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Free Agent Forecast: Small Forwards

by Terence Huie on June 25, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments


Free Agency is quickly approaching and the Mavs’ front office has some crucial decisions to make this summer. Possibly the most important hole in the Mavericks’ roster is at the Small Forward position. 15-year veteran Shawn Marion has reported that he wants to sign with a title-contender in the final years of his career. Also, Vince Carter, coming off an amazing Sixth Man of the Year campaign season is rumored to be gaining strong interest from the Miami Heat.

So here’s a look at the top 10 players at small forward in the Free Agency pool this summer:

1. LeBron James | Heat (Unrestricted)

27.0 PTS 6.4 AST 6.9 REB

The sports media have anxiously waited and now the news has released. Lebron James has decided to opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat. With an embarrassing Finals defeat against the Spurs, the decision to opt out is supposed to fuel the Heat’s front office to bring younger better role players with the two-time NBA champion.

It should be an interesting summer for Lebron; either taking his talents to another team or remaining in South Beach.

LeBron to the Clippers?

2. Carmelo Anthony | Knicks (Unrestricted)

27.4 PTS 3.1 AST 8.1 REB

Carmelo enters this free agency period with more career years behind him than ahead. The obvious intent is that Anthony wants to go to a title-contending team who will offer the most money. If the Mavericks desire the sign Melo, they’ll have to sacrifice giving up $96 million in a max contract.

Anthony will have plenty of suitors lined up on July 1, but time will tell whether he truly wants to win or if money and the allure of a big market keeps him in New York.

3. Chandler Parsons | Rockets (Restricted)

16.6 PTS 4.0 AST 5.5 REB

The Rockets declined the fourth year of Chandler Parsons’ rookie deal, freeing up $964,750 in the salary cap. Parsons is clearly one of the best underrated players in this league. Chandler ranked top ten amongst Small Forwards in points, field goal percentage, assists, and minutes played.

After a great season, Parsons might be considering requesting to teams a max contract for his services. Teams could very well take advantage of the Rockets’ situation as they aim for the marquee names and be forced to see Parsons slip away.

4. Luol Deng | Cavaliers (Unrestricted)

16.0 PTS 2.7 AST 5.7 REB

Cleveland will likely select Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins, both small forwards, with its #1 overall pick in the upcoming draft. It looks as if the Cavs will not make an effort to re-sign the small forward from Sudan.

Despite Deng’s several injuries, he’d improve the Mavs on both ends of the court. Deng’s tenure with the Bulls before being traded this year might have been the best offensive stretch of his career, averaging 19 points a game while shooting 45% from the field.

Are the Mavericks a perfect match?

5. Trevor Ariza | Wizards (Unrestricted)

14.4 PTS 2.5 AST 6.2 REB

Trevor Ariza enters the summer having just played statistically his best season of his career. He shot a decent 40% from behind the three-point line, which is third-best amongst small forwards in the regular season.

The 6’8” swingman has very good defensive skills around the perimeter. Ariza’s defensive ability is a good option guarding guys like Kevin Durant in Western Conference matchups.

Viable option in Dallas?

6. Gordon Hayward | Jazz (Restricted)

16.2 PTS 5.5 AST 5.1 REB

You have to wonder the reason as to why the Utah Jazz so desperately wanted to ship Gordon Hayward off during the regular season. Hayward averaged career highs in points, assists, and rebounds. Playing at a high level and just 24-years-old, Hayward would be a nice fit for the Mavericks in position of signing him to a long-term deal.

Only this won’t be easy, the Jazz have plenty of room to match any kind of lousy offer for their wingman. Wouldn’t expect the Mavs to get into any type of bidding war for Hayward.

7. Evan Turner | Pacers (Restricted)

14.0 PTS 3.2 AST 5.0 REB

Evan Turner’s free agent stock has undoubtedly dropped after being traded from Philly to Indiana. In his 54 games with Sixers, Turner recorded a monster 17.4 PPG, 6 RPG and 3.2 APG. His PPG number dropped over 10 points after the Sixers/Pacers trade in late February coming off the bench.

Looks like Turner might not re-sign with the Pacers with Indy’s President Larry Bird making Lance Stephenson his offseason priority.

8. Caron Butler | Thunder (Unrestricted)

10.5 PTS 1.5 AST 4.1 REB

Remember Caron? Yes, The former Dallas Mavericks 2011 NBA Champion is a free agent.

At 34 years old, Caron is probably looking to sign with a title contender to get another ring before he hangs it up. Caron shows he can still produce offensively averaging 10 points 25+ minutes coming off the bench. OKC is considering Butler’s age and possibly wont re-sign him.

9. Paul Pierce | Nets (Unrestricted)

13.5 PTS 2.4 AST 4.6 REB

“The Truth” as we fans like to call him, probably has one of two years left of good basketball before his career is over.

He isn’t the best choice to replace Shawn Marion in the starting lineup, but could be a vital asset coming off the bench. A guy like Pierce is valuable being that he is arguably a top 20 clutch performer in NBA history. We must not forget his game-winning block against the Raptors in Game 7 in the first round.

Kevin Garnett and Pierce returning to Brooklyn?

10. Danny Granger | Clippers (Unrestricted)

8.2 PTS 1.0 AST 3.2 REB

Danny Granger was once before an elite performer in this league before injuries plagued the growth of his career. The ’09 NBA All-Star selection is only 31 years-old looking to not let his career go down the drain.

Maybe a new change of scenery can help Granger become the all-star selection that he once was. But in reality he’s more a shell of his former self, a nice bench role suits the former New Mexico star.


