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Nate McMillan is new Pacers head coach

Nate McMillan is new Pacers head coach

The Indiana Pacers announced Monday they have named Nate McMillan as their head coach.

McMillan has spent the last three seasons as Associate Head Coach for the Pacers under Frank Vogel.

“I truly believe Nate is the right coach for us at this time,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “When I heard he was interested, I got in touch with him, met with him and in our conversation I came away with all the confidence in the world in Nate to lead our franchise to where we want to go. His experience as a player, head coach and assistant coach in the NBA are valuable assets for us.”

“I want to thank Larry, Herb Simon and the Pacers for this opportunity, which is a great opportunity,” said McMillan. “I’ve been around this franchise three years and understand what the expectations are and look forward to working hard to try to meet them. We have a good team and good base to build from. I’m very anxious to get started.”

The 51-year-old (8/3/64) McMillan has a vast basketball background as a player and a coach. After playing collegiately at North Carolina State, McMillan was drafted by Seattle (30th overall) in the 1986 NBA Draft. He played his entire 12-year career with the Sonics and had his number (10) retired. He is second in franchise history in assists and steals and ranks in the top 10 in eight other categories. He was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive team twice (1994 and ’95) and led the league in steals in the 94-95 season with 2.96 per game.

After his playing days, McMillan was a Seattle assistant coach for two years and became the interim coach in 2000. He remained the Sonics’ coach until 2005 and then became Portland’s head coach until he was let go in March, 2012. In 2008-09, he led the Trail Blazers to a 54-28 record, the sixth-best record in franchise history. McMillan compiled a 478-452 (.514) record as a head coach for both teams. He also served as an assistant coach for the U.S. National Team where he won gold medals in the 2006 FIBA World Championships, the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics. McMillan was also inducted into the National Junior College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001 after playing at Chowan College before transferring to North Carolina State.

Pacers will not retain Frank Vogel as head coach

Indiana Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird announced Thursday that Frank Vogel will not return as head coach of the Pacers. According to the Indianapolis Star, Vogel was at the end of his contract.

“I want to thank Frank for his time in Indiana,” said Bird. “We know he’ll be successful down the road and end up getting a job, but for us, I just feel it’s time to move in a different direction.”

Vogel stepped in as interim coach, Jan. 30, 2011, replacing Jim O’Brien, and was named head coach July 6, 2011. In five-plus seasons, Vogel compiled a 250-181 record, five NBA Playoff appearances, two Central Division championships and two trips to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The search for a new coach will begin immediately.

According to the Indianapolis Star, “Vogel, 42, began his career as the ladder-climbing video coordinator who would do anything to get his foot into the prestigious door of big-time basketball. He climbed all the way to the head of the Pacers’ bench, where he held the position for five full seasons after replacing Jim O’Brien during the 2010-11 season. The Pacers made five postseason appearances under Vogel and developed a reputation as one of the best defensive teams in the NBA.”

More from the Star: “However, the Pacers were 31-30 in the playoffs and never averaged more than 97.6 points per game during a postseason run, which includes this season when the Pacers (45-37) finished seventh in the Eastern Conference. On April 18 in Game 5, the Pacers spoiled an opportunity to take a commanding lead in the first-round series with the Toronto Raptors by squandering a 13-point advantage in the fourth quarter. Though the Pacers evened the series the next game, they lost to the Raptors in Game 7 on the road.”

The Indiana Pacers’ Frank Vogel and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Doc Rivers today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in April.

Vogel led the Pacers to the best record in the Eastern Conference at 6-1. The Pacers won their final three games and held off the Detroit Pistons for the seventh seed in the East playoffs. Indiana averaged 108 points per game and shot a conference-best 49.3 percent from the field in April. Four of the Pacers’ six wins came by double digits, and their +8.6 scoring differential led the conference.

Rivers guided the Clippers, the fourth seed in the Western Conference playoffs, to a 6-1 record, tops in the West. The Clippers surrendered 100 or more points just twice in seven games and held opponents to an average of 94.1 points on a league-low 40.6 percent shooting from the field. L.A. posted back-to-back home wins over two West playoff teams, the Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies, on April 10 and 12, rounding out a 4-0 month at Staples Center.

Other nominees for Coach of the Month were Boston’s Brad Stevens, Charlotte’s Steve Clifford, Dallas’ Rick Carlisle, Golden State’s Steve Kerr, Miami’s Erik Spoelstra, Portland’s Terry Stotts and Toronto’s Dwane Casey.

