The Pacers intend to be open-minded when it comes to picking their next head coach, president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard told reporters on Monday. As Eric Woodyard of ESPN.com writes, Pritchard said the Pacers would consider a college coach or an established veteran, and will focus on candidates who have the ability to connect with young players.
Pritchard said he has solicited advice from former Pacers forward David West, as well as Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard. Indiana’s head of basketball operations added that an ability to put together a reliable group of assistants will also be something the club takes into account.
“We’ve seen some of the hirings over the last few years, and they’re coming from all over the board,” Pritchard said, per Woodyard. “The way I’ve set up this process is, we want to start with a big pool then get down smaller and smaller. I don’t want to rule that out. If there’s an existing coach who has experience, who knows how to build a program, but maybe has a little mark or has something he needs to improve on.
“I believe this, that the head coach is critically important, but nowadays, that second, third and fourth coach almost are more important. So how they build out their structure and their coaching staff is critical.”
Here’s more on the Pacers:
- Pritchard also said today that he wants to hire a head coach who takes a “modern approach” to the game, and suggested that the team won’t be compromised by financial constraints when making a hire (Twitter links via J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star). “He wants this to be a great organization,” Pritchard said of team owner Herb Simon. “If it was just about money, we probably wouldn’t have done what we did (firing Nate McMillan with money left on his contract).”
- Pritchard said today that he sensed some “relief” from McMillan when the team informed him of the coaching change, according to Woodyard. “The coaching ranks in the NBA are ever changing, and I give Nate a ton of credit for instilling a hard-nosed tough culture here, and again, I really believe that he’ll get another job and get another job quickly if he wants to,” Pritchard said. “And boy, we would do anything we can to help him do that.” McMillan has said he likely won’t pursue a head coaching job for next season.
- Victor Oladipo is entering a contract year in 2020/21, but Pritchard said he doesn’t feel “any rush to make a quick decision” on the two-time All-Star. “It will be up to him,” Pritchard said (Twitter links via J. Michael). “He will have the choice. It’s his first time to have autonomous choice. He can go and do whatever he wants.” There has been speculation that Oladipo could become a trade candidate if the Pacers get the impression he doesn’t want to remain in Indiana beyond 2021.
- According to J. Michael (Twitter link), the Pacers have tried repeatedly to get David West to work for them. To date, however, West hasn’t been interested, since he’s involved in a number of enterprises and doesn’t want to commit to a single job.