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Mavs Game Night: Deron in Dallas with His Brooklyn Nets

by Damian Jackson on March 20, 2013 in Mavs 09 comments

bknatdal

As spring nears its way it means the summer will follow soon after. A summer ago the Dallas Mavericks played some baseball and unfortunately they struck out when it was their turn to bat.

The Mavericks opted for cap room in 2011 rather than bringing back an aging group which won the franchise’s lone championship. Most notably Tyson Chandler was seen as the gem we simply let walk away.

One can view the turn out either way they want, but I lean toward understanding the financial side of the business. I never doubt Mark Cuban’s will to win and right now it’s obviously been rough this past year and change, BUT Cuban is one smart man.

The goal which no longer is a secret of any kind was to fetch a superstar player such as Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and/or Deron Williams. Paul and Howard never actually became free agents, although there was reports that said the two had briefly discussed teaming with the Mavericks.

Two strikes.

Free agent and Dallas native Deron Williams did hit the open market, but eventually opted to stick with the Nets and their transition from New Jersey to Brooklyn.

Strike three.

This all brings us to tonight and Williams’ first visit back to the arena he said was his favorite to play in. The American Airlines Center will be rocking with rowdy, loud and proud faithful. Dallas’ fan base desperately wanted one of the NBA’s elite point guards to return home and join forces with the great Dirk Nowitzki. So I do expect Deron to hear the boo-birds reign throughout the evening.

It’s not all a downer though with how things transpired even though it may feel that way. The Mavs front office will get another at-bat and put the ball in play. It’s about being opportunistic as our owner loves to say and he’s situated us in relatively favorable position to remain flexible and become advantageous when presented with the right opportunity.

As for this matter at hand, the Nets are in Dallas looking to avenge the loss on the first of March. In this game which I covered in my first ever trip to the Barclay’s Center, the Mavs managed to secure a 98-90 victory. Nowitzki and Vince Carter scored 20 apiece; O.J. Mayo added 17 points. Williams led the Nets with 24 points.

The Mavericks are 6-3 since the meeting in Brooklyn, most recently defeating the Atlanta Hawks 127-113 Monday evening. That win actually assisted the Nets themselves as they continue to fend off the Hawks for the fourth and final seed with home court advantage in the Eastern Conference.

 

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[March Madness Bracket Challenge] Remember to fill out your Mavs Fanatic bracket for a chance to win a $50 Amazon.com gift card!

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Playoff Picture Update:

MAVERICKS - 10th seed in West; 3 GB of the Los Angeles Lakers for final playoff spot.

NETS - 4th seed in East; 1 GB of New York Knicks for Atlantic Division and 3rd seed.

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Nets at Mavs tip at 7:00 p.m. CT and airs on ESPN.

Let’s Go Mavs!

Source: Rotoworld.com, ESPN & ESPN Dallas

 

 

 

 

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Mavericks Blueprint Changing?

by Ryan Wilson on August 24, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

The long-range plan is to keep the powder dry and wait out a superstar. It’s why when Deron Williams chose Brooklyn over Dallas, Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson didn’t get in a bidding war for a player such as Goran Dragic but rather targeted players either on the last year of their current deals or who were open to a one-year contract.

Check out the current roster. Of the five players acquired this summer — excluding the three rookies that give Dallas eight new faces on the 15-man roster — all are on one-year deals. O.J. Mayo‘s reduced-rate contract is technically for two years, but the second year is a player option that he will almost certainly exercise.

One-year deals allow the Mavs to easily create cap space for next summer to chase marquee free agents. But with the 2013 “big fish” free agency class threatening to be a dud with Dwight HowardAndrew Bynum and Chris Paul all with good reason to stay put, could the Mavs’ philosophy be moving away from the rent-a-player approach of these last two offseasons?

After all, how do you sell player jerseys of guys that won’t be around but eight or nine months?

“I’m not a big believer in rent-a-players, not in your top seven or eight guys anyways,” Cuban said during his Tuesday appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s Ben & Skin Show. “I want these guys to stay and develop because they can be a great, young nucleus. The devil you know is always better than the devil you don’t know in basketball, particularly when you have an infrastructure that hopefully can continue to develop these guys. That’s the goal and we still have flexibility then to do sign-and-trades, potentially sign a free agent; just see where it takes us.”

Cuban’s great, young nucleus comment is in reference to 24-year-old guards Darren Collison, penciled-in to start at point guard, and Mayo, who will start at shooting guard. Collison will be a restricted free agent next summer and can entertain offers from other teams with the Mavs being able to match. Mayo, with a strong year, could get the payday he hoped for this summer. Chris Kaman and Elton Brand will be seeking to play their way to multiyear deals as well, either with Dallas or somewhere else.

