Pacers dump Vogel

LOS ANGELES • The Indiana Pacers parted company with coach Frank Vogel on Thursday after five seasons with the franchise.

Their president Larry Bird said the National Basketball Association (NBA) team had decided not to renew his contract despite the coach expressing his desire to stay on.

"Frank's not getting fired. His contract is up and I just made the decision not to renew it," Bird said.

He added that Vogel had made repeated requests to stay on during a 30-minute conversation on Thursday following the decision.

The coach's departure comes after the Pacers lost in the first round of the play-offs this season amid speculation of a rift inside the dressing room.

Bird said he believed the Pacers would improve next season when key players such as Paul George return to full fitness.

"I expect us to be better, and we will be," he said.

"Paul coming off an injury and Myles (Turner) making strides, we should be better.

"The franchise is in good shape with some of the guys we have. I always expect greatness."

The Pacers' decision, however, shocked other NBA coaches, such as the Miami Heat's Erik Spoelstra.

"That's a sad state of the coaching profession right now," he said.

"That's why it's fairly easy for me to feel grateful for being part of this organisation for 21 years.

"You don't get (the) opportunity (to succeed) when you're making changes all the time.

"I probably would have been fired two or three times in a different organisation."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 07, 2016, with the headline 'Pacers dump Vogel'. Print Edition | Subscribe