The Pacers’ influence in Big D continued to rise Monday as multiple sources including ESPN reported former Indiana Pacers coach Jim O’Brien will join the Dallas Mavericks‘ as Coach Rick Carlisle’s top assistant. O’Brien was his successor in Indiana after Carlisle left Indiana in 2007. He will replace Terry Stotts, who will be taking over as head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Stotts follows Dwayne Casey in departing Dallas to take a head coaching job. Casey left the Mavericks in June 2011 to take over the reins of the Toronto Raptors.
O’Brien is the son-in-law of Hall of Fame coach Jack Ramsey.
O’Brien has significant head coaching experience, previously coaching the Boston Celtics and Phildelphia 76ers as well. His teams reached the playoffs three of five years. His stint in Indiana was less successful, however as the Pacers missed the playoffs three years in a row and missed the .500 mark each time. He was fired in his fourth season around the halfway mark when Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird relieved O’Brien of his coaching duties in January of 2011.
Running the Celtics, O’Brien boasted a 303-327 record as the head coach but left the team in a surprise move after having conflicts with Boston general manager Danny Ainge regarding the direction of the team. He went to the Philadelphia 76ers in 2004 but was replaced by Maurice Cheeks after one year despite having a winning season and making the playoffs. O’Brien’s best season in 2001-2002 when the Celtics had a 49-33 record and reached the Eastern Conference Finals.
New additions Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones will be two players who have direct experience with O’Brien, having just arrived in the summer’s deal which sent Ian Mahinmi to Indiana.