Pacers’ Rick Carlisle Wants to Coach Despite Front Office Rumors

The Indiana Pacers are out of postseason contention, but head coach Rick Carlisle said he has no intention of leaving the sidelines for a front office gig.

“I want to put this to rest once and for all,” Carlisle said, per Michael Preston, the Pacers’ VP of basketball communications.

“Let me be absolutely clear. I’m here to coach this team. I’m here to coach this team for the long haul if they’ll have me. And I’m not afraid of any aspect of a rebuild one single bit. Not one bit.”

The former Maverick’s head coach signed a 4-year deal with the Pacers for $29 million, plus incentives last summer after spending 13 seasons with Dallas, including their 2011 championship run.

At the time Carlisle told ESPN, “It’s [Indiana] a team of skilled, unselfish guys that play hard. It’s always possible that moves could be made before the season, but I think [GM Kevin Pritchard], and I are both very excited about getting the roster healthy and seeing what this team can be.”

Indiana (25-55) has lost eight straight games and is officially out of the Play-In.

Speculation that Carlise wanted to move to the Pacers’ front office started before the All-Star Game, but the head coach said he is where he wants to be.

“One of the reasons I came back to Indiana — ’cause this is like family to me — my experience here as an assistant and then as a younger head coach is one of the reasons that I’ve been able to have a career that probably would have been beyond my wildest dreams. So I have a great deal of loyalty to this franchise, a great deal of love and respect for [owner] Herb Simon, who’s a trusted friend.”

The underperforming Pacers, who had playoff aspirations at the start of the season, made several moves at the trading deadline, indicating they were focused on future success.

Indiana sent Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday, and Domantas Sabonis to Sacramento for Buddy Hield, Tristan Thompson, and Tyrese Haliburton and traded Caris Lavert to Cleveland for Ricky Rubio and draft picks.