“I’m going to take this year and just look at things,” McMillan said. “A lot has changed, the league and the game have changed, so I’ll take this year and see what happens, but I won’t get back into it this season.”
Several teams – the Bulls, Sixers, Nets, and Pelicans – are currently in the market for a new head coach and it’s possible others will join them as they’re eliminated from the postseason. McMillan’s strong 183-136 (.574) record over the last four seasons in Indiana would make him a viable candidate for some of those openings.
However, McMillan will continue to get paid by the Pacers for the 2020/21 season, so it makes sense that he’d prefer to take a step back and fully consider his options rather than jumping right back onto the coaching carousel.
As for his exit from Indiana, McMillan explained that he and the Pacers agreed to a modest contract extension before the NBA’s restart began in July — that deal was announced in August after rumors surfaced about his job security. When he agreed to the new contract, McMillan expected to have Domantas Sabonis available this summer and was anticipating a first-round series win.
“I thought about it and said, ‘Even though we hadn’t started the playoffs, I really thought at the time we were going to advance,’” McMillan told Kravitz. “I had all my players (except Jeremy Lamb). Domas was there. I always thought Victor (Oladipo) was going to play. We had everybody and I really thought we could get out of the first round. So I signed that extension thinking, ‘OK, next year we’ll be healthy and I’ll give it one more try.’
“And then we get down to the bubble and Domas has his injury and it was like, ‘Ohhhhh-kay,’” McMillan continued. “But I know what I said to myself and told the organization, for me, it was about getting out of the first round, so when the decision was made yesterday, I understood.”
McMillan also responded to criticism about his offensive system, which was viewed by some observers as outdated. The former Pacers coach explained that he wanted to play to the strengths of his roster, which included a pair of big men – Sabonis and Myles Turner – in the starting lineup.
“I would love to run. When I was a player, that’s the way I played,” McMillan told Kravitz. “But personnel dictates your style of play.”