The details of the report corroborating the rumor that Rick Carlisle may be an asshole are certainly juicy. Apparently, he belittled FODs (Friends of Luka Dončić) Dennis Smith Jr. and Salah Mejri, accusing Smith of being jealous of Dončić before swapping him; saw former assistant manager Jamahl Mosely’s relationship with Dončić as a threat; and he needed more connections, namely Mosely and JJ Barea, to manage the chemistry of the players – ie Dončić and Kristaps Porziņģis – and deliver messages to the team.
Damn anonymous gamer pulls the quote from The history of ESPN it was, “It wasn’t really about how Rick treated Luka. Luka hated the way Rick treated other people. “
The takeaway, besides sounding awful to play for Carlisle, is perhaps the other constant in all of those stories, Dončić, it’s not that easy to train. Both can be true: Carlisle’s approach can work, but it can also get really fucking annoying, and Dončić’s inability to look fit and the need to be pampered and safe from criticism can make it difficult.
When you combine an arrogant coach with a headstrong young superstar, the result can resemble the stories that have unfolded in front office fallout and coach turnover in Dallas. Carlisle and Dončić aren’t the only ones who have had a hard time doing their job for the Mavericks, as Haralabos “Bob” Voulgaris likened organizational dysfunction to “high school”. Drama.”
I have written about this Mavs history, so if this story about Mavs also reads like a déjà vu, here’s why. Here’s what I have he wrote in October, so I don’t have to think of another way to say it:
[Owner Mark Cuban] he has never been interested in conventional team building, which is why he has been so successful. Or, he may have been lucky with two transcendent players who can get through an unpredictable front office.
Whatever happens while Carlisle, Voulgaris, and the now sacked GM Donnie Nelson was there, he can’t continue because, by all accounts, Dončić is a little more difficult than Dirk Nowitzki, although he might be a better player.
So now that they’re gone and new manager Jason Kidd and new general manager Nico Harrison are in their place, what has changed? In 27 games last year, they were 13-14. After so many games this year, they are 14-13. Last year, Carlisle defended Dončić’s form early in the season, saying the early start caught him off guard. There was no surprise start date this year, and he still came to camp 30 pounds overweight.
The piece on ESPN was about how the Carlisle-Dončić relationship devolved, which thanks you for the delightful part about Luka screaming “Who’s in charge – you or Bob?” to Rick during a heated trade, but there was no icing on the ice cream cake because Dallas is underperforming at the same level as a year ago.
I want to be very specific in how I say it because Dončić is a generational player and criticizing him is like questioning Monet’s Garden: the Mavericks don’t have a problem with Dončić, they have a problem maximizing Dončić.