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News » Lieberman to lead Frisco NBDL team Del Harris to be GM

Lieberman to lead Frisco NBDL team Del Harris to be GM

Lieberman to lead Frisco NBDL team Del Harris to be GMNEW ORLEANS - The Frisco team in the National Basketball Development League will hire Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman as its first coach, and the news is not as surprising as you might think.

Far from it, say some of the people who know Lieberman well. In fact, the hiring of a woman to coach a men's team has been too long in coming, they said.

"I think it's awesome," Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd said. "She's very knowledgeable about the game, for sure. You know, change can be a little weird at the beginning, but I think everybody will adjust fine."

Asked if he could someday see a female NBA head coach, Kidd said: "Someday, yeah. I think it's just a matter of time."

Lieberman will be flanked by two other members of Basketball's royalty. Longtime NBA coach Del Harris will serve as the Frisco team's general manager. Spud Webb, one of the best sub-6-foot players in NBA history and also one of the best to come out of Dallas, will be president of Basketball operations.

But with Frisco owners Donnie Nelson and Evan Wyly tabbing Lieberman as coach, it's a move that is certain to create lots of buzz.

Lieberman was a two-time Olympian and a renowned player, coach and general manager in the WNBA. She has done virtually everything in women's Basketball and also has served as an ESPN reporter for NBA games.

"It's a great hire," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "I've known Nancy for 15 years and consider her one of the greatest competitors our sport has ever seen. I think it's a great opportunity for her and it's a great opportunity for this franchise. And I know she'll succeed."

Asked if it might be weird having a female coaching NBA-quality players, Carlisle said: "She'll make it work."

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban used to play pickup games with Lieberman and said he could see this as the start of something much bigger. On the subject of whether there could be an woman coaching an NBA team, he said: "Yeah, I could actually, if someone turned out to be really, really good, like Nancy may turn out to be.

"She eats, sleeps and breathes Basketball. She's everything good about Basketball. Donnie's made a great step in picking her as a coach.

"The D-League is where you're supposed to try new things and take chances, and create new opportunities for people. It's also the way Donnie is, too."

Revisiting Dirk's bombshell: A day later, everybody was still talking about Dirk Nowitzki's outrageous fourth quarter Tuesday against Utah.

Nowitzki scored 29 points in the fourth period as the Mavericks overcame a 16-point deficit to win by 11. "He's just a special player," Carlisle said. "What he did last night, we may not see that again in this league for a lot of years."

Carlisle added that one of the new wrinkles in Nowitzki's game has gone largely unnoticed.

"He's gotten better every year," Carlisle said. "This year, he's made an effort to drive the ball more to his right. He's always been a very strong and natural driver left. But he's driving it right more, which I think helps keep defenses honest."

Briefly: Quinton Ross (lower back) and Drew Gooden (strained muscle, right rib cage) did not dress for Wednesday's game at New Orleans. Ross' spot in the starting lineup was taken by Roddy Beaubois, which was a nice touch - having the Guadeloupe native of French descent making his first start next to the French Quarter ... The Mavericks were down to 10 healthy bodies for the game against the Hornets.

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Added: November 6, 2009


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