Rick Carlisle Says the Offseason Goal for the Mavericks Is to Make it so That Dirk Nowitzki is Dallas’ Second Best Player

May 17, 2012 – 8:30 am by Chris Fedor

No matter what happens from here on out in the NBA playoffs, one thing that’s clear is that there will be a new NBA Champion. The Dallas Mavericks were swept out of the first round by the Oklahoma City Thunder and have been forced to watch the playoffs from home. However their early exit was not a surprise. The Mavs made a choice after capturing the title last year to look forward to this upcoming offseason as opposed to trying to repeat as champion. Dallas let some key pieces of their title run, Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea to name a few, walk in free agency prior to this season so that they could keep flexibility with the salary cap. This decision has put a lot of pressure on the organization to go out and get the aging Mavericks a new running mate to go with Dirk Nowitzki and now that they have the cap space available, it’s up to them to make it happen.

Rick Carlisle joined 105.3 the Fan in Dallas to talk about getting a new contract, whether the season was a disappointment in Dallas, if he had a say in the strategy of the team at the end of last year, if he still hears from upset fans that the team chose not to make a stronger title defense, how active the team will be this offseason and how close the Mavericks are to the team where they need Dirk Nowitzki to be the second best player on the roster.

On getting a new contract:

“I wanted to come back but I wanted to make sure this thing got done the right way. It did, so I’m pleased.”

Whether this season was a disappointment:

“Yeah. (Host: In what ways?) You get beat in the first round and with the standards that we have for our franchise it’s not where we want to be.”

If he had a say in the strategy of the team at the end of last year:

“To some degree but a lot of the decision making during that period was going to be based on the new rules of the new collective bargaining agreement and there were certain realities that were going to be hard realities not only for us but for other teams and it just wasn’t going to be possible to bring the same team back unfortunately.”

If he still heard from upset fans that the team chose not to make a stronger title defense:

“Well now it’s five months ago and the season is over for us and we have to turn the page. I understand it’s your job to go back and regurgitate things and bring up the negative and all that kind of stuff. I respect that but I don’t know if it makes much sense to get into a litany of questions about it because the realities are the realities and the realities were the realities and we have to move forward. The exciting thing about the whole reality that we couldn’t bring back the same team is that it gave us flexibility and now we’ve got to take advantage of that. That’s really going to be our focus now.”

How aggressive the team plans to be this offseason:

“I know we’re going to be extremely active in all three areas and you never know exactly how a summer is going to take shape. Two summers ago we went into it after a very disappointing first round loss to San Antonio and we knew we needed a certain to kind of help but we weren’t sure where it was going to come from, how it was going to happen and then Mark (Cuban) and Donnie (Nelson) used (Erick) Dampier’s expiring contract which was unguaranteed to pick up (Tyson) Chandler. Chandler was the perfect guy to finish off that team. There were some other moves that were made too that really helped us like (Peja) Stojakovic and a couple of other things but Chandler was a big one. We’ve got to be very resourceful and opportunistic and all those things that I keep saying both on the radio and in the print media to make sure we see what that move is and what those moves are that we can do them.”

How close the team is to the time where Dirk Nowitzki needs to be the second best player on the roster:

“That’s certainly our goal and I’m very confident that if you talk to him that would be his goal too because that’s a situation where it just takes some of the load off his back in terms of what he has to do game-to-game and we’ve been doing it with a roster really built on one great superstar and kind of a strength and numbers philosophy. That’s how we won the Finals last year and that’s how we’ve competed at a very high level here and how the franchise had competed at a very, very high level many, many years before I got here. I think in this day and age of the league, depth is one of the things that you’ve got to have so that’s going to continue to be part of the thought process. You need depth to create balance and you also have to be able to absorb injuries when they happen. You don’t know when they’re going to happen but inevitably you’re going to have to deal with some of that.”

Listen to Rick Carlisle on 105.3 the Fan in Dallas here

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