Indiana Pacers

Pacers Eye D’Antoni, Jackson, Wittman, Woodson?

3:16pm: Mike D’Antoni, Mark Jackson, Randy Wittman and Mike Woodson are among the names Buckner hears connected to the job (Twitter link).

12:42pm: Bulls lead assistant coach Jim Boylen is also drawing mention, Berger hears (Twitter link). Boylen was a Pacers assistant from 2011-13.

12:26pm: Jeff Hornacek is expected to become a candidate as well, league sources tell Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). The former Suns coach is apparently interviewing for the Kings vacancy this week, and the Rockets are reportedly trying to arrange an interview with him, too.

11:20am: Nate McMillan and Brian Shaw are in the discussion to fill the head coaching vacancy on the Pacers, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Frank Vogel‘s contract expired and president of basketball operations Larry Bird decided against re-signing him. McMillan has been Indiana’s lead assistant since 2013 when he replaced Shaw, who left for the head coaching job with the Nuggets.

Shaw hasn’t coached since the Nuggets fired him last year at the end of a disappointing tenure in which he went 56-85. McMillan will reportedly interview for the Kings head coaching job today or Friday.

The 50-year-old Shaw spent two seasons with the Pacers as Vogel’s top deputy after seven years as a Lakers assistant. Incoming Lakers head coach Luke Walton would reportedly like to hire Shaw as an assistant, but many believe executive Jim Buss is wary of those with ties to Phil Jackson, whom Shaw played for and later coached under.

McMillan, 51, has a much lengthier resume as an NBA head coach, having compiled a 478-452 regular season record and a 14-20 mark in the playoffs during parts of 12 seasons with the SuperSonics and Trail Blazers. Portland fired him midway through the 2011/12 season.

Many speculated that former Rockets coach Kevin McHale, Bird’s longtime teammate, would become a candidate for the Pacers head coaching job if the position opened, but Bird said today that he won’t hire him.

Kings To Interview Nate McMillan

MAY 5TH, 11:09am: The interview will take place today or Friday, tweets Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star.

MAY 2ND, 8:20am: McMillan will interview soon, tweets Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. The Pacers are out of the playoffs following Sunday’s Game 7 loss to the Raptors, and uncertainty surrounds the job status of Pacers head coach Frank Vogel.

APRIL 28TH, 10:04pm: The Kings have asked the Pacers for permission to interview assistant coach Nate McMillan for the head coaching job in Sacramento, sources tell Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago (Twitter link). Sacramento reportedly hopes to make a hire sometime next week, but Goodwill indicates the Kings are willing to wait until Indiana’s playoff run is over to conduct the interview. The Pacers face an elimination game Friday against the Raptors.

Sacramento isn’t alone in its admiration for the former SuperSonics and Trail Blazers head coach, as Knicks team president Phil Jackson respects his “hard edge,” according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. It nonetheless doesn’t appear as though McMillan is a candidate for the Knicks job or any vacancy other than Sacramento’s at this point. Marc Stein of ESPN.com first identified the 51-year-old McMillan among those in the mix for the Kings opening.

McMillan is 478-452 in parts of a dozen seasons as an NBA head coach, with a 14-20 playoff record. He was last a head man for Portland, which fired him in March 2012.

The Kings have the NBA’s most well-populated list of reported candidates. They’ve interviewed Sam Mitchell, Vinny Del Negro and Mike Woodson and would like to do so with Luke Walton, Kevin McHale and Jeff Hornacek, according to various reports. Mark Jackson, Brian Shaw, Ettore Messina, Ime Udoka, Monty Williams, Jeff Van GundyPatrick Ewing, David Blatt, Jay Larranaga, Elston Turner and Henry Bibby are the other apparent candidates.

