The Indiana Pacers are looking for a new head coach. After just one season, the Pacers have fired Nate Bjorkgren. According to ESPN, the Pacers front office met with Bjorkgren on Tuesday to talk about the future of the team and decided to move on from him. It was reported there was a disconnect between Bjorkgren and the locker room, which led to issues on the court.
"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," Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin 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. While we do not have a definite timetable for our search, we will move quickly to identify candidates who will make our team and our organization stronger."
Bjorkgren was hired after the team interview nearly 20 candidates. It's possible they could go back to those candidates again to be the new head coach. "There are certain things [traits] that are nonnegotiables for me going forward," Pritchard said to ESPN. "I hope I've learned from this in terms of selecting the right coach."
The Pacers finished with a 34-38 record this season and missed the playoffs for the first time in five years. The team qualified for the play-in tournament but lost to the Washington Wizards for the right to be the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. Bjorkgren took over for Nate McMillan who is currently the interim head coach of the Atlanta Hawks. With the Hawks reaching the second round of the playoffs, it's likely McMillan will be named the team's head coach once their season is over.
Bjorkgren, 45, was an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors before joining the Pacers. He was part of the 2018-19 team that beat the Golden State Warriors for the NBA Championship. Bjorkgren was an assistant coach for the Phoenix Suns from 2015-2017 and was the head coach of the Bakersfield Jam of the D-League during the 2014-2015 season.