Posted on: January 14, 2011 11:48 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2011 12:36 am
SAN ANTONIO – Coach Rick Carlisle admitted that Saturday’s game in Memphis could mark the return of Dirk Nowitzki to the Team Formerly Known as the Mavericks.
If it is, it’s not a minute too soon.
The Mavs are lost without Nowitzki, who went through his first contact drills Friday in the strongest sign yet that he is ready to return after a nine-game absence with a sprained right knee. Dallas has lost seven of nine without Dirk, including a pointless 101-89 blowout at the hands of the Spurs.
“Our whole team is out of whack,” Shawn Marion said. Nowitzki has been out since Dec. 28 as the day-to-day status of the injury became week-to-week, prompting rival executives to wonder if Nowitzki’s injury was worse than the team has been letting on.
Those doubts were put to rest Friday, when Nowitzki went through one-on-one contact drills for the first time. Later, on the court before the Spurs game, Nowitzki worked up a decent sweat with an array of half-speed offensive drills. He flexed his knee and winced a couple of times, but other than that, his jumper was still silky smooth.
The same cannot be said for the Mavs without him.
“We’re missing that little edge we had when things did happen, when things would go wrong, because we would find a way with that edge to fight over the hump and get these wins,” Marion said. “We’ve got to find a way to get that back right now. Who knows? Dirk could come back and it might come back as well. But it might not.”
In the third game without Nowitzki, the Mavs lost Caron Butler to a season-ending knee injury, leaving them without two of their top three scorers. They can’t replace Butler without a trade between now and the deadline, but help could be on the way from Dirk. Nowitzki said during the ESPN broadcast Friday night that he was "actually really close." Owner Mark Cuban said after the game Nowitzki would be a game-time decision Saturday night in Memphis – which would seem to be a significant upgrade over day-to-day and week-to-week.
“I don’t know when he’s going to play,” Carlisle said. “We’ve been very consistent in that. We don’t know. He worked out hard today and we’ve got to see how he feels tomorrow. Tomorrow could be a possibility, but then again maybe not. We can’t mess with that.”
And quite clearly, the Mavs can’t mess around without Dirk too much longer.
“It’s going to be good to get a healthy team out there,” Tyson Chandler said. “It’s tough with guys playing out of position and stepping into roles they’re not accustomed to. It’ll be good to get back our team.” And that was exactly the right way to put it, because Dirk is the team.
Posted on: September 21, 2010 5:56 pm
It wouldn't be time for another NBA season without the Mavericks feeling like championship contenders. But this time, the feeling is different. This time, there's a palpable belief that the Mavs had better get it done this year or their window will be closed -- for a long time, if not for good.
That's a little drastic. They're still not better than the Lakers, and still might not be able to get past the Spurs in a best-of-7 playoff series. But the Mavs enter training camp as a much better team than the one that lost to San Antonio in the first round a few months ago. With no cap space -- cap space can't score or defend, after all -- Mark Cuban struck out on the major free-agent targets. But the addition of Tyson Chandler certainly will help. Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki know the window is closing, but maybe this is a good spot for them to be in. With all eyes on the Lakers, Celtics, Heat and Magic, maybe the Mavs can quietly be in the mix. If it's possible for Cuban's team to do anything quietly.
Training camp site: Southern Methodist University
Training camp starts: Sept. 28
Key additions: Tyson Chandler (trade), Alexis Ajinca (trade), Ian Mahinmi (free agent), Dominique Jones (draft).
Key subtractions: Erick Dampier (trade), Eduardo Najera (trade), Matt Carroll (trade).
Likely starting lineup: Jason Kidd, PG; Caron Butler, SG; Shawn Marion, SF; Dirk Nowitzki, PF; Tyson Chandler, C
Player to watch: Butler. When he’s good, he’s very, very good. And when he’s bad, he’s divisive.
Chemistry quiz: There shouldn’t be any chemistry issues on a team with so many veterans getting their last realistic shot at a championship. There shouldn’t be. But there could be, especially given that not everyone (Mark Cuban included) was on board with the rotations and substitution patterns Carlisle utilized during another underwhelming (and brief) playoff run. Teams like these, with established players vying for their spot in the pecking order, can come unglued if things don’t go well. (Did we mention Cuban’s recent comments that the Mavs have enough size and depth to beat the Lakers?)
Injury check: Speedster Rodrigue Beaubois is likely out until November following surgery on his broken left foot.
Camp battles: Ultimately, Carlisle faces only two starting lineup decisions. But they’re important ones: Whether to start Chandler or Brendan Haywood at center, and whether Butler starts at shooting guard with Marion at the three, or Butler at the three with Beaubois (once he’s healthy) starting in the backcourt with Kidd. Neither one of those decisions will be made in October. But all eyes will be on first-round pick (acquired from Memphis) Dominique Jones, a slasher who has a chance to crack Carlisle’s rotation and give the Mavs the dribble-penetration element they sorely lacked last season.
