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Report: Pacers hiring Raptors assistant Nate Bjorkgren to be next head coach

Pacers, Nate Bjorkgren

The Indiana Pacers are hiring Toronto Raptors assistant coach Nate Bjorkgren to be their next head coach, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

The Pacers recently fired Nate McMillan after getting swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Miami Heat, despite the fact McMillan had previously just received an extension. Mike D’Antoni had been rumored as a possible top candidate in Indiana, but the club is going with a first-time NBA head coach instead.

Bjorkgren got his start as a high school basketball coach before heading to the D-League in 2007. He finally made it to the big leagues when he became an assistant under former Phoenix Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek in 2015. Bjorkgren stayed on with Earl Watson before getting fired in 2017.

Bjorkgren then made his way to the Raptors and became an assistant coach under Nick Nurse in 2018, winning an NBA title in his first season in Toronto. Bjorkgren actually also won a D-League title under Nurse in 2011.

Bjorkgren will be tasked with leading a talented Pacers club past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2014. Indiana has suffered five consecutive first-round exits.

Of course, there are major questions about the future of the roster. Pacers star Victor Oladipo has been mentioned in numerous trade rumors, with Myles Turner also a possible trade candidate.

Even so, Indiana has other talented players in All-Star Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. Warren in place as well, so there’s a solid foundation for Bjorkgren to work with no matter what happens on the trade front.

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