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Indiana Pacers appoint Toronto Raptors assistant Nate Bjorkgren as head coach

Toronto Raptors assistant Nate Bjorkgren has officially joined the Indiana Pacers as their head coach in a multiyear deal.

The Pacers officially named Bjorkgren as their new head coach Tuesday but did not disclose terms of his deal.

 

“We are very pleased and excited to have Nate as our new coach,” Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said in a statement released by the team. “This was an extensive and thorough search, and when we reached the conclusion, we felt strongly Nate is the right coach for us at the right time. He comes from a winning background, has experienced championship success, is innovative and his communication skills along with his positivity are tremendous. We all look forward to a long, successful partnership in helping the Pacers move forward.”

Bjorkgren joins the Pacers after spending the last two seasons on Nick Nurse’s staff in Toronto, where he helped the Raptors capture their first NBA championship in 2018-19.

Bjorkgren was an assistant with the Phoenix Suns from 2015-17 and spent four seasons as a G-League head coach.

“I am honored to take on the role as head coach of the Indiana Pacers,” Bjorkgren said in a statement. “This is something I have prepared for during my career. I want to thank Kevin, Chad (Buchanan), Kelly (Krauskopf), Larry Bird, Donnie Walsh, and Herb and Steve Simon for this opportunity. I also want to thank Nick Nurse for giving me my first professional coaching job 14 years ago.”

“I’m looking forward to working with this great team to achieve our goal as NBA Champions.”

The Pacers are replacing Nate McMillan, who was dismissed after four consecutive trips to the playoffs. McMillan had a 183-136 record in Indiana, including 3-16 in the postseason.

The Pacers have made five consecutive postseason appearances but have been swept in the first round each of the past two years.

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