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Bjorkgren out as Pacers coach after one season

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 03: Head coach Nate Bjorkgren of the Indiana Pacers speaks to his team during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on May 03, 2021 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) — Sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the Indiana Pacers have fired head coach Nate Bjorkgren after one season. The team finished 9th in the Eastern Conference with a 34-38 record and missed the playoffs for the first time in six seasons after losing to the Washington Wizards 142-115 in the play-in tournament.

Bjorkgren replaced current Atlanta Hawks head coach Nate McMillan after four seasons at the helm, previously serving as an assistant with the Toronto Raptors during their 2018 NBA Championship run. He broke into the NBA coaching ranks in 2015 with the Phoenix Suns after leading their G-League Affiliate team, the Bakersfield Jam, to a 34-16 record.

Sources tell ESPN Bjorkgren was told by the team on Wednesday he would not be returning for a second season after meeting with management on Tuesday.

Pacers Head of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard was non-committal to the job security of Bjorkgren in May during a press conference at the end of their season. “I’m not committing either way,” Pritchard said.

Indiana will have to renew their coaching search after interviewing almost 20 candidates for the vacancy last season before hiring Bjorkgren according to ESPN. The team is expected to look for candidates with more head coaching experience.

Bjorkgren had one guaranteed year left on his original three-year deal.

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