DALLAS - Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has launched the process of replacing the departed Donnie Nelson and the resigned Rick Carlisle, with a source telling DallasBasketball.com the new hires will be made in an "orderly'' manner.
But that doesn't prevent Cuban and those close to him from starting to throw out names. Names like "Jason Kidd.''
Kidd now even has the endorsement of outgoing coach Rick Carlisle, who on Thursday morning told DallasBasketball.com of his plan to sign a four-year with the Indiana Pacers, and then in an ESPN visit mentioned his endorsement of Kidd as his Dallas successor.
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Immediately after last week's dismissal of 24-year exec Nelson from his GM post, Cuban hired a search firm to contribute to the hiring of a replacement. The existence of the firm didn’t prevent natural speculation that Dallas should make certain to contact Toronto Raptors president and GM Masai Ujiri, whose contract happens to be up. That idea is now dead. Speculation that Mavs staffer Michael Finley could be promoted is also natural. That idea remains alive, with the possibility of Finley as “president of basketball ops” and the hiring of a GM beneath him.
Same thing goes for replacing 13-year Mavs head coach Carlisle, who we said would “have no problem finding his next job (but who has spent the last few days enjoying unemployment by playing golf, both days, at Dallas National).” It is perfectly natural to think of Carlisle top assistant Jamahl Mosley as a candidate, especially with a source telling DBcom that the Mavs are aware of the fact that superstar Luka Doncic would endorse that hire.
Similarly, the idea that Carlisle's replacement list would include Kidd is a natural thought.
Cuban, along with the search firm, is now asking questions and soliciting ideas. Part of that includes the recruitment of Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki as a special advisor to aid in the search for a GM and a coach - in that order.
"Mark Cuban approached me about a role as special advisor and I am happy to support my Mavs,” said Nowitzki. “Donnie Nelson and Rick Carlisle were both mentors and played huge roles in my career and the success of this franchise, and I am going to miss them. It is important for me now to join Mark and contribute as much as I can as we move forward.”
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(Sidebar: In this week of tumultuous PR nightmares, "Dirk to the rescue'' makes for a sly headline-grabbing move by Cuban. We'll bet that assistant GM Keith Grant is helping Cuban, and we'll bet J.J. Barea is, too. But they don't quite have the disaster-reversing cache that Dirk possesses.)
Part of the concept of the "orderly'' manner means hiring the GM (or "president of basketball operations'') first and the coach second. One source tells DBcom that one of Cuban's advisors has strongly recommended that the new GM be the point man in hiring "his coach,'' which of course leads to questions about how much Cuban himself desires to be a "face of the franchise'' - and whether there are certain GM candidates who would be disinterested in that arrangement.
Another piece of "orderly'': An unemotional approach to the search. How much should Doncic's affection for Mosley be the factor? How much should Cuban's affection for Finley matter? How much should Cuban's displeasure with the Kidd breakup of a decade ago - when the owner sent free-agent Kidd, post-NBA title, to New York to recruit Deron Williams away from the Nets, only to see not only Williams stay in New York but also Kidd signing there (with the Knicks)?
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"Orderly'' must mean "unemotional.'' The Mavs don't do "unemotional'' very well.
Ultimately, is Kidd "family''? And does that matter? Would Cuban "trust'' him? Is his general failure as a head coach (with the Nets and Bucks; he's now an assistant with LeBron James' Lakers) more significant than his undeniably high BBIQ? Oh, and speaking of "family'': Should the Mavs also hire Barea and Jason Terry (presently an Arizona assistant), as go the rumors, while also retaining Mosley?
Jason Kidd on the short list? Fine. But him as the boss would mean two things: One, he (surrounded by other familiar Mavs faces) probably would not represent a “culture change.” And two, would need to be a recruiter. Jason Kidd is universally admired by NBA players. He needs to get a couple of them to come to Dallas.
After all, when it comes to Kidd the Recruiter, he kind of owes one to Mark Cuban.