Last year, Mavericks president Donnie Nelson said Rick Carlisle could coach Dallas as long as he wants.
That was a lot easier to say when the Mavericks had won a championship and 60% of their games and never had a losing season under Carlisle.
What about now that Dallas is 2-6?
Rick Carlisle’s future as the Dallas Mavericks head coach is still on fairly solid ground, and I’m told that’s not likely to change even as they endure what has been a historically bad start to the season.
Carlisle signed a five-year, $35 million contract extension last season that probably gets him plenty of security. It’s not just because Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is unwilling to eat the cost of firing Carlisle, but because Carlisle’s deal signals Dallas’ commitment to him. The Mavericks wouldn’t have granted that lucrative extension unless they believed in Carlisle.
Even if this season continues on the same path, one year would not be enough to undo all that.
The problem, though, is Dallas is both bad and old. That makes a turnaround difficult in coming seasons. Even if a lackluster roster isn’t Carlisle’s fault, it’s standard for the coach to take the fall.
That’s a way off, and the Mavericks could still build a better roster for Carlisle with shrewd drafting, signings and trades. Heck, the team could still right the ship this season.
So, Carlisle probably doesn’t need to worry about his future anytime soon. But if Dallas continues to decline, it’s only a matter of time until Carlisle is blamed.