For the past several months, the expectation was that D’Antoni would be hired by the Indiana Pacers, who fired Nate McMillan on Aug. 26. Sources have said McMillan’s coaching style wore on the players. He’s a no-nonsense guy, capable of shaking players out of their comfort zones, and has strict rules.
Storyline: Pacers Coaching Job
Indiana is thought to feel that D’Antoni could turn shooting guard Victor Oladipo into James Harden 2.0, according to sources. Harden, as a Rockets shooting guard, won the 2017-18 league MVP award under D’Antoni. He’s also expected to be named a first-team All-NBA selection for the fourth straight season.
Sources say there is certainly D’Antoni interest in Indiana, but the Pacers have several other candidates in mind as well. The New Orleans vacancy would make sense based on his previous history with executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin from their shared Phoenix days, but sources say that’s not expected to be a serious consideration. From there, the spotlight turns to Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta and the question of whether he’ll offer D’Antoni the kind of deal that might compel him to forget about the hard feelings that came before. Sources say there have been no contract negotiations to this point.