Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel faced his fair share of adversity during the latter portion of this season. However, at the end of the day, the Pacers reached their ceiling this year. I mean, did anyone really expect them to beat the Miami Heat and reach the NBA Finals?
Despite the struggle, the Pacers still made it to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals (even though one could argue that they never really showed up for it) — two games away from an NBA Finals appearance. And even though there were reports that Vogel was “coaching for his job” in late April, do we buy that Vogel is going to get fired for his team’s inabilities?
It’s not like we haven’t seen that before, but I just believe that there’s a better chance that the Pacers make a “change of personnel” to their roster before we see a new coach.
Still, whispers persist around one Vogel — and a certain free agent head coach Mark Jackson.
Yet there’s no escaping the fact that Vogel was awarded his current extension — which runs through the 2015-16 season — when team president Larry Bird was on a one-year hiatus. The fact Bird openly questioned Vogel’s player-friendly approach during the regular season has only added volume to suggestions that Vogel’s seat is warming.
And there’s more.
The whispers have already started in Indy about Bird turning to his old point guard, Mark Jackson, to take over. Jackson and Reggie Miller were the leaders when Bird was the Pacers’ coach … and Bird isn’t the only big fan in the organization of the man Golden State just ousted. Fellow Pacers exec Donnie Walsh is another huge admirer who has long maintained privately that he wouldn’t consider Jackson for the Indy job unless he had coached somewhere else first.
Even if Vogel is fired, I’m not sure Jackson would be the answer.