Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle has informed the team he will not be returning next season, he told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski:
The stunning move comes shortly after Dallas chairman Mark Cuban reaffirmed his commitment to Carlisle, who had led the Mavs since the 2008-09 season, compiling a 513-448 record over 13 years along with winning the 2010-11 NBA championship.
Dallas was eliminated by the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the 2021 postseason, making it the sixth consecutive loss in the conference quarterfinals since 2012—the Mavericks failed to reach the playoffs in the other four seasons.
According to ESPN's Tim MacMahon, there had been "simmering tension" between Carlisle and superstar Luka Doncic, which caused concern inside the organization.
Had Carlisle returned for the 2021-22 season, MacMahon reported he was likely to be on a short leash. By leaving on his own terms now, the 61-year-old can interview for any of the current openings in the league—including the Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers, Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers, Washington Wizards and New Orleans Pelicans—and give Dallas a chance to begin next season with a new regime in place.
On Wednesday, Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson agreed to part ways after spending 24 years with the franchise. Dallas told MacMahon it would hire a search firm to source a new president of basketball operations.
That move followed an explosive article by Tim Cato and Sam Amick of The Athletic, which noted "multiple team sources" inside the Mavs expressed concern over Doncic's long-term future with the franchise.
Cuban instantly refuted the report, calling the story "total bulls--t" in a tweet before further expressing his disdain to B/R's Taylor Rooks.
Taylor Rooks @TaylorRooks
Just spoke to Mark Cuban about the recent reports:<br><br>“I pay close attention to what Luka says, what the front office, analytics group and our scouts say. What Rick says. The idea that there is a shadow GM is laughable. The idea that anyone but Rick sets rotations is insulting”
Three days later, the Mavs have lost their longtime general manager and head coach as Doncic's future with the club remains unclear, though he intimated a desire to sign a supermax extension this summer following the Mavs' elimination by the Clippers. Cuban told Marc Stein of the New York Times he expects to hire a new head of basketball operations before finding a new coach.
Carlisle moves on from Dallas after coaching some of the NBA's most electric teams built around stars like Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, Shawn Marion, Kristaps Porzingis and Doncic.
The New York native can now look for his fourth head coaching job after previous stints with the Pacers and Detroit Pistons, as well as assistant roles with the New Jersey Nets and Blazers.