INDIANAPOLIS — The Blue and Gold have been waiting for October 20 since it was announced Rick Carlisle would rejoin the Pacers coaching staff as the head man in charge: the season opener against the Hornets in Charlotte.
“You open on the road and it’s the other team’s home opener it’s always challenging but there’s an element that makes you focus harder,” said Carlisle.
Last time the teams went head-to-head, the Pacers bounced the Hornets from the NBA postseason play-in.
“We have to assert ourselves early,” said Myles Turner. “We’re going into a building where there hasn’t been fans, they have the team back, and they’re going to be there full force. It’ll be a hostile environment.”
The buzz for the season grew even more on Monday, as Malcolm Brogdon signed a two-year, $45M extension.
“One of the reasons I feel really good about this extension is because he wants to be here,” said Carlisle. “Malcolm Brogdon is a special player and a special person. He’s our leader.”
The feeling is mutual for Brogdon, who made his decision primarily because his contract length will align with Carlisle’s.
“He’s a guy that can really relate to everyone,” said Brogdon. “He’s been around every type of player in the NBA.”
“He’s the most experienced, winningest coach I’ve ever had. I’m excited to be around him and his pedigree.”