The agreement to make Rick Carlisle the new coach of the Pacers was settled in a phone call, according to J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star.
Carlisle, 61, agreed to a reported four-year deal worth $29 million to return to Indiana, where he was coach from 2003-07 and compiled a 181-147 record. Before that, he served as an assistant on Larry Bird’s staff from 1997-2000.
“Familiarity with the organization is the a plus for me,” Carlisle told Michael. “When you’re asked to come back to the same place a third time, that’s a special.”
The Pacers already have a good nucleus in place, when healthy, with the likes of power forward Domantas Sabonis, shooting guard Caris LeVert, point guard Malcolm Brogdon and center Myles Turner.
It will be up to Carlisle, who spent the previous 13 years with the Mavericks, to make it all mesh.
“It’s always been about people,” Carlisle said, via Michael. “The Xs and Os are an important part of the game but it’s not the essence of the game. That’s why bringing a team together and convincing guys to sacrifice so the team can have success is always going to be among the greatest challenges.”
More from Indiana
- Carlisle’s return gives the Pacers the leadership necessary for a bounce-back season after missing the playoffs, Michael wrote in a separate piece.
- Pacers president Kevin Pritchard did consider blowing up the roster with major changes, but that “was never likely,” Michael wrote. Carlisle did leave the door open on making some moves, though. “It’s always possible that moves could be made before the season, but I think Kevin and I are both very excited about getting the roster healthy and seeing what this team can be.”
- In case you missed it, the Pacers are again selecting No. 13 overall in the NBA Draft. They haven’t had a pick in the single digits since 1989. Prospects expected to fall in the No. 13 range include Texas center Kai Jones, Duke forward Jalen Johnson, Gonzaga shooting guard Corey Kispert, Australian point guard Josh Giddey and Michigan guard/forward Franz Wagner.
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