Carlisle’s departure from Dallas: divorce that Doncic didn’t ask for but desperately wanted

2021-12-15 17:37
Credit: – Scanpix
Credit – Scanpix

After spending 13 years with the Dallas Mavericks, the most accomplished coach in the franchise's history, Rick Carlisle, departed from the team after last season, despite still having two years left on his deal.

It turns out the team's consistent early playoffs exits weren't the main factor in Carlisle's premature departure, Tim MacMahon of ESPN reports.

Luka Doncic came into the NBA in 2018 and joined the Dallas Mavericks, where guard Dennis Smith Jr. had already played his rookie season. The two guards quickly became good friends, with Smith showing Luka around the city, living in the same building, and spending a lot of time together.

Luka Doncic

Luka  Doncic
Luka  Doncic
MIN: 34.98
PTS: 25.62 (49.91%)
REB: 8
As: 8.48
ST: 1.05
BL: 0.52
TO: 4.57
GM: 21

The Mavericks hoped that Doncic and Smith would become an excellent backcourt tandem, but the team's former head coach Rick Carlisle had other ideas.

Carlisle doubted Smith's ability to be a productive NBA starter, according to MacMahon. He hoped the Mavs would draft guard Donovan Mitchell instead of Smith, not hiding his distrust in the young guard.

The winningest coach in Mavericks history made Smith miserable while he was still on the team, much to the disappointment of Doncic, several former players and staffers told ESPN.

Mavs players were astounded during one early-season team meeting where Carlisle accused Smith of being jealous of Doncic, sources say. The players considered it unfair to Smith, who was doing his best to complement Luka on the floor.

In addition, Doncic resented Carlisle for treating other players in a way he did. "It wasn't really about how Rick treated Luka. Luka hated how Rick treated other people," a Mavs player on the 2018-19 team said in MacMahon's story.

It is also reported that Doncic often questioned Carlisle's decisions during games. Luka would often go off at his coach, up to the point where it was no longer a big deal to the other players.

Moreover, Doncic would publically question Carlisle's authority, asking who's in charge, Carlisle, or the team's director of quantitative research, Haralabos "Bob" Voulgaris. The players believed it was Voulgaris who dictated lineup decisions for Carlisle.

As the story continues, it is said that Kristaps Porzingis eventually also became unhappy with the situation in Dallas to the point that he privately wanted to be traded.

One of the biggest problems was how the Latvian forward was utilized on the floor. After last season's 7-game series loss to the Clippers, where Porzingis was standing in the corner for most of his action, the Latvian privately hoped he would be traded, MacMahon reports.

Finally, after last season concluded, Carlisle planned to travel to Slovenia this summer to visit Luka in the Slovenian national team's camp and spend time with the Mavs' star. However, Doncic declined to welcome the coach, according to the report.

Not long after, Carlisle talked to the front office regarding a potential contract extension. Team owner Mark Cuban didn't entertain the idea of granting Carlisle an extension, leading to the coach's resignation.



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2022-01-10
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