The Indiana Pacers fired Nate Bjorkgren on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Pacers finished 34-39 and ninth in the Eastern Conference in Bjorkgren’s first season in Indianapolis. He was a former assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors and Phoenix Suns.
Bjorkgren came under fire in the last weeks of the season after Wojnarowski reported that his future was “uncertain” due to his relationship within the team and the organization.
Following the ESPN report, the Pacers endured an embarrassing sideline incident in a loss to the Sacramento Kings on May 5th.
Assistant coach Greg Foster broke out at center Goga Bitadze after Kings̵
Foster was suspended a game for the incident and Bitadze was fined an undisclosed amount by the team.
TJ Warren reportedly wanted out after Bjorkgren was hired
Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report reported that TJ Warren requested a trade when Bjorkgren was hired and underwent surgery for a stress fracture in his foot in March, ending his season – and time to play for Bjorkgren – early. Warren was a member of the Suns when Bjorkgren was assistant coach there.
The Pacers handled a number of injuries this season. Center Myles Turner has been out with a toe injury after averaging an NBA-leading 3.4 blocks per game. Fight and be in the middle of the Defensive Player of the Year buzz.
Indiana traded Victor Oladipo to the Houston Rockets as part of a four-team deal in January after failing to reach a long-term contract extension. This trade brought Caris LeVert to Indiana, where doctors found a mass of cancer on his kidney, which was removed. The sideways LeVert for two months.
Guards Jeremy Lamb (knee) and Malcolm Brogdon (hoarding) have also missed out on time, too recently.
Bjorkgren took over after Indiana fired Nate McMillan after back-to-back early playoffs in 2019 and 2020. McMillan is currently the Atlanta Hawks’ interim head coach, replacing Lloyd Pierce, who was fired before this season’s All-Star break.
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