On Wednesday, the Dallas Mavericks announced that president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson would not be returning to the team next season. Just over 24 hours later, head coach Rick Carlisle shared that he also wouldn’t be back with the organization, ending his 13-year stint in Dallas.
Adrian Wojnarowksi broke the news that the third-longest tenured coach in the NBA had decided not to return to the Mavericks for another season. Carlisle wrote a statement to ESPN, in which he revealed that the decision to leave was his alone.
However, a growing rift between him and Mavs star Luka Doncic also might’ve contributed to the head coach’s abrupt departure. According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, there had been “simmering tension” between Carlisle and Doncic as of late, leading to concerns about the pair’s ability to work together moving forward.
“There had been simmering tension between Luka Doncic and Rick Carlisle that was a concern within the Mavs organization,” MacMahon tweeted on Thursday. “The expectation was that he’d return next season, but he’d have been on the hot seat.”
But, Carlisle didn’t last that long. His departure marks the latest in what’s become a complete organization overhaul for the Mavericks.
There had been simmering tension between Luka Doncic and Rick Carlisle that was a concern within the Mavs organization. The expectation was that he'd return next season, but he'd have been on the hot seat. https://t.co/YRJ1fwQ6GQ
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) June 17, 2021
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban issued a touching statement regarding Carlisle and revealed that he just heard of the head coach’s decision this morning.
“I truly love Rick Carlisle,” Cuban said, per MacMahon. “He was not only a good coach but also a friend and a confidant. Our relationship was so much more than basketball. And I know that won’t ever change.”
Carlisle oversaw unprecedented success in Dallas and helped lead the organization to its first and only NBA championship in 2011. He led the Mavericks to the playoffs in nine of his 13 years at the helm but was eliminated in the first round on seven of those occasions.
Although his postseason conversion rate will likely tarnish what he accomplished in the eyes of many, fans in Dallas will never forget what Carlisle did by bringing a title back to the city.
Given his history over the last decade and a half, Carlisle should be able to land with a new team as soon as he wants. Perhaps a change of scenery will be beneficial for both him and the Mavericks.