Step One For the Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks have a great deal of work to do this summer, and considering how quickly the hands of times are ticking on Dirk Nowitzki’s career, they will have to approach their rebuilding project with a real sense of urgency.
Today they took step one.
As things stand today, there isn’t much left of the Mavericks team that won the championship less than a year ago. Tyson Chandler and a list of intangible players left over the offseason and now the vast majority of the players from this season’s team are no longer under contract. Chief among those are Jason Kidd, Delonte West and Jason Terry, without whom the Mavericks are without a backcourt. The last thing they needed to do was start over in the coach’s office, as well, and today they took a significant step towards putting another championship team around Nowitzki by bringing back the head coach who took him there.
This afternoon the Mavericks announced they had signed Rick Carlisle to a four-year contract extension.
“We are excited that Rick will be back with the Mavericks for at least the next four years,” Owner Mark Cuban said via press release. “He is a proven winner, a great teacher and a coach that will help the Mavericks improve as a team and as an organization.”
Carlisle led the Mavericks to the postseason in each of his four seasons in Dallas and has been named Western Conference Coach of the Month on two occasions (April, 2010 and Feb., 2011). He holds a career 53-46 (.535) postseason record, including an impressive 16-5 run to the 2011 World Championship. Carlisle is one of only 11 individuals to win the NBA Finals as both a player and head coach.
In other words, strong first move for the Mavs as they look to rebuild in what they hope will be record time.
The Mavericks have some cap space to burn, and they hope to start with the point guard position. Deron Williams and Steve Nash are both free agents this summer and the Mavs have designs on each of them, respectively. From there it becomes a matter of convincing free agents to choose Dallas over teams with more money to spend based upon the perennial success of the franchise. With Carlisle and Nowitzki in place, that task becomes monumentally easier.
There’s still a lot of work to be done in Dallas, and it will take a small miracle to put a championship team around Dirk in time for him compete for another title before he retires. There is no question, however, that Carlisle is the right man to lead the team into that future, and he now has the contract and vote of confidence from the team to do just that.