Monday, May 12, 2008

Q&A: Carlisle's first words

Asked if he’s coming to Dallas to rebuild, Rick Carlisle couldn’t help but laugh. The new coach of the Mavericks already knows that staying clear of that R-word is a good idea in these parts.

“The last thing I would ever want to do is use the term ‘rebuilding’ around Mark Cuban,” he said before another chuckle.

Carlisle takes over a franchise that’s reached the playoffs the last eight years and competed for the NBA title less than two years ago. A pair of potential Hall of Famers bookend a roster that’s sure to undergo significant change before training camp opens in October.

The challenge of taking over from Avery Johnson is one Carlisle isn’t backing down from. Despite several other openings and a rewarding year off the sidelines, he couldn’t pass up the chance to coach Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd, and work with Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson.

Carlisle will be introduced as the ninth coach in franchise history Wednesday, but he took time out Monday from his home in Indianapolis to visit with for his first extended interview since taking the job Saturday. He took the call in the basement. Just don’t expect to find him or the Mavs there after he makes the move to Big D. You stayed pretty busy over the last year. Why did you want to get back into coaching and what specifically attracted you to this job?
Rick Carlisle: My plan was to take a year and step away and recharge, do some television work, spend a little more time with the family and get more of a spatial view of the game. I was able to do that. When some of the coaching openings started the happen, I had the opportunity to talk to a few teams and then the Dallas situation came about very abruptly. As soon as Avery left, they called me and asked if I would be interested in talking to them and I said, ‘Sure.’ Donnie and Mark both made their way to Indianapolis, we spent some time talking here and then I went down to Dallas and talked some more. We just got going on the idea of doing a deal and getting this thing done.

How do you view this situation differently from your previous stops in Detroit and Indiana?
This situation is different from the previous two I’ve been in. One of the reasons I feel this is a great opportunity for me is that this is a different collection of players than I’ve had in the past. I’ve coached, to a large extent, power post-up teams. We played through Corliss Williamson and Jerry Stackhouse in the post in Detroit, and in Indiana we played through Jermaine O’Neal and Ron Artest and Al Harrington, so this is a different kind of team.

It’s going to be great for me to have the opportunity to take a different approach. I think this team needs to be more of an up-tempo-type team. We have a great leader in Jason Kidd that I have to give the ball to and let him run the team, which I’ve done with some of the point guards I’ve had in the past. I think there will be a real premium on using the space on the floor and being a real good movement team, but not forgetting about the importance of the defensive end. That’s one of the really important things Avery did in his time here was establish a defensive disposition and commitment. And that’s certainly one of the reasons they’ve had the level of success they’ve had.

Read the rest of this Q&A at

No comments: