The Indiana Pacers managed to send shockwaves to the NBA community after hiring Rick Carlisle. The ex-Dallas Mavericks head coach, which recently parted ways with his former team after rounds of tumultuous guesswork, will be coming back to help lead a franchise in a current state of flux after a disappointing 2020-21 campaign.
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon broke the news, reporting that Carlisle and the Pacers agreed to a four-year, 29 million contract, a relatively lucrative deal for the franchise.
The hire came as a surprise to many, especially with the veteran and highly-respected coach linked to other star-studded teams with similar coaching vacancies. While his connections and history in Indy made him a popular choice among pundits and fans alike, traction between both parties was as quiet as it could be.
Carlisle, who already won a championship with Dallas in 2011, reinstalls himself on a Pacers squad itching to not only get back to the postseason after a one-year hiatus, but also make postseason noise—a goal that has been quite elusive for Indiana, with their last playoffs series win coming in 2014.
On the surface, the front office and the ownership made a bold move, but overall, given the team’s needs and deficiencies which were exacerbated this season, Rick Carlisle leading Indiana should give fans a lot of things to be hopeful about. Here are three immediate reactions to the coaching hire.