Any head coach of an NBA team has to understand the simple economic principle of supply and demand. With only 30 positions available in the world, demand for the best rises dramatically. As a result, job security is virtually nonexistent.
Rick Carlisle has bucked that trend. As the Mavericks coach heads into his eighth season at the helm of Dallas' squad, he has earned protections in a market full of quick trigger fingers. Even after a rocky relationship with Rajon Rondo that ultimately led to Rondo's dismissal in the middle of a playoff series, Carlisle is the guy in Dallas.
"It re-establishes confidence, honestly," Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson said. "Rick is our Jerry Sloan. I think he's one of the top coaches in the league -- if not the top coach. We're blessed and lucky to have him. He can be in Dallas as long as he wants to be."
With the firing of Scott Brooks by the Thunder last week, the number of coaches hired prior to 2010 is down to three: the immortal Gregg Popovich, hired in 1996, plus Eric Spoelstra and Carlisle, both acquired in 2008. It should be noted all three have won championships.
Long tenures for coaches are growing less and less frequent. Jerry Sloan was one of the last, coaching the Jazz 23 years before retiring in 2011. When asked if he'd be willing to coach another 15 in Dallas, Carlisle laughed. "Sure," he said.
"I love it here," he said when a reporter followed up. "This has been a great opportunity. Because of Mark Cuban and Donnie and Dirk and Kidd and Chandler, I'm a championship coach. That doesn't happen at just anywhere you go. I appreciate that sentiment. The feeling is mutual and so we'll go from here."
Carlisle's not a flawless coach, which has caused odd conversations to arise about him in the final months of the season. It seems some fans demand perfection from the position, even while the best players on the floor miss half of their shots.
There are valid criticisms to be had, but Carlisle is still perhaps the best asset in the Mavericks' organization, and it doesn't look like that is changing anytime soon.