Done deal: Carlisle, Mavs have verbal agreement Print
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Friday, 09 May 2008 17:49
NBA Headline News

 DALLAS (AP) -Rick Carlisle will be the new coach of the Dallas Mavericks, a decision expected for nearly a week but slowed by contract negotiations.
The papers aren't signed yet, but team owner Mark Cuban confirmed in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Friday night that a verbal deal is in place.
The contract ``will be signed tomorrow (Saturday),'' with a news conference Wednesday because Cuban will be out of town until then.
Reached late Friday, Carlisle said: ``Whatever Mark told you is what's going on. I'm not going to make any comments about it right now.''
Carlisle was the only candidate the Mavericks interviewed after firing coach Avery Johnson the morning after their second straight first-round playoff exit.
Cuban had never fired a coach or hired a coach from outside the organization. While he and Donnie Nelson, the team's president of basketball operations, considered other candidates, they settled on Carlisle pretty quickly. A few interviews later, they began working on the contract and things dragged on.
This is Carlisle's third time as head coach and his first stint in the Western Conference, where having Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki doesn't guarantee making the playoffs. Carlisle went 281-211 over two seasons in Detroit, then four in Indiana. He made the playoffs his first five years, then lost his job with the Pacers after missing out in 2007. He spent this past year out of the NBA, but following it closely working for ESPN.
Although Dallas has won at least 50 games and been in the playoffs eight straight years, the club is getting older and has a maxed-out salary cap, meaning it will take some creative deals to shake up the roster.
Kidd was hoping for a coach who would encourage more of a free-flowing offense, while Nowitzki wanted someone who would still emphasize defense. Other players probably wanted someone with a looser grip than the controlling Johnson, but that's not necessarily the case with Carlisle.
Carlisle, 49, was the Coach of the Year in his first year in charge with the Pistons. He made the conference finals the next two years - with Detroit, then Indiana. The Pistons fired him and replaced him with Larry Brown. Carlisle ended up leading the Pacers to a franchise-record for wins, but they lost to Brown and Detroit a series shy of the NBA finals, which the Pistons went on to win.
After winning 61 games his first season in Indiana, his teams won fewer games each season, bottoming out at 35 finals in his final year.
Still, the man who fired him from that job is now running the Knicks and considered hiring Carlisle there. He also was considered for the Chicago job.
A native of upstate New York, Carlisle was the co-captain of the Virginia team that made the Final Four in 1984, the year after Ralph Sampson left. He was a first-round pick of the Boston Celtics and was a backup on their 1986 championship team.
He spent three seasons with the Celtics, one with the Knicks and was briefly with the Nets in 1989. He broke into coaching that year with New Jersey, working under Bill Fitch and Chuck Daly. He spent the next three seasons working for Portland, then went to Indiana to be an assistant under his old Celtics teammate Larry Bird.
Bird guided the Pacers to the NBA finals in 2000, then resigned. Isiah Thomas was hired over Carlisle, who wound up getting his big break with the Pistons.
The Mavericks are only two years removed from the NBA finals and one season beyond a 67-win campaign that included Nowitzki being named league MVP. Yet after the two quick playoff exits, Cuban decided things must change for them to keep pace with the old guard like San Antonio and with up-and-comers like New Orleans.
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Associated Press Writer Jeff Carlton in Dallas contributed to this report.
 

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