The Dallas Mavericks may have had a tough schedule so far as the team continues to struggle even since Dirk Nowitzki returned a week ago, but head coach Rick Carlisle said it's no excuse for a lackluster effort and he's now threatening players with suspensions if things don't improve.
The team, currently 12-19, is in the middle of a six game losing streak and Carlisle said he's had to scream in the faces of some players just to get his points across in practices and shootarounds. Even though team owner Mark Cuban may not agree, Carlisle told Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News after the Mavs' sixth straight loss on Sunday that he would like to see suspensions for some players because it's an "unprecedented" stretch of losses for the team:
“It’s not what this organization has been about since Mark [Cuban] bought the team. This is a stretch that’s unprecedented, really. [T]he last week, I’ve had to literally scream in the face of two guys in practices and shootarounds to get the point across. And I will continue to do that. If I have to start suspending guys for not doing things they’re supposed to be doing on the court, I’ll do it. And Mark and I will get into it about that. But somehow, things have got to change and it can’t just be about that it’s a tough schedule. It just can’t."In a report from Jan Hubbard of ESPNDallas.com, Carlisle also told reporters that Nowitzki, who had been out all season because of knee issues, shouldn't be judged until at least mid January. During the preseason, Delonte West, who was then with the Mavs, was suspended twice in 10 days for conduct detrimental to the team, so these kinds of suspensions in Dallas wouldn't be unprecedented. West was eventually released before the regular season began and is now a free agent.