Isiah Thomas was fired as coach of the Indiana Pacers Wednesday, a surprise move by new boss Larry Bird that came only two months before the start of the season.
Thomas, an NBA Hall of Famer, led a young Pacers team into the playoffs in all three of his seasons, but they were knocked out in the first round each year.
"After looking at film, seeing how things were and evaluating the basketball operations, I detected the team's chemistry wasn't what it should be," Bird said. "Donnie and I decided that a change was necessary and a fresh start was important."
Donnie Walsh, the team's CEO, and Bird, the president of operations, did not immediately pick a successor.
"We have decided to go in a different direction," Walsh said in a statement. "When I hired Isiah, I thought he was the right man for the job and at the time and he was."
The team said it would honor the final year of Thomas' contract. Thomas was with the US men's basketball team at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Puerto Rico earlier this week. He checked out of his hotel Tuesday and could not immediately be reached for comment.