Rick Carlisle takes short break from free agency to sit in on summer-league practice

Rick Carlisle talks Mavs’ 2014 Summer League

Mavs head coach stops by summer league practice to address the media about the roster heading to Las Vegas, NBA free agency and much more.

DALLAS — With the back of his mind centered on the happenings in NBA free agency, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle still found the time to show his support for the team’s summer-league squad this week.

Taking a brief break from courting free agents, Carlisle stood as an observer as one of his top assistants and head coach of the summer-league team, Kaleb Canales, passed down the Mavericks’ philosophies to the roster of young pros and NBA hopefuls. Carlisle then addressed the team, hoping to provide the players with some confidence before they leave for Las Vegas to begin play on Friday.

“Just to do things hard and keep things simple,” Carlisle said when asked want he conveyed to the players. “You know, we’ve had some of our guys from a developmental standpoint working on things to get better, and now is the chance to put it into force in practice and game situations. So, trust what you’ve trained, do it hard and be decisive.

“You know, thirty years ago, I was in the position of these players. I was coming in, I had a shot, I was a third-round pick but no guarantees. And I had a shot to make a team. And this is a great opportunity for all these guys.”

When Carlisle entered the gym, players immediately ramped up their level of intensity with┬áhopes of garnering the coach’s attention while trying to earn an invitation to training camp this fall. That made the team’s live scrimmages that much more competitive, according to second-year guard Gal Mekel.

“I mean, you know how it is when the head coach is around, especially for the guys that are not on the team. I’m sure they want to show him that they can play,” Mekel joked.

“We’re a team that has roster spots open, so it’s a good time to be in this kind of situation with the Mavericks. There’s some opportunity here,” Carlisle added.

With Carlisle watching from the stands in Las Vegas, Canales will try to pass on the Mavs’ core principles while implementing the team’s offensive and defensive systems. Still, the 36-year-old Canales says Carlisle’s fingerprints will be all over the Mavericks’ summer squad as it competes in a tournament-style competition that will crown a champion on Monday, July 21.

“For me personally, he’s been a great mentor over the years and he talked to the guys and said what he sees on the floor,” Canales said after Carlisle sat in on the team’s practice. “It’s priceless. It’s priceless for us, priceless for me and priceless for the team.”