For Four Key Teams, the Off-Season Begins Early

Stein: This Pacers fan responded with dismay to the stories over the weekend, together with one from me, that Indiana had curiosity in Stotts after he was ousted by the Portland Trail Blazers — however earlier than Indiana truly had a gap. I completely get the dismay, too. It could be a chilly, chilly league generally, and that is undoubtedly a type of instances.

Bjorkgren has been in limbo since stories of friction in his first season as Pacers coach surfaced in early May. It was tough to think about then how Bjorkgren, as a rookie coach whose most notable prior head teaching expertise got here in the G League, might survive such open dialogue of behind-the-scenes tumult.

Kevin Pritchard, Indiana’s president of basketball operations, solely added to the uncertainty in a digital information convention on May 24 when he stated he was “not committing either way” about bringing Bjorkgren again for Year 2. The working assumption in league circles since that assertion was that the Pacers have been making an attempt to find out by means of again channels if they’d a shot at hiring a confirmed coach, like Stotts, earlier than figuring out Bjorkgren’s destiny.

The Pacers clearly don’t need to let Bjorkgren go after which strike out on high targets, which might solely add to their drama whereas Nate McMillan, abruptly ousted by Indiana after final season, has the Atlanta Hawks unexpectedly competing for a spot in the Eastern Conference finals. It isn’t inconceivable that Bjorkgren might find yourself staying, maybe with a reshuffled employees, however the optics are undeniably unseemly.

Q: Cheers to all the N.B.A. intelligentsia who fooled us into pondering Nets-Bucks was going to be a sequence. — @yagofidani from Twitter

Stein: Count me amongst the responsible. I assumed Milwaukee took a major step ahead by sweeping Miami in Round 1. I assumed the Bucks, with the additions of Jrue Holiday and P.J. Tucker, have been as effectively suited to protect the Nets as anybody. I actually thought that dropping James Harden to a hamstring damage in the opening minute of Game 1 would harm the Nets greater than it has.

It’s too quickly to put in writing off the Bucks as the sequence shifts to Milwaukee for Game three on Thursday, however the prospect of the Nets dropping 4 of 5 video games — to anybody — is tough to think about when they’re transferring the ball the method they’re. Ditto when Blake Griffin seems to be reborn as a job participant and defender, and when the unheralded Bruce Brown and Mike James have been so strong.

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