Indiana Pacers news: Rick Carlisle returning as head coach

Rick Carlisle - Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Carlisle - Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

After a long wait, the Indiana Pacers have hired Rick Carlisle as their next head coach.

The Indiana Pacers have done the right thing and hired the best coach available for them this offseason. Rick Carlisle, who coached the team in the mid-2000s, is returning on a 4-year contract to replace Nate Bjorkgren.

Carlisle returns after a long stint with the Dallas Mavericks and brings a lot of optimism back to the Pacers. After trying to shake things up with a first-time head coach last season, Indiana is shifting its focus back to a proven veteran.

Carlisle, who led the Mavericks to one NBA Championship, was arguably the best available coach on the market. He comes to Indiana with a career record of 836-689 and has coached 133 playoff games in his 19 seasons.

In four seasons with the Pacers from 2003-2007, Carlisle had a record of 181-147 and led the team to the Eastern Conference Finals once. In his first season, Carlisle boasted an impressive 61-21 record with Indiana.

His return is a big one for the Pacers as they attempt to shake off the disappointing 2020-21 season. Bringing in a veteran head coach with a lot of playoff experience is exactly what the Pacers needed. They also managed to bring him in well before the NBA Draft in order to give the team a sense of direction as they attack the offseason.

The biggest hurdle for Carlisle will be his roster construction. While Nate Bjorkgren did not have much time to shape his roster last season, the Pacers are giving Carlisle the entire offseason to change things as he sees fit. Will we finally see the blockbuster trade surrounding one of the centers?

It should also be noted that the Pacers are paying a hefty salary for Carlisle so the expectation should not be to rebuild. It appears as if the front office is ready to make some moves and compete in the Eastern Conference next season. Officially, Rick Carlisle is back to lead the Indiana Pacers to a playoff run.

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