Dallas Mavericks: Jerry Sloan
Carlisle, like coaches around the league, was stunned by Sloan’s sudden resignation Thursday after 23 years at the helm of the Utah Jazz. And he was annoyed by the "fodder and hearsay" that Sloan left due to a rift with point guard Deron Williams, which was reportedly rooted in the coach's refusal to change and cede control to the perennial All-Star.
"He has been a master of adjusting to the way the game has changed, the way his personnel has changed," said Carlisle, who spent a handful of days learning from Sloan during training camp when taking a year off from coaching in 2000. "He did almost all the play-calling in the Malone-Stockton years, because that's the way John and Karl were comfortable. The system they've adopted in the last five or six years with Deron Williams, the point guard did the majority of the play-calling. It was a flow offense.
"I really marvel about how he's been able to adjust to the game over that period of time. His contributions to coaching and coaches have been gigantic. I'm one that really appreciates what he's brought to the game."
Carlisle, who has also been a head coach in Detroit and Indiana, predicted with extreme confidence that no NBA coach would ever stay with one team for so long again. Carlisle marveled at Sloan's ability to consistently prepare his teams so well and get his players to give so much effort for so long.
"The guy has just stood for everything that was right about our league for such a long period of time," said Carlisle, the Mavs' eighth head coach since Sloan was promoted to the Jazz's top spot in 1988.
|It's time for your Daily Dime with Marc Stein as he joins the show to talk about how much competition the Spurs will be for the Mavs as well as how realistic it would be to try and get Deron Williams from Utah.
Well, perhaps it’s a possibility, but far from a probability. Don’t get your hopes up, even though Williams has a home in Carrollton and often works out with Mavericks during the summer.
Nobody knows exactly what the rules will be, given the looming labor uncertainty. But, based on the current structure, it’s extremely unlikely that the Mavs will have space to sign a max-contract player if Williams opts out of his contract after next season.
The Mavs only have three players locked up to guaranteed deals for 2012-13: Dirk Nowitzki ($20.9 million), Shawn Marion ($8.6 million) and Brendan Haywood ($8.3 million). It would be a no-brainer to pick up the $2.3 million option for Rodrigue Beaubois, and it’s a safe bet that they’d also pick up Dominique Jones’ $1.3 million option.
That’s a total of $41.4 million. The cap this season is $58.044 million, so the Mavs could have room if they don’t sign another player to a guaranteed deal for that season. And that would mean letting Tyson Chandler go after this season, which nobody wants to see happen.
It’s probably more likely that the Mavs could trade for Williams before next season’s deadline, if he decides to give the Jazz a trade-or-lose-me-for-nothing ultimatum. The Mavs would have a pair of sizable expiring contracts (Jason Terry and Jason Kidd), the Roddy B. chip, picks and cash.
It’s hard to imagine that the Jazz wouldn’t get better offers -- probably from teams that aren’t conference rivals -- for a perennial All-Star point guard just entering his prime.
Put a permanent homecoming for Williams in the category of pipe dream, right next to the Mavs' pursuit of Chris Paul.
Personally, I don't see the Jazz letting Williams sniff free agency (he has a player option for 2012-13) and I think he'll be content to stay with the team that selected him third overall in 2005, especially if coach Jerry Sloan has no plans of retiring.
But, Williams certainly likes what he sees from the Mavs in two games, both won by Dallas in different ways. On Dec. 3 in Salt Lake City, Williams scored just 12 points and Dallas' tight defense held him to a single point in the second half. Saturday night in Dallas, Williams was brilliant, scoring 34 points in leading his team back from a 29-4 hole, but for a second time the Jazz were held below 100 points.
Williams then joined a growing line of players and coaches around the league heaping praise on a Mavs team that has won 12 in a row and is 19-4.
"This is the best Mavs team I've seen since I've been in the NBA," Williams said. "Across the board they have so much talent and depth. But, they're just playing a lot better defensively. This is by far their best defensive team we've seen from them. Coach [Rick] Carlisle is doing a great job offensively. You know you're going to score points, but they're getting stops and making plays when they need to."
Assuming Carlisle begins a fourth season in Dallas, he can pass the 181 games won as coach of the Indiana Pacers from 2003-07. Overall, Carlisle is 400-274 (.593).
"It just shows I've had a lot of good players and a lot of good staffs and I've been fortunate to have great ownership in all three places that I've been," Carlisle said. "I just want to keep doing whatever I can do and the staff can do to put our guys in position to be successful. That's what it's about."
Assuming the Mavs will win more than 39 games this season, Carlisle will overtake ESPN analyst Hubie Brown (424) -- who will call Friday night's game at Utah -- at No. 34 on the all-time list. According to ESPN Research, Carlisle's next targets are No. 37 Bernie Bickerstaff (415), No. 36 Nate McMillan (418), whose Portland Trail Blazers are off to a rocky start, and No. 35 John Kundla (423).
Another nugget from ESPN Research: Carlisle's record with the Mavs in games decided by five points or fewer is 40-14 (.741).
As for the coach Carlisle will butt heads with Friday night? Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan is just 805 wins away on the all-time list.
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