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Nelson Will Stay With Mavericks

May 29, 2000|From Associated Press

Don Nelson has reached agreement with owner Mark Cuban to coach the Dallas Mavericks for three more years, followed by three more as general manager.

For the first three years, Nelson will make $5 million a year as coach and general manager, Cuban, an Internet billionaire, said Sunday. For the last three years, Nelson will receive $1.6 million a year to serve only as general manager.

"We are incredibly excited to have him back," Cuban said. "He is an innovator and a great basketball man."

The extended agreement, reached Saturday, will give the 60-year-old Nelson an opportunity to groom new assistant Sidney Moncrief for the top job.

"Mark wants me to be a part of it, and I want to be a part of it," Nelson said. "After three years, someone else will take over. Hopefully, it will be Sid. That's the plan. I think Sid will be more than ready."

When Cuban reached an agreement to purchase majority control of the franchise Jan. 3, Nelson's 22-season coaching career appeared over. The Mavericks were 9-21, and fans urged Cuban to get rid Nelson immediately.

In a surprising turnaround, the Mavericks went 31-21 after Cuban's arrival to finish 40-42--their best record since going 47-35 in 1989-90, when they made their last postseason appearance.

Dallas' playoff charge fell short, but players Michael Finley, Dirk Nowitzki and Gary Trent publicly lobbied Nelson to reconsider his retirement plans.

"Nellie is a great bench coach, and the longer I can keep him the better," Cuban said.

Nelson said he is ready to coach through 2003, even after complaining this season about feeling old.

"Yes, I see myself doing all three years," Nelson said. "And I'm not going to hack through these next few years. I think I'm going to enjoy it. I think it's going to be a lot of good times. Losing takes so much out of you. It wrecks your life. But I'm not expecting to lose from this point on. I'm expecting to get better."

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