Biggest strength: Size and depth. If 6-11 Frenchman Ian Mahinmi stands on a croissant, the Mavs have five legitimate 7-footers: Mahinmi, Nowitzki, Chandler, Haywood and Alexis Ajinca. It can be argued – as Cuban did recently – that Dallas is the team best equipped to combat the Lakers’ twin towers of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. First, the Mavs should worry about getting past the Spurs.
Glaring weakness: Age and miles. The window is closing fast on Kidd, Dirk and Marion, and Jason Terry, all of a sudden, is 33.
Posted on: April 24, 2010 1:23 am
Mark Cuban hired Rick Carlisle to coach the Mavericks because his research showed this: Carlisle was the best in the NBA at getting production out of players he was coaching for the first time.
In Game 3 of what has evolved into the most physical and compelling playoff series thus far, the three players Cuban acquired for Carlisle at the trade deadline hardly played at all in the second half Friday night. Caron Butler, the cornerstone of the Mavs' big deadline deal with the Wizards, didn't play at all after the second quarter. With a 94-90 loss to the Spurs, the Mavericks fell into more than a 2-1 deficit in the best-of-7 series. They fell into an identity crisis.
Sitting in his usual spot next to the bench, Cuban must've had no idea he would've been in such close proximity to the players he so painstakingly acquired to push the Mavs into title contention. Dallas got virtually nothing from Butler (two points in 14:48) and Brendan Haywood (four points and four rebounds in 17:57). DeShawn Stevenson, the other player who came over from Washington in the Josh Howard trade, got a DNP-CD. Shawn Marion, acquired by Cuban last summer in a blockbuster deal, was 3-for-9 from the field with seven points in 16:34.
Forced into another undesirable halfcourt slugfest with the Spurs, Carlisle decided to play small throughout the second half with J.J. Barea instead of Butler -- hoping to push the pace. It's not that it was a bad idea. It's just that the Spurs were still able to exert their advantages defensively and attack Dallas' suspect defense off the dribble at key moments -- especially in the fourth quarter. Butler didn't return to the floor again after committing his third turnover, a defensive three-second violation, with 3:38 left in the second quarter.
The way this series has unfolded, there seems to be no way around it going seven games. So the Mavs aren't in deep trouble. Not yet. Once they gave up home-court advantage by losing Game 1, the Mavs knew they'd have to win one game in San Antonio. That game pretty much has to be Game 4 on Sunday, because nobody is winning three straight games between these two old rivals.
"Anything can happen," Tony Parker said in the TV interview after the game. "Any time we play Dallas, we know they can win here. There's going to be another big one here on Sunday."
To beat the Spurs in San Antonio, I think it was pretty well proven Friday night that the Mavs need Butler not only to play, but to play at a high level. Getting some sort of contribution from Marion would be nice, too. The Mavs, who entered the playoffs feeling they had their best shot at a championship since they were up 2-0 on the Miami Heat in the 2006 Finals, have a real problem on their hands. That problem is a proud, crafty, championship-tested Spurs team that is starting to look and feel like its old championship self at just the right time.
Carlisle has until Sunday to come up with the right formula to send this series back to Dallas tied 2-2. As much as Cuban trusts Carlisle -- he sings his praises to anyone who will listen -- the pressure that comes with ignoring the millions of dollars in talent that Cuban handed him at the trade deadline cannot be overstated.
As hard as it would be for Cuban to accept losing in the playoffs to the Spurs, just imagine how hard it would be to accept losing to the Spurs with his prized acquisitions sitting a few feet away from him on the bench.
Posted on: July 8, 2009 11:32 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2009 8:13 am
UPDATES THROUGHOUT with further details:
Shawn Marion is headed from Toronto to Dallas in a complicated, four-team sign-and-trade that also sends Jerry Stackhouse temporarily to Memphis and delivers a sizeable trade exception to Orlando, pending league approval on Thursday, four sources confirmed to CBSSports.com.
Posted on: July 6, 2009 9:18 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2009 10:00 pm
The Dallas Mavericks, who have agreed to bring Jason Kidd back with a three-year, $25 million deal, are trying to work out a sign-and-trade with Toronto for Shawn Marion, CBSSports.com has learned.
UPDATE: If Toronto and Dallas work out a deal, Jerry Stackhouse almost certainly would be headed to Toronto because only $2 million of his $7 million salary for next season is guaranteed. Also, you should be following me on Twitter, because you could've found out about this story before I posted it. This news is like so-a-half-hour-ago.
UPDATE: A second person familiar with the situation said the Marion-to-Dallas scenario was being pushed by Mavs owner Mark Cuban and Marion's agent, Dan Fegan. Dallas, the person said, was trying to involve either Oklahoma City or Memphis as a third team to facilitate Toronto's need to clear cap space for Turkoglu.
UPDATE: While there is interest in Marion among several contenders seeking an agile transition player and 3-point shooter, his potential landing spots are limited to teams willing and able to pay him more than the mid-level exception of about $5.6 million -- unless that's all Fegan is able to get for him. That would appear to take a team like Cleveland out of the mix for Matrix.
Posted on: July 2, 2009 1:26 am
While Hedo Turkoglu is being wined and dined in two time zones by the Portland Trail Blazers, his other potential suitors aren't sitting around waiting for them to kiss each other good night.
