Pacers scout Carl Nicks moves over to player relations

In an effort to better assist the players in the locker room and with any issues they have — both personal and professional — Indiana Pacers scout Carl Nicks is moving into a new role with the team as the Manager of Player Relations.

Nicks, an Illinois native who graduated from Indiana State in 1980, is beginning his ninth season with the franchise. Larry Bird, his former teammate in Terre Haute, brought Nicks on as a scout in 2005-06.

Carl Nicks with his good friend, Larry Bird.

Carl Nicks with his good friend, Larry Bird.

Nicks was hired by Carl Daniels, who started with the franchise one month ago as the new Vice President of Player Relations, replacing Clark Kellogg. Daniels interviewed five people for the newly created position. Nicks will report to Daniels, and work alongside Heather Denton and Drew Franklin.

“He’s got a good background for this position,” Daniels said of Nicks. “He knows some of the guys. He’s been in the organization for eight years and have people have nothing but positive things to say about him in the organization. And I know he’s going to do a good job of being a resource to the guys, particularly on the road — someone that they can go to just to talk about stuff other than basketball.

“We don’t talk basketball. We leave that to the coaches.”

And that’s important, especially considering the internal issues last season. It wasn’t all with each other, but the role will be in helping the player handle off-the-court issues and problems that arise. He’s there to listen in and help guide and mentor players with issues they face on a daily basis.

“Early last year, we were a championship team, no doubt,” Nicks said after watching the first day of training camp on Tuesday. “And then some things happened and I feel like if there was someone in the locker room with a little bit of credibility that could gauge them and see what was going on and how the guys talked about it, I think that would’ve helped us out.

“I think that’s something that’s needed in the locker room, someone that’s not judgmental and not trying to be a coach. Just someone that they can come vent to, — about everything — almost like garage talk. I feel like I’m that person, I feel like I have the skill set to deal with it because I played and I’ve been in the NBA locker room.

Nicks was drafted 23rd overall in the 1980 draft by the Denver Nuggets. He was in the league for three seasons and for three different teams (also Utah Jazz and Cleveland Cavaliers). He concluded his professional career in 1989 over in France.

“I know when I played, I had somebody that I could trust just to come and talk to and gripe to because we all need that,” he said.

This subject isn’t brand new to the 55-year-old. Prior to joining the Pacers, he did mentoring work at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for seven years, and while he finished up working on his master’s degree.

“That work I was doing comes right into to play with what I’m going to do with these guys,” Nicks said.

He never completed the psychology degree because Bird got him back in the NBA as a scout.

Daniels plans to travel with the team a couple times a month, whereas Nicks will join the team for each trip. That may sound like a lot of time on the road, but it’s nothing for Nicks, formerly a college scout for the team.

“I grinded on the road for eight years as a scout,” he said.

This career move wasn’t planned by Nicks. He received a phone call “out of the blue” asking if he was interested in the position.

“I love scouting,” Nicks said, “but it’s a new challenge and one of the things that was exciting about the position is that during the interview process and stuff in Chicago, and when the guys come in for the pre-draft workouts, I take them out to lunch and I start developing relationships and I start to get inside their head, get them to open up and I felt like this would be one of my strengths.

“I’m really looking forward to the challenge and I know it’s going to be different.”

Pacers Director of Scouting Ryan Carr said Tuesday that it hasn’t been decided whether or not they will replace Nicks in the scouting department. They did hire Pat Knight as a college scout in July.

[Photo via ISU Magazine]

One Response to Pacers scout Carl Nicks moves over to player relations
  1. Indiana Pacers Executive Moves
    October 1, 2014 | 2:41 pm

    […] also moved Carl Nicks to manager of player relations, a position that will support Daniels, according to Agness. Nicks was previously a scout and has been with the team for eight years. He was a college […]