The Indiana Pacers relieved Nate McMillan of his coaching duties on Wednesday, two days after the team was swept out of the first round of the playoffs for a second straight year.
The stunning move also comes just two weeks after the Pacers extended McMillan's contract by one year through the 2021-22 season.
McMillan spent four seasons in Indiana and led the Pacers to the playoffs in each of those campaigns, but the team failed to win a postseason series over that period. Indiana was 3-16 in playoff games during his tenure and was swept in three series, including this year's match-up with the Miami Heat.
"This was a very hard decision for us to make; but we feel it's in the best interest of the organization to move in a different direction," Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said in a statement.
Official Statement: pic.twitter.com/l9kMqiYEXh— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) August 26, 2020
McMillan compiled a 183-136 regular-season record with the Pacers while often saddled with injuries or defections to top players. He guided Indiana to 48 wins - six more than the previous season - in 2017-18 after the organisation traded All-Star Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Pacers matched that win total the following year despite leading scorer Victor Oladipo missing over half the season with a ruptured quadriceps tendon.
With Oladipo limited to only 19 games in 2019-20 while recovering from that injury, the Pacers finished 45-28 and were the Eastern Conference's number four playoff seed.
McMillan has gone 661-588 in 16 overall seasons as an NBA head coach with the Seattle SuperSonics (2000-05), Portland Trail Blazers (2005-12) and Indiana.
The 56-year-old also worked alongside Pritchard, the former Trail Blazers' general manager, during his time with Portland.
"Nate and I have been through the good times and the bad times; and it was an honour to work with him for those 11 years (in Indiana and Portland)," Pritchard stated.Published 26 Aug 2020, 22:32 IST