Rick Carlisle has only been out of work for a week. The 61-year-old New York coach has pledged for the next four seasons, for which he will earn $ 29 million, with the Indiana Pacers. He returns, therefore, to what was his home, first as Larry Bird’s assistant and right-hand man (1997-2000) and later as head coach (2003-2007). In his years in Indiana, Carlisle reaped a balance in the regular season of 181-147 with three visits to the playoffs, the most successful until the conference final (2004).
Before he had managed the Detroit Pistons (2001-2003) and then, in 2008, he took over the Mavericks, where he has been until now. Thirteen years for the coach with the most wins in Dallas: 555 by 478 losses. And the icing, of course, the title of 2011 with Dirk Nowitzki as a franchise player. The only one in the history of the Texan team. Now Carlisle returns to a Pacers who have snapped a five-year playoff streak after a poor 34-38 culminating in a play-in loss to the Wizards. A year marked by injuries but also with tensions between the dressing room and a Nate Bjorkgren who has only lasted one season at the helm of the Indianapolis team.
Carlisle, who as a player was champion with the best version of the Celtics of Larry Bird (1986), has a total balance in his coaching career of 836-689. He is the 15th most victorious coach and the third active coach, behind only Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers. He is excited about his new challenge, back in the East fourteen years later: “There is a group of talented and selfless players who play hard. There can always be movements, but in the franchise we trust that the players we already have will recover physically to see how far they can go ”.
Carlisle’s departure from Dallas was surprising… and controversial. It coincided with the goodbye of Donnie Nelson, the architect in the offices, and the Controversies centered on the management of the owner, Mark Cuban. Mess that have splashed a Luka Doncic that he had a good relationship with Nelson but it was said that he was not in a good time with a Carlisle who was ugly with the tactics, the rotations and the influence he gave to Haralabos Voulgaris, Cuban’s henchman who is not seen with good eyes in many layers of the organization, including the locker room.
In ESPN’s words, Carlisle does not hide that it was best to separate paths and leaves a message about the coach who would fit in with Doncic: “He cannot say exactly how this final was reached. It was rather the feeling that it would be better for everyone. I hope the next coach is Jason Kidd because he and Luka have a lot in common as players. I think it would be a great situation for Luka and I think it would be great for Jason as well. I am the only one on this planet who has trained both of them and I know what special qualities they have. So I think it would be a perfect match, but it’s just my opinion. “
Carlisle has also elaborated, these are words that journalist Tim MacMahon collects about his farewell to Doncic: “I have sent you a message thanking you for these three incredible years. I have learned many things from him, and I have told him that I am glad that now I am only going to see him twice a year. And I say that as the greatest compliment, of course. I think he is the best young player in the world. These three years set the stage for the next ten for him. I hope he is an NBA champion, I hope he wins several MVPs. I have the greatest respect for his ability as a player, it is truly one of those that there is one in every generation. Two years ago I sat with him and told him that I was going to put the ball in his hands, that I was going to allow him to create, shape his career, make mistakes, sign big plays, win and lose, and that this was going to be very important. for the player he was going to become. He took on that challenge and that responsibility and has become a player who is going to sign a super maximum contract. But he knows that bequests are a matter of titles. That’s how it was for him in Europe, and I think it’s going to be for him in the NBA as well. “