But going into the offseason, no seat was considered hotter than that of Nate Bjorkgren in Indiana. At exit interviews, Bjorkgren’s boss Kevin Pritchard was non-committal about the coach’s future.
Nothing has happened yet, but if Bjorkgren is let go, expect Stotts to get a long look from Indiana, reports Shams Charania and Jason Quick of The Athletic. Stotts has not spoken publicly of this; he would not violate the unwritten code of coaches not lobbying for a job while another coach occupies that seat.
Stotts also is reportedly a candidate for the Magic opening.
Indiana finished 34-38, were the ninth seed in the East, and lost the opening play-in game to Washington. While somewhat disappointing, that was not the reason for internal frustration with Bjorkgren. Players saw him as negative and antagonistic, not a guy who built relationships with them and had them believing he was on their side. With assistant coaches, Bjorkgren micromanaged them. This was not a team where everyone was pulling the rope in the same direction, and Bjorkgren was at the heart of the issues.
Bjorkgren is also a first-year head coach who could learn a lot about communication and leadership in his first year, adapt his style and grow. He has only been a head coach for one season, and that season was one of the most unusual in NBA history.
There are a lot of eyes on Bjorkgren and the Pacers, including those of Stotts and his agent.