Rumor: Mike D’Antoni expected to be hired by Pacers
Could former Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni be the new man in charge of the Indiana Pacers?
According to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, “the expectation is that D’Antoni will be hired by the Indiana Pacers,” who fired Nate McMillan after the team was swept by the Miami Heat in the first round of the 2020 playoffs at Walt Disney World.
Mike D’Antoni informed the Rockets on Sunday that he wasn’t going to come back in 2020-21. Houston fell to the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the postseason, and the former Coach of the Year felt this was the right time to leave since his contract expired. In addition to reported Pacers interest, D’Antoni is also an option for the Philadelphia 76ers and New Orleans Pelicans.
The Pacers’ roster is headlined by Victor Oladipo, T.J. Warren, Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner. Indiana won 45 games in 2019-20, mostly without Oladipo, who only played in 19 games. The All-Star shooting guard missed the majority of the season recovering from his knee injury.
Oladipo can become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason of 2021 unless the Pacers sign him to a contract extension before then. It’s worth mentioning that there have been rumblings of Oladipo being upset in Indiana, but it would shock a lot of people if he’s not on the Pacers in 2020-21.
D’Antoni, who has coached the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, Lakers and Rockets, is 672-527 in the regular season and 54-56 in the playoffs. He’s a two-time Coach of the Year winner (2005, 2017), but has never taken his team to the NBA Finals.