Nate Bjorkgren's time as coach of the Indiana Pacers is over.
The Indiana Pacers announced that Nate Bjorkgren will not be retained as the team’s head coach.— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) June 9, 2021
The Pacers announced on Wednesday that the club had parted ways with the former Toronto Raptors assistant after one season on the job.
The Pacers finished ninth in the Eastern Conference with a 34-38 mark and lost to the Washington Wizards in the play-in round. It marked the first time the team missed the playoffs in five seasons.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski repors that the Pacers are now expected to pursue a more experienced head coach to replace Bjorkgren.
A native of Storm Lake, IA, the 45-year-old Bjorkgren's time with the Pacers was tumultuous. Multiple reports emerged over the course of the season that Bjorkgren and his players were at loggerheads over the coach's abrasive style and there was tension among the coaching staff. A report in The Athletic last month stated that Bjorkgren had lost the confidence of star players Malcolm Brogdon and Domantis Sabonis.
Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, who had Bjorkgren on his staff for two seasons, defended his close friend when reports of dysfunction emerged.
"My thoughts are that it’s certainly no fun for him and it’s no fun for me to see one of my best friends go through that," Nurse said in early May. "It hurts to see him go through it."
Prior to joining the Raptors in 2018, Bjorkgren spent three seasons as an assistant with the Phoenix Suns.