In what was arguably the most surprising departure of the NBA season, longtime Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle stepped down mere days after his team were eliminated in the NBA playoffs. Carlisle's reasons have been vague, but a new report may hint at the answer.
Appearing on The Rich Eisen Show, Sam Amick of The Athletic said that Carlisle may have stepped down as a result of an internal power struggle with Mavs executive Bob Voulgaris. Amick identified Voulgaris as the Mavs' "shadow GM," and someone who owner Mark Cuban had given more power than Carlisle was comfortable with.
One incident Amick pointed to was Voulgaris all but mandating that Carlisle play Boban Marjanovic during the NBA playoffs. For obvious reasons, that didn't sit well with the former NBA championship coach.
Amick also noted that the relationship between Carlisle and Mavs star forward Luka Doncic wasn't great either. He said that the two had worked to resolve their differences, but that there were still "issues there."
Rick Carlisle was the longest-tenured and winningest coach in Mavericks franchise history. He took over the team in 2008 and won them an NBA title in 2011.
But after winning that title over the Miami Heat, the Mavericks struggled to make deep playoff runs. And that was if they could even reach the playoffs in the first place.
In the 10 seasons following their NBA title, the Mavs made the playoffs six times. They were eliminated in the first round each time.
It's possible that Carlisle would have been fired if he hadn't resigned.
But that doesn't make the situation in Dallas any less confusing.