Rick Carlisle is returning to familiar territory.
The Indiana Pacers are hiring Carlisle to be their new head coach, according to multiple reports. The 61-year-old is getting a four-year, $29 million contract, per ESPN.
Carlisle was previously the Pacers’ head coach for four seasons — he was fired in 2007 — before his 13-year run with the Dallas Mavericks. Carlisle, who led the Mavs to an NBA championship in 2011, left the organization last week. He was also an assistant with the Pacers before his first head-coaching gig with the Detroit Pistons.
The Pacers now have the experienced, championship-winning coach they hope can get them over the hump after a failed experiment with Nate Bjorkgren, whom they fired two weeks ago after one turmoil-filled season. The Pacers went 34-38 this season, finishing in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. They crushed the Hornets in the first game of the play-in tournament but lost to the Washington Wizards to miss out on the final playoff spot. Bjorkgren was an assistant on the Raptors’ 2019 championship team.
Carlisle’s Dallas departure added to an already tumultuous offseason for the Mavericks, who parted ways with longtime GM Donnie Nelson amid a report from The Athletic that Luka Doncic’s future with the team is in doubt. The report pointed to the influence of Haralabos Voulgaris, the team’s director of quantitative research and development, on Mark Cuban’s decision-making as the source of friction.
After leading the Mavericks to an NBA title, Carlisle has not won a playoff series since. His Mavericks got bounced in the first round six times, including each of the last two seasons, and missed the playoffs four times. He led the Pacers to four playoff appearances during his first stint with Indiana, reaching the Eastern Conference finals in 2004.