Quietly, the Indiana Pacers have been searching for a head coach. That's kind of been overlooked with all the other openings as well as the fact it's kind of assumed that last year's interim coach Frank Vogel would essentially be given the official head coach title.
And that could finally be happening soon. According to Yahoo! Sports, the Pacers are close to reaching a long-term agreement that would make Vogel their coach.
No final decision has been reached, but sources said most of the hurdles have been cleared for Vogel to be offered a multi-year contract in the near future.The Pacers finished strong under Vogel, who became the interim coach after Jim O'Brien was fired earlier in the season. Indiana went 20-18 with Vogel in charge and pushed the top-seeded Bulls in the opening round of the playoffs, eventually bowing out in five games.
Bird and Vogel have met several times in recent weeks and have targeted several assistant coaches -- including Terry Porter and J.B. Bickerstaff -- that the Pacers would like to surround Vogel.
Indiana hasn’t completely ruled out waiting longer and meeting with outside candidates, but management and Vogel have been increasingly in agreement on how to proceed forward together. Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle has urged Bird -- a close friend of his -- to consider assistant coach Dwane Casey, but that appears unlikely.
However, management is concerned with Vogel's ability to oversee a locker room and maintain the respect of his players. According to the report, things like punctuality and discipline slipped when Vogel took over. His response to that critique has been to go after strong-minded assistants like Porter and Bickerstaff. Vogel, if you'll recall, is the league's youngest coach at 37.
He seems to be a natural fit for the Pacers, and the team obviously plays hard for him. It'd be a wise move for the Pacers to retain Vogel. There are other good alternatives, but clearly the team is willing to play for him, and continuity is always a good thing, if it's an option.