Rick Carlisle's first season back as the head coach of the Indiana Pacers has not gone according to plan with a 25-55 record, but he doesn't plan on joining the front office any time soon.
"I came here to coach," he told reporters when addressing speculation he might switch roles with the franchise. "I want to put this to rest once and for all."
Carlisle has missed time this season on multiple occasions, sitting out four games in December after he tested positive for COVID-19 and missing a two-game road trip in March because of personal reasons.
Yet the 62-year-old's comments indicate he plans on leading the Pacers into the future as they perhaps look to build around Tyrese Haliburton.
Carlisle has been a head coach in the NBA since the 2001-02 campaign for the Detroit Pistons, Pacers and Dallas Mavericks. He notably won a championship with the Mavericks in 2010-11 when they defeated LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, and this is his second stint as the head coach of the Pacers.
He was previously the leader on the sidelines for four seasons from 2003-04 through 2006-07.
Indiana made the playoffs three times in that span, including an Eastern Conference Finals appearance, but has struggled to replicate that success during what has been a trying season that saw it trade Domantas Sabonis and Caris LeVert.
Myles Turner and Malcolm Brogdon have also missed significant time with injuries, making it all the more difficult to compete in the Eastern Conference.
Fortunately for the Pacers, there is some optimism for the future with Haliburton aboard, and Carlisle plans on coaching him as the franchise looks to put this season behind it.