DALLAS Rick Carlisle will be the new coach of the Dallas Mavericks, a decision expected for nearly a week but slowed by contract negotiations.
The papers aren't signed yet, but team owner Mark Cuban confirmed in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Friday night that a verbal deal is in place.
The contract "will be signed tomorrow (Saturday)," with a news conference Wednesday because Cuban will be out of town until then.
Reached late Friday, Carlisle said: "Whatever Mark told you is what's going on. I'm not going to make any comments about it right now."
Carlisle was the only candidate the Mavericks interviewed after firing coach Avery Johnson the morning after their second straight first-round playoff exit.
Cuban had never fired a coach or hired a coach from outside the organization. While he and Donnie Nelson, the team's president of basketball operations, considered other candidates, they settled on Carlisle pretty quickly. A few interviews later, they began working on the contract and things dragged on.
This is Carlisle's third time as head coach and his first stint in the Western Conference, where having Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki doesn't guarantee making the playoffs. Carlisle went 281-211 over two seasons in Detroit, then four in Indiana. He made the playoffs his first five years, then lost his job with the Pacers after missing out in 2007. He spent this past year out of the NBA, but following it closely working for ESPN.
Although Dallas has won at least 50 games and been in the playoffs eight straight years, the club is getting older and has a maxed-out salary cap, meaning it will take some creative deals to shake up the roster. Kidd was hoping for a coach who would encourage more of a free-flowing offense, while Nowitzki wanted someone who would still emphasize defense. Other players probably wanted someone with a looser grip than the controlling Johnson, but that's not necessarily the case with Carlisle.
CAVS' WALLACE DOUBTFUL FOR GAME 3: Cavaliers starting forward Ben Wallace is doubtful for Game 3 of Cleveland's playoff series against the Boston Celtics because of allergies and a left inner ear infection.
Wallace started but played less than 4 minutes in Thursday night's game before he became dizzy and asked to come out. He staggered to the bench and had to be assisted by his teammates before the Cavs' training staff stepped in.
Wallace underwent a series of tests at the Cleveland Clinic on Friday. The team said the defensive stopper could be upgraded but it was "best case, 50-50" that Wallace would play Saturday in Game 3.
NASH EXPECTS D'ANTONI WILL STAY: Despite rampant speculation that Mike D'Antoni is headed to Chicago or New York, Phoenix point guard Steve Nash expects his coach to be back on the Suns' bench next season.
Beyond that, the two-time NBA MVP had little to say about the Suns' ongoing coaching saga during a charity appearance Friday.
"This is the last thing I'm going to say about our coaching situation: Mike's my coach," Nash said. "So I expect to see Mike back here next year. And I know there's a lot of stuff going on right now, but Mike's my coach. I love playing for him. I expect to see him back in October."