The Mavs might be the team to give it to one or all of them, but likely only after they are convinced that none of the superstar free agents will be available to any team but their current one, which can offer one more year and millions more than other teams. And they’ll also keep an eye on the bottom line for the summer of 2014, when the Mavs will have no players under contract and could chase multiple potential free agents such as LeBron JamesDwyane WadeKobe BryantChris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony.

“The blueprint is to say, like a Jet (Jason Terry) scenario, or even Josh Howard’s first year, Marquis’ (Daniels) first year, where it’s not apples to apples, it’s like wow; we want these guys to develop into a D.C. and O.J. tandem that can be a foundation for years to come and we keep them together and we improve and we grow with them and have the ability to continue to add players,” Cuban said. “So the optimum scenario is everybody plays great.”

And then perhaps instead of gutting the club to chase a Dwight Howard, the team-building focus turns to re-signing their own and chasing, say, a Josh Smith and cohesion.

Jeff Caplan

ESPNDallas.com

Jeff Caplan joined ESPNDallas.com in December 2009. Jeff covers the Mavericks, Rangers and colleges. He has a wealth of experience in the area, covering multiple beats in his 11-plus years with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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NBA Releases Schedule: 5 Games To Circle

by Ryan Wilson on July 26, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

Perhaps not since the 2003-04 season when Mark Cuban brought in Antawn Jamison and Antoine Walker have the Dallas Mavericks been a bigger mystery than they are entering the 2012-13 season.

With the roster now appearing to be finalized – barring any trades before the start of training camp in late September — the re-tooled Mavs now know who and when they’ll play as the NBA released the full 82-game regular-season schedule Thursday.

There’s no Christmas Day game and no Martin Luther King Jr. day game. Dirk Nowitzki and his new pals won’t be on national television at the rate that they were a season ago as defending champs. Still, the Mavs will have eight games on TNT — including the opener at the Lakers — seven on ESPN, seven on NBATV, one on ABC and two on ESPN Radio.

None of it means this won’t be one of the more intriguing seasons of Cuban’s ownership. At the moment, just about anything — from being lottery bound to a top-four finish in the Western Conference — seems possible.

We take a look at five games to circle, and why not start with the opener?

No. 1: Mavs at Los Angeles Lakers, Oct. 30
Not only will it be the first real game for a Mavs club that features five new key players around Nowitzki, but it will also be Steve Nash‘s debut with the Lakers. And for that matter, since we’ve already mentioned Jamison, he’ll also be wearing the purple and gold for the first time. The big question as of July 26 is if Andrew Bynum will still be calling the Staples Center home or if Dwight Howard be manning the rim and playing alongside Pau GasolKobe Bryant and Nash?

No. 2: New York Knicks at Mavs, Nov. 21
Coach Rick Carlisle predicted that Jason Kidd would receive a standing ovation when he returns to the American Airlines Center. We won’t have to wait long to find out if he’s right — and he probably is. Two-fifths of the Mavs’ championship starting lineup will suit up for the Knicks as Tyson Chandler makes his second trip back to Dallas since the title. Kidd’s last-minute departure to the Big Apple was stunning, but in retrospect it’s allowed the Mavs to add a bit more shake-n-bake to their backcourt with Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo.

No. 3: Mavs at Boston Celtics, Dec. 12
A trip to the Garden is always special, but now that Jason Terry will be writing ctc on his green and white sneakers, it’s extra special. And don’t think that Terry, who played eight seasons with the Mavs, won’t want to drill about 15 buckets from downtown and send his former team out of town with a loss. Terry never wanted to leave Dallas, but he knew he was no longer in their plans. He’ll try to fill the very large shoes of Ray Allen, who took his talents to South Beach. Terry won’t make his Dallas return until March 22.

No. 4: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Mavs, Jan. 18
It’ll take a few months for the Western Conference champs to make it Dallas, which isn’t a bad thing since the Mavs will need some time to break in the new rotation. Although Dallas is a drastically different team than the past two seasons, consecutive playoff series have elevated the Thunder to the top of the Mavs’ rival list, or at least just notch below the Spurs. This game will show the Mavs how far they’ve come or how far they still have to go.

