Coach Nate Bjorkgren has been fired by the Indiana Pacer after serving just one year on the bench.
Pacers management met with Bjorkgren on Tuesday to discuss his future and ultimately decided on the firing due to the lack of connection that had occurred throughout the past season between the locker room and the technical team.
Bjorkgren had one year left on his original three-year contract, which will be honored in all terms by the team.
“The 2020-2021 season was not what any of us expected or anticipated it would be, and our on-court results certainly did not meet the standards of what our organization and our fans expect,” said the president of basketball operations of the United States. Pacers Kevin Pritchard in a statement.
The Pacers manager stressed that the decision had been the best for both parties because it gave them the possibility of moving in a different direction.
Indiana interviewed nearly 20 candidates a year ago before settling on Bjorkgren, who was then an assistant to the Toronto Raptors with Nick Nurse at the helm, and could return to some of the candidates who are still available.
Bjorkgren, 45, who had also been an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns and had coaching experience in the Development League, had never managed an NBA team.
Indiana’s six-year playoff streak ended this season after losing to the Washington Wizards in a play-in tournament that defined the eighth and final place in the Eastern Conference and the Pacers lost 34-38.
Bjorkgren’s firing leaves the Pacers as the fourth team in the NBA currently without a coach after changes made in Boston, where the Celtics elevated coach Brad Stevens to president of operations.
While the Orlando Magic reached an agreement with Steve Clifford to leave the team, the same as the Portlan Trail Blazers with Terry Stotts.
For his part, McMillan is as interim coach with the Atlanta Hawks who play the semifinals of the Eastern Conference against the Philadelphia Sixers and the series is tied (1-1).