Carlisle takes back Pacers for 2nd time after leaving Mavs

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By MICHAEL MAROT

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Rick Carlisle returns to Indiana to coach the Pacers after deciding his time at the helm of Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks is over.

Carlisle confirmed Thursday to The Associated Press that he had agreed to return to the club he coached for four seasons from 2003 to 2007. He led the Pacers to the Eastern Conference final in his first season.

Carlisle, 61, decided to leave the Mavericks last week, a day after general manager Donnie Nelson left the club. Dallas owner Mark Cuban said it was Carlisle’s decision to leave.

After a decade as an assistant coach, Carlisle’s first head coaching position was with Detroit in 2001. He spent two seasons with the Pistons, leaving them after leading them to the Eastern Finals in 2003.

Carlisle will be the Pacers’ third coach in less than 12 months. Nate McMillan was fired in August after four straight first-round playoff outings. McMillan replacement Nate Bjorkgren was fired after a tumultuous season with Indiana.

Pacers are betting Carlisle, a former assistant to Larry Bird’s coaching staff, will bring stability to a veteran squad that was knocked out in the prelims, ending a streak of five straight playoff appearances .

Carlisle has an overall record of 836 to 689 starters with the Pacers, Pistons and Mavs. He has spent the last 13 seasons in Dallas, going 555-478 and winning the franchise’s only NBA title in 2011. With Indiana, Carlisle went 181-147 in four seasons.

What they get at Carlisle is something they didn’t have at Bjorkgren – a coach with a long track record.

The question will be how it fits?

The players told Pritchard in exit interviews that they believed Bjorkgren to be a micromanager and this resulted in issues both in private and in public, such as a shouting match between backup center Goga Bitadze and assistant coach. Greg Foster.

In Dallas, there have been complaints and similar results about Carlisle.

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AP sports writer Schuyler Dixon contributed.

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