Rick Carlisle resigned as head coach of the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, ending his 13-year tenure one day after the departure of longtime president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, removing two of the key figures from the franchise’s 2010-11 championship team.
“After a number of in-person conversations with Mark Cuban over the last week, today I informed him that I will not be returning as head coach of the Dallas Mavericks,” Carlisle told ESPN in a written statement. “This was solely my decision. My family and I have had an amazing 13-year experience working with great people in a great city.”
Carlisle, 61, said it had been an “honor to work alongside” several members of the Mavs organization, specifically naming Cuban, Nelson, CEO Cynt Marshall, vice president of basketball operations Michael Finley, assistant general manager Keith Grant and the co-stars of the 2010-11 championship team, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd.
“Dallas will always be home, but I am excited about the next chapter of my coaching career,” said Carlisle, who has an 836-689 career record, having been the head coach for the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers before arriving in Dallas in 2008.
Carlisle, who had been the NBA’s third-longest-tenured head coach behind only San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich and Miami’s Erik Spoelstra, had a 555-478 record during his 13 seasons in Dallas, setting a franchise record for wins. Carlisle had a 33-38 postseason record with the Mavs, who have not advanced past the first round since their title run 10 years ago.
“I truly love Rick Carlisle,” Cuban told ESPN. “He was not only a good coach but also a friend and a confidant. Our relationship was so much more than basketball. And I know that won’t ever change.”
According to Cuban, the Mavs will hire a new head of basketball operations before conducting a coaching search. Cuban has hired Mike Forde’s Sportsology, a consulting firm frequently used by NBA teams hiring general managers, to assist in the search for Nelson’s replacement.
The tension between Carlisle and 22-year-old superstar Luka Doncic had increasingly become concerning within the Mavs organization, sources said. Doncic showed up Carlisle on several occasions this season, such as making animated gestures on the court when he disagreed with a decision or yelling at Carlisle in front of assistant coaches and teammates.
However, Cuban told ESPN moments after the Mavs’ season ended with a Game 7 loss to the LA Clippers on June 6 that Carlisle would return as Dallas’ head coach.
“Let me tell you how I look at coaching,” said Cuban, who has hired only two head coaches in 22 years since buying the Mavs. “You don’t make a change to make a change. Unless you have someone that you know is much, much, much better, the grass is rarely greener on the other side.”
Doncic has a strong relationship with longtime Mavs assistant coach Jamahl Mosley, a potential candidate to replace Carlisle.
Mosley, who has interviewed for head coach positions with the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks and New Orleans Pelicans in recent offseasons, served as the acting head coach for the Mavs’ road win over the Knicks on April 2, a game Carlisle missed due to a false positive COVID-19 test.
“He’s got the things that are needed for a head coach,” Doncic said that night. “He can be the head coach, for sure.”