Well, that didn’t take long. Per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, former Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle will be taking the helm in Indiana as the Pacers new head coach. Carlisle is signing a four-year, $29 million deal.
Sources: The Pacers are hiring Rick Carlisle as head coach. He will sign a 4-year, $29 million contract.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) June 24, 2021
This comes exactly one week after Carlisle stepped down from his position as coach of the Mavericks, as part of a major leadership shakeup after two consecutive first round exits with Luka Doncic and reports of front office turmoil.
In the NBA-Twitter world, Carlisle had long been rumored as heir to the Mike Budenholzer seat in Milwaukee, thanks to Coach Bud’s stunningly awful postseason coaching performance, but the news this morning that Carlisle is heading to Indiana shouldn’t shock anyone.
Carlisle has a long history with the Pacers organization. He served as an assistant coach under Larry Bird from 1997-2000, and later got the head coaching gig from 2003-2007, leading the Pacers to a 61-21 record in his first season. The Pacers were the last team Carlisle coached before joining the Mavericks in 2008.
Now, the Pacers are in desperate need of some success, and Carlisle is the guy they think can push them over the hump of mediocrity.
The Pacers current roster makes sense for what we know Carlisle values. Domantas Sabonis will be fully unlocked. Malcolm Brogdon might have an All-Star caliber season. And T.J. McConnell will be loved like a son. Unfortunately, this hire likely means Mavs fans can give up on their hope of ever prying away Myles Turner. I don’t think Rick will approve sending him over here any time soon.
It’s also important to note, as reported by MacMahon, that the Mavs will not seek any compensation from the Pacers, even though Carlisle resigned from his Dallas position with two years left on his contract.
Shortly after the news broke, Carlisle had a few interesting things to say to MacMahon. Here’s Carlisle on how he views the Pacers’ situation and why it appealed to him:
“It’s a team of skilled, unselfish guys that play hard,” Carlisle said. “It’s always possible that moves could be made before the season, but I think [GM Kevin Pritchard] and I are both very excited about getting the roster healthy and seeing what this team can be.”
Then Carlisle decided to comment on who he thinks should be the Mavericks next head coach and it’s not hard to read between the lines if you’re aware of the history between Carlisle and former Maverick Jason Kidd.
“It’s hard to put an exact finger on it. It’s just a feeling that I had that it would be mutually beneficial,” Carlisle said. “My hope is that Jason Kidd will be the next coach of the Mavs because he and Luka have so many things in common as players.
“I just think that it would be a great situation for Luka, and I think it would be an amazing situation for Jason. I’m the only person on the planet that’s coached both of those guys and that knows about all of their special qualities as basketball players. To me, that just would be a great marriage, but that’s just an opinion.”
Carlisle is beloved by most Mavs fans, so it’s safe to say the franchise wishes him well. We’ll be cheering for him in Indiana (unless they’re playing the Mavs). Good luck, Coach!