T.J. Warren wanted out of the Indiana Pacers after the team hired Nate Bjorkgren as their next head coach.
Warren played for the Phoenix Suns when Bjorkgren was an assistant on Earl Watson’s staff. Upon hearing Bjorkgren was replacing Nate McMillan in Indianapolis, per Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, Warren reportedly requested a trade. He wanted out of town that badly. It is also believed Warren underwent season-ending foot surgery in March to not only prioritize his health, but to avoid playing for his new head coach. Things have become increasingly toxic for Indiana.
This coaching debacle is so unbelievably out-of-character for the entire Pacers organization, though to be fair, IndyStar reporter J. Michael and Warren himself have refuted this latest report:
Indiana Pacers: T.J. Warren apparently wanted no part of the Nate Bjorkgren era
The Pacers are expected to finish the regular season under .500. This was a top-five team in the Eastern Conference when Nate McMillan was their head coach a year ago. His termination was odd and he has flourished as the Atlanta Hawks’ interim coach this season. Warren was the team’s breakout star in the Orlando bubble. It is amazing how much can really change in one year.
Ultimately, the Pacers are going to likely end up playing in the play-in tournament in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Entering Thursday night’s home game against the Hawks, the Pacers are 30-35 on the season and currently occupy the ninth-place spot in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers are 3.5 games up on the Toronto Raptors for 10th place, so Indiana is getting in! Yay, that!
Even if things are not going over well in Indianapolis, they can still make the playoffs this season. They’ll just have to do it without one of their best scorers, who may not even want to be there.