Latest On Pacers, Frank Vogel

The major story on the coaching front is that the Pacers have parted ways with Frank Vogel, as we covered in detail here, but plenty more news is developing. Track the latest here:

  • Belief around the league is rising that the Pacers will let go of Vogel, Stein writes. President of basketball operations Larry Bird has a press conference scheduled for 10am Central today, and it appears likely he’ll lend clarity to Vogel’s future at that time. The coach’s contract with the Pacers has already expired, as Wojnarowski indicates, citing league sources. Many coaching contracts carry until the end of June, as player contracts do, but apparently that’s not the case with Vogel, who made approximately $2.5MM this past season, according to Wojnarowski. The Vertical scribe speculates that Vogel could double that annual salary in his next job. Bird had yet to speak with Vogel about a new contract as of late Wednesday, league sources told Wojnarowski.

Pacers Dismiss Frank Vogel

Bill Streicher / USA TODAY Sports Images

Bill Streicher / USA TODAY Sports Images

The Pacers are letting go of coach Frank Vogel, as president of basketball operations Larry Bird revealed in a press conference streamed via the team’s website. Vogel’s contract had already expired, as The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported and as Bird confirmed, saying he wouldn’t give him a new deal.

“I’ve decided that it’s time for a new voice around here,” Bird said, as the team’s Twitter account relays (Twitter link). “… This is one of the toughest things I’ve done.”

Bird said he won’t replace Vogel with Kevin McHale, his former teammate and the subject of much speculation as a candidate for the Pacers coaching job. McHale earlier withdrew from the running as a candidate for the Kings job, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported.

“I would not do that to Kevin, to have him work for me,” Bird said, as TNT’s David Aldridge relays via Twitter. “That’s not fair. I respect him too much.”

Bird reiterated that he wants more scoring and that his expectations for the Pacers this season were higher than most, The Vertical’s Chris Mannix notes (Twitter link). It appeared a philosophical difference had emerged earlier this season when Bird spoke of his desire for more of an up-tempo attack and Vogel’s fondness for a traditional lineup with two big men. Bird said today that he started thinking about making a coaching change around the All-Star break but felt Vogel deserved a chance to finish the season, Aldridge tweets. Vogel tried to talk Bird out of parting ways with him this morning, Bird said, as Mannix relays (Twitter link), though Bird added that he didn’t meet with Vogel face-to-face, only speaking to him on the phone.

“We’re Hoosiers, we treat people — other than today, we usually treat people pretty good,” Bird said, as Aldridge relays (on Twitter).

Vogel would get a positive recommendation from Bird, the executive said, indicating that he simply believes coaches have a limited shelf life with any team, as Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star and Mannix note (Twitter links). However, Bird said he doesn’t believe Vogel lost the locker room, Mannix adds.

The Pacers went 250-181 in parts of six seasons under Vogel, who inherited the head coaching job, his first in the NBA, when the Pacers fired Jim O’Brien in January 2011. That record doesn’t include Vogel’s 31-30 postseason mark. Indiana made back-to-back conference finals under Vogel’s watch in 2013 and 2014. The Rockets have reportedly wanted to interview him, just as they did before they hired McHale in 2011, and opportunities are available on the Knicks and Kings, too.

Ty Lawson Wants To Return To Pacers

  • Ty Lawson, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, said he would like to return to the Pacers next season, the team relayed (via Twitter). “It was a fun time. I liked the culture here. … Hopefully I can come back next year,” Lawson said. The point guard made 13 appearances for Indiana this season, averaging 4.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 18.1 minutes per outing.

Community Shootaround: Frank Vogel

Pacers coach Frank Vogel‘s contract expires this summer, and he and the team reportedly haven’t discussed an extension yet. Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post heard that Vogel might have been coaching for his job Sunday, when the Pacers lost the deciding game of their first-round series to the Raptors. President of basketball operations Larry Bird declined to answer a question after Sunday’s contest about whether Vogel would return for next season, saying, “Come on, man, the game just ended.”

