During a conversation about the Pacers on an episode of The Lowe Post podcast, ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy and Zach Lowe said they’ve both heard chatter about the possibility that Nate McMillan could be on the hot seat in Indiana (hat tip to Alex Golden of PacersTalk.net).
“I had two people come up to me since I’ve been here (in Orlando) and say, ‘Nate McMillan’s in trouble,’” Van Gundy said.
“It’s been the hottest rumor all season,” Lowe replied. “… What you’ve heard in Orlando’s been going around all season.”
Indiana hasn’t won a playoff series under McMillan, and there has been some chatter about a need to modernize the team’s offense, which ranks last this season in three-point attempts per game (27.7). Still, the two ESPN analysts pointed out that the Pacers have exceeded expectations in recent years, especially given the injuries they’ve had to deal with. And Lowe cautioned that there has been no confirmation the Pacers are seriously considering a change.
“Let me be clear: It’s just a rumor,” Lowe said. “I don’t know if it’s true. When you talk to people around the Pacers, they say, ‘It’s not true’ or ‘Where you’d hear that from?’ … I think Nate’s earned the benefit of the doubt.”
Let’s round up a few more Pacers-related items…
- In addition to helping the Pacers pick up wins during this summer’s restart, T.J. Warren‘s huge games in Orlando are showing that he’s a crucial part of the team’s future, according to Chris Mannix of SI.com, who notes that the 26-year-old’s prime years line up well with the rest of Indiana’s core.
- Pacers rookie Goga Bitadze, who returned to action this week, acknowledged today that his left knee has been an issue almost all season (Twitter link via J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star). “(After the hiatus), it hurt me a lot more,” Bitadze said. “I basically couldn’t run… It’s hard for me to get back ready to play.” However, after undergoing an MRI, the big man was told by team doctors that the soreness isn’t a serious issue, so it sounds like he probably won’t need offseason surgery, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files.
- In case you missed it on Thursday, we passed along word that ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan walked back her claim that Larry Bird left his job as president of basketball operations in Indiana because he was frustrated by the team’s reluctance to spend.