Rick Carlisle one year after moving on from the Mavericks, and now leading the Pacers
The Pacers head coach looks forward to brighter days in Indy. "It’s going to be a lot of work, but the franchise is in an exciting position in a lot of ways."
It was on this date one year ago that Rick Carlisle finalized his decision to move on from Dallas, a place he called home for 13 years.
It was surprising from the standpoint of having good ownership in Mark Cuban and a top five player in Luka Doncic. But change can be good and in this case, a fresh start was positive for both sides.
Until this postseason, when the Mavericks lost in the conference finals to the Golden State Warriors, they hadn’t won a playoff series since their 2011 NBA Championship. It had been a decade.
One year ago — on June 17, 2021 — Carlisle elected to move on from his role as Mavericks head coach. "Rick informed me today about his decision to step down as head coach," Cuban said then in a statement.
For more insight on Carlisle and this decision, I spoke with ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, who has covered Carlisle and the Mavericks for many years and broke the news of Carlisle returning to Indiana on June 24, 2021.
“Rick referred to his resignation as something that was mutually beneficial,” MacMahon said on the Fieldhouse Files podcast. “I would agree with that.
“Here’s where this essentially came down to: Rick knew that if he stuck around in Dallas, he would’ve gone into next season on an extreme hot seat. I’ve reported — it’s no secret, I mean if you have league pass, you can see it with your own eyes — there was definite tension between Rick and Luka Doncic. And look, Luka is not the only player on the roster who had some feelings about Rick or had tuned him out a little bit.
“So for him, why stick around Dallas when it’s a matter of when and not if he’s eventually going to get booted out? He could determine the when — when there was an opportunity for him to find a landing spot that he liked. I think when Rick turned in his resignation, he knew there was going to be a job waiting for him.”
One thing that should not be overlooked was Cuban’s declining to seek compensation from the Pacers considering Carlisle was still under contract for two more seasons. That was out of respect for Carlisle, the winningest coach in Mavs history. They were together for 13 seasons and won a championship.