A brand new contract for this NBA coach


A brand new contract for this NBA coach

From Comcast SportsNet
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."

Celtics bench hurting with Smart out


Celtics bench hurting with Smart out

The Boston Celtics don’t reveal a ton about what happens behind their closed-door practices, but there were a couple of significant narratives that developed in the preseason.

Chief among them was the development of the bench which on many occasions, outplayed the starters.

Leading the second team surge on many days in the preseason was Marcus Smart, whose absence during the first two games of the season has been obvious.

Smart suffered a left ankle sprain injury in the Celtics’ final preseason game, an injury that CSNNE.com reported at the time would sideline him for a couple of weeks.

A few days later, Smart confirmed the report by indicating he would be out of action for two weeks from the time of the injury.

That puts his return to the floor being Nov. 3 at Cleveland which would mean he would be missing the first four games of the season.

One of the reasons why the second unit had so much success against the starters, was the rhythm they developed playing with and off one another.

Trying to re-establish that on the fly without Smart has proven to be challenging at times for Boston’s second unit.

In the season-opening win over Brooklyn, Boston’s second unit was called upon to simply hold down a lead in the fourth quarter that peaked at 23. But the lead steadily shrunk and head coach Brad Stevens was forced to bring his starters back into the game.

And last night at Chicago, the second unit was never able to deliver the kind of impact-making plays that Boston’s backups can do.

But it goes beyond what Smart can do on the floor when he plays. Like most of his teammates, Smart’s presence has a way of allowing his other teammates to get into a rhythm and get accustomed to whatever role they are asked to play.

Without him, everyone’s job shifts just a little bit.

“They’re trying to figure it out on the fly,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “They had a few practices, maybe one tough day of practice without him; it’s tough. They’re trying to figure it out. There’s no other way to figure it out but in the game.”

New photos show Sandoval has lost weight


New photos show Sandoval has lost weight

The last time a bunch of pictures of Pablo Sandoval made headlines, it was not a good sign for the Red Sox. The latest batch isn’t so bad. 

Sandoval became the story of spring training this season when photos -- specifically a Boston Globe one of him throwing -- revealed he’d gained significant weight. The veteran third baseman was surpassed by Travis Shaw for the starting job and began the season as a bench player. 

After three regular-season games, Sandoval was put on the disabled list with a shoulder strain. He was then shut down for the season in May due to shoulder surgery. 

In a tweet and story posted by FC Barcelona, a smiling -- and noticeably thinner -- Sandoval could be seen attending the club’s final training session. 

Sandoval, 30, is entering the third season of a five-year, $95 million contract. In his lone full season in Boston, 2015, Sandoval hit .245/.292/.366 with 10 homers and 47 RBI.