Bird had spoken in January about a philosophical difference between himself and Vogel, saying that he preferred an up-tempo attack with Paul George at the power forward while Vogel favored a more conventional approach with two traditional big men. George put up resistance to playing the four at the beginning of the season and Indiana largely abandoned the idea. The executive said he’ll speak with owner Herb Simon at an undetermined point to figure out whether to re-sign Vogel. Finding a way to generate more offense is the key, Bird insisted. “We need to score more points,” Bird said to Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star. “If Frank comes back, what can we do to get better offense? It’s on all of us. Frank’s a great guy. He’s going to be fine no matter what happens. If he’s back, he’ll be fine here. If he’s not, he’s not. We’ll see.”

Vogel has a record of 250-181 in parts of six seasons with Indiana, his only NBA head coaching stop. That mark doesn’t include a 31-30 record in the playoffs, where Vogel guided the Pacers to back-to-back appearances in the Eastern Conference finals in 2013 and 2014.

This brings me to the topic for today: Should the Pacers retain Frank Vogel as their head coach?

Has Vogel done enough in your eyes to be re-signed, or is it time to bring in some new blood to coach the team? Keep in mind that many of the top coaching targets are already off the board this offseason, which may weight things in Vogel’s favor. Take to the comments section to share your thoughts and opinions on the matter. We look forward to what you have to say.

Lakers Plan Major Trade Push For Paul George

The Lakers want to make an aggressive run at trading for Paul George this summer, and they’re willing to give up their 2016 first-round pick and more to Indiana, as HBO’s Bill Simmons hears (Twitter link). Such a proposal would be unlikely to sway the Pacers, Simmons concedes, and the Lakers won’t even have a first-rounder to offer if they slip out of the top three in the May 17th lottery, a scenario with a roughly 44% chance of happening.

It would probably require the inclusion of D’Angelo Russell to prompt the Pacers to consider any such offer, Simmons suggests, noting that Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird isn’t sentimental and will make a drastic move if he deems it necessary, as the uncertainty over Frank Vogel‘s job status demonstrates (Twitter links). George, a native of Los Angeles County, is under contract for at least two more years, with a player option worth more than $20.7MM for the 2018/19 season.

The Lakers reportedly offered last year’s No. 2 pick, which they ultimately used on Russell, to the Kings in trade talks about DeMarcus Cousins this past June. Lakers basketball operations chief Jim Buss faces a self-imposed deadline of next spring to have to turned around the franchise’s sagging fortunes, having said he’ll resign if he fails to accomplish that. The team was a franchise-worst 17-65 this past season.

What sort of offer do you think it would take to pry George from the Pacers? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Solomon Hill Understands Pacers Option Decision

Solomon Hill thinks Indiana’s decision against picking up its team option on him for next season drove him to become a better player, observes Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star. The combo forward who shot a sizzling 11 for 19 from 3-point range in the team’s seven-game first-round series didn’t play nearly as well in summer league this past July, and so he understands why the Pacers made the call they did this past fall, even though he led the team in minutes played during the 2014/15 season. Buckner notes. “I kinda felt like my 82 [games] last year was kinda thrown out and they just [said]: ‘This is what he’s done,’” Hill said. The Pacers will face a challenge to re-sign him, since any new contract they give him can’t have a salary for next season that exceeds $2,306,019, the value of the option they declined.

  • Pacers coach Frank Vogel never gave Jordan Hill an explanation for why he dropped out of the rotation in the playoffs, Hill said, and the 28-year-old is hoping that front offices focus on his production in the regular season, when he averaged 8.8 points and an efficient 6.2 rebounds in 20.7 minutes per game, Buckner relays in the same piece. Hill is set for free agency again after signing a one-year contract last summer.