Pacers sign Ty Lawson

Pacers sign Ty Lawson

The Indiana Pacers have signed point guard Ty Lawson.

Lawson, 5-11, 195-pounds is in his seventh year in the league. He played his first six seasons with the Nuggets before the Rockets acquired him last summer. He averaged 5.8 points per game and 3.4 assists with Houston in 53 games this season before they waived him last week.

According to the Indianapolis Star, “Lawson was not shy about why he picked the Pacers over four other teams that were pursuing him after he agreed last week to a buyout from the Houston Rockets. “This is the place for me,” he said with a smile. “I feel like I’ll actually get enough time to be able to play my game, so I’m just excited. We have a chance to win. The East is wide open from, like, the third seed to the 12th seed. I guess everybody is jumbled together. We definitely can make a lot of noise if we go on a seven- or eight-game win streak.”

During his career, Lawson is averaging 13.3 points and 5.8 assists per game. Lawson, who played collegiately at North Carolina, was a first-round pick (18th overall) in the 2009 NBA Draft.

“We’re glad to have Ty come play with the Pacers for this final run of the season,” said Pacers’ President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “We think he brings added speed to our backcourt, he can get up and down the floor and he helps strengthen our second unit.”

“This is a good opportunity for me to come here, try to help the Pacers win and get into the playoffs,” said Lawson. “I’m just ready to play and do whatever is needed.”

Pacers waive Chase Budinger

Pacers waive Chase Budinger

The Indiana Pacers announced they have requested waivers on 6-7 forward Chase Budinger.

Acquired from Minnesota in a trade last July, Budinger played in 49 games (starting two), averaging 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.

The Pacers are 32-30 this season, and being led by Paul George (23.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 4.2 apg), Monta Ellis (14.3 ppg, 4.7 apg), George Hill, C.J. Miles, and Myles Turner.

Pacers hope to host an All-Star weekend

Here’s the Indianapolis Star reporting that the Pacers are making a push to host a future All-Star weekend:

Pacers hope to host an All-Star weekend

One of the NBA’s most prized and glitzy events, the All-Star Game, is being held in Toronto for the first time this weekend. Among the abundance of celebrities, crazy basketball fanatics and the sport’s best players is a seven-person delegation from Indianapolis. Their mission, which began two months ago, is to bring the NBA’s midseason classic back to Indiana.

The Indiana Pacers, led by Rick Fuson, its chief operation officer, want the All-Star Game.

Fuson, along with other representatives from the Pacers, the Indiana Sports Corp and Visit Indy, wanted to see the festivities associated with the All-Star Game in person to examine why Toronto was selected and how Indianapolis can become a viable hosting option for the NBA. After Sunday’s game, Fuson and the rest of the group – including Ryan Vaughn, president of Indiana Sports Corp, and Leonard Hoops, president and CEO of Visit Indy – will discuss what they believe would make for a successful bid.

A league official confirmed Saturday that the Indianapolis delegation is in Toronto to observe how Toronto is operating the many events with the NBA. The official also said the 2019 All-Star Game is the earliest year the Pacers could make a bid. Fuson said it’s unclear if the Pacers will bid for 2019 or for a subsequent year. What is clear is that several people with knowledge of the Pacers’ trip this weekend believe the team will submit its bid in the next few months.

The Indiana Pacers (21-15) are led by Pau George’s 24.3 ppg this season, but another key reason for their success is the play of C.J. Miles, who in 26.8 minutes per game is putting up 13.9 ppg and doing more than his stats suggest. Here’s the Indianapolis Star reporting:

C.J. Miles having good season for Pacers

All NBA teams could use someone like Miles. More than a “glue guy,” a term tossed around to describe a significant yet sometimes skillfully challenged player who does the little things to help a team be successful. Miles has the talent to hit 8-of-9 3-point attempts and score 32 points (see: Nov. 24, Washington) but also the selflessness to accept any task thrown at him.

“He’s a team-first guy and willing to do whatever the team needs to win,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “He just smiles and says whatever you need me to do and says I’ll figure it out when I’m out there, whether it’s (playing the) 4, 3, 2, off the bench, starting.

“Every coach needs guys like that.”

Miles willingly morphs into a basketball shapeshifter because he’s done so all this life.

Here’s ESPN Boston reporting on Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who paid a personal visit to a former player who is dealing with serious health issues:

Brad Stevens back after visiting Andrew Smith

Celtics coach Brad Stevens rejoined the team before its flight to Memphis on Saturday and led an afternoon practice at the University of Memphis.

