The Indiana Pacers are looking into a former head coach to replace an assistant who just became a head coach elsewhere. The Indianapolis Star reports that Frank Vogel met with Nate McMillan Monday as the team anticipated the departure of Brian Shaw, now the head coach of the Denver Nuggets, to see whether he'd be a good fit as one of Vogel's sidekicks.
McMillan, who played 12 seasons in the NBA, coached five years with the Seattle SuperSonics and seven more with the Portland Trail Blazers, amassing a 478-452 record -- that's a .512 winning percentage. He's been out of coaching since being fired by Portland midway through the 2011-2012 season, but he's been a hot commodity on the coaching market of late. In this round of the NBA coaching carousel, he's been looked at by the Clippers, the Pistons, and the Hawks. All three opted for other choices, with LA trading for Doc Rivers, Detroit signing Maurice Cheeks, and Atlanta deciding on Mike Budenholzer, leaving McMillan still unemployed.
It's hard to see why Indiana wouldn't want him to help guide a squad that came one game short of an NBA Finals experience this past year. Shaw, also a longtime NBA player, was considered one of the best assistants in the NBA, a protege of Phil Jackson, and took the title of associate head coach in Indiana. McMillan hasn't served as an NBA assistant since shortly after his retirement, but did fill an assistant role for Mike Krzyzewski on the 2008 and 2012 USA Olympic teams, working alongside experienced head coaches Mike D'Antoni and Jim Boeheim to help the team win a pair of gold medals.. Like Shaw, he'd also likely take an elevated role from Vogel's other assistants.
The Star also points out that Kevin Pritchard, the Pacers' current general manager, was the one who hired McMillan to helm the Trail Blazers.