After the past 24 hours consisted of tumultuous front office activity and lots of turnover in Dallas, that trend continued Thursday with Rick Carlisle calling it quits after 13 seasons as the head coach of the Mavericks. During his time there, Carlisle led the Mavs to nine playoff appearances and the 2011 NBA championship.
Still having two years left on his contract, Carlisle decided to call it quits with the organization just a day after the team parted ways with general manager Donnie Nelson. Having said that, Carlisle will definitely have his fair share of suitors this offseason and will more than likely find a new home. So with no with no further ado lets take a look at the three teams that should consider hiring Carlisle this summer. These are the “best teams” in the sense that they represent the best fits, not in terms of their overall quality or their ceiling as teams.
The Milwaukee Bucks and possibly the Philadelphia 76ers could pursue Carlisle, but not until they get eliminated from the playoffs. That might be a technicality, but it's worth noting that if the Sixers and Bucks both advance to the East finals, which they still could do, Carlisle might not be on the market for them. We're going to respect that reality, even though we know that the Sixers and Bucks could lose in the coming days and change this equation.
For now, we're only going to look at teams which have been eliminated from the playoffs which would be ideal fits for Carlisle… but we realize Philadelphia and Milwaukee fans are certainly yearning for Rick Carlisle. We're not ignoring that.
Rick Carlisle team fits:
From one team seeking changes to another, the Boston Celtics still have a major need at head coach after Danny Ainge stepped down and Brad Stevens moved up to the front office. So look no further than former Celtic and NBA champion head coach Rick Carlisle. With Carlisle on the Celtics they'd have a proven winner and a seasoned playoff coach that could take this young and talented squad to the next level.
Let's not forget that in 2014 the Carlisle-coached Mavericks fought tooth and nail with the San Antonio Spurs and forced them into a tough seven-game series in the first round of the playoffs. Although they lost that series, Rick Carlisle showed his ability to do more with less, and on this under-manned and undersized Celtics team he could really do wonders, especially with young stars like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart on their roster.
After not living up to expectations this year, the Wizards are looking for a new coach to come in and change the culture of their team. This is where Rick Carlisle can come in and implement all the necessary changes to their roster. This team very much resembles his Dallas Mavericks team that won the NBA title in 2011.
They've got a perfect mix of veteran stars and leadership with young, athletic, and blossoming talent that has the potential to power through and contend for a title. If there's a coach that knows a thing or two about facing adversity then it's Rick Carlisle, who is the perfect candidate to transform this Wizards team into a dark horse playoff threat in the top-heavy eastern conference.
Already having served as head coach of Indiana previously (2003-2007), this could be a welcome reunion for Carlisle and the Pacers. With his championship pedigree and postseason success on the Mavericks sideline, he would bring new experience and add a new element to this young Pacers squad. Also consider the Pacers have strongly emphasized that they're looking for a seasoned head coach with playoff experience and Rick Carlisle checks off both of those boxes.
The Pacers are a team in dire need of a coaching change that will bring them back to postseason relevance and eastern conference supremacy, so why not take a chance on a reunion with Rick Carlisle? Worst case scenario is they make the playoffs and best scenario is them winning the title. Having said all that, this is a hiring the Pacers should take into strong consideration.