Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird announced on Thursday that Frank Vogel would not have his contract renewed for next season cutting their ties with the well respected NBA coach.
Bird during a news conference said that he believed it was a good time to have a new voice on the Pacers sideline, which keeps his philosophy he has held for many years of short stints for NBA head coaches.
Bird said the move would not be popular amongst everyone, but his responsibility is to do what is best for the Indiana franchise.
Vogel in just over 5 ½ seasons with Indiana was 250-181. He led the Pacers to the playoffs on five occasions, including this season’s loss in the first round to the Toronto Raptors.
The Pacers, under the tutelage of Vogel, earned a reputation as being one of the best defensive units in the NBA.
However, Bird said at the time of this season’s All-Star break that he was starting to think it was time to make a change and have a new coach breathe new life into an offense that at times became stagnant.
Bird said the decision not to renew Vogel’s contract was one of his toughest he has made in basketball. However, Bird has maintained for a long time that players begin to become tuned out with their coach after just three seasons.
Vogel and the Pacers reached the finals of the Eastern Conference in two straight seasons between 2012 and 2014. In his 5 plus seasons at the helm of the Pacers, Indiana missed the playoffs just once and that was the year Paul George their All-Star forward was injured most of the season with a broken leg.
With George completely healthy during this season, Indiana pushed Toronto, the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference to seven games during the first round before succumbing.
Bird said he believes Vogel did very well but it is about motivating the players and getting them to play at levels that are higher than they normally would.
Vogel likely will not be unemployed long. He interviewed back in 2011 with Houston and has ties to Daryl Morey the GM with the Rockets.
The New York Knicks are still shopping for a new head coach as well.
Nate McMillan an assistant under Vogel has been named as a possible replacement as has former NBA player and coach Mark Jackson.
Bird was asked if he would hire Kevin McHale the former coach of the Rockets, and Bird said no. He said he respected Kevin too much to hire him to work for him.