Pacers fire Nate McMillan after being swept in first round of playoffs

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The Indiana Pacers fired coach Nate McMillan after his team was swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Miami Heat.The move comes after the Pacers reworked McMillan’s final year of contract for 2020-21 and added a team option for 2021-22 in the form of a soft extension earlier this month.

Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, who is in the final year of his contract, will be a target for Indiana if he becomes available, sources have told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Indiana also plans to seek out a pool of applicants they would consider long-term “program makers”, sources told Wojnarowski.

In four seasons as a Pacers coach, McMillan was 183-136, including 3-16 in the playoffs. Indiana has been swept away in the first round of each of the past two seasons.

The Pacers have not reached the second round since appearing in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2013 and 2014, and following Monday’s loss to Miami, Indiana has lost a franchise record nine straight playoff games.

Injury played a key role in the failures. After being swept away by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017, the Pacers played last season without double All-Star Victor Oladipo, who suffered a serious knee injury, and without All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis in due to a foot injury from the Heat.

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

McMillan has a career record of 661-588 in 16 seasons as a head coach for Seattle, Portland and Indiana.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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