Less than a week after stepping down as head coach of the Dallas Mavericks, Rick Carlisle accepted an offer to become the next head coach of the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers and Carlisle quickly came to terms on a four-year, $29 million deal.
Indiana was obviously looking to replace Nate Bjorkgren with a veteran, having had to fire the 46-year-old after just one season with the organization.
It will mark an interesting change for Carlisle after being in charge of the Mavericks for 13 years and helping lead the team to its only franchise championship.
According to ESPN NBA insider Tim MacMahon, prior to officially departing for his new job, Carlisle sent one final message to Mavs star Luka Doncic.
“I just sent him a message thanking him for three amazing years,” he said.
“I learned many things from him, and I told him that I’m glad I’m only going to see him twice a year. I mean it in the most complimentary way, of course. I think he’s the best young player in the world. I think these three years set up as a major springboard for the next 10 for him.
“I expect him to be an NBA champion. I expect him to be a multiple MVP winner. I just have an amazing level of respect for his abilities and his grasp of the game. He’s truly a once-in-the-generation type player.”
The Bucks owner’s daughter decided to bring 2021 in with a bang by stripping all her clothes off. https://t.co/UgzhEEna4o
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 7, 2021
Obviously Carlisle’s departure was shrouded in controversy. There was talk of Doncic openly taunting him on the Mavericks bench and at least one genuinely accepted reason for why he really opted to leave.
That being said, it’s nice to see that on his way out the veteran coach could at least stop to offer some kind words of encouragement to a player that will likely be one of the faces of the NBA for many years to come.