Atkinson, Brown among those linked to Pacers coaching vacancy

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Kenny Atkinson, Brett Brown, Mark Jackson and Mike D'Antoni may be among those on Indiana Pacers' radar after the firing of coach Nate McMillan on Wednesday, speculates J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star.

Atkinson was fired by the Brooklyn Nets in March and Brown was fired by the Philadelphia 76ers earlier this week.

Jackson once coached the Golden State Warriors and currently serves as an analyst for ESPN and ABC broadcasts of NBA games.

Meanwhile, D'Antoni is still employed by the Houston Rockets but will be a coaching free agent at the end of the season.The Rockets are currently participating in the Western Conference playoffs on the Disney campus.

D'Antoni has been cited as a candidate for the Pacers' job by respected NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Michael listed Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, Los Angeles Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue, San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon, Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin and Philadelphia 76ers associate head coach Ime Udoka as other potential candidates.

Along with the Pacers, Nets and 76ers, the New Orleans Pelicans and Chicago Bulls also have coaching vacancies.

The move to fire McMillan is somewhat of a surprise, given the Pacers' recent injury issues and the fact the team had been competing and even contending in the Eastern Conference when healthy.

McMillan also received an extension from the Pacers on Aug. 12 -- though Wojnarowski reported the team "had reworked McMillan’s final year on contract for 2020-21 and added a team option for 2021-2022 in form of a soft extension."

McMillan was the final hire of former Pacers GM Larry Bird, now an advisor with the club. In four seasons, McMillan has guided the Pacers to the playoffs each time -- including this one.

McMillan is a former point guard with the Seattle SuperSonics and eventually became the Sonics' coach. He has a winning percentage of .528 in 16 seasons with the Sonics, Portland Trail Blazers and Pacers, and is one of just 26 coaches with at least 600 career wins.

He was hired prior to the 2016-17 to replace Frank Vogel. McMillan had been an assistant on Vogel's staff before that.

McMillan compiled the third most wins in Pacers' coaching history, finishing with a 183-136 record in Indiana.

"D'Antoni isn't an inexpensive hire and that'll be a question for Pacers and small market teams with league revenue stagnant in pandemic," Wojnarowski reported. "How far will they go to pay a coach? Indiana also plans to search pool of those they'd consider 'program builders' over long-term, per sources."