Just when you think things can’t get any crazier in this Dallas Mavericks offseason, something else comes falling out of the sky and hits you in the face.
What needs to come falling next? The Dallas Mavericks new regime's ability to recruit star power to Big D.
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On Thursday came in a series of news releases, starting with former head coach Rick Carlisle telling our Mike Fisher and a handful of reporters that he's being named the new coach of the Indiana Pacers, a team he coached earlier in his career.
When asked about why he decided to resign from his job with the Mavs, Carlisle shied away from saying much there, but did go out of his way to endorse Jason Kidd as the person he’d like to see as Dallas’ next coach.
“My hope is that Jason Kidd will be the next coach of the Mavs because he and Luka have so many things in common as players."
"I just think that it would be a great situation for Luka, and I think it would be an amazing situation for Jason. I’m the only person on the planet that’s coached both of those guys and that knows about all of their special qualities as basketball players."
"To me, that just would be a great marriage, but that’s just an opinion."
Sure enough, later in the day it was reported that the Mavs were closing in on a deal to make Kidd their new head coach, with the soon-to-be new president of basketball operations Nico Harrison supposedly pre-signing off on the move. (And with Michael Finley also involved up top.) This leads us to believe that Carlisle likely already had a good idea of what was going on behind the scenes and was just bracing us for what was to come.
Kidd (who is already working to assemble a coaching staff, with J.J. Barea and Jason Terry among the interested parties) would be coming back to Dallas with a lot of past personal baggage that we hope he’s well past, but even aside from the personal aspect of it, he also just doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to being a head coach in the NBA.
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Kidd’s previous head coaching stops in Brooklyn and Milwaukee ended in turmoil, and it painted him as being somewhat of a power-hungry tyrant. All that being said, Kidd has spent the last two years in a stable position being a Lakers assistant with no drama to speak of.
Given previous experiences, perhaps Kidd doesn’t deserve our benefit of the doubt, but there’s hope that maybe his last two years in L.A. humbled him a little bit. Maybe we’re being a little naive, but there’s no looking back now, and we’re going to hope for the best possible outcome for both Kidd and the Mavericks.
One early positive from the Kidd hiring is that he seems to be well-liked by many players around the league, something that you won’t hear about Carlisle from a lot of players. To give you more of an idea of what we’re talking about, Giannis Antetokounmpo was prepared to call the Milwaukee front office to try to keep them from firing Kidd in 2018, whereas we haven’t seen one current Mavericks player say anything about Carlisle’s departure on social media yet.
Three weeks ago, Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard told Yahoo Sports that “Jason Kidd is the guy I want.” And now, there is a report from The Athletic stating that Lillard is starting to get antsy with the Portland front office. If Dame does end up requesting a trade at some point, Dallas, despite likely not having the assets to satisfy the Blazers, could now be at the top of his preferred destination list.
Circling back to Nico Harrison, he is also a guy who is well-liked by players around the league. The Nike executive has many valuable connections, and more importantly, he’s been around these players and other NBA executives long enough that he knows both game on the floor and the business side of it. According to Marc Stein, many NBA front offices have been trying to pry Harrison away from Nike for years, but had been unsuccessful. This appears to be a very good, out-of-the-box thinking hire by Mavs owner Mark Cuban.
When it’s all said and done, maybe the Mavs not being able to attract free agents or not being a preferred trade destination has more to do with Dallas not being Los Angeles, Miami or New York. But at the very least, a recruiting regime of Harrison, Finley and Kidd, on paper, seems to make the Mavs a more attractive option for high-level players than the combination of Donnie Nelson and Rick Carlisle did.
READ MORE: What Would Kidd Bring to Dallas?
Only time will tell how successful these front office moves will be for the Mavs. For now, though, what’s done is done, and the overall offseason objective for the Mavs has stayed the same despite the front office shake up — build a championship-level team around Luka Doncic.
The clock is officially ticking.