Carlisle's contract status to be addressed later

By Mike Wells
Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle recently met with team president Larry Bird and CEO Donnie Walsh, but a contract extension for Carlisle wasn't discussed.

Carlisle is entering the final year of a four-year deal. Walsh said Thursday the meeting was a standard end-of-season review. He said he plans to talk to Carlisle about his contract later.

"Larry and I just wanted to review the season with him," Walsh said. ". . . It's what we do every year."

Carlisle has led the Pacers to the playoffs, including the Eastern Conference finals in 2004, in each of his three seasons, but they underachieved this season. They were expected to compete for an NBA title, only to finish 41-41 and lose to New Jersey in the first round of the playoffs.

"Everybody involved feels that we are not that far off from being a competitive team again," Carlisle said. "I feel upbeat about that."

There were grumblings within the organization regarding Carlisle's failure to discipline players for on-court behavior, such as frequent complaining to referees. Bird said during his season-ending news conference that Carlisle "probably did lose the team" at times.