Rick Carlisle has been a familiar face on the Dallas Mavericks bench for over a decade. But news broke on Thursday that Carlisle was resigning from his position as head coach, which caught everyone by surprise. The Mavericks have had significant stability with the coaching staff, employing only three head coaches since 1997.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is currently searching for a head of basketball operations, and when he settles on a choice, their first task will be hiring a new head coach. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the rumored candidates for the position, as well as some well-known coaches that makes sense.
Mosley has been with the Mavericks since 2014 and is a logical choice here. He stepped in as acting head coach this season when Carlisle had to miss a game against the New York Knicks due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. The former Colorado Buffaloes forward has had an interesting career, playing in Mexico, Australia, Spain, Finland, and South Korea. Mosley got his start with the Denver Nuggets as a player development coach and scout, eventually being promoted to assistant coach in 2007. He also spent time with the Cleveland Cavaliers before joining the Mavericks. Mosley was responsible for the Mavericks’ defensive strategies the past two seasons, and seems to have a close relationship with Luka Doncic.
The Mavericks could make history and hire the first full-time female head coach in NBA history by going with Hammon. A Colorado State alum, Hammon’s accomplishments in basketball are almost too numerous to list. She was a three-time All-American at Colorado State, played for the San Antonio Stars and New York Liberty in the WNBA, and has played overseas in Russia and Spain. In 2013, Hammon tore her ACL, and during her rehab process spent time with the San Antonio Spurs coaching staff. The Spurs hired her as an assistant coach in 2014, making her the second female coach and first full-time assistant coach in NBA history. Hammon also broke new ground when she took over for an ejected Gregg Popovich in 2020, becoming the first female acting head coach in NBA history.
Currently an assistant with the Brooklyn Nets, Udoka is an interesting candidate. His career started in the NBDL in 2002, where he eventually spent some time with the now-defunct Fort Worth Flyers, where he just missed being teammates with Mavericks legend J.J. Barea by a year. Udoka went on to have stints with the New York Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, and Sacramento Kings. In 2012, he joined the Spurs’ coaching staff as an assistant, winning a title with them in 2014. He went on to spend a year on Brett Brown’s staff with the Philadelphia 76ers before moving to his current position with the Nets. Udoka is credited with being a big reason why LaMarcus Aldridge signed with the Spurs in 2015, so it’s possible he brings some salesmanship as a head coach, something the Mavericks badly need.
Messina is currently coaching Olimpia Milano in Italy, but he was a hot name on the coaching carousel a couple years ago. The Italian Basketball Hall of Fame inductee has been coaching since 1976, winning EuroLeague four times. Messina coached Real Madrid, Doncic’s former team, for two years, so there’s a connection there, though it was long before Doncic played for the team. He’s also spent time as a consultant with the Los Angeles Lakers and five years with the Spurs as an assistant coach. He had multiple games as acting head coach while with San Antonio.
There’s an obvious connection here, as Stotts was on Carlisle’s staff when the Mavericks won the championship in 2011. Stotts would be knowledgeable about how things work with Cuban, and he has a decent record in the playoffs, as well as experience dealing with an electric young superstar. But the Blazers had some disappointing runs under Stotts, and struggled with defense his entire tenure. Was that due to personnel, or Stotts’ defensive strategies? Whoever makes the hire would have to take that into consideration.
Another in-house candidate, Boucek joined the Mavericks as an assistant coach in 2018, becoming the first female coach in franchise history. A four-year starter at the University of Virginia, Boucek played professionally in Iceland and briefly with the Cleveland Rockers before a back injury ended her career. She spent sixteen years coaching in the WNBA, including stints as head coach for the Sacramento Monarchs and the Seattle Storm. Boucek was also a player development coach for the Sacramento Kings in 2017.
Mike D’Antoni is always going to come up when there’s an opening, and he wouldn’t be a terrible fit, though like Stotts he’s never made the NBA Finals. Again, defense would continue to be a concern. Jason Kidd is another name that will surely be mentioned due to the Dallas connection, but he comes with significant baggage. Jeff Van Gundy’s name is always floated when there’s an opening, despite not having coached in 14 years, so just applaud his agent and ignore him as an option. Once the Mavericks name a head of basketball operations, there will probably be more clarity as to the direction they’ll go with the head coach position.
Here’s our episode of the Mavs Moneyball Podcast discussing the Dallas Mavericks moving on from Donnie Nelson. Here’s the episode about Rick Carlisle moving on. Search Mavs Moneyball Podcast on your favorite app to find the episode, click the link, or press play in the player below. There’s also this live Green Room episode talking Carlisle as well.