Would Mark Cuban Get Rid of Rick Carlisle to Keep Rajon Rondo?


During Tuesday night’s win over Toronto, Mavericks fans couldn’t enjoy the victory very much due to the heated confrontation between head coach, Rick Carlisle and newly acquired point guard, Rajon Rondo. This fiery interaction between the two, according to reports, was due to a disagreement in the play call, as it was clear that Rondo wasn’t taking any direction that Carlisle was so insistent on giving.

The two screamed back and forth at each other, as Carlisle stormed the court and call a timeout with the most intensity I’ve ever see from him. The two jawed at each other all the way to the sidelines and even into the timeout.

Obviously, this has become a big story here at The Smoking Cuban and across all other media outlets. Many have commented that this entire situation is being blown way out of proportion and that so many members of the media are looking too deeply into the matter.

Well, I say nonsense!

Whether people like it or not, the interaction between Carlisle and Rondo has pretty much summed up what their relationship has been since Rondo has arrived in Dallas. Since joining the Mavericks, Carlisle has never really opened up to the idea of having a ball dominant point guard run his system and ESPNDallas.com sources said that the two have battled over this in the past.

Feb 24, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Rajon Rondo (9) watches the game from the bench during the second half against the Toronto Raptors at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Raptors 99-92. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Actually, this isn’t the first time in his Dallas career that Rick Carlisle has butted heads with a ball dominant, accomplished point guard. It was the prime source of frustration for future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd during Carlisle’s first campaign in Dallas until Carlisle gave Kidd full freedom midway through the season. It’s not that Carlisle is a control-freak, but it’s clear that he has problems giving up control of his offense.

Obviously, the Kidd/Carlisle relationship turned out okay as they went on to win a championship in 2011, but I’m not so sure that the Rondo/Carlisle relationship will turn into the same result. After the blockbuster trade was announced, Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban made it very clear that he wasn’t interested in renting Rondo for the season, but rather signing him to a long term deal.

So it raises the possible question: Would Cuban give Carlisle up to keep Rondo long term?

Photo Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The quick answer would be yes, considering that Cuban’s golden nugget for over a decade (Dirk Nowitzki) is on his way out with his superstar days behind him, and that it’s very difficult to get, let alone keep, marquee superstars like Rajon Rondo.

Mark Cuban loves to make big splashes, especially with big time acquisitions. Anyone remember how he signed Chandler Parsons?

But even with that, Mark Cuban is a loyal owner, that sticks with his guys. For example: Cuban could have easily given up on Dirk Nowitzki in the mid-2000s, after it looked like Dirk wasn’t someone you could win with. But Cuban’s confidence and loyalty came through, and he stuck it out with Dirk to win a title in 2011.

It also comes down to Rondo’s contract needs. It’s being reported that Rondo is looking for a max contract, which is one of the reasons why Boston dealt the four-time All-Star. Dallas will certainly have the cap-space to give him his max deal that he desires, considering the new salary cap being introduced next season. But is Rondo worth it? That’s a question that Mark Cuban needs to ask himself.

I’ve so far failed to mention that it’s very possible that Rick Carlisle and Rajon Rondo make nice and work out their offensive differences. All players react differently to a benching, which Dirk Nowitzki alluded too this week when talking to ESPN’s Tim McMahon:

"“Sometimes little dust-ups can even bring you together, I remember Coach had a dust-up with [Jason Terry] right before the playoffs in 2011, and that probably was the best thing that happened to us because Jet was on his best behavior throughout the whole playoffs. Sometimes stuff like that can bring both sides closer together.”"

As of right now, there is no evidence from his time with Dallas to warrant a max deal, but there is still a lot of basketball still to play and Rondo plays considerably better as the games get more and more important. Rondo has a lot of time to make up for his play and actions, and it’s not inconceivable that Carlisle and Rondo can find common group and works things out.

Jan 10, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle is ejected from the game after his second technical foul in the second half of the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center. Clippers won 120-100. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

But if they don’t, I could easily see Mark Cuban disposing of head coach Rick Carlisle for the sake of keeping on the best point guards in the NBA. Whether that’s the right decision or not is irrelevant. It’s always easier to get rid of the coach than it is the player, especially considering Rondo is a free agent at the end of the year. I’m a huge fan of Rick Carlisle and believe that he is truly one of the 5-10 best coaches in the league, but if he wants to keep his job with this Dallas Mavericks team, he’s going to have to sit down with Rondo and work out a solution to where they can both stay in Dallas.

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