Indiana Pacers GM says 'Vogel's job is safe'

Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel reacts to a call in the first half against the Indiana Pacers...

Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel reacts to a call in the first half against the Indiana Pacers at Philips Arena on Oct 22, 2013 in Atlanta, GA, USA. (Daniel Shirey/USA TODAY Sports)

The Sports Xchange

, Last Updated: 2:59 PM ET

Indiana Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard said Thursday that head coach Frank Vogel's job is "safe," despite the team's recent slide.

This comes one day after an ESPN.com report that Vogel may be "coaching for his job" even after a 56-win season that secured the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Pritchard, who serves as the Pacers' top aide to team president Larry Bird, tweeted:

"Larry Bird just told me his sources say Frank Vogel's job is safe."

Following Indiana's 101-85 triumph over Atlanta in Game 2 of the teams' first-round playoff series, sources told ESPN.com on Wednesday that coming back to win the series against the Hawks would not automatically guarantee Vogel's job.

Vogel's players defended their coach on the eve of Thursday night's Game 3 in Atlanta.

"Leave Frank alone, man," Pacers swingman Lance Stephenson told reporters Wednesday after practice. "We (are) getting ready for the playoffs. I don't know why the media's trying to do all this negative stuff on us."

Said All-Star forward Paul George: "I want to put that pressure on myself, make sure I keep Coach here."

The Pacers got off to a 40-11 start, but then went just 16-15 the rest of the way before a loss in the series opener to the eighth-seeded Hawks.

Bird made in-season moves to acquire forward Evan Turner from Philadelphia and add center Andrew Bynum for bench depth on top of last summer's additions of forward Luis Scola and point guard C.J. Watson,

The moves were made to get the Pacers closer to return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2000 -- when Bird was the coach.


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