No. 5: Mavs at Brooklyn Nets, March 1
Who knows if the Nets will have Dwight Howard by this first meeting of the two teams, but this game is all about Deron Williams, who spurned his hometown Mavs to re-sign with the Nets as they move to Brooklyn. In the grand scheme of things, this game will mean little, but the free-agent process was emotional for Williams and the two teams, and that could make this the most intense Mavs-Nets game of all-time. Less than three weeks later, Williams will make his return to Dallas. He won’t be staying.

Jeff Caplan

ESPNDallas.com

Jeff Caplan joined ESPNDallas.com in December 2009. Jeff covers the Mavericks, Rangers and colleges. He has a wealth of experience in the area, covering multiple beats in his 11-plus years with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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Cuban Has Mavs Set Up For Future Run

by Ryan Wilson on July 26, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

Hours before the Dallas Mavericks‘ title defense fizzled in a first-round sweep, a first in Mark Cuban’s dozen seasons, the outspoken and out-of-the-box owner of the dismantled champions chastised sports writers, demanding the know-it-alls digest the new collective bargaining agreement before questioning his suddenly scaled-back spending approach to team building.

For the many fans who didn’t find the enthralling document on the best-sellers shelf at their local bookstore, a perception surfaced that the new fang-bearing CBA, with its harsher luxury tax penalties, scared the billionaire Cuban from re-signing Tyson Chandler this past December and into becoming cheap.

Mark CubanWhat other explanation could there be for an $88 million payroll — in the top three in the league and $18 million over the luxury tax line — during the championship season and a payroll today that stands to top out at about $61 million, $9 million below the tax line?

In actuality, Cuban doesn’t fear the larger luxury tax hammer the CBA starts swinging in 2013-14 nearly as much as the roster handcuffs it will slap on luxury tax offenders.

This is not about being cheap versus spending extravagantly, as Cuban unabashedly had done throughout his ownership and as the Brooklyn Nets did this summer in an attempt to put a competitive team around prized free agent Deron Williams, who spurned the Mavs and sent them scrambling for contingency plans. This is about differing interpretations as to how to best build a team under the new rules.

The Nets and Mavs have emerged as a fascinating case study in opposing approaches to the new CBA that will play out over the next three to five years.

Brooklyn, boasting a payroll approaching $82 million next season with five projected starters each earning at least $10 million and a slew of long-term deals, is locked into restrictive luxury tax territory through 2015-16. The newly fiscally self-restrained Mavs, with only Dirk Nowitzki ($20.9 million) scheduled to make more than $8.5 million next season and no one locked up beyond 2013-14, are flush with cap space for the foreseeable future.

“The money is secondary to the team-building strategy,” Cuban said. “Once you get above the tax apron [the $70.307 million luxury tax plus $4 million], there are limitations in player movement that I think have a big impact on how to build a team.”

If the Nets manage to land Dwight Howard in a midseason trade, their high-dollar offseason maneuverings — signing Gerald Wallace to a $40 million contract and trading for Joe Johnson‘s enormous contract, which ultimately enticed Williams to stay — will give Brooklyn a roster it can love long term and a luxury tax bill that Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov will pay as if checking his luggage on a flight home to Moscow.

 

Darren CollisonBut if Brooklyn doesn’t acquire Howard and the Nets aren’t contending in two or three years, they will be locked into the current roster, limited to making only minor adjustments. It’s why Cuban ultimately decided that sacrificing a true title defense in favor of trimming the payroll and creating future cap space was a wiser bet than backing the franchise into a corner with an aging, potentially unmovable roster.

Two key CBA restrictions are at the center of Cuban’s 180-degree philosophical change.

In the past, he would pursue trades and take back bloated salary that added to his luxury tax bill. He was happy to pay the phasing-out dollar-for-dollar luxury tax in the name of acquiring the player or players he wanted in order to keep his teams consistently competitive. It’s a strategy Cuban believes is no longer sustainable under the new rules.

It has little to do with the coming luxury tax that grows larger for every $5 million spent over the cap and a one-time crushing hit for taxpayers in any four out of five seasons.

Starting next summer, and more pertinent to Cuban, teams above the tax apron can no longer receive a player in a sign-and-trade. If the rule had been in place this summer, the Lakers would not have been able to deal for Steve Nash. Next summer, the Lakers and Nets will be prohibited from making sign-and-trade proposals for Dwight Howard, if he has yet to be dealt, or any other player. They also won’t have the cap space to sign Howard outright as a free agent.

The Mavs, one of three teams along with the Nets and Lakers on Howard’s original trade list, will weigh heavily in both potential discussions.

“It will be interesting to see what happens next summer,” Cuban said, “when we hear lots of talk about teams not being eligible to receive free agents in sign-and-trades due to being over the tax apron.”

