Saturday, September 19, 2020

Pacers, coach Nate McMillan agree to contract extension


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The Indiana Pacers are locking in their future with Nate McMillan as the franchise announced on Wednesday that it was extending the head coach’s contract. No terms of the contract extension are known yet, but there was only one year remaining on McMillan’s deal that he signed back in 2016. Since taking over, he has not posted a losing record in any of his first four seasons with the team, and owns a 181-136 record with the franchise. Even better, McMillan has led the Pacers to the playoffs in each of those seasons, although the team has not advanced past the first round yet.

“I’d like to thank the Simon family, Kevin Pritchard and the Pacers organization for extending my contract during this unprecedented time in our country,” McMillan said via a release from the team. “I’m happy to have this opportunity and look forward to coaching this Pacers team into the future.”

The Pacers hope to continue to build around All-Stars Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, as well as Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner. Since being in the NBA bubble, though, it’s TJ Warren who has been the shining star for this franchise. Warren’s averaging 31 points a game, including a 53-point outburst against the 76ers in the Pacers’ first game at Disney World. 

McMillan’s playoff streak will extend to five this season with the Pacers locked in as the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. However, the team will be without big man Sabonis, who left the bubble before the season resumed to deal with plantar fasciitis. McMillan, though, has a track record for making the best with what he has when injuries hit. When franchise star Oladipo went down with a torn quad in January 2019, the team finished two wins shy of a 50-win season, as players like Bojan Bogdanovic and Sabonis stepped up in Oladipo’s absence.

“What Nate has done in four seasons with our franchise merits this extension,” President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard said. “Between injuries and changes in personnel, he and his coaching staff have adapted and produced positive results. He also represents the franchise, the city and our state in a first-class manner.”

Prior to being promoted from associate head coach with the Pacers after Frank Vogel was fired in 2016, McMillan was the head coach for the Trail Blazers from 2005-2012, and before that he spent five seasons as head coach of the Seattle SuperSonics starting in 2000. He’s been named Coach of the Month six times throughout several points in his career, and has a win percentage of 52.8 percent (659-588). He’s a well-respected coach around the league, and as equally important, he wins games. The Pacers are hoping that once this team is at full health — potentially next season — they can make some noise in the East with McMillan at the helm.





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