NBA: Pacers hiring Rick Carlisle as head coach, says US report

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Jun 25 2021 01:49 AM

NBA: Pacers hiring Rick Carlisle as head coach, says US report 1
Carlisle, who was also the Pacers coach from 2003-07, recently stepped down as head coach of the Dallas Mavericks. Reuters/file

The Indiana Pacers are hiring Rick Carlisle as their head coach for a second time, ESPN reported Thursday.

Carlisle, 61, will sign a 4-year, $29 million contract, per the report.

He will replace Nate Bjorkgren, who was fired June 9 after one season as head coach. Bjorkgren guided the team to a 34-38 record in 2020-21, and Indiana missed the playoffs after a blowout loss to the Washington Wizards in the play-in tournament. 

Carlisle was the Pacers' coach from 2003-07, and he compiled a 181-147 record over those four seasons. 

He was also an assistant under Larry Bird from 1997-2000 before accepting his first head-coaching job in 2001 with the Detroit Pistons.

The hiring came a week after Carlisle stepped down as head coach of the Dallas Mavericks, the team he guided to its only NBA championship in 2011. Carlisle had led the Mavericks since the start of the 2008 season.

In 19 seasons as head coach for the Pistons, Pacers and Mavericks, Carlisle has an 836-689 record in the regular season. His teams qualified for the playoffs in 14 of those seasons and were 63-70.

"After a number of in-person conversations with Mark Cuban over the last week, today I informed him that I will not be returning as head coach of the Dallas Mavericks," Carlisle said, referring to the Mavericks team owner.

"This was solely my decision."

He added: "Dallas will always be home, but I am excited about the next chapter of my coaching career." 

Of Carlisle, Cuban said: "On top of being a tremendous basketball coach, he was also a friend and confidant. Rick helped us bring the O'Brien Trophy to Dallas and those are memories I will always cherish. 

"I want to thank Rick for all he gave this franchise and this city. We wish him all the best."

Dallas lost its first-round Western Conference playoff series to the Los Angeles Clippers in seven games after taking leads of 2-0 and 3-2 earlier in the series. 

The Mavericks were the No. 5 seed in the conference after a 42-30 regular-season finish. Star forward Luka Doncic turned in another stellar season and was named to his second straight All-NBA first team.


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