Pacers dismiss head coach Nate Bjorkgren after 1 season

Sports

INDIANAPOLIS — Nate Bjorkgren lasted just one season as the head coach of the Indiana Pacers.

CBS4 has confirmed that the Pacers have parted ways with Bjorkgren after one year in the Circle City.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report the news. Bjorkgren was informed Wednesday that he wouldn’t return for a second season. He’d met with management on Tuesday.

The Pacers are expected to pursue a “more experienced, established” coach, according to Wojnarowski.

The Pacers released a statement Wednesday afternoon from Kevin Pritchard, president of basketball operations:

“The 2020-21 season was not what any of us hoped or anticipated it would be, and our results on the court certainly did not meet the standards for what our organization and our fans have come to expect. We have determined this is the right time to move in a different direction, and on behalf of the Simon Family and the entire Pacers organization, I want to express my gratitude to Nate for his efforts leading our team. While we do not have a definite timetable for our search, we will move quickly to identify candidates who will make our team and our organization stronger.”

Bjorkgren led the Pacers to a 34-38 record in his first and only season with the team. The Pacers missed the playoffs after qualifying for this year’s inaugural play-in tournament.

There have been multiple reports that Bjorkgren clashed with players on the team as well as members of his staff.

Bjorken replaced Nate McMillan as the team’s coach last year due to McMillan’s struggles in the postseason. He had previously been an assistant for the Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors.

The Pacers job was his first as an NBA head coach.

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