Stevens traveled to Indiana on Thursday to visit with Andrew Smith, one of his former Butler players, who is battling cancer. Stevens missed the team’s loss to the Bulls.

Stevens told reporters in Memphis that the past few days have been, “Very challenging, certainly puts things in a lot of perspective.”

Paul George fined $35,000 by NBA

Indiana Pacers forward Paul George has been fined $35,000 for public criticism of officiating and using profanity in a live television interview, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

George made his comments following the Pacers’ 104-97 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 18 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Fort Wayne Mad Ants forward Rakeem Christmas, playing on assignment from the Indiana Pacers, was today named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Monday, Nov. 30 – Sunday, Dec. 6.

Christmas (6-9, 239, Syracuse) led Fort Wayne to a 3-0 week behind averages 24.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.7 blocks. On Dec. 2, Christmas recorded a double-double with 25 points and 13 rebounds as part of a 98-97 victory to hand the Westchester Knicks their first loss of the season. He followed that up with a five-block effort in a 98-94 win over the Canton Charge on Dec. 4. On Dec. 6, he scored a career-high 30 points on 11-for-15 shooting, to go along with seven rebounds, three blocks and two assists in a 105-92 victory over the Grand Rapids Drive.

For the season, Christmas is averaging 19.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.5 blocks (seventh in the D-League).

Christmas was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the 36th overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, before his rights were traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers on draft night. His rights were again traded to the Indiana Pacers on July 23, 2015. His assignment with Fort Wayne commenced on Nov. 2.

Other top performers considered include Austin’s Boban Marjanovic, Bakersfield’s Terrico White Iowa’s Joel Wright, Sioux Falls’ Greg Whittington, Texas’ Tu Holloway and Westchester’s Jimmer Fredette.

paul george

The Indiana Pacers’ Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant were today named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Nov. 23 through Sunday, Nov. 29.

George led the Pacers to a 3-0 week behind an Eastern Conference-leading 37.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals. He shot 54.7 percent from the field, 57.1 percent from three-point range and 86.7 percent from the foul line. On Nov. 24, George tallied 40 points on 14-of-19 shooting, including 7-of-8 from beyond the arc, during a 123-106 win over the Washington Wizards.

kevin durant

Durant led the Thunder to a 3-0 week behind averages of 30.3 points (second in the Western Conference), 8.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.3 blocks (fourth in the Western Conference). He shot 58.5 percent from the field, 52.2 percent from three-point range and 94.4 percent from the foul line. On Nov. 27, Durant recorded 34 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and three blocks during a 103-87 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, Cleveland’s Kevin Love, Golden State’s Draymond Green, Houston’s James Harden, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin, Orlando’s Victor Oladipo, Philadelphia’s Robert Covington, Portland’s Damian Lillard, and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.

Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News reporting on the not-so-existent relationship between Lakers center Roy Hibbert and his former team, the Indiana Pacers:

Roy Hibbert has not kept in touch with the Pacers

Roy Hibbert’s past and present will collide on Sunday when the Lakers host the Pacers. He maintained he has “great memories” of his seven-year NBA career in Indiana. But his last season ended on a sour note amid a reduced role to accommodate a quicker and smaller lineup. The Pacers then traded Hibbert to the Lakers last summer for a second-round draft pick.

“I’m going to feel something,” said Hibbert, who will become a free agent next summer after making $15.5 million this season. “But I have to move on and try to get a win.”

Hibbert insisted he has no hard feelings, but admitted he has not kept in touch with anyone associated with the Pacers.

“I haven’t talked to them in a while,” Hibbert said. “I haven’t watched any of their games. No offense, but I don’t think many of them are on TV.”

Myles Turner out six weeks after thumb surgery

Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner underwent successful surgery Monday afternoon to repair a chip fracture in his left thumb, sustained during the first half of last Wednesday night’s game at Boston.

The surgery was performed at OrthoIndy Hospital by hand surgeon Dr. Tim Dicke. Turner is expected to miss six weeks.

Paul George playing great for Pacers

The Indiana Pacers are 6-4, and through Friday have won three straight games. Here’s the Indianapolis Star reporting on one of the biggest reasons for the team’s current success:

Paul George shining bright for Pacers

[Paul] George has become only the fourth player in franchise history to score 26 or more points in six straight games, tying Danny Granger’s feat from Jan. 3-12, 2009 according to STATS, LLC. Over the same six-game stretch, George has scored 176 points, the second-highest mark in his career — in six consecutive games from Jan. 14-24, 2014, he scored 177 points.

