Rick Carlisle endorses reported frontrunner Jason Kidd for Mavericks head coaching job

Rick Carlisle may be back in Indianapolis, but he’s made his pick to replace him in Dallas.

Carlisle told ESPN on Thursday, shortly after he agreed to return to lead the Indiana Pacers on a four-year deal, that he thinks Mavericks owner Mark Cuban should hire Jason Kidd as the team’s next head coach.

"My hope is that Jason Kidd will be the next coach of the Mavs because he and Luka have so many things in common as players," Carlisle said, via ESPN. "I just think that it would be a great situation for Luka [Doncic], and I think it would be an amazing situation for Jason. I'm the only person on the planet that's coached both of those guys and that knows about all of their special qualities as basketball players. To me, that just would be a great marriage, but that's just an opinion."

Cuban, apparently, is on the same page. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Mavericks are close to hiring a new general manager and Kidd is "a strong frontrunner" to replace Carlisle. Kidd also has reportedly had the support of Dallas legend Dirk Nowitzki and others in the team's front office.

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Jason Kidd’s history in Dallas

Though it’s a bit strange for a coach to advocate publicly for his replacement after taking a job elsewhere in the league, Carlisle’s pick makes sense for a number of reasons.

Kidd played for the Mavericks twice in his nearly two-decade career in the league. Dallas selected him with the No. 2 overall pick in 1994, and the Hall of Famer spent his first two seasons there before he was traded to Phoenix. Kidd then returned to Dallas during the 2007-08 season and helped the Mavericks win a title in 2011.

Kidd has experience coaching in the league, too. He spent a season with the Brooklyn Nets and then four seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks before landing in Los Angeles to serve as an assistant with the Lakers, where he’s been the past two years.

His name frequently comes up with open jobs in the league, and Damian Lillard even publicly told Yahoo Sports that “Kidd is the guy I want” to replace Terry Stotts in Portland earlier this month. Kidd, though, removed himself from consideration for that job.

Given his history both in Dallas and as a head coach, it’s hard to argue that Kidd would be a bad choice to lead the Mavericks. And if Carlisle is right that he’d be a great fit with star Luka Doncic, Kidd landing there makes even more sense.

There are other options, though — including top assistant Jamahl Mosley, who Doncic knows would be great in their top job.

“Yeah, he can be a head coach, for sure,” Doncic said of Mosley this season, via the Dallas Morning News. “I work with him a lot. He’s got the things needed for a head coach.”

Stotts could be a good fit, too, as he previously served in Dallas as an assistant during their title run, as would Becky Hammon — who has seemingly been poised to make the jump to head coach for years now.

The Dallas Morning News’ Callie Caplan also suggested that Cuban go after current Real Madrid coach Pablo Laso. With Doncic’s history in Madrid — he led them to a EuroLeague title in 2018 before he was drafted in the NBA — and the Mavericks’ strong international roots, Laso could be a surprising yet perfect fit.

Either way, Cuban has said that he wants to hire a new general manager before figuring out who the team’s next head coach will be.

So for now, any talk about Carlise’s replacement in Dallas is just speculation.

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