As we unveil our five dream candidates for the Oklahoma CIty head coaching job, we continue to look at people that will spark conversation. To accomplish that goal, those you nominate must fall into the household name category.
Day one, we tried thinking outside the box by giving you, Kendrick Perkins. Yesterday, we went to the sports talk radio standby Mark Jackson. Based on what we have seen on social media, the reaction was mostly negative for both men.
That's not too surprising, Perkins has never coached, and Jackson can annoy people with commentary on television. However, at least it was a reaction; when Billy Donovan was hired, Thunder fans greeted him with a resounding "meh."
There is always one slam dunk that makes people say, "hell yeah." Perkins and Jackson may not be those guys, but Rick Carlisle is.
Why Rick Carlisle Would Work: Sam Presti doesn't know what the Thunder's roster will look like in the coming season. Carlisle has a reputation for being able to take whatever group of players you give him and turning them into overachievers.
The most obvious example of Carlisle's magic was when the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA championship in 2011. He took Drik Nowitzki, an aging Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler, and Jason Terry and beat the super team Miami Heat 4-2 in the NBA finals.
This season, the Mavericks were given the same odds of making the playoffs as the Kings and Pelicans. Carlisle not only got them into the postseason but even in their wounded state, they took the Clippers to six games in the Western Conference quarterfinals. Because he's been able to stay employed by Mark Cuban for the last 11 seasons, he can work for anybody.
His championship pedigree will get the players' attention, and because he can speak in straightforward sentences, the media will love him. As for fans, they get not only a guy they've seen on national broadcast, but leaving DFW for Oklahoma City, would buy him undying loyalty.
Why It Will Never Happen: Carlisle is under contract till the 2022-2023 season. He also has a good working relationship with Cuban and Dallas General Manager Donnie Nelson. Not to mention, he's coaching Luka Doncic, and as long as he's on the roster, Dallas will be a trendy destination for free agents seeking a title run.
While Carlisle has shown the ability to help an organization in the rebuilding process, it's highly unlikely Presti or anyone else would be able to talk him into the leaving the Mavericks. Plus, he is so entrenched and trusted in Dallas he would be crazy to give up one of the most stable work situations in the NBA.
Carlisle is the true definition of a "dream candidate" he's the prom queen. Everybody wants to ask her out, but she's in a long term relationship with the richest guy in school, and he'll decide when it's time to move on, not her.
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With more than 20 years of experience hosting local and national radio shows, Erik Gee is a fixture of Oklahoma sports media. He has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for the past seven seasons. He is also the co-host of the Pat Jones show on 97.1 The Sports Animal in Tulsa.