Although Rick Carlisle has emerged as the leading candidate to coach the Dallas Mavericks, nothing is done yet.
“Things are going in a positive direction, but it’s not going to be a quick deal,” Donnie Nelson, the team’s president of basketball operations, said Sunday. “We’ve just got to be patient. We’re both continuing to get information and looking forward to further dialogue.”
Nelson said there has not been a snag, just ongoing negotiations. One wrinkle that’s slowing the process is Carlisle’s agent being in Europe.
“Things are moving in a positive direction,” Nelson said.
The Mavericks have been looking for a coach since firing Avery Johnson on Wednesday. Johnson was the Coach of the Year in 2006, his first full year in charge, when he led Dallas to the finals for the first time. The Mavs won 67 games the following season, but lost in the first round of the playoffs. They did so again this season, despite having added Jason Kidd in a blockbuster deal in February.
Carlisle, 49, has a career record of 281-211 after two seasons in Detroit, then four in Indiana. He was Coach of the Year his first season and made the playoffs every year until his final one. He spent the last year working for ESPN.
Until a deal is done, both sides could always switch gears.
Carlisle already has been considered for other openings, including the Knicks, where his former boss with the Pacers, Donnie Walsh, is now in charge.
Dallas also could become interested in others coaches who might hit the market.
Whoever takes over the Mavs will inherit a roster that’s in flux.
Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki are likely to return, but the rest of the players under contract—Josh Howard, Erick Dampier, Jason Terry, Jerry Stackhouse and Eddie Jones—could all be traded. Problem is, they all have expensive contracts and Howard is the only one not in his 30s. If the Mavs use their option to keep 23-year-old Brandon Bass, he’d be their youngest player by five years.