The Pacers are beginning to interview head coaching candidates this week in Chicago, where the NBA draft combine is taking place, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).
According to Wojnarowski, the candidates who are interviewing with Indiana include Steve Clifford, Terry Stotts, and Brian Shaw.
After taking a chance on first-time head coach Nate Bjorkgren a year ago, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard is unlikely to go that route again, as Bob Kravitz of The Athletic writes. Wojnarowski echoes that point, tweeting that Indiana is “putting a premium” on previous head coaching experience in its search.
Clifford and Stotts have recent head coaching experience, having coached the Magic and Trail Blazers, respectively, up until the end of the 2020/21 season.
Clifford, who also spent several years as the head coach in Charlotte, has an overall regular season record of 292-345 (.458), with four playoff berths in eight seasons.
Stotts had brief stints as a head coach in Atlanta and Milwaukee before spending the last nine seasons with the Trail Blazers. He led Portland to a 402-318 (.558) regular season mark, with eight consecutive postseason appearances.
As for Shaw, he briefly served as the Nuggets’ head coach from 2013-15 and is currently the head coach of the G League Ignite. He also has extensive experience as an assistant, including a stint as the Pacers’ associate head coach from 2011-13.
Rick Carlisle has also been identified as a possible target for the Pacers, and Mike Budenholzer would reportedly be at or near the top of the team’s wish list if the Bucks let him go — that seems less likely now that Milwaukee has advanced to the Eastern Finals. Mike D’Antoni also received serious consideration from Indiana a year ago and could be in the mix again this time around.