Plan CP3: Clippers can't find better coach than Rick Carlisle

ESPNDallas.com will compare the Mavericks and Clippers in five facets -- other than money -- that could play a role in Chris Paul's free agency decision in a one-per-day series: owners/front office, coaches, co-stars, supporting casts and franchise tradition. We'll focus on Dwight Howard next week.

Is Donald Sterling seriously considering giving Vinny Del Negro a new contract?

If that’s the case, Mark Cuban ought to offer to pay half of Del Negro’s salary. It’d be worth it to potentially push Chris Paul to leave Los Angeles instead of continuing to play for a clearly overmatched coach.

(UPDATE: Sources say Del Negro will not return as head coach of the Clippers.)

For the sake of discussion, let’s eliminate Del Negro from the equation. Paul will surely have the right to hand-pick his head coach if he returns to the Clippers, right? That’s just common sense for any franchise trying to keep a perennial All-NBA player.

Still, who could Paul possibly pick that’s better than Rick Carlisle?

The only possible answer would be convincing Phil Jackson to get off his couch and stick it to Jim Buss by coaching the Staples Center’s other basketball team. All indications, however, are that Jackson is only interested in a front-office position at this point, not the day-to-day grind of coaching again.

The Mavs need to maximize Carlisle as an asset in their recruiting pitch to Paul. They need to make a case that Carlisle is a perfect coach for CP3, an elite point guard in his prime with a hard-driving personality.

It’s not just about the credibility Carlisle has from the Mavs’ championship run. His preferred offensive style – a flow system that depends on the point guard to dictate the pace and make good decisions – is a phenomenal fit for Paul and his Jason Kidd-like basketball brain. And Carlisle’s ability to come up with smart, creative play calls when appropriate would appeal to Paul, who praised the Mavs coach via Twitter for a beautifully designed play that freed up O.J. Mayo for a clutch 3 during one of Dallas’ national TV games this season.

Carlisle prides himself on being brutally honest and relentlessly pushing his players. Paul has a similar reputation as a leader, arguably to a fault.

There’s no question Paul’s skills, savvy and take-no-stuff leadership style would make him an ideal point guard for Carlisle. The Mavs must convince Paul that relationship would be mutually beneficial.

EDGE: Another major advantage for the Mavs.