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“We’re going to find a way to make this work”: Rick Carlisle is optimistic about this season and the future of the NBA

On a podcast with the Athletic, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle talks resuming the season, the success this season in Dallas, and Dirk Nowitzki in 2011

Dallas Mavericks v Boston Celtics Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Last week on the Hoops Adjacent podcast, hosted by David Aldridge and Wosny Lambre, Dallas Maverick coach Rick Carlisle voiced his optimism that the NBA season would resume this summer:

It just feels like things are moving in what I would characterize as a ‘generally good direction’, in terms of our ability to test, control an environment, and things like that. I have no absolute knowledge of anything but I do know there’s a great desire by the players who want to return to playing games and getting into a playoff format of some sort. On the coaching side, it’s been challenging but I really feel like coaches in the NBA are extremely resourceful, creative, and find things to do and ways to get better during a period like this when you’re really sitting at home.

Carlisle couched that optimism in caution, noting repeatedly that discussions with players and teams are ongoing, but that the sense he’s gotten is that everyone is excited to resume and finish the season as well.

I don’t think there’s any doubt the players are very motivated to play but also very smart guys. They understand we’re in a very serious part of our history and things need to be handled the right way... we all understand we’re living in a new time right now. We have to proceed with great awareness, great caution, and great respect for everything that’s going on.

Though there are some concerns about potential timetables for return, Carlisle note that he’d been through both the 1999 lockout as well as the 2011 lockout and each of those had less time to ramp up the season than what’s currently under discussion.

When asked about his long term view, on what it could affect for the 2020-21 season, Carlisle noted that the current gap between games (mid-March to mid or late June) is likely to be long or as long as the break for most NBA players in a normal off-season.

So let’s say we get into the remainder of the season in some sort of playoff format that lasts for two, two and a half months. Well we haven’t played a six month NBA season and then we go to another presumably two month or so break before the season would start. I think if you go look at the big picture, it probably sets up even better... I don’t have great concerns about that and I really do believe we have such smart people in this league, from owners to presidents to general managers and players! The Player’s association… a lot of what happens will be determined by their communication with the league as well. We’re going to find a way to make this work.

He then goes on to discuss the various successful steps the 2019-20 Mavericks took as well as where they need to improve. He touches on Luka Doncic’s rise along with the trade for Kristaps Porzingis. They end the discussion talking about his initial seasons with Dallas, the incremental improvements which led to the 2011 title, and how team building works in the current NBA.

It’s a lengthy discussion where Carlisle gives more detailed answers than we usually hear in post-game press conferences. The hosts ask him good questions and he gives thoughtful answers and I really recommend listening to the whole thing. It’s the sort of discussion that leaves one excited about basketball.