, and on behalf of the Simon Family and the entire Pacers organization, I want to express my gratitude to Nate for his efforts leading our team.”
Indiana becomes the fourth team this season to part ways with its head coach, joining the Blazers, Magic and Celtics. All positions remain open.
Also, former Pacers coach Nate McMillan has served as interim coach for the Hawks, but is expected to receive a multiyear deal after leading the team to a strong finish and the second round of the playoffs.
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.