Teams over the luxury tax apron also will not have access to the full midlevel exception of $5 million, instead relegated to the taxpayer exception of $3 million, a significant blow when trying to sign a quality veteran player.

Cuban’s strategy is obviously not without risk, as the all-or-nothing pursuit of Williams proved. The Mavs then lost Jason Terry and Jason Kidd to free agency, and Cuban and company were getting ripped for a grand offseason failure that threatened to plunk them in the lottery.

They responded with a show of resourcefulness in acquiring five interesting players, and all at low cost and with short-term contracts. The moves might not make the Mavs bona fide contenders, but they should be entertaining and make the playoffs. And, unlike the Nets, Knicks and Lakers, they will be flush with cap space to either sign a max-contract free agent next summer or potentially nab one at some point from a team that wants out from under a weighty contract.

That’s the plan, anyway. Of course, Howard might not reach free agency next summer. The same goes for Chris Paul and Andrew Bynum. The Mavs’ strategy won’t change. They’ll remain patient and seek creative trades for players on expiring deals (such as Darren Collison) and players who slip through the cracks (such as O.J. Mayo), and sign them to reasonable, short-term deals.

At some point, the Mavs believe, their ability to absorb contracts with cap space will facilitate a major trade, or being a rare big-market team with cap space will ultimately land a big fish in free agency.

If either occurs, be sure that Cuban won’t be afraid to cross the luxury tax line on a year-to-year basis to build a contender around a superstar with an eye on only the four-in-five chronic taxpayer crackdown.

“I expect to go into the luxury tax in the future,” Cuban said, although declining to specify the obvious scenario in which he would. “I’m not going to lay down my cards in public.”

Jeff Caplan

ESPNDallas.com

Jeff Caplan joined ESPNDallas.com in December 2009. Jeff covers the Mavericks, Rangers and colleges. He has a wealth of experience in the area, covering multiple beats in his 11-plus years with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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2012 Mavs Summer: Like Sitting In A Dentist's Chair

by Ryan Wilson on July 6, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

 

 

Ever had a good trip to the dentist? Did you wake up and say, “Yes, I have a dentist appointment today.”?

Well, I woke up this morning to the pleasure of knowing that was exactly what I had in store. Except, I thought I could channel this horrible hour into analyzing what all has happened to the Mavericks and all of us in Mavs Nation over the last  week.

Deron Williams: Mavericks or Nets? Answer: Nets – New stadium, new team, very boring logo. Hard to pass that up.

Steve Nash: Raptors? Knicks? Mavericks? Answer: Lakers – Complete and utter shock.

Jason Kidd: Mavericks? Knicks? Answer:Mavericks…ooops, Knicks now – The straw that broke the camels back.

Where do we go from here? Mavs Nation is in a state of panic, but after sitting through this dentist’s visit, I’ve come to the realization. As hard as it may be to hear, we shouldn’t panic and start signing players left and right. The worst thing Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson could do is panic and start signing B Level players at A Level money. You’ve seen teams do this before. The results are nothing good. Joe Johnson signing in Atlanta was a horrible contract. You know it’s a bad contract when you trade a player like Joe Johnson to another team, and then celebrate right after.

Jeremy Lin: He is a B Level player that is going to be signed at A Level money. What has he proven? He had an amazing 2 week stretch, that came out of NOWHERE, and then was lost for the rest of the season with an injury.

Goran Dragic:4 years, $34million? Does that seem right? You want the Mavericks to go spend money on a guy that “has upside”?

The bottom line here is that the Mavericks did what they said they were going to do: Try To Reel In A Big Fish. The problem is the bait wasn’t high quality enough. I’ll be honest. I was one of the many Mavs fans that were crucifying Mavericks management on what was going on. However, once I took a seat in that dentist’s chair, reality started to sink in. So Dirk Nowitzki gets another year older. The Mavericks will really struggle this year. Lottery? Probably. In the big scheme of things, is it really such a bad thing? We at Mavs Nation have gotten so used to winning that we forgot what, and who got us here.

We were the laughing stock of the NBA for many years, and a guy by the name of Mark Cuban came a knockin. Mark Cuban is a business man. He knows how to crunch the numbers and get a good quality product in return. He feels that a lot of teams right now don’t fully understand the major impact the new CBA can have on a team long term. Shouldn’t we trust him? He asked us to trust him before. The result was an NBA Championship. Why not trust him again?

I encourage all of Mavs Nation to take a step back for a second. Don’t be so quick to think the worst. It may be a rough year ahead, but there aren’t many teams that have the type of organization/city/fans that the Dallas Mavericks have. If you need to understand more, sit down and relax. Just do it somewhere less painful than a dentist’s chair.

