Bulls Division Rival Hire Championship Coach

Getty Rick Carlisle

The Chicago Bulls‘ Central Division rivals have been busy this week.

The Detroit Pistons secured the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, while the Bulls were forced to part with their selection to close out the deal that brought them Nikola Vucevic earlier this year. The Cleveland Cavaliers got yet another Top-5 pick as they landed at No. 3. Perhaps the Indiana Pacers have made the move that have the biggest immediate impact.

On Thursday, the Pacers announced the return of their former head coach, Rick Carlisle to the same role he held 14 years ago:

Carlisle walked away from his job with the Dallas Mavericks after a seismic shift in the team’s front office.

Now he takes the lead with an organization he’s very familiar. Carlisle was an assistant with the Pacers from 1997-2000. He served as the head coach from 2003-07 before joining the Mavericks where he’d been before re-signing last week.

Carlisle’s Coaching Record: Fails and Successes

Carlisle has an impressive career coaching record in 19 seasons at the helm of an NBA team. His career coaching record win percentage is .548 in the regular season .474 in the postseason, and he led the Mavericks to an NBA championship in 2011 when Dirk Nowitzki and veteran-laden bunch upset LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the NBA Finals.

Carlisle has also notoriously clashed with players throughout his coaching career. There was a very high-profile on-court argument with Rajon Rondo in 2015, which you can see in the video below:

Rajon Rondo & Rick Carlisle Exchange Words | February 24, 2015 | NBA 2014-15 SeasonToronto Raptors vs Dallas Mavericks February 24 2015 Full Game Highlights Rajon Rondo & Rick Carlisle Fight Exchange HD NBAshowtimeHD LeBron James Kyrie Irving Kevin Love Carmelo Anthony Jeremy Lin Rajon Rondo did not play the final 20-plus minutes of the Dallas Mavericks' 99-92 win over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night, after a profanity-laced…2015-02-25T10:50:19Z

Rondo and coach clashes are nothing new, but there is more to it with Carlisle than a run-in with a headstrong veteran point guard.

Former Celtics big man, NBA champion and ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins said players “never say anything good about Carlisle.”

Players I talk to never say anything good about Rick Carlisle – Kendrick Perkins | The JumpRachel Nichols, Dave McMenamin and Kendrick Perkins react to Mark Cuban's comments on the "Gen Z" Dallas Mavericks with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, with Perkins saying coach Rick Carlisle's former players don't say anything good about him. #TheJump #NBA #Sports ✔ Subscribe to ESPN+: plus.espn.com/ ✔ Get the ESPN App: espn.com/espn/apps/espn ✔ Subscribe to…2019-10-15T22:13:40Z

Carlisle reportedly got into an argument with Mavericks star Luka Doncic. That might have been the tipping point as the now 61-year-old Carlisle is headed back to the Pacers.

Twitter Reacts to Carlisle Hire

As you might expect, Twitter went wild as Carlisle’s news hit the airwaves. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski expounded on the Pacers’ efforts to get a deal with Carlisle done.

The Athletic’s Tim Cato called out Carlisle’s endorsement of Jason Kidd as the team’s next head coach.

ESPN’s Tim MacMahon had Carlisle’s parting shot on Twitter:

The master of social media reaction posts, Josiah Johnson had this funny gif relating Carlisle’s exit to Brad Stevens’ decision to move up from coach to general manager.

Sean Saxton, a hardcore Bulls fans pointed out the moves Bulls rivals have been making over the past week.

Bulls fans still have hope. Zach LaVine has blossomed into a star on the cusp of superstardom. He’s headed to play in the Olympics where he might just be able to make some connections with other stars that can improve the Bulls’ luck signing free agents.

Vucevic is still one of the most productive centers in the NBA, and Patrick Williams has excellent upside. If things fall into place, it might not matter if the Pistons draft Cade Cunningham, the Cavaliers get yet another young prospect, or who’s coaching the Pacers.

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