The Toronto Raptors, for one, are deliberating what it would take to make Turkoglu an offer that would top the the five-year, $50 million proposal that Portland can offer, as reported early Wednesday by CBSSports.com. According to a person familiar with the situation, the Raptors are mulling whether they would be better off making a pre-emptive strike for Turkoglu -- which would entail renouncing the rights to Shawn Marion, Carlos Delfino, and Anthony Parker -- or trying to keep those players and sign a mid-level free agent. Toronto has yet to offer an extension to 2010 free agent Chris Bosh; that decision is tied to the others. And Turkoglu isn't the only free agent Toronto is considering. League sources indicated early Thursday that the Raptors also were contemplating an offer to restricted free agent David Lee. Any offer to Lee, by definition, would be in the $8-$10 million range so it would test the Knicks' threshold for matching. And Lee's list of potential suitors shrank by one Wednesday when Memphis traded Quentin Richardson to the Clippers for power forward Zach Randolph.
With so many moving parts -- and with Turkoglu having entertained Blazers coach Nate McMillan in Orlando Wednesday night with plans to visit Portland on Thursday -- it is clear that the recruitment of Turkoglu isn't a one-team show. Turkoglu's camp expected Portland to extend its formal offer during the course of Turkoglu's recruiting trip to the Pacific Northwest on Thursday.
If Portland landed Turkoglu, it would be the first big-ticket free-agent signing of GM Kevin Pritchard's reign. While some involved might view Toronto's preparation of a pre-emptive offer as brash or shameless, this is why the negotiating period was created. Free agents may negotiate and consider offers from July 1-7, but can't sign on the dotted line until the league and players association set the salary cap and luxury tax on July 8.
Posted on: February 13, 2009 8:06 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2009 10:53 pm
PHOENIX -- Dwyane Wade views the trade Friday that sent Jermaine O'Neal to Miami as a move that could propel the Miami Heat to a long playoff run. Chris Bosh sees it as what it is: maneuvering for the future.
Whether Bosh will be a part of that future remains to be seen.
"I have mixed emotions," Bosh said Friday. "I like J.O. He’s a great person and a great player. But I guess things weren’t working out the way he wanted them to. I hate to see him go, but it’s a business move that was made and we have to accept it and move on. G.M.s have to think about the future. There’s so many different scenarios you have to consider. It’s just all about making the correct moves for the future right now. It’s tricky. Hopefully it’ll help you right now, and it’ll give you flexibility later on."
Later on will be here sooner than Bosh thinks. By unloading O'Neal's $23 million contract for next season, Raptors G.M. Bryan Colangelo has some flexibility to go free-agent shopping this summer. He also maintains cap flexibility in the summer of 2010, when Bosh can become a free agent by declining his player option for the 2010-11 season.
So can Wade, and Miami will have as much cap room as any team in the NBA in '10. In the meantime, Wade thinks the addition of O'Neal and Jamario Moon will help.
"I think it gives us an opportunity right now to really compete in the Eastern Conference," Wade said. "In the first part of the season, it was throw the ball up and let’s see what happens with the team we have. But now you look at it and say, 'OK, we’re in fifth place right now, and if we mesh the right way with Jermaine and with Jamario, then we could do something."
UPDATE: This is important, Heat fans. Before you rip this trade, you should know that Miami received a $4 million trade exception as part of the deal. That's because Marion-for-O'Neal straight up satisfied the 125 percent rule for salaries matching up in trades. Toronto used a minimum-player exception to send Moon to Miami, and the Heat get a $4 million trade exception for the difference between Marcus Banks' salary and Moon's. The exception expires in one year.
Posted on: January 28, 2009 9:37 pm
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jermaine O'Neal smiled when I asked him where things stand with you-know-what.
Basically, O'Neal remains in limbo. He knows that Toronto would like to send him to Miami for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks in a trade that would free up the Raptors' offense for Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani. He knows Miami is watching him closely and studying his medical records to make sure his knees will hold up.
He knows it's nothing personal. No hard feelings toward Raptors G.M. Bryan Colangelo if the deal goes through.
"I'm just trying to get healthy, which has been the big issue for me the last couple of years," O'Neal said. The trade talk, he said, "doesn't bother me at all."
Colangelo is in wait-and-see mode, too. And he's not panicking. O'Neal has been effective coming off the bench the past three games after missing 11 of 12 to rest his bruised knee. Colangelo knows he has a valuable asset, because O'Neal's $23 million contract for next season expires in time for everyone to make a frenzied run at free agents in the summer of 2010. As of now, there's no deal with Miami. And while Colangelo waits for the Heat to decide whether to move forward with it, I'm told he's not actively shopping J.O. elsewhere. Two or three teams have inquired about him, and that only strengthens Colangelo's hand.
The Raptors are $222,000 under the luxury-tax threshold. Barring a trade proposal that blows Colangelo away, he's not inclined to push a team that entered Wednesday night 10 games under .500 over the punitive dollar-for-dollar tax.
In the meantime, O'Neal auditions for Miami and Colangelo smiles because he's contributing in a way that helps his team. And that only makes his $23 million expiring contract more valuable. At some point, something has to give.