As always, GO MAVS!!!!!

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The Summer That Wasn't

by Ryan Wilson on July 5, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

It’s the summer of 2011; all is good in Mavs land.  The pending Tyson Chandler free agency is far from our minds.  We’re happy and Mark Cuban is the greatest owner in sports.

Fast Forward up to Christmas Day, 2011; Tyson Chandler, Barrea, Caron, and Deshawn are gone. Rangers lose World Series, Cowboys on their way to missing the Playoffs.  But it’s OK; we’re NBA World Champs right?

December 26, 2011 (post Miami Heat opening night smack down):  Now we’re in trouble.

Fast forward to current day Mavs.

We all know by now that Cuban and company decided to roll the dice for the Summer of 2012.  Not only did we lose that gamble, but the dice rolled off the table and into a trash can, that was then sent to a trash compactor, which was ultimately dumped into a land fill only to be burned.  In other words, this offseason went from hopeful to a disaster.  Starting on July 3, 2012 when Deron Williams decided to stay inBrooklyn, we’ve seen every key free agent sign elsewhere.

But why?

Is it because Mark Cuban is side tracked by Shark Tank?  Is it that Dallas as a city is not as appealing to free agents like we thought it was?  Is it the fact that we haven’t put stronger roster pieces in place to entice free agents?  Are we strapped for cash?  Is the NBA heading down a slippery slope by allowing these free agent signings and teams to blow through salary?  Are players looking for the easy paths to title town?  Has the media perception of the big market teams ruined the game permanently?  Who created the question mark?  The Snuggies fad ended quickly right? When did I learn to type this fast? Ok…….snap out of it.

There’s so many unanswered questions that we may not ever have answered.  Unless Cuban was to sit down and address the fans, which is unlikely.  In the eyes of ownership, I’m sure there’s justification for the lack of moves.  But to the fans, it’s blowing our minds.

If this is indeed the end of a Mavs era, does Dirk Nowitzki deserve to go out like this?  As a matter of fact, he resigned with the Mavs 2 years ago for LESS money just to make sure this team had the flexibility to stay aggressive in player movement.  It’s been quite the opposite since our title.

Another side of me thinks that we should be thankful for our title run in 2011 and all the magic that happened that year.  But it almost tarnishes that trophy if our team drops into obscurity and is not to be heard from for another 4-5 years.  As I tweeted a few nights ago, this era should’ve ended when Dirks career was over, not when our management decided it was over.

I’m still much too confused to think of a clever conclusion to this article.  All I know is that we (Mavs fans) expected so much more.  If its time for our Mavericks to roll over and die then it would’ve been nice to at least have a warning.  The hardest part is that we were expecting the best, and have received nothing.

#VoteYu

 

 

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Kidd: Deron Williams Was Close To Joining Mavs

by Ryan Wilson on July 5, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

Jason Kidd had hopes of finishing his career with friend Deron Williams, and on Wednesday, he said the free-agent point guard duo was closer than some might realize to being Dallas-bound.

“Hopefully he comes out and tells his story of how he did it and how he decided, but I thought he was very close to going to Dallas,” Kidd said. “People will be very shocked to hear that or say I’m just saying that, but he really, truly, I think, wanted to play at home. That was one of his ideas, playing at home, but it just didn’t work out this time around.”

Williams, the prized free agent, was said to be torn between re-signing with the Brooklyn-bound Nets, a move he finds exciting, or playing near friends and family for his hometown Mavericks alongside superstar Dirk Nowitzki.

Kidd, who spent much of last week playing golf with Williams in New York, said the point guard ultimately was impressed with the roster upgrades Nets general manager Billy King pulled off this week. King traded for Atlanta Hawks All-Star shooting guard Joe Johnson without giving up emerging guard MarShon Brooks, re-signed Gerald Wallace and added promising 6-foot-9 Bosnian forward Mirza Teletovic.

Rumors also persisted that the Nets were still involved in trade talks to pry Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic.

Meanwhile, the Mavs had yet to make a roster move and reports surfaced that sixth manJason Terry was nearing a three-year agreement to join the Boston Celtics.

“Honestly, it came down to the roster,” Kidd said. “Brooklyn made moves that improved the roster dramatically, and he saw things were going that way. That would be my opinion from looking on the outside. He felt that if Dirk goes down he’s sitting with himself.”

It also didn’t hurt the Nets’ cause that they could offer Williams a five-year deal for $98 million while the new collective bargaining agreement limited the Mavs’ offer to four years and about $75 million.

