The Indiana Pacers have signed coach Rick Carlisle to an extension, the team announced Thursday. It is a multiyear deal, a league source confirmed to The Athletic. Here’s what you need to know:
- Over two head-coaching stints with the Pacers that span seven seasons, Carlisle has amassed a 242-251 record.
- Indiana has reached the postseason three times under Carlisle, each season from 2003 to 2005.
- With 897 wins, Carlisle ranks 14th all time among NBA coaches. He sits second among active coaches, trailing only San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
Why extend him now?
Carlisle still had two years left on his deal, which was reported as a four-year contract when he left Dallas for Indiana in 2021. Thus, this might feel early, especially for a team that has won 35 and 25 games in the past two years.
However, extending Carlisle now gets ahead of a potential lame-duck year for 2024-25, and locks the Pacers in with somebody who is still regarded as one of the league’s best X-and-O wizards despite turning 64 this week. The rebuilding Pacers were in playoff contention until Tyrese Haliburton’s injury a year ago, and are in a strong position to keep improving in the coming seasons. League whispers are that Carlisle has also had increasing input in front-office decisions since arriving in Indy.
Finally, we don’t know the exact dollars, but in an era of increasing coaching salaries, this extension may have also helped the small-market Pacers lock in a better rate than they might have faced had they waited. — John Hollinger, NBA senior writer
Carlisle is in his third stint with the Pacers franchise. He was an assistant from 1997 to 2000. He was first hired as the head coach from 2003 to 2007, and he returned as the head coach in 2021.
Rick Carlisle and the Pacers are no strangers to turmoil, which is why it’s only fitting they’re together again
What they’re saying
“It goes without saying that Coach Carlisle is one of the most creative and successful coaches in the history of the league, so there was never a question that he continues to be the right person to lead our team,” Pacers president Kevin Pritchard said in a statement. “His ties to this organization and community run deep, his guidance and leadership are invaluable to our players and staff, and we’re looking forward to working together for years to come as we build something special for our fans.”
(Photo: Matthew Stockman / Getty)