Nick Nurse calls report on Nate Bjorkgren’s time in Toronto a 'bald-faced lie'

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During his media availability after an overtime loss against the Washington Wizards on Thursday, Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse shared his thoughts about Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren's difficult first year in Indiana.

As reported on Tuesday by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Bjorkgren’s future with the franchise remains uncertain due to his strained relationships with its players and staff.

“It’s certainly no fun, I’m sure for him and it’s no fun for me to see one of my best friends go through that,” Nurse said.

“This is the age we live in, but I’m not really crazy about the journalistic integrity. They find a former G League player — who knows who it was. They won’t name anybody. Nothing’s legitimate to me. That doesn’t matter, it’s out there and everyone starts running with it.”

Prior to accepting the head coaching job, Bjorkgren was a part of the Toronto Raptors championship run in 2019 as an assistant coach. He was also an assistant coach alongside Nurse, who was the head coach for Minnesota's G League affiliate team, Iowa Energy (now the Iowa Wolves) and won the D-League championship in 2011.

Details surrounding the turmoil within the organization was reported by Bleacher Report’s Jake Fishcer, who cited Bjorkgren’s aggressive and abrasive communication style as the dividing factor between Indiana's players and staff.

The article also included an alleged incident during his time in Toronto where Bjorkgren would police conversations from other coaches and players before going through Nurse, which is an event the Raptors coach quickly dismissed.

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“That was 100 percent false. It was absolutely a bald-faced lie at what they printed,” he said. “It hurts to see him go through it and it hurts that for whatever reason, whoever is behind this kind of reporting doesn’t do better.”

This isn’t the first the team’s internal conflict has been made public, as Pacers assistant coach Greg Foster and backup center Goga Bitadze got into a heated on-court exchange in a loss against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. The altercation resulted in Foster getting suspended for one game and a fine for Bitadze.

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