“From my point of view, I would say it’s not about the money,” Kidd said. “He wants to win. He’s been losing. He’s been getting his teeth kicked in the last couple of years.”

The Nets’ roster moves squeezed Kidd, 39, out of the picture there, and has him eyeing a return to Dallas. He said agent Jeff Schwartz, who is also Williams’ agent, had a brief discussion Tuesday with either Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson or owner Mark Cuban, who has been in Los Angeles filming episodes of the television show “Shark Tank” and was not in Manhattan for the Mavs’ Monday afternoon sitdown with Williams.

Kidd is also in talks with the New York Knicks, who were trying to work a sign-and-trade to acquire Steve Nash before the Suns agreed to ship the point guard to the Lakers in a sign-and-trade deal Wednesday night, as reported by ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. The Knicks also will have to make a decision on restricted free agent Jeremy Lin, who is expected to meet with the Houston Rockets on Wednesday and is also drawing interest from the Mavs.

Prior to the start of the free-agency period, Kidd said he would consider signing a one-year deal with Dallas, but he suggested Wednesday that such a deal was predicated on Williams signing there. Kidd has also said he hopes to play two more years, which would put him in an elite class to play 20 NBA seasons.

“Dallas has everything (Kidd’s contract requests). It’s just a matter if we can get a deal done with Cuban that he feels is right,” Kidd said. “A lot of it was probably referenced with D-Will coming, but he’s not, so it changes somewhat.”

A source close to the situation said the Mavs want to re-sign Kidd and are also actively engaged with Lin.

Williams grew up in the Dallas suburb The Colony idolizing Kidd. The two became friends as teammates on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team and have remained close, often playing golf during the offseason.

During the early portion of last season, Kidd began to publicly talk about the notion of him and Williams as a package deal this summer either to Brooklyn or Dallas. Kidd said he even would relinquish his starting job to Williams, and only Williams, for his final seasons.

Last week the duo made it known through Twitter that it was playing golf in the Hamptons, where Kidd recently purchased a new home. The players even poked fun at the massive speculation swirling around Williams’ impending decision with open-ended tweets about where the two might land.

After Williams met with representatives from the Mavs and Nets on Monday, Kidd tweeted to Williams: “how did those meetings go? Do we need a couple more rounds of golf?”

Some wondered if Kidd was advising Williams or recruiting him one way or the other. While Kidd won a championship in Dallas and has said he’d like to return, he also guided the former New Jersey Nets to two NBA Finals and has spoken fondly of the franchise’s move to Brooklyn.

But recruiting Williams to one team over another?

“With Deron, I was just the sounding board,” Kidd said. “We played golf, I’d ask him questions, he’d answer them, and if there’s anything he needed, if he had a question I would try to answer it. That’s how that all went.”

 

 

Information from ESPN.com’s Marc Stein was used in this report.

Jeff Caplan

ESPNDallas.com

Jeff Caplan joined ESPNDallas.com in December 2009. Jeff covers the Mavericks, Rangers and colleges. He has a wealth of experience in the area, covering multiple beats in his 11-plus years with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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D-Day Has Arrived

by Ryan Wilson on July 2, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

The Dallas Mavericks will get the first face-to-face sitdown this afternoon with Deron Williams, this summer’s marquee free agent, according to sources familiar with Williams’ plans.

The incumbent Brooklyn Nets are then scheduled to meet with Williams on tonight to recap a pitch they’ve been making to their All-Star guard for weeks.

The Nets can offer Williams a five-year deal worth nearly $100 million. The Mavericks can only counter with a four-year deal in the $75 million range but will try to sell Williams on the appeal of not only playing for his hometown team but teaming with the proven championship combo of star forward Dirk Nowitzki and coach Rick Carlisle.

Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com that Nowitzki — who has maintained a friendship with Williams over the past few seasons — and Mavs owner Mark Cuban have been making their recruiting pitches to Williams by phone since free agency began Sunday at 12:01 a.m.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant also tried to do his part to help recruit Williams on Sunday night, taking to Twitter to help lure the free agent guard back to his hometown.

 ”@DeronWilliams Dallas fans are waiting on your arrival,” he wrote.

With Nowitzki traveling abroad this week and Cuban in Los Angeles working on his “Shark Tank” television show, sources say that Dallas will be represented in Monday’s sitdown with Williams by president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, coach Rick Carlisle and former Mavericks franchise player Michael Finley, who is making the trip in an unofficial ambassadorial role.

