Monday, May 5, 2008

Dallas Close to Deal With Carlisle, D'Anotni Free to Pursue Other Employment Opportunities

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, sources indicate that Dallas is close to hiring Rick Carlisle to replace the recently fired Avery Johnson as its new head coach.

Carlisle -- or whomever becomes Dallas' next coach -- will inherit a roster that's likely to be in flux:

"(Jason) Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki are likely to return, but the rest of the players under contract -- Josh Howard, Erick Dampier, Jason Terry, Jerry Stackhouse and Eddie Jones -- could all be traded. Problem is, they all have expensive contracts and Howard is the only one not in his 30s. If the Mavs use their option to keep 23-year-old Brandon Bass, he'd be their youngest player by five years."

Meanwhile, reports out of Phoenix indicate that Phoenix General Manager Steve Kerr has granted Mike D'Antoni permission to talk with other NBA teams (the Knicks and Chicago) about their coaching vacancies. For the moment, D'Antoni remains head coach of the Phoenix Suns; but he's free to pursue other employment opportunities. As Jerry Brown of the East Valley Tribune reports:

"Suns general manager Steve Kerr said as late as Friday morning, about an hour before he met with D’Antoni and owner Robert Sarver, that he would not grant such permission, but apparently had a change of mind after the sides talked.

'As we have continued to convey, we value Mike D’Antoni as the head coach of the Phoenix Suns and would like him to continue leading this basketball team,' Kerr said in a statement Monday. 'Because he has requested to speak to other teams about their head coaching vacancies, we have granted him permission. We will have no further comment until this process further evolves.'"

Brown continues:

"D’Antoni still has two years and $8.5 million left on his deal with the Suns, but Phoenix wouldn’t be on the hook for any of that if he signs on with (Chicago), the Knicks or any other NBA team before next season.

The relationship between D’Antoni and Kerr, which has been tenuous since an argument over philosophies in November, reached another level with Kerr’s refusal to back D’Antoni amid questions of his future before and during the playoffs. Management also let it be known they would like to see changes – from a more defensive-minded voice in the coaching staff to seeing more players included in his playing rotation."

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