The Indiana Pacers are searching for a new head coach, and they won’t be short of options. The franchise parted ways with Nate McMillan after getting swept in the first round of the NBA playoffs against the Miami Heat, and are looking for a successor to lead a young, talented team into a new era.
The Pacers already met with one candidate as they interviewed former Thunder head coach Billy Donovan last week, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Donovan was the head coach in Oklahoma City for five seasons, and led the franchise to the conference finals in 2016. The two sides parted ways after the Thunder were eliminated by the Houston Rockets in Orlando. Now a free agent, Donovan is drawing interest from several other organizations, including the Philadelphia 76ers.
In all, the Pacers are expected to talk to around a dozen candidates before cutting that number in half and conducting in-person interviews. In addition to Donovan, other potential candidates include former NBA champion Chauncey Billups and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Pacers will also talk with former Sacramento Kings head coach Dave Joerger, who was let go by Sacramento at the conclusion of the 2018-19 season. Joerger didn’t have much success in his three seasons with the Kings (98-148), but his time as head coach of the Grizzlies (147-99) indicates that he can lead a team to success. In his three seasons in Memphis, Joerger led the Grit-n-Grind Grizzlies to three straight postseason appearances, but never made it past the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.
The Pacers will also look at a slew of assistant coaches across the league, according to Wojnarowski, including the San Antonio Spurs’ Will Hardy, Miami Heat’s Dan Craig and Chris Quinn, Mavericks‘ Jamahl Mosley and Stephen Silas, Nets‘ Jacque Vaughn, Milwaukee Bucks’ Darvin Ham and Charles Lee, Magic’s Pat Delany, Timberwolves‘ David Vanterpool, Philadelphia 76ers’ Ime Udoka and Trail Blazers‘ Nate Tibbetts.
The Pacers will have plenty of notable candidates to choose from for their next head coach, and this job will be a desired one as the team already has the talent to make the playoffs consistently. Now it just needs the right coach to to help take them to the next level.