NBA Rumor: Pacers Coaching Search

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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 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.”

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.”

“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.’”

Pacers interested in Mike D'Antoni?

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
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Storyline: Coronavirus
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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.