P.J. Carlesimo understood where he’d gone wrong. He’d rethought how he had coached in other cities, and he’d seen Gregg Popovich up close, and he’d take a new approach to a new job.

That would be to Seattle — where he lasted 95 games before Sam Presti fired him.

Carlesimo couldn’t help it. He remained who he had always been, a head coach who pushed too hard, barking when he wasn’t bullying.

But some see changes in him now, and maybe that’s because he won’t face the Spurs tonight as an NBA head coach.

But as an interim.

When Carlesimo arrived in San Antonio in 2002, he was a reclamation project. Popovich has never had an assistant with such big-stage experience, nor one with a past as controversial.

When Latrell Sprewell put his hands around Carlesimo’s neck, blemishes were left on both men. Other coaches had screamed at their players, after all, and had never been assaulted. So it was assumed Carlesimo wasn’t an innocent.

NBA officials likely thought the same. After Golden State fired him, only one team approached him over the next few years about a head-coaching job. Carlesimo wasn’t sure it was anything more than a polite nod.

So he worked TV, softening his image, and he rehabbed the rest assisting Popovich. Part of that process was recognizing who he had been.