Mavericks: Is Rick Carlisle Worth Extension?


The Dallas Mavericks are rumored to be discussing a long-term contract extension with head coach Rick Carlisle just ahead of the 2015-16 regular season.

As the 2015-16 NBA regular season is about to begin for the Dallas Mavericks, owner Mark Cuban is believed to be close to locking up head coach Rick Carlisle with a long-term contract extension. According to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News, Carlisle’s services could be secured through at least the 2021 season.

This development should be received quite well by Mavericks Nation. After all, Carlisle is the only coach in Mavericks history to deliver an NBA championship. There’s virtually no evidence to suggest that he can’t do it again, and next time with a completely different corps of talent than he may have right now.

No, Carlisle won’t be judged by anything the Mavericks may not accomplish this season.

Following a summer that some perceived as a failure after failing – again – to land a ‘big fish’ free agent that the franchise has been waiting to catch, the Mavericks aren’t believed to be in any position to contend this season. The reasons are many, which include the fact that Dallas plays in a Western Conference that might be better than it’s ever been.

However, the Mavericks should be in position to field a better team than many expect, an idea echoed by SportDFW contributor Myka Williams. It’s true that the Mavericks may be lacking that young superstar that’s often required to drive deep into the playoffs, but Carlisle has never had that player, unless you count power forward Dirk Nowitzki, which is appropriate.

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During that championship run of 2010-11, literally nobody expected Dallas to manhandle the entire NBA playoff bracket the way it did. This run included a four-game sweep of the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers as well as a six-game NBA Finals victory against the eventual back-to-back champion Miami Heat.

Just two seasons ago, the Mavericks were far from a contender during the regular season, yet Dallas found a way to force a seven-game series in the opening round of the Western Conference Playoffs against a San Antonio Spurs team that would go on to win another NBA championship while breaking a string of back-to-back titles for Miami.

The point is that Carlisle finds a way to win more often than not, and he does so with rosters that might not have the ‘wow factor’ that a small number of other NBA teams often do.

How close are the Mavericks to defending champion Golden State? My guess would be that Dallas could be close to the Warriors within the next year or two – keep in mind that Carlisle will have a strong foundation in place for the next several seasons while also seeking the heir apparent to Nowitzki as the face of the franchise.

What coach would you rather have doing that than the proven Carlisle, a 56-year old former player and successful coach that will pass Don Nelson as the the most successful coach in franchise history with his second win this season?

Think about that for a minute.

While it’s true that you never want to keep paying for yesterday’s success when there won’t be more coming, Carlisle is the exception to the rule that exists in most professional sports today. There’s a gross lack of patience where head coaches are concerned in just about all major sports, a tremendous flaw not exhibited by Cuban and general manager Donnie Nelson.

"I hate to say it, but coaches don’t get as much time as they used to when it comes to building a foundation. It used to be that you could take a bad team and develop it into a good one. I got as much satisfaction out of that as anything. Now, you have to win every game, and if you stub your toe at all, you’re vulnerable to get fired.Nelson understands that this is how things have evolved in the NBA, but he also understands that this doesn’t at all make it right."

Otherwise, Carlisle could be coaching just about anywhere these days, especially after failing to reach the postseason as recently as 2012-13. Cuban and Nelson could have panicked like a couple of teenagers playing NBA 2K16 on Playstation 4.

Instead, they know what they’ve got and they intend to keep it.

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