29 Dec 2003 11:55:43
Has Carlisle already lost his audience? Artest-Carlisle feud


Coming into this season I had several arguments with my friends about
the value of Rick Carlisle as a coach long term within a franchise and
have had the pacer's opening record thrown in my face, deservidly, up
until now. Artest has had issues with carlisle's offensive system,
nothing new for this guy...but how is it handled? How did rick
address it with him specifically...that's the major question and one
that won't be answered until later on....we'll never get it in
writing, but if he didn't learn from his mistakes in detriot, it won't
take long for this team to quit on him.

I've been open with my criticism of Jermaine O'Neal in the past as
well as Harrington, their discipline and maturity mostly...here's a
team built quite well, but with some glaring shortcomings that weren't
addressed during the off-season...in fact, nothing was really
addressed during the off-season....this seemed curious to me as they
did get bounced from the playoffs in the first round...in six games by
a celtics team that was clearly out of gas...

Bird's arrogance may have gotten the best of him here as he seems
determined to take this team further than Isiah did....maybe to prove
a point, who knows...when it comes right down to it, nobody really
cares about the Bird-Isiah feud except for those two.....now he's got
'his guy' in there....track record aside, this guy clearly had
communication issues in detroit, and I predicted that these same
issues would affect him negatively once an issue came up in
indiana...and here we are

Knowing that bird is going to be loyal to 'his guy' I'm guessing that
a trade becomes priority for the next part of this season....from a
front-office perspective....what he should factor in is that Artest
was the only guy giving it his all in the playoffs last year, and
through all of the troubles he went through, isiah had him in the palm
of his hand come the end of the season...o'neal and the others...not
so. The reverse could be in effect here as Carlisle clearly is
going to be on Artest's case from now until something happens.....only
thing is, negotiations will not be as easy as they might have been
coming into this year...and if they trade artest for less than what
he's worth just to get him out of there, what's that going to say to
Jermaine O'Neal who signed a contract under a verbal agreement with
bird that isiah wouldn't be canned? if he sees that there's a door
out of town who's to say the same thing doesn't happen....

What bird is facing right now is a bit of a quandry.....he's got to
rely on Carlisle's ability to right this ship and fast....my guess is
that he went off on him in a bad way, probably in front of his
teammates....since then, artest has basically quit....carlisle going
to the man's house....that either means that they're going with the
military-style of tough love w/ artest, or he knows that he blew it
and needs to make it right....at least to promote the perception that
he knows what he's doing with these guys.....

Being that they play in the same division as the pistons though,
there's no chance in that.....i know i'm biased because of my
prediction, but in situations like this i'm normally about 90% right