Friday, May 9, 2008

Carlisle and Mavs agree to four-year deal

Rick Carlisle didn’t waste any time getting to work … even if he didn’t have the job just yet. The 48-year-old coach ran his first practice in, of all places, Dirk Nowitzki’s living room.

Carlisle’s tour of Mavericks with influence last week took him to the home of last year’s MVP. While discussing strategy and his vision, Carlisle got Nowitzki up off the couch for an impromptu demonstration of Larry Bird post-up moves. Somewhat odd? Sure, but Nowitzki appreciated the enthusiasm.

So did everyone else. The search for the ninth coach in club history targeted Carlisle from the start and as the process progressed, it became apparent the search would be one and done. The franchise finalized a four-year contract with Carlisle on Friday night, with the signing expected Saturday and an introductory press conference scheduled for Wednesday.

“Incredibly excited that Rick has come on board,” owner Mark Cuban said. “His coaching record speaks for itself. He has a unique ability to coach multiple styles of play, which we think makes him a great fit for the Mavs.”

Carlisle replaces Avery Johnson, who was dismissed on April 30 – the day after New Orleans eliminated the Mavs in the first round. Dallas is the third coaching stop for Carlisle after previous stints with Detroit and Indiana.

President of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said that Carlisle fit the profile of “balanced winner” the organization was looking for after Johnson’s tenure. Not only is Carlisle a proven NBA coach – five playoff trips in six seasons – but his teams are traditionally sound defensively and solid offensively.

During his last job as an assistant, Carlisle served as “offensive coordinator” for an Indiana team that reached the NBA Finals. He also spent training camp last October with the Phoenix Suns studying Mike D’Antoni’s offense.

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