The summer months are hardly the “offseason” for coach Rick Carlisle and his staff.
For proof, look no further than the NBA’s latest Basketball Without Borders event that is taking place in Riga, Latvia, which just happens to be Kristaps Porzingis’ home country.
Carlisle, assistant coach Jamahl Mosley and Porzingis are part of the large NBA delegation that is providing insight into basketball and life during the four-day camp, which is the 18th such event in the history of BWB Europe series.
The Latvia version is bringing together the top male and female players 17 and under from throughout Europe to get tutelage from NBA and FIBA players and coaches.
“This is a great opportunity for these kids, a chance to get better,” Carlisle said in an interview with local reporters in Riga. “It could be life-changing. It’s fantastic. They can learn a lot about basketball and a lot about leadership, respect and teamwork.
“But it’s not just about putting the ball in the basket. Basketball Without Borders is about life-lessons as well and we take great pride in that.”
The NBA typically has a BWB event on several continents each offseason. In the past they have visited South Africa several times, Argentina and China among other locations.
Joining Carlisle and Porzingis at the camp are fellow Latvian players Davis Bertans (Spurs), Dairis Bertans (Pelicans), Rodions Kurucs (Nets) as well as American players Sam Dekker (Wizards) and Jonathan Isaac (Magic).
Carlisle spent a few extra days in Latvia before the BWB event to hang out and work out with Porzingis. He was asked about how the 7-3 Porzingis has come along in his rehabilitation from a torn anterior Cruciate Ligament in February, 2018. Porzingis missed all of the 2018-19 season and was traded from New York to the Mavericks before the trade deadline in a blockbuster deal.
“He’s doing great. He practiced with us the last month of the season and did extremely well, got better every day,” Carlisle said. “He’s worked awfully hard the last two years to recover from the ACL and also to build his body up to withstand the rigors of the NBA season. We can’t wait to get him dialed in and ready to go.”
Another topic that came up in Carlisle’s interview was what the makeup of the Mavericks’ roster will look like in the coming season.
He gave his usual response, which is: “Stay tuned.”
But, he added, “I don’t know exactly who we’re going to sign, but we will be very active in free agency. We got the 37th pick in the draft. And we got a trending young roster with two young stars in Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic. We’re going to be ready to go.”