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For four key teams, the offseason starts early

Stein: This Pacers fan responded with dismay to the weekend’s news, including one from me, that Indiana was interested in Stotts after he was ousted by the Portland Trail Blazers – but before Indiana actually had an opening. I totally get dismay, too. It can be a cold, cold league at times, and this is definitely one of those times.

Bjorkgren has been in limbo since reports of friction during his first season as the Pacers coach surfaced in early May. It was hard to imagine then how Bjorkgren, as a rookie coach whose most notable head coaching experience has come from the G League, could survive such an open discussion of the backstage uproar.

Kevin Pritchard, president of Indiana basketball operations, only added to the uncertainty at a virtual press conference on May 24 when he said he “was not committing not anyway “to bring Bjorkgren back for Year 2. The working assumption in league circles since this statement was that the Pacers were trying to determine through the back door if they had a chance of hiring a coach experienced, like Stotts, before determining Bjorkgren’s fate.

The Pacers clearly don’t want to let Bjorkgren go and then hit the best targets, which would only add to their drama as Nate McMillan, abruptly ousted by Indiana after last season, has the Atlanta Hawks competing unexpectedly. for a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals. It’s not inconceivable that Bjorkgren could end up staying, perhaps with an overhauled staff, but the optics are undeniably improper.

Q: Well done to all the intelligentsia in the NBA who made us believe that Nets-Bucks was going to be a series. – @yagofidani from Twitter

Stein: Count me among the culprits. I thought Milwaukee took a big step forward by sweeping Miami in the first round. I thought the Bucks, with the additions of Jrue Holiday and PJ Tucker, were as well suited to guarding the Nets as anyone. I certainly thought losing James Harden to a hamstring injury in the opening minute of Game 1 would hurt the Nets more than it did.

It’s too early to write off the Bucks as the series moves on to Milwaukee for Game 3 on Thursday, but the prospect of the Nets losing four of five games – to anyone – is hard to imagine when they move the ball the way they are. . Ditto when Blake Griffin seems to be reborn as a role player and defender, and when the unannounced Bruce Brown and Mike James have been so solid.

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