The Indiana Pacers have fired head coach Nate Bjorkgren after just one season with the team.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news on Twitter just before Noon Wednesday.
Indiana hired Bjorkgren last year after firing Nate McMillan.
The Pacers went 34-38 during the 2020-21 NBA season and missed the playoffs for the first time in six years.
But Kevin Bowen from 93.5 & 107.5 The Fan told Hammer and Nigel that “Bjorkgren’s firing was about more than wins and losses.”
“When [Pacers GM] Kevin Pritchard made this hire, he said the word positive 35 times in the opening presser,” noted Bowen. “And yet, behind the scenes, after the team was dealt some adversity, he became a totally different person and was more Bob Knight than Tony Dungy. And I think that’s what pissed off the players and created more problems.”
During the season, there were reports that Bjorkgren and the players were not getting along in the locker room.
Bowen pushed back on suggestions that Bjorkgren was the victim of getting dealt a bad hand as a result of players’ injuries, wing Caris LeVert‘s health situation, and an off-year due to the pandemic.
“My issue there is this is just a personality flaw that to me is unfixable,” said Bowen.”Yes, he was dealt a pretty bad hand. But when you’re talking about this guy’s personality – and again, it wasn’t even a playoff team. What happens when you get down 2-1 in a playoff series, 3-1 in a playoff series? How are you going to act then?”
Bowen also laid the blame for the challenges with Bjorkgrenof at the feet of Kevin Pritchard.
“For as thorough and extensive is that hiring process for a head coach needs to be and for Pritchard not to discover Bjorkgrenof’s personality flaws is a huge issue,” he said. “So I think it’s a big look in the mirror moment for Kevin Pritchard and Herb Simon as well.”
Kevin Bowen also threw out some names that he thinks are the most likely candidates to replace Bjorkgrenof as the Pacers’ new head coach. Click below to listen!
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