While the Dallas Mavericks were in town, former Indiana Pacers coach, Rick Carlisle spent a few minutes with Mark Boyle for one of Boyle's new podcasts on Pacers.com. Naturally, the conversation jumped to Mark Cuban at one point.
Carlisle likes to be in control of his team, so dealing with his owner basically sitting with the team during games has to be an adjustment. Apparently, Carlisle considered the situation during the hiring process, but quickly found out that Cuban had no plans to step out of the limelight.
Boyle: Let's talk, for a moment anyway, about Mark Cuban because he has the reputation of being more involved than most of the owners in the NBA. Is that a concern? Can it be a double-edged sword?
Carlisle: Well, I suppose it can, but you know, the first time I talked to him in person, it was the day after Donnie Nelson had flown into Indianapolis to talk to myself, Terry Stotts and Dwayne Casey about the possibility of coming there. When we got face-to-face with him my first question to Mark was, "What if you were to find out that your team actually performed better if you weren't sitting there at the end of the bench?" Because that's the one thing that everybody notices is that he's there and the camera is on him a lot and all that.
His answer was decisive and immediate. He said, "Hey listen. We go on the road. I'm sitting there at the end of the bench or behind the bench, the people heckle me so much that they don't even bother the players. It's great." (Carlisle laughs)
So right then, I knew the whole conversation about him kind of going elsewhere was a non-starter.
That's a pretty funny dynamic working right there. The owner thinks he's doing the coach and players a favor by taking the heckling pressure from opposing fans, while the coach is worried about the owner's presence (while he's being heckled) possibly applying pressure to his team and staff.
Slight disconnect? Doubt it. I'm sure Cuban is well aware of Carlisle's concerns, but he also doesn't mind putting that pressure on his players and coaches. I'm also sure that Carlisle fully understood what was left unsaid in their exchange. Plus, Cuban is on record saying that his attempt to be less involved last year was a mistake.
So whether you hate Cubes or love him, he is part of the show. And you may hate or love Cuban based solely on the fact that he's part of the show. But when the Mavs are on the road, let's face it, fans come to see Nowitzki and Cuban.
If he's NOT up at some point pleading his case to the refs, fans would be let down. When he is up and barking, the value of that night's entertainment rises along with his voice. He knows it. He sells it. We eat it up. Carlisle may not be too excited about Cube's proximity to the timeout huddle, but for the rest of us, his act is all part of the show we expect to enjoy.
Go check out the whole interview at Boyle's podcast on Pacers.com. He also has a great chat with Bulls' assistant coach, Bob Ociepka (aka Bobby Madura), about his new book, Minestrone for the Mobster's Soul.