If Pacers move on from Bjorkgren as coach, Stotts reportedly candidate
But going into the offseason, no seat was considered hotter than that of Nate Bjorkgren in Indiana. At exit interviews, Bjorkgren’s boss Kevin Pritchard was non-committal about the coach’s future.
Nothing has happened yet, but if Bjorkgren is let go, expect Stotts to get a long look from Indiana, reports Shams Charania and Jason Quick of The Athletic. Stotts has not spoken publicly of this; he would not violate the unwritten code of coaches not lobbying for a job while another coach occupies that seat.
Stotts also is reportedly a candidate for the Magic opening.
Indiana finished 34-38, were the ninth seed in the East, and lost the opening play-in game to Washington. While somewhat disappointing, that was not the reason for internal frustration with Bjorkgren. Players saw him as negative and antagonistic, not a guy who built relationships with them and had them believing he was on their side. With assistant coaches, Bjorkgren micromanaged them. This was not a team where everyone was pulling the rope in the same direction, and Bjorkgren was at the heart of the issues.
Bjorkgren is also a first-year head coach who could learn a lot about communication and leadership in his first year, adapt his style and grow. He has only been a head coach for one season, and that season was one of the most unusual in NBA history.
There are a lot of eyes on Bjorkgren and the Pacers, including those of Stotts and his agent.