On Monday after practice, he told Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas, "I don't think it's a good idea to get into answering karmically-flawed questions like that. I will politely decline that. I will say respectfully decline that."
"Karmically-flawed" ... a brilliant line, and one I intend to steal soon.
The response was to Tim MacMahon's question of, if the Mavericks were locked into a seed after Monday's game, would it change the way Carlisle played the Mavs' regular season finale on Wednesday in Memphis?
I asked Carlisle if, given the circumstances and the roster, his team is right about where it should be this season.
"You know, I don't like that question," he told me.
To which I asked, why?
"Just because. It's karmically-flawed," he said, having recognized the fun of that line.
(To any aspiring journalist - if you can deal with the initial insult during an interview, a good answer may be coming, which makes it worth it).
Because he rarely changes his tone, smiles or shows much emotion, you may not know this is a tremendously bright, and funny, man. Players are never quite sure what to do with his humor, but if you have a sense of humor you can quickly see he is often toying with you.
He may be better for hack writers such as myself than TV cameras, but there is a reason ESPN hired him when he was between coaching gigs during the 2007-'08 season. He is an effective communicator to both players, and viewers.
Hiring Carlisle may be Mark Cuban's best basketball-decision he ever made. Carlisle is 569-398 in his career with one title. He is a total pro.
And whenever he is done coaching, he should return to TV and become every bit the analyst that Steve Kerr, Jeff Van Gundy or Doug Collins.
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