Also during the past six games, George has shot 47.5 percent from beyond the 3-point arc, and his rebounding has swelled to 9.5 per game, all while defending the best wing player on the opposing team.

On Friday night, George scored a game-high 29 points on efficient 8-of-17 shooting, another example of how the offense seems to suit him. He’s free to rise up in catch-and-shoot situations or be aggressive within the space and make plays in isolation. And that’s the whole point, as the 2015-16 Pacers are the vessel to launch George back into the NBA cosmos where the stars live.

The Indiana Pacers have assigned
6-11 forward/center Shayne Whittington and 6-9 forward Rakeem Christmas to their affiliate in the NBA’s Development League, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

Pacers great Mel Daniels has died

The Indiana Pacers today are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former center Mel Daniels, a stalwart on the team’s three American Basketball Association championship teams and a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Daniels died Friday in Sheridan, Ind. He was 71. He is survived by his wife, CeCe and family.

“I join our extended Pacers family in offering my sincerest condolences to CeCe and Mel’s family,” said Pacers Sports & Entertainment owner Herb Simon. “We will miss him greatly, but when we look at that Hall of Fame banner in Bankers Life Fieldhouse, we will be forever reminded of what he meant to this franchise.”

Daniels was twice named the ABA’s MVP (1969 and 1971). He played six seasons with the Pacers, averaging 19.4 points and 16.0 rebounds per game.

A four-time All-ABA selection, Daniels was named to the First Team in 1969, 1970 and 1971, and was a Second Team pick in 1973. He also was named the ABA All-Star Game MVP in 1971 and was the ABA’s first Rookie of the Year in 1968 while playing with Minnesota. He is the Pacers’ all-time leading rebounder in the ABA (7,643) and he holds the Pacers’ ABA record for rebounds in a single season (1,475 in 1970-71).

He is a graduate of the University of New Mexico.

Following the end of his playing career, he joined the basketball staff of the Pacers.

His jersey number was retired on November 2, 1985. In September 2012, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Pacers waive Toney Douglas

Pacers waive Toney Douglas

The Indiana Pacers announced Monday they have requested waivers on 6-2 guard Toney Douglas.

He played in five preseason games and averaged 6.6 points and 1.6 assists per game.

At this point in his career, Douglas may latch onto another team’s roster, but he also might fall out of the league. If we had to guess, the veteran has a fairly good shot at sticking around in the league for another season.

Pacers waive Kadeem Jack and C.J. Fair

The Indiana Pacers announced Saturday they have requested waivers on 6-9 forward Kadeem Jack and 6-8 forward C.J. Fair.

Jack played in one preseason game and did not score. Fair played in five preseason games and averaged 1.6 points per game.

The Pacers’ roster now stands at 16.

Pacers sign Kadeem Jack

The Indiana Pacers announced Wednesday they have signed free agent Kadeem Jack. Jack is a 6-9, 235 lb. forward that played collegiately at Rutgers.

We assume the contract is non-guaranteed.

The Pacers training camp roster now stands at 18.

Fort Wayne Mad Ants open tryouts

Fort Wayne Mad Ants open tryouts

The Fort Wayne Mad Ants announced today that they will hold open tryouts on Saturday, October 17th and Sunday, October 18th in Fort Wayne for the 2015-16 NBA Development League season. The open tryout will be held at the McMillen Park Community Center located at 3901 Abbott Street, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46806.

The first day of this Fort Wayne tryout will be Saturday, October 17th at the McMillen Park Community Center with check-in beginning at 9:00 a.m. and the tryout beginning promptly at 10:00 a.m. lasting until around 3:00 p.m. Players will receive an official Mad Ants tryout jersey upon registration.

Spectators are invited to attend tryouts for an entry fee of $2 for adults, with kids entering for free.

The Mad Ants local player tryouts offer athletes an opportunity to showcase their talents in front of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants’ coaching staff. Players will compete to earn an invitation to the team’s training camp, which will begin in early November.

Players who are interested in trying out for the Mad Ants on October 17th should submit the official registration and release forms, in addition to a $150 non-refundable fee to the Mad Ants office by Wednesday, October 14th. The registration fee is $200 for all forms received after Wednesday, October 14th (pre-registration is not required and athletes may register on the morning of the tryout). Payments must be made by money order or cashier’s check. Application forms are available on the Mad Ants’ website at www.fortwaynehoops.com.

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