Bjorkgren replaces Nate McMillan, who was fired on Aug. 26 after four seasons at the helm. McMillan was 183-136 with the Pacers but failed to advance past the first round of the playoffs. Indiana was swept by the Heat in the opening round last month. Sixers assistant Ime Udoka, Heat assistant Dan Craig and Pelicans assistant Chris Finch were also finalists for the position, sources told The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
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The Jump: Woj: Pacers agree to hire former Raptors assistant Nate Bjorkgren as head coach “I’m happy for him. The Pacers got a good one” – Nurse #NBA #NBATwitter #TheJump #WeTheNorth #IndianaStyle pic.twitter.com/Y9UqcfHDaj
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.”
“I am honored to take on the role as head coach of the Indiana Pacers,” said Bjorkgren. “This is something I have prepared for during my career. I want to thank Kevin, Chad (Buchanan), Kelly (Krauskopf), Larry Bird, Donnie Walsh, and Herb and Steve Simon for this opportunity. I also want to thank Nick Nurse for giving me my first professional coaching job 14 years ago.” “I’m looking forward to working with this great team to achieve our goal as NBA Champions.”
J. Michael: The reason, I’m told, for this hire: “Adaptability.” #Pacers
While Nurse is hardly surly, especially when it comes to the typical never-satisfied disposition of head coaches, Bjorkgren is a check on Nurse’s occasional bouts with realism. It is easy to picture Bjorkgren smiling, no matter the size of his salary. “The biggest thing is he’s a super-positive guy,” Nurse said. “He’s the guy sitting next to me when I’m sensing disaster going on in a game and he’s saying, ‘We’re gonna win, we’re gonna come back.’ Constantly, ‘We’re gonna do it, we’re gonna come back.’ And that helps me out quite a bit.”
“Nate is the…,” Kyle Lowry said before restarting his sentence. “Yeah, I would say he is the f—— man.”
“He would literally be substitute teaching in the morning, come to practice over lunch break or whatever, and then go back to the school and do whatever he had to do there, and then come back after that and watch film or evaluate players,” said Keith “Lefty” Moore, who was an assistant with the Energy in the team’s first season. “We were always evaluating players in the D-League. “I knew that Nate was always hustling and that Nate definitely had a passion for the game. I remember we used to talk about things a lot, and Nate used to say, ‘My goal is to coach at the highest level.’”
Shams Charania: The Indiana Pacers are hiring Raptors assistant Nate Bjorkgren as their new head coach, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
J. Michael Falgoust: The Pacers’ new coach is Raptors asst Nate Bjorkgren, a league source tells @IndyStarSports
According to a source, Heat assistant coach Dan Craig made a strong impression during his Friday interview for the Indiana Pacers head coaching job. New Orleans Pelicans associate head coach Chris Finch is still considered the favorite to replace Nate McMillan, who was dismissed after his team was swept by the Heat in the first round of the playoffs.
Barry Jackson: Was told Heat assistant Dan Craig impressed in Pacers interview yesterday. Pelicans associate head coach Chris Finch considered favorite for Indy job but Craig made strong case, not surprisingly
Scott Agness: In coaching search news: Sources say the Pacers have been notifying candidates as they narrow their wide-ranging search to a handful of names.
Chauncey Billups is expected to join Lue’s staff with the Clippers, sources said, although he’s involved currently in the Indiana Pacers’ search for a head coach.
Kevin O’Connor: Sources: Chris Finch is considered the frontrunner to be the next Pacers head coach. Finch has been with the Pelicans since 2017. Heat assistants Chris Quinn and Dan Craig will interview with Indiana next. Chauncey Billups and Dave Joerger previously had convos with Indiana.
J. Michael Falgoust: Victor Oladipo and the #Pacers have talked, I’m told, a couple times recently. As for the coaching search, there’s no rush to wrap it up. Could easily be a few more weeks
Malika Andrews: Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham is set to interview for the Clippers head coaching job this week, sources told ESPN. Ham, who is also a finalist for the Pacers’ head coaching spot, will meet in person with the Indiana brass over the next few days.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Pacers are meeting candidates this week and next, a roster of interviews that so far has included former Grizzlies/Kings coach Dave Joerger and Pelicans assistant Chris Finch, sources tell ESPN. Joerger is a strong contender in process. Chauncey Billups gets a sit-down soon too.
Adrian Wojnarowski: “Mike Dantoni wants to coach. He had a very successful run in Houston advancing to the second round of the playoffs a couple of times, to the Conference Finals against Golden State and losing in Game 7. He was very intrigued with the Philadelphia situation. There are still openings out there… I think one that bears watching perhaps is Indiana. The Pacers are still in the early stages of a search. They’ve been talking to candidates, they haven’t really narrowed the field down too far yet. Still in the range of 5-6 candidates, so it will be very interesting to see if Mike D’Antoni and Indiana… If there’s a conversation at the very least for them to have.”
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October 23, 2020 | 7:37 pm EDT Update
Revenue projections for the league this season were missed by about $1.5 billion, the person said. The losses were the result of a combination of factors — the shutdown caused by the pandemic, the cancelation of 171 regular-season games, completing the season in a bubble at Walt Disney World without fans, the nearly $200 million price tag for operating that bubble and a yearlong rift with the Chinese government that saw NBA games not shown on state television there.
No decisions have been finalized on next season and talks with the National Basketball Players Association remain ongoing on many matters, including the financial parameters for the coming year. Those talks, especially on the money issue, would have to be concluded before any real decisions about next season are made. The NBPA has not made any final decisions on how it wants to see the league proceed, either. But this plan, starting in December and ending in June, would get the 2021-22 season — virus-permitting — back to normal, with 82-game slates starting in October.
If you’re looking for a pick-up basketball game at the Surf Club in Madison, be aware you might just end of guarding the NBA’s all-time leading three-point shooter. “I always just come prepared because they might need one and today they needed one,” said Ray Allen, who brought his three kids to play an outdoor pick-up game in Madison Wednesday.
“We’ve pretty much been doing this on and off during the summer,” Allen said. “It’s unfortunate because we haven’t had access to gyms, so for the kids to get out and play, it’s an awesome thing. I have three boys out here and you know I just try to amp their level of competition up a little bit.”
The Golden 1 Center is one of 18 vote center locations opening Saturday, October 24. It will be the largest vote center in Sacramento County. “Yeah. We really think Golden 1 Center is the center hub for Sacramento County and our region. More than just basketball and events, and this is really one of those true examples of that where this building is going to be the center of our county for one of the most important days that we have in our history,” said John Rinehart, Sacramento Kings President of Business Operations.
The Miami Heat’s push to bring voting to the AmericanAirlines Arena was going so well with the county’s Elections Department that it was on a draft list of polling places. The next day, the county’s elections supervisor received a text from her boss, Mayor Carlos Gimenez. “We [need] to talk,” Gimenez wrote Elections Supervisor Christina White, forwarding an article about the the NBA’s plan to channel demands for social justice into a voting drive by turning arenas into polling places. Miami-Dade’s Election Department announced it had rejected the Heat’s offer on Sept. 5, saying the logistics and transit options were better at the nearby Frost Science Museum.