Carlisle, Brown and the Central Division Coaching Cadre

Is it just me, or does hiring Joe Dumars’ right-hand-man in Detroit still seem a bit like hiring Darth Vader to manage your jedi knight program? It just feels a little off with whatever’s left of the Bucks force … but I’ll get over it.

John Hammond was Bucks GM for only about 5 minutes when a new rumor went into circulation — ESPN sources expect Hammond to pursue Rick Carlisle for the head coaching job. Carlisle, head coach of the Pistons during Hammonds’ first two years with Joe Dumars and is also considered a leading candidate to replace Jim Boylan as Chicago Bulls head coach, if Boylan is fired. Carlisle himself was fired from Detroit after some shaky coaching in the 2003 playoffs and was immediately replaced by … Larry Brown.

Still following this spinning wheel? It’ll come back around, just like Larry Brown, who, by the way is also reportedly interested in the Bulls job.

Carlisle moved on to coach Indiana, building an intense rivalry with Brown’s Pistons, and finishing with the league’s best record in the regular season. In the East finals, Carlisle and Pacers fell to Brown’s Pistons 4-games-to-2. The Pistons went on to win it all. The next season, the first Pacers-Pistons meeting erupted into the infamous brawl that spilled into the stands and knocked the Pacers organization into chaotic mediocrity. Carlisle was let go at the end of last year and is working for ESPN and running the coaches’ union.

If Carlisle is lured to the Bucks by Hammond or goes to work for the Bulls in Chicago, it would be his third Central Division team in less than ten years. Either Chicago or the Bucks would still be looking for a coach, which would make Larry Brown a natural candidate. Hire Brown and it would be his third Central Division team in less than 15 years. The Carlisle-Brown coaching web will have captured four of the five teams in the division, leaving only Lebron’s Cav’s unensnared.

Shouldn’t there be a rule against this sort of familiarity? Call it the “familiarity breeds contempt exception” within Division rivalries. Call it a coaching cartel – they’re out to corner the market on competition; it could be unhealthy for the basketball economy. Or incite another brawl.

Sure, the Bucks are working toward a day when the team actually finds itself in a rivalry, but is the team desperate enough to possibly fuel another Carlisle-Brown showdown? 

If the answer from the new Bucks GM is yes, that’s the good news fans have been waiting years to hear.

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