HoopsHype Jim O'Brien rumors

January 31, 2011 Updates

This was the owner's call, pure and simple. This was Herb Simon rolling into team president Larry Bird's office last week and telling the Hoosier legend that a head coaching change must be made. The Indiana Pacers will try to sell it otherwise, and even Bird tried to sell it Sunday afternoon as his decision, but that's a complete fabrication. Simon wanted coach Jim O'Brien gone after the team's winless West Coast trip, and when that didn't happen, Simon insisted upon O'Brien's ouster after Wednesday's miserable home performance against Orlando. Indianapolis Star

January 30, 2011 Updates

The Indiana Pacers fired coach Jim O’Brien on Sunday morning, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. O’Brien’s firing comes after the Pacers lost seven of their past eight games to drop to 10th place in the Eastern Conference. After a strong start to the season, the Pacers have faded in recent weeks and O’Brien’s abrasive and erratic coaching style became a greater issue within the organization. The front office wasn’t happy with how O’Brien had publicly chastised promising young center Roy Hibbert(notes), despite the player’s earnest efforts to improve. Yahoo! Sports

Assistant coach Frank Vogel will take over as interim coach for the remainder of the season, but multiple sources told Yahoo! Sports that former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown – once a Pacers assistant – will be a primary focus of the search to replace O’Brien on a long-term basis. Brown was Rick Carlisle’s top assistant in Indiana from 2003-05 and sources said he has remained well-regarded by Pacers management. Yahoo! Sports

O'Brien was said to be safe through the rest of the season, as no one on his staff was seen as head coach material. On Sunday, though, that story changed in a big way: Yahoo! Sports reports that the Pacers have fired O'Brien. CBSSports.com's Ken Berger has confirmed the decision, citing multiple sources. CBSSports.com

The Indianapolis Star reports that Pacers assistant Frank Vogel is "expected to coach the team for the remainder of the season." According to his NBA.com bio, Vogel is just 37-years-old and in his eighth season as an assistant coach. Once tabbed, Vogel will surpass New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams as the youngest head coach in the NBA. CBSSports.com

January 29, 2011 Updates

Having said that, if Bird decides to walk away, the domino effect could be significant. The key player in this whose future would appear to be most uncertain is O'Brien, to whom Bird recently gave a faint vote of confidence by saying he'll be evaluated after the season. Currently, there are no plans to make an in-season coaching change, but Pacers officials wouldn't rule it out if the losing continues. CBSSports.com

January 26, 2011 Updates

It didn't happen because Ford played his way out the rotation, according to coach Jim O'Brien, but because the struggling Pacers are gradually beginning their youth movement. They are looking to see who they can count on in the future. Ford has been replaced by second-year player A.J. Price. "It wasn't anything that was discussed to me," Ford said. "It kind of just happened. Going into the season, I felt at some point it would happen. In my view, I'm not too surprised. Just a little shocked it happened right now." Indianapolis Star

January 24, 2011 Updates

Barring a sudden change of thought, the Pacers have no intention of replacing O’Brien, who is in the final year of his contract. They wouldn’t move any of the assistants up and there’s no point in bringing in somebody from the outside because the players would have to learn the new coach’s system on the fly over the final 41 games of the season. Indianapolis Star

January 22, 2011 Updates

One complaint about O'Brien is the strange way he divvies up minutes: Tyler Hansbrough plays 36 minutes one night, posting 23 points and 12 rebounds, and just 23 minutes the next; Paul George plays 21 minutes one night, four the next. GM David Morway could also be in trouble after the season, and league scuttlebutt has former Portland GM Kevin Pritchard as a likely replacement. Pritchard was close to being hired as the replacement for Rod Thorn in New Jersey, but the Nets, of course, settled on Billy King. ESPN.com

December 18, 2010 Updates
December 14, 2010 Updates

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