McMillan Out as Pacers Head Coach
The Indiana Pacers have fired head coach Nate McMillan after the team was swept in the first round of the NBA Playoffs by the Miami Heat.
The Pacers were dealing with several injury concerns entering the bubble, but the quick exit still cost the veteran coach his job.
This firing came as a major shock to those around the Pacers organization because the team had recently given their head coach a contract extension. The Pacers reworked the initial contract with McMillan and added a team option for the 2021-22 season.
McMillan had plenty of regular-season success with the Indiana Pacers, but his teams struggled to perform in the postseason. The Pacers were never a huge threat to win the Eastern Conference under McMillan, but they always competed well and had some solid regular-season records.
The Pacers went 183-116 during the regular season, and the now-fired coach is third in team history in total wins. The postseason was a different story for the Pacers under McMillan, as his teams went just 3-16 in the playoffs.
Indiana has now lost a franchise-record nine straight playoff games, and they have not reached the second round since the 2014 season. McMillan was hired to get the Pacers back to their glory days but was unable to deliver on that dream.
Several big names in the NBA circle have commented on the firing of McMillan, and they are not happy about how it all went down. Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and former Heat star Dwyane Wade were two of the most vocal in support of the recently fired coach.
The Pacers entered the restart without All-Star Domantas Sabonis, and Victor Oladipo was also trying to return from a knee injury. TJ Warren was able to carry the Pacers during the eight regular-season games, but the Pacers were not able to solve the Heat in the playoffs.
List of Targets Already Revealed
According to multiple sources, it appears that the Pacers already have their next head coach in mind. Indiana is looking to hire Mike D’Antoni from the Houston Rockets if he becomes available this offseason.
D’Antoni is currently the head coach of the Houston Rockets, but he is in the final year of his contract. The Rockets are taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in a first-round playoff series, and his fate will likely depend on what happens in that series.
The Pacers will also be searching from a pool of candidates that has already been put together by the front office. This list will include current head coaches from around the league as well as coaches that have head-coaching experience but are currently out of the league.
The Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, and Chicago Bulls are all looking for a head coach in the Eastern Conference, and that will make things hard on the Pacers to land a top name. There has been speculation that Gregg Popovich will leave the San Antonio Spurs at the end of the year, and he will be a highly sought-after coach.
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