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Pacers fire head coach Nate McMillan after 4 seasons

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The Indiana Pacers have made a coaching change.

The organization announced Wednesday that it has fired head coach Nate McMillan after four seasons. The decision comes two days after the Pacers were swept in the first round of the NBA playoffs by the Miami Heat.

“On behalf of the Simon family and the Pacers organization, I’d like to thank Nate for his years with the team,” Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said. “This was a very hard decision for us to make; but we feel it’s in the best interest of the organization to move in a different direction. Nate and I have been through the good times and the bad times; and it was an honor to work with him for those 11 years (in Indiana and Portland).”

The Pacers went 45-28 and finished as the Eastern Conference’s No. 4 seed, but struggled against Miami without All-Star big man Domantas Sabonis, who missed the series with a foot injury. Victor Oladipo, the team’s star guard, was limited to just 19 games this season after tearing his quad muscle last season.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 22:  Head coach Nate McMillan of the Indiana Pacers on the sideline during the second half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Miami Heat at AdventHealth Arena on August 22, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. 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 Kim Klement - Pool/Getty Images)
The Indiana Pacers fired head coach Nate McMillan after four seasons in the role. (Photo by Kim Klement - Pool/Getty Images)

McMillan’s first year with the Pacers was the 2016-17 season. He led the team to the playoffs in all four seasons as head coach, but the team lost in the first round each year. Overall, McMillan compiled a 183-136 record with just a 3-16 mark in postseason play.

The move to fire McMillan comes just two weeks after the Pacers gave McMillan a contract extension. McMillan told reporters it was a one-year extension with a team option for the 2021-22 season.

Before landing the Pacers head-coaching job, McMillan had stints as the head coach of the Seattle Supersonics and Portland Trail Blazers. He was fired by Portland after the 2012 season and quickly landed with the Pacers as an assistant under Frank Vogel. When Vogel’s time with the Pacers ended, McMillan was named head coach.

According to ESPN, Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni will be a target in Indiana’s coaching search if D’Antoni becomes available.

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Indiana’s decision to fire McMillan means there are now five coaching vacancies in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, New Orleans Pelicans and the Philadelphia 76ers all on the market for a new coach.

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