Mike Brown: “[Steve’s] communication skills are on par with one of the greatest communicators of all time in Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs. Their style is a little bit different. But it’s just as effective, just as powerful and garners just as much as Pop does from some of the greatest players of all time because of the way he communicates. One of the attributes that I observed on a daily basis was how even keeled he was. He never got too excited, nor did he ever get too down, no matter if things were good or things were bad in front of him. Our guys, especially the veteran group we have, really feed off of that. They know if Steve was a believer in them and he was calm, cool and collected, that they would be the same and just focus on trying to do their jobs at the highest level. For me, that was one of the biggest things I wanted to concentrate on.”
October 20, 2020 | 4:12 pm EDT Update
For all the changes to the Rockets since last season, with the departure of Mike D’Antoni as coach and Daryl Morey as general manager, owner Tilman Fertitta said on Tuesday that the stars of his roster will remain. The “window,” he said, is still open, giving him no reason for more widespread changes.
“You have James Harden and Russell Westbrook and you have almost 90 percent of your salaries tied up in them and Eric Gordon,” Fertitta said in his weekly CNBC appearance, “But anytime you have players like Eric, P.J. (Tucker), James and Russell, there’s no reason to blow up your roster.
“This is still our window, the next couple years. James and Russell are in their early 30s. We’re not blowing up anything. We plan on contending. I always said you want to set yourself up to be one of the top four teams in your conference each year and then it takes a little luck to win. You look at every year it always takes a little luck.
“So, we’re going to set ourselves up to make the moves, to be one of the top teams. We’re going to do whatever we have to do to win. I can promise that to my fans and compete for the NBA championship this year.”
October 20, 2020 | 2:01 pm EDT Update
The Indiana Pacers announced Tuesday that they have hired Nate Bjorkgren as head coach. Per team policy, the terms of the contract were not released. Bjorkgren (pronounced BEE-ork-gren) served as assistant coach of the Toronto Raptors during the past two seasons (2018-20), and helped the Raptors win their first NBA Championship during the 2018-19 season. He also served as player development coordinator and assistant coach of the Phoenix Suns for two seasons from 2015-17 before joining the Raptors as an advanced scout during the 2017-18 season.
“We are very pleased and excited to have Nate as our new coach,” said President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard. “This was an extensive and thorough search, and when we reached the conclusion, we felt strongly Nate is the right coach for us at the right time. He comes from a winning background, has experienced championship success, is innovative and his communication skills along with his positivity are tremendous. We all look forward to a long, successful partnership in helping the Pacers move forward.”