OKLAHOMA CITY -- One minute Thursday night, Rick Carlisle was talking about how different the Dallas Mavericks are this season. And in the very next breath -- without even being asked -- he was praising owner Mark Cuban for collectively breaking up the Mavs during the offseason.
Carlisle was rehashing things with the media following tonight's 104-102 heart-stopping loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“There’s every built-in excuse in the world for our team -- if you want to look for them and buy into them -- but we’re not going to have any of that,’’ Carlisle said. “We have a different team this year.''
Then, Carlise dropped a bombshell when he said: “Our owner did the right thing breaking up the team -- for the franchise.’’
That sure is news to the rest of the Mavs, who were none too pleased that Cuban didn’t at least re-sign Tyson Chandler, JJ Barea and DeShawn Stevenson. Things have been tough -- the Mavs are 0-3 this season -- since those three free agents picked up stakes and left the Mavs are in their dust.
Chandler signed a four-year, $58 million contract with the New York Knicks, Barea inked a four-year, $19 million deal with Minnesota, and Stevenson landed a one-year, $2.5 contract with the New Jersey Nets. In the middle of tonight’s postgame interview, Carlisle insisted that Cuban should not have given those players such a long-term contract.
“That’s the right move for the franchise, and so, the guys that we have, have to make this work,’’ said Carlisle, who is in the final year of his contract. “And as the coach, I’ve got to make sure they’re doing the right things to do that.
“Hey, that’s the cold-blooded truth.’’
-- Dwain Price
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