Most notable is a trade deadline week update from J. Michael of the Indy Star in which he reports that once again this season the Pacers locker room is dealing with some instability issues which was a factor in letting Nate McMillan go.
This time, however, it doesn’t Malcolm Brogdon is creating the agitation, at least with regard to Nate Bjorkgren and J. Michael reports Brogdon is not being traded. But there are internal issues adjusting to Bjorkgren and his staff.
A lot of variables factor into this slide after such a promising start to the season, but a coaching staff shakeup is likely to happen before next season, another league source told IndyStar.
There’s no indication that Bjorkgren’s job is in jeopardy in the first season of a guaranteed multi-year deal, the same league source said.
For a first-year, first-time NBA coach one thing missing from Bjorkgren’s staff is an old head, veteran coach who has experienced all the NBA game can throw at a coach. There were reports that one of Bjorkgren’s mentors, Jeff Hornacek was a possibility to be part of the initial staff. Hornacek would have been perfect in that role as a former head coach on the staff, but instead, Hornacek took on that role for Stephen Silas in Houston.
It also sounds like Brogdon and Domas Sabonis are Bjorkgren’s go to guys in the locker room which is no surprise considering how he uses both on the court. From a feature on Brogdon for Sports Illustrated (the other link of note), the point guard’s relationship with his new coach appears quite strong which makes the idea of dealing Brogdon seem even more remote.
To hear Brogdon tell it, he has found a kindred communicative spirit in his fifth NBA coach. The seeds of their relationship were planted last fall, when they met for lunch in Atlanta at a café specializing in comfort food. Brogdon emerged impressed with Bjorkgren’s “contagious energy” and the potential that it had to “enhance our culture.”
In Brogdon’s estimation, Bjorkgren has delivered on all fronts, from playing music in practice to mixing up drills. “We have a shared belief that communication is the road to success,” Brogdon says. “I’d rather have too much information than not enough information.” As their late-night call suggests, their talks are two-way streets; Brogdon isn’t shy about asking to guard an opponent’s best player. “It’s hard to say no when your leader says that,” Bjorkgren says. “So I grant him that wish and say, ‘Go get ’em.’”
Further evidence that Brogdon isn’t going anywhere if Bjorkgren is around. Not to mention how dealing a guy who wanted to come to the Pacers when he was a free agent would look considering the struggles the team has to sign free agents. But they don’t call them trade rumors for nothing and until the deadline passes we will have to wait and see if any of the chatter surrounding the Pacers has any substance.