STEPHEN HAWKINS,AP Sports Writer
DALLAS (AP) — The coach who led the Dallas Mavericks to their only NBA championship is staying put.
Rick Carlisle has signed a new contract with the Mavericks, a year after winning the title. While terms of the deal weren’t released, owner Mark Cuban indicated in a statement Tuesday that it was for at least as long as the coach’s initial four-year contract.
“We are excited that Rick will be back with the Mavericks for at least the next four years,” Cuban said. “He is a proven winner, a great teacher and a coach that will help the Mavericks improve as a team and as an organization.”
Carlisle just completed the final season of the four-year contract he got when he replaced Avery Johnson in 2008. Dallas made it to the playoffs for the 12th consecutive season, but was swept in the first round by Oklahoma City.
Carlisle has a 198-114 regular season record in Dallas, and is 479-325 overall (.596 winning percentage) as a head coach. Before joining the Mavericks, Carlisle led Detroit and Indiana to the Eastern Conference finals.
Cuban and Carlisle both repeatedly refused over the last several weeks of the season to discuss the coach’s future.
“These things, they take time and it’s a very big commitment both ways and we had a lot of great conversations during the season and after the season,” Carlisle said during an interview on ESPN Radio in Dallas, the team’s flagship station. “I’m very happy to have the opportunity to return.”
Carlisle wouldn’t elaborate on any details of his new contract during the extended interview.
On the day after the season-ending Game 4 loss to the Thunder earlier this month, Carlisle would only say that Dallas “has been a great opportunity for me and my family and we love it here.” When he attended a Texas Rangers game Sunday, he smiled without saying anything when asked about a new contract.
Now that Carlisle is set to return, the Mavericks have plenty of decisions to make about players to surround 11-time All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki, who will be 34 next season.
“It’s a lot of work going forward because there’s going to be a lot of big decisions that have to be made,” Carlisle said during his radio interview. “We’ve got younger guys, we’ve got to continue to get better and there are some unknowns which to me make it exciting, and I want to be here. So I’m glad it worked out.”
Jason Kidd, their 39-year-old point guard whose 1,315 career regular-season games are more than any other active player, and guards Jason Terry and Delonte West are among six Dallas players who can become free agents. The Mavs have team options on four other players, including Vince Carter and Brandan Wright.
The NBA lockout last summer led to a new collective bargaining agreement with different rules that affected how Cuban put together the team. In the process, some big pieces were let go and Dallas became the league’s oldest team for a condensed and shortened season.
After its championship, Dallas didn’t keep center Tyson Chandler, DeShawn Stevenson, J.J. Barea or Caron Butler. Chandler went to the New York Knicks and was the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year.
The roster could drastically change for the second offseason in a row, though Carlisle can’t and didn’t specifically talk Tuesday about any potential free-agent targets.
“We have a destination that is going to be a desirable destination for players and we’ve got a great fan base. We still have one of the greatest players in the game and one of the greatest players ever to play the game in Dirk,” Carlisle said. “We’re going to have a busy summer, we’re looking forward to it. And we’re going to be very resourceful and opportunistic.”
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)