Communication is key in Pacers’ search for new head coach

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INDIANAPOLIS – It has been five days since the Pacers fired Nate McMillan as their head coach.

Now, the team is moving on with plans in place.

Pacers President Kevin Pritchard said during a Zoom call with media Monday he credits McMillan with instilling a hard-nosed, tough culture over his four years leading the team.

McMillan compiled 183 wins and 136 losses as Indiana’s head coach, which includes a 3-16 record in the postseason.

“I could see it in his eyes there was some relief,” Pritchard said when McMillan was let go. “I really believe that he’ll get another job. We would do anything we can to help him.”

Pritchard said the search for a new head coach started Monday.

“We are starting to get some names up on our board,” he said. “We’re starting to have some early conversations internally.”

For a second straight season, the Pacers were swept in the first round of the playoffs, a result that has not sat well with Pritchard.

“The last couple years it’s end with a bad taste in our mouth,” he said. “If I was going to tab one thing in terms of the coaching search is we have to figure out how to communicate on their terms.”

Pritchard emphasized the importance of having a head coach whose able to relate more closely with players, especially on social media.

“They are becoming more self observant,” Pritchard said of today’s NBA players. “I want to tap into that and make sure we are communicating on that foundation.”

A big off-season question for Indiana is whether Victor Oladipo will remain with Indiana following the final year of his contract for the 2020-2021 season.

Pritchard said he does not feel the need to make a quick decision about Oladipo’s tenure with the team yet.

“I think it’s easy to jump the gun and say, ‘Oh you have to do something.’ I’m hopeful that we can create an environment he feels good about,” Prtichard said. “I think he’s been pretty consistent saying that the most important thing for him is that he can win. I believe we can have a team that can do some good things in the playoffs.”

Pritchard indicated there could be changes to the roster next season.

All-Star Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner, and Malcolm Brogdon are under contract through the 2022-2023 season. T.J. Warren and Jeremy Lamb are signed through the 2021-2022 season.

“Do there need to be some changes made. Maybe,” he said. “Those won’t be done without a lot of thought.”

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