In reality, though, Dallas’ lead recruiter in the quest to sign Williams is Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd, who has spent the bulk of the week in close proximity to Williams in the Hamptons on a golf vacation.

ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard reported Sunday that Williams remains “torn” by the difficult decision, but the 28-year-old remains on course to choose his destination by Independence Day so he can report to Team USA training camp in Las Vegas on July 5.

The Nets’ meeting with Williams will follow a morning sitdown with free agent point guard Steve Nash, according to sources close to the process.

The Nets have interest in Nash both as a prime replacement for Williams should they lose Williams to Dallas but also as a potential backcourt mate for Williams.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
Has also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics

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Dwight Howard Says He Prefers ONE

by Ryan Wilson on July 2, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard told Yahoo! Sports he will not re-sign with a team outside his preferred list that trades for him, and emphatically denied that he ever used the term “blackmail” to describe how Magic officials convinced him to waive his early termination option.

Dwight Howard says he’s told the Magic several times he still wants a trade. (Getty Images)As the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and other teams prepare possible trade offers for him, Howard told Yahoo! by phone that, “There’s only one team on my list and if I don’t get traded there, I’ll play the season out and explore my free agency after that.”

Howard wouldn’t specify the team, but multiple league sources believe that it is the Brooklyn Nets.

Howard also denied an ESPN report that he had told people Orlando Magic officials had “blackmailed” him into forgoing the early termination option on his contract that ultimately cost him his free agency this summer.

“I never used the word blackmail in reference to any of my dealings with the Magic,” Howard said. “I never said that. It’s defamatory and it’s inaccurate. I know what blackmail means and any report that I used the term incorrectly is inaccurate.”

[Related: Magic entertaining trade offers for Dwight Howard]

Howard met with new Magic general manager Rob Hennigan on Friday in Los Angeles, and said he told Hennigan of his desire to be traded. However, Howard insisted he was merely repeating a position he had made clear to Magic officials since waiving his ETO in March.

“This was not the first time [that I asked for trade],” Howard said. “I communicated this to [Magic president] Alex [Martins] and [former general manager] Otis [Smith] way before Friday that I wanted to be traded – months before this meeting with Rob Hennigan. That was all way before Stan [Van Gundy] got fired.”

Howard is rehabilitating from back surgery, and wouldn’t speculate on whether he could be prepared to return for the start of the regular season. Howard had a herniated disk repaired, and sizable fragments of bone removed on April 20. Before the diagnosis that Howard would require season-ending surgery late in the Magic’s regular season, Howard had heard the suggestions inside and outside the organization that perhaps he wasn’t truly injured, that maybe he had bailed on his team.

Dwight Howard denies he faked his back injury, saying “I’m a man. I bleed. And I have bones, too.” (Reuters)”I’ve never faked anything,” Howard told Yahoo! Sports. “I’d never fake a back injury to not play for my team. I played a lot of games in a lot of pain, and there were times that I was crying in the locker room afterward because I was so seriously hurt. But I kept fighting. I’ve played with a cracked sternum in the past, and played with a lot of different [injuries].

“This time, I couldn’t play. Regardless of what people say, ‘Hey, you’re Superman,’ I’m a man. I bleed. And I have bones, too. And something happened that I couldn’t control.

“It really upset me that anyone would say that I was doing something out of spite for my team or my city. I have the utmost respect for the Magic organization, for the people of Orlando. Everything I did was from my heart, and I would never do anything to betray my city.”

[Related: Nets discussing possible trade with Hawks for Joe Johnson]

Howard discussed something else that had become synonymous with his season, and that was the bizarre April 5 shootaround in Orlando when his former coach, Stan Van Gundy, told reporters that Orlando management had informed him that Howard had requested his firing. The video of Howard walking into a scrum of reporters, unaware of what Van Gundy had said, went viral. Ultimately, it became a flashpoint of criticism toward Howard.

When asked if he felt set up, Howard told Yahoo! Sports: “I did. I had no clue about what had happened, about what he had said. I wanted to clear it up that this was not what was happening behind closed doors, and I stepped into something that I didn’t know how to handle. It hurts me to this day, thinking about how people were saying these things about me, calling me, “a coach killer,” and all this crazy stuff. It upset me, it hurt a lot.”

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Adrian Wojnarowski

Author

Adrian Wojnarowski is the NBA columnist for Yahoo! Sports. His book “The Miracle of St. Anthony: A Season with Coach Bob Hurley and Basketball’s Most Improbable Dynasty”; was a New York Times best-seller. He is a 1991 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, where he considers Butler Gymnasium’s rims to be the most giving in the game.

