Mavs confident of retaining coach

Updated: May 7, 2012, 7:41 PM ET
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com

DALLAS -- Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle is at the end of his four-year contract, but president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said Sunday that the franchise's lone championship coach isn't getting away.

"He likes us, we like him and those situations generally get worked out," Nelson said the day after the defending champions were swept out of the first round by the Oklahoma City Thunder. "Rick's not going anywhere. This is certainly not the time and place to get into depth on that issue, but I don't foresee that situation changing."

There has yet to be a time and place for discussion of a new deal for Carlisle, who was hand-picked by Nelson and handed the reins without the team interviewing any other candidates.

"This has been a great opportunity for me and my family and we love it here," Carlisle said. "That's as far as I'm going to go talking about it."

He did make some statements Sunday that might indicate he will be back for a fifth season and beyond.

"Going forward, we've got an extremely attractive situation here," Carlisle said. "We've got a great owner, it's a great city, the physical setup is second to none in terms of the proximity of everything and this is a franchise that's always going to be in the hunt."

Neither Mavs owner Mark Cuban nor Carlisle would discuss the future Saturday. Cuban said before Saturday's Game 4 that he is sticking to his policy of reviewing situations at the end of the season, and Carlisle declined to discuss it following the 103-97 loss to the Thunder.

"No, look, I said it before, Rick's not going anywhere," Nelson said. "There's situations to be hammered out and that's one of the main ones we got to contend with and deal with here in the near future."

In four seasons with the Mavs, Carlisle has compiled a 198-114 record in the regular season and a 23-18 mark in the playoffs. The Mavs have twice fallen in the first round, once in the second round and went 16-5 last season in charging to the championship with a team that was not expected to make such a run.

Cuban dismantled the title team heading into this season, as key free agents Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea and DeShawn Stevenson signed elsewhere.

The Mavs finished 36-30 this season, ending the franchise's 11-year run of 50-win seasons, or the equivalent of a .600 winning percentage.

"As great as the championship run was, there always comes a time when you have to look forward and that's where things are at now," Carlisle said. "I look at this summer for this franchise as a summer of opportunity and excitement and I don't think anybody should look at it any differently."

Dallas faces a future with an aging team and a number of free agents. It will have cap space this summer for the first time in Cuban's ownership to chase high-dollar free agents.

"It ended a little faster than we thought, it was a shock to the system, really," Nelson said. "We've got our work cut out for us and obviously we've got some decisions to make with guys in the locker room and free agency and such."

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