The Dallas Mavericks plan to announce Rick Carlisle as the franchise's ninth head coach at a press conference Friday as long as the two sides sign off on the completed contract as expected.
Carlisle's agent, Warren LeGarie, is working in Greece and said he had just received the contract from the Mavs at midnight, 4 p.m. CST Wednesday, and was just getting ready to give it a thorough reading. The contract is expected to be for four years. Financial terms are not known at this time.
"We're still moving forward," LeGarie said.
Carlisle, the former coach of the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers, has been the Mavs' man since Avery Johnson was fired a week ago. Carlisle, 48, is the only candidate known to have interviewed and is the only coach on the market with head coaching experience -- not counting Mike D'Antoni who still works for the Phoenix Suns but appears headed to the Eastern Conference. Jeff Van Gundy took his name out of the running early on, stating that he's not interested in jumping back in next season.
The Mavs wanted a head coach with a sound defensive structure and a creative offensive mind. Carlisle definitely brings the former, but the latter will have to be judged by how he opens things up for poing guard Jason Kidd to excel with Dirk Nowitzki and the rest of the cast.
Carlisle, 281-211 over his career and 30-32 in the playoffs, is considered a demanding, hard-driving coach who can be a micromanager and has something of a history of wearing thin on his players. However, he has had extremely strong beginnings with both of his previous clubs.
A native of Ogdensburg, N.Y., Carlisle played collegiately at Maine and then Virginia, where he spent his first season with Ralph Sampson. Drafted by the Celtics in the third round in 1984, Carlisle won a title in Beantown in 1985-86. The 6-foot-5 guard spent five seasons in the NBA, three with Boston, one with New York and one with New Jersey.
Carlisle will inherit a Mavs team that returns just eight players under contract, including Nowitzki, Kidd, Josh Howard, Jason Terry, Erick Dampier, Jerry Stackhouse, Brandon Bass and Eddie Jones, so plenty of holes remain to be filled and with no financial flexibility to make a big splash.
The Mavs have appeared in eight straight playoffs, but are coming off consecutive first-round losses and have lost three straight playoff series going back to the 2005-06 NBA Finals. Owner Mark Cuban removed Johnson as head coach last Wednesday after three-plus seasons. Johnson left saying the team had stopped listening to him, a similar situation Carlisle found himself in when he left Indiana after the 2006-07 season.
Johnson's coaching staff remains under contract for next season. Carlisle could bring in his own staff or choose to keep any of Johnson's assistants -- Paul Westphal, Joe Prunty and Mario Elie.
-- Jeff Caplan