Pacers Notes: Turner, Mahinmi, Vogel, George

Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird criticized coach Frank Vogel‘s shift back to a lineup with two bigs in the middle of the season, a move that rookie Myles Turner helped to prompt, as Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star examines. Turner paid dividends after the Pacers drafted him at No. 11 last year and Bird, in spite of his desire to move away from a traditional lineup, is impressed with the rookie. Vogel is too, as Turner relays.

“Myles Turner emerged,” Vogel said after Sunday’s game. “Myles Turner showed what he’s made of by having a great series in his first go-around in the NBA playoffs. He just had a great series. He didn’t shoot the ball well tonight, but he played well, had dominant defensive stretches and learned to read and trust the pass. There’s a lot of reasons to be excited and hopeful about our future because of that kid.”

See more from Indiana, where Vogel’s future is suddenly and surprisingly uncertain:

  • Soon-to-be free agent Ian Mahinmi indicated after the game Sunday that he’d like to re-sign, Taylor notes in the same piece.
  • Bird doesn’t want to leave Vogel’s job status up in the air for too long, telling Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star that he knows other job opportunities exist for the coach. That would suggest Bird’s mind is already made up, argues Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Vogel has performed capably in parts of six seasons with Indiana and did well to win 45 games this season, Berger posits, but Bird thought the seventh-seeded Pacers would upset the No. 2 seed Raptors in the first round of the playoffs, as Doyel relays. Still, the issue doesn’t appear to be about performance nearly as much as philosophical differences, Berger contends.
  • Those in the locker room Sunday saw 2015/16 as a successful campaign, and Paul George, under contract for at least two more years, expressed optimism about what’s to come, as the Star’s Candace Buckner relays. “At the end of the day we had a good year, had a good run,” George said. “We had a rookie in our lineup [Turner] who’s going to get better, going to learn, going to come back a completely different player. This is a two-seed. A 55-plus win team. We took it to Game 7 … .”

Frank Vogel’s Status With Pacers Uncertain

5:34pm: Bird said he’ll speak with owner Herb Simon at an undetermined point to figure out whether to re-sign Vogel, as Bird told Doyel. Finding a way to generate more offense is the key, Bird insisted. “We need to score more points,” Bird said. “If Frank comes back, what can we do to get better offense? It’s on all of us. Frank’s a great guy. He’s going to be fine no matter what happens. If he’s back, he’ll be fine here. If he’s not, he’s not. We’ll see.”

8:45am: Pacers coach Frank Vogel‘s contract expires this summer, and he and the Pacers have yet to discuss an extension, sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link). Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post heard that Vogel might have been coaching for his job Sunday, when the Pacers lost the deciding game of their first-round series to the Raptors (Twitter link). President of basketball operations Larry Bird declined to answer a question after Sunday’s game about whether Vogel would return for next season, saying, “Come on, man, the game just ended,” according to Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link).

Bird spoke in January about a philosophical difference between himself and Vogel, saying that he preferred an up-tempo attack with Paul George at the power forward while Vogel favored a more conventional approach with two traditional big men. George put up resistance to playing the four at the beginning of the season and Indiana largely abandoned the idea.

That Vogel is on an expiring contract is a surprise, since the Pacers announced in October 2014 that the extension he signed then was for multiple seasons, notes Scott Agness of VigilantSports (Twitter link). Sean Deveney of The Sporting News reported shortly after the extension that indications were that it ran through the 2016/17 season. However, it appears in the wake of today’s news that the multiple years to which the team referred included the 2014/15 season, which had already been a part of Vogel’s pact.

The 42-year-old Vogel would become an intriguing candidate on the coaching market were he and the Pacers to part ways, as Wojnarowski points out (Twitter link). He’s 250-181 in parts of six seasons with Indiana, his only NBA head coaching stop. That doesn’t include a 31-30 record in the playoffs, where Vogel guided the Pacers to back-to-back appearances in the Eastern Conference finals in 2013 and 2014. The Kings, Rockets and Knicks are the NBA teams looking for head coaches at present.

Do you think Vogel will be coaching the Pacers next season? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

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