View Full Version : Carlisle fired after two seasons with Pistons

05-31-2003, 08:58 AM
Friday, May 30
Updated: May 31, 9:46 AM ET

Carlisle fired after two seasons with Pistons

ESPN.com news services

Fifty victories. A spot in the Eastern Conference finals. It just was not enough to earn a third season in Detroit.

Rick Carlisle was fired as head coach of the Pistons after two seasons, he told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher late Friday.

The team on Saturday denied that Carlisle had been fired, but Pistons president Joe Dumars scheduled a 10:30 a.m. ET news conference Saturday at the team's practice facility in Auburn Hills, Mich., to "discuss the team's coach."

Carlisle's Pistons went 50-32 this season, the best record in the East. Detroit advanced to the conference finals before getting swept by the Nets.

Carlisle's agent said Carlisle intends to meet with the media Saturday. Carlisle said he doesn't know if he wants to pursue another coaching position or return to television.

Carlisle's impressive résumé with the Pistons also includes an NBA Coach of the Year award for the 2001-2002 season, his first season in Detroit.

Carlisle, 42, had one year remaining on his contract for $2 million. The Pistons decided they did not want to give him an extension.

The Pistons are reportedly interested in former 76ers coach Larry Brown.

05-31-2003, 09:43 AM

I am shocked.

This guy is one of the best coaches in the leauge.

If the Mavs and Nellie parted ways, I would take Carlisle over any of the other available coaches.

05-31-2003, 10:10 AM
Silly move.

05-31-2003, 11:08 AM
There it is again, ye olde what-have-you-done-for-me-lately. The guy didn't have an actual PG, just a 2 guard disguised as a PG and no real C. Teams are built with PGs and Cs and he had neither. Detroit had the best record in the East and went to the conference finals. Darko would have come in and made him look like the Coach of the Year again. Extremely short-sited move by Dumars. He should have gone to Maui with Nellie for two weeks to cool off.

05-31-2003, 12:21 PM
what an IDIOTIC move by the pistons.

05-31-2003, 12:29 PM
This move makes little sense. There has to be a LOT of behind the scenes stuff involved here.

05-31-2003, 01:31 PM
With Larry Brown taking his place in Detriot, I wonder if we could see Carlisle coaching the Rockets next season?

05-31-2003, 02:30 PM
I watched Carlisle do an incredible job with the Pacers under Larry Bird as assistant (actually more like co-head coach considering that was Bird's inexperience in coaching), and I thought the Pacers dropped the ball when they hired Thomas instead of sticking with Carlisle. Maybe the Pacers will have a chance to rectify their mistake...

Regardless of that though, Detroit firing Carlisle is a dumb, dumb move. It makes me suspect there might have been things going on behind the scene with Rick, Dumars, or team ownership...

05-31-2003, 03:23 PM
I'm quite shocked, even though they got Brown. I always thought that Carlisle was the single biggest reason for their success (although Brown is a great coach himself).

06-01-2003, 09:06 PM
Its an unjust firing true enough but larry brown's an upgrade.

06-01-2003, 09:33 PM
Clearly the behind the scenes was a phone call to Larry Brown.

06-01-2003, 10:53 PM
Curious firing of Carlisle jeopardizes Dumars' reputation

Commentary: Bob Wojnowski
June 1, 2003

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Joe Dumars looked genuinely pained. Rick Carlisle looked genuinely relieved. It's over, a wildly successful business relationship crushed by . . . what?

By stupid political games. By stubbornness. By ego.

Dumars, considered bold and classy as the Pistons' director of basketball operations, put both reputations on the line by firing Carlisle as Detroit Pistons coach Saturday, which makes no sense by any normal measure. Also baffling is the role of owner William Davidson, who appears to be setting ridiculous standards for improvement.

Theoretically, this could work, because they're paying large money for a proven coach. Good luck to Larry Brown, who had better wear a Teflon suit and reach the NBA Finals. Winning 50 games back-to-back isn't enough. Putting fans in the seats isn't enough. Advancing to the conference finals, two years after the team was 32-50, isn't enough.

Carlisle, coach of the year in 2002, got caught playing the wrong game. That's his mistake, that he didn't adjust to the environment.

He thought the Pistons were just about winning, taking steps. Yes, he was aloof and stubborn. He also was young and bright, and could have learned. Carlisle will do well elsewhere, but even by the nasty standards in pro sports, he got shafted. The only question is, by whom?

By his players? Dumars said players griping about the staid offense was not a factor. I hope it wasn't. If it was, we had better not hear a whimper about Brown.

By the media? Carlisle didn't ooze charm and flexibility, but most people can separate intangibles from results.

By Davidson and The Palace hierarchy? Carlisle said he hadn't talked to the owner, who appeared briefly but left without speaking. Strange political games are nothing new here. Ask Isiah Thomas.

By Dumars? That's the tricky question. It's hard to feel too sorry for Carlisle, who won't have to endure a lame-duck third year, with trust withering. Smiling and joking, he admitted he felt somewhat "liberated."

Clearly, Dumars felt pressure to make a change, with the Pistons poised to take that coveted giant step. If anyone in the organization had doubts about Carlisle's ability to handle youth, they had to address them. It should not have necessitated a firing.

Brown is an upgrade, a brilliant teacher. He's also a wanderer who fixes problems but rarely completes the job. He handled Allen Iverson in Philadelphia, but also lost in the playoffs to Carlisle's Pistons.

Carlisle deserved a contract extension and the opportunity to evolve. Dumars, whose executive savvy earns him some slack, tried to explain why it didn't happen. It had to be the toughest game of his career.

"I don't know if I can sit here and justify this after all the success we've had," Dumars said. "I can't go into every minute detail. This was tough."

Nothing wrong with toughness, but this looks amazingly misguided. If it works, and Brown does something he has never done -- win an NBA title -- we'll all line up to praise Dumars' boldness.

If it doesn't work, there's nowhere else to turn. It's on Dumars now.


Bob Wojnowski writes for the Detroit News.

06-02-2003, 05:49 AM
"Brown is an upgrade, a brilliant teacher. He's also a wanderer who fixes problems but rarely completes the job. He handled Allen Iverson in Philadelphia, but also lost in the playoffs to Carlisle's Pistons."