DALLAS -- Count Donnie Nelson among those who has admired the work Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle has done this season.
Because of the way everything has developed dating all the way back to losing Jason Kidd and Jason Terry during the offseason, to losing Dirk Nowitzki for the first 27 games of the season because of right knee surgery, Carlisle has been coaching with his running shoes on. And he has captured the attention of Nelson, the Mavs' president of basketball operations.
"You talk about pushing buttons,'' Nelson said after this morning's shoot around at American Airlines Center. "That guy has more than any other year I’ve been with him, more than the (2011) championship year, he’s had to not only develop young players, but win games, but, 'Oh, by the way,' nine new faces, and, 'Oh, by the way,' I’m going to take away your best player and one of the best ever to put on a uniform -- certainly in Maverick history.
"It's been tough, it's been hard.''
Carlisle said he's extremely loyal to owner Mark Cuban and Nelson, and knows one day the Mavs (21-28) will get things turned around.
"I walked into my daughter’s school and they have The Virtue Of the Month, and the Virtue Of The Month this month is loyalty,'' Carlisle said. "And the definition is standing up for someone you believe
"I believe in Mark and I believe in Donnie and we’re going through a period where we have to get our younger guys better and we have to keep our older guys healthy.''
That has become somewhat challenging for Carlisle.
"He’s had to teach the young guys, teach them how to play,'' Nelson said. "I tell you what he’s in there with the young guys like an assistant coach.
"We all thought (ex-Mavs coach) Avery (Johnson) worked his butt off. Rick, I don’t know when the guy
goes home. That’s why we love him, that’s why he’s our head coach.''
-- Dwain Price
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