Cape Breton Post

Pacers hiring Carlisle as coach

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The Indiana Pacers are hiring Rick Carlisle as their head coach for a second time, ESPN reported Thursday.

Carlisle, 61, will sign a four-year, Us$29-million contract, per the report.

He will replace Nate Bjorkgren, who was fired June 9 after one season as head coach. Bjorkgren guided the team to a 34-38 record in 2020-21, and Indiana missed the playoffs after a blowout loss to the Washington Wizards in the play-in tournament.

Carlisle was the Pacers’ coach from 2003-07, and he compiled a 181-147 record over those four seasons. He also was an assistant under Larry Bird from 1997 to 2000 before accepting his first headcoachi­ng job in 2001 with the Detroit Pistons.

“It’s an exciting situation because there’s upside here,” Carlisle told ESPN on Thursday. “Getting back healthy is going to be a big part of that.

“(President of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard) and I have talked extensivel­y about the roster. I like their roster. It’s a team of skilled, unselfish guys that play hard. It’s always possible that moves could be made before the season, but I think Kevin and I are both very excited about getting the roster healthy and seeing what this team can be.”

The hiring comes one week after Carlisle stepped down as head coach of the Dallas Mavericks, the team he guided to its only NBA championsh­ip in 2011. (Reuters)

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