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Making Sense Of Last Nights Draft

by Ryan Wilson on June 29, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

There are 934,905 reasons the Mavs did what they did in the NBA Draft. It’s no coincidence that that number, in dollars, is exactly what needed to be moved to clear room for Deron. The trigger is there for an Odom trade, for a Haywood amnesty and for what Dirk just said, ‘It going to be a exciting weekend for Mavs fans.’ Have a free look at how we break it down:

The Mavs’ draft took an unpredicted turn Thursday when the Mavs traded down, packaging their pick at 17 with Kaleena Azubuike and getting Cleveland’s pick at 24, plus two second-rounders (overall picks 33 and 34).

The pre-draft expectation was for the Mavs to pick at 17 or make a deal to move up, but apparently the players they were targeting in either of those scenarios were not there when the time came.

However, looking closely at details in the deal with Cleveland would indicate that it was already under serious consideration before the draft began, as perhaps a fall-back plan if they weren’t wowed by other options. Why? Cap space and guaranteed money.

If the Mavs had kept their pick and Azubuike, their cap hit during free agency for the pair would have totaled $2,372,109. Instead they’ll be on the hook for the pick at 24 and an empty roster slot, which totals $1,437,204, yielding a savings of $934,905.

While that amount of savings may seem insignificant in the NBA world of multi-million dollar deals and aggregate team payrolls that commonly exceed $60 million, in this case it’s not. What was accomplished was to remove the last uncertain cap hurdle to have room for a max salary for Deron Williams.

It’s been clear that the Mavs had previously penciled in a trade of Lamar Odom (with no salary coming back in return), and an amnesty waiver (or perhaps a trade with no salary coming back in return) of Marion or Haywood, in order to clear the needed cap space. However, if the salary cap for 2012-13 stayed at the lowest number possible of $58.044M, that wasn’t going to yield quite enough room.

Now, if their proposed trade of Odom is consummated, they will be an amnesty move away from having all the cap room they need – which means that they have the certainty of having enough cap room. While we at DB.com believe they would be better off to delay the Odom trade until July and try to use it as part of a sign-and-trade for D-Will, even in that scenario it is necessary to have the cap room just in case Brooklyn refuses.

These aren’t just out thoughts, though; as Mavs execs prepare to be the “troops on the ground” in wheeling and dealing (Cuban is planning to be in LA, and not just to film some “Shark Tank), what you are reading here represents the thoughts of the front office.

Assuming an Odom trade and an amnesty of Haywood, we now project that the Mavs cap will look like this as they pursue D-Will, whose max salary would be $17,177,795.

Cap charges that would be retained with a signing of D-Will

Nowitzki – 20,907,128

Marion – 8,396,364

Carter – 3,090,000

Beaubois – 2,227,333

Jones – 1,276,560

Wright – 992,680

Cap hold for pick 24 (until signed) – 993,600

Cap hold for Mahinmi (until signed) – 854,389

4 cap holds for empty roster slots at 473,604 each – 1,894,416

TOTAL – 40,632,170

Signing room available with 58.044M cap – 17,411,530

Additional cap charges/assets that would exist, but that can be removed procedurally if D-Will is ready to sign as a free agent

Haywood (amnesty) – 8,349,000

Bird rights cap hold for JET – 16,737,000

Bird rights cap hold for Kidd – 15,181,500

Veteran free agent cap hold for Yi – 854,389

Veteran free agent cap hold for West – 854,389

Veteran free agent cap hold for Cardinal – 854,389

Mid-level exception – 5,000,000

Bi-annual exception – 1,957,000

Trade exception (Chandler) – 4,207,838

Trade exception (Brewer) – 3,059,000

Trade exception (Fernandez) – 2,180,443

Trade exception (Azubuike) – 992,680

Trade exception (Odom trade, assumed) – 8,200,000

If we figure the Mavs sign D-Will their roster for 2012-13 is taking shape. Much can change during free agency, but without explanation on the details, here’s an early look at the roster we might see considering their CBA limits:

C/PF- Nowitzki, Wright, Mahinmi, #33 pick James, $2.575M exception signee, minimum signee

SF – Marion, Carter, #34 pick Crowder

SG – Roddy, West, #24 pick Cunningham

PG – D-Will, Kidd, Jones

‘”It going to be a exciting weekend for Mavs fans,” Dirk Nowitzki said this morning … and he’s not just talking about his charity baseball game, but also about Mavs Summer Shopping.

By David Lord & Mike Fisher
DallasBasketball.com
Posted Jun 29, 2012

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