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Games To Mark Down On That Calendar

by Ryan Wilson on August 8, 2013 in Mavs 09 comments


Okay, I know we are 83 days away from the Mavs embarking on the 2013-2014 season, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get our big games marked on the schedule. Here’s a look at our top games for the upcoming season.

vs. Atlanta Hawks, Oct. 30: This will be our first look at the new look Mavericks at the AAC. It’s been back to back seasons full of many new faces, and this year will be no different. You will be able to see our new starting lineup, one that figures to feature newcomers Jose CalderonMonta Ellis, and Samuel Dalembert.

WestbrookOklahoma City Thunder, Nov. 6: Our first chance to show national television the new look Mavericks against a big time Western Conference contender. The Thunder will be fully healthy, following the return of Russell Westbrook, but will they overlook these Mavericks? Anytime these two teams hook up, it’s bound to be a delight. 

Miami Heat, Nov. 15: Forgive me I get stuck in the past a little bit, but I feel like the Mavericks have made Miami (American Airlines Arena) their second home ever since they clinched Game 6 of the NBA Finals in 2011. Hate them all you want, but the Miami Heat are always must see television, and this is one you won’t want to miss.

vs. Houston Rockets, Nov. 20: The Mavericks entered the 2013 summer of free agency with huge goals. One of them was to land Dwight Howard. All of Mavs Nation waited for an answer from Dwight, only to be let down when he chose the Houston Rockets instead. Is he now a hated villain in Big D? This will be our second look at Howard in a Rockets jersey, but the first one in Dallas. It shouldn’t take long to see how Mavericks fans feel about it either.

act_jj_redickvs. Los Angeles Clippers, Jan. 3: Chris Paul came into this summer the Mavericks’ #1 target in free agency, which quickly went out the window when Doc Rivers became new head coach, and Paul signed his 5-year, $107 million contract. The Clippers loaded up on new talent in J.J. RedickJared Dudley, and former Maverick Darren Collison. They figure to once again be one of the more entertaining teams, so it figures to be a heck of a ball game in Big D.

vs. Miami Heat, Feb. 18: Just like the Mavericks made Miami their second home, this must be gut wrenching anytime King James comes to Dallas. Each and every time he walks into the AAC, he will be reminded of the 2011 defeat by a banner high up in the rafters and have to deal with the fact that the only team to beat the Miami Heat in a playoff series is our Dallas Mavericks.

timthumbvs. Brooklyn Nets, March 23: Did you ever think you would have a chance to watch a team that featured Deron WilliamsJason TerryKevin GarnettPaul Pierce, and Joe Johnson? How about Hall of Fame point guard and former Dallas Maverick NBA Champion Jason Kidd coaching the squad? Not satisfied yet? Don’t know what else to tell ya. Must see. 

Los Angeles Lakers, April 4: The Mavericks figure to be battling for playoff position, and the Lakers could as well, depending on how Kobe Bryant responds to his achilles surgery. The Lakers will no longer have the burden of the Dwight Howard drama, and should be able to focus solely on basketball. This game could be of little meaning, but it figures to be just the opposite. I expect this to be a pivotal matchup in that the Mavericks and Lakers tend do so well.


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Mavs Shed Salary, Get Their Guys

by Ryan Wilson on June 28, 2013 in Mavs 09 comments


Had I written this last night, it would’ve taken me quite some time to catch my breath. On a night that featured Anthony Bennett becoming the first Canadian born player to be drafted #1, that was only the beginning. Nerlens Noel, the highly regarded #1 pick going into last night dropped all the way to the New Orleans Pelicans, only to be traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for Jrue Holiday and the 2014 1st round draft pick.

Think that’s a stunner? Try this one on for size. It was reported all throughout yesterday that a deal sending Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets was just waiting on Garnett’s approval. Consider that a done deal now.

Then there were the Mavericks, flying under the radar after last night. Their main goal going into last night was finding a way to move down in the draft to shed salary. However, due to certain players drastically falling on the board, it started to look as if the Mavericks could land Trey Burke or Michael Carter-Williams. That was until the 76ers pulled the trade sending Holiday to the Pelicans. In less than 10 minutes, Burke and MCW were off the board, and the Mavericks went into “sell mode”.

The Mavericks ended up trading their 13th pick to the Celtics for their 16th pick, only to eventually trade that pick and Jared Cunningham to the Hawks for their 18th pick. Essentially, with dropping to the 18th pick, and getting Cunningham off the books, the Mavericks saved $1,092,720 in the process.

With the 18th pick of the 2013 NBA Draft the Atlanta Hawks(Picking for Mavericks) select Shane Larkin, from the University of Miami. 

Don’t think this pick will be moved ladies and gentlemen. All signs point to the Mavericks being very happy with Larkin, and have no intention on moving him.

Shane Larkin is a fierce competitor, and at only 6 feet and 170 pounds, is not one you should underestimate. He was named the ACC Player of the Year and lead the Miami Hurricanes to a 27-6 regular season record, the ACC Championship, and a Sweet 16 birth. He averaged 14.5 points, 4.6 assists and 2.0 steals in his sophomore season and even shot above 40 % from behind the arc.

He excels in the pick-and-roll game, which should fit nicely with Dirk Nowitzki and possibly Dwight Howard, if things go according to plan. He is a true gamer, and is also son of MLB legend, Barry Larkin. Rick Carlisle was a huge fan of his going into the draft night, so it seems as though he got his guy.

“Our pick-and-roll game this past year was not at the level we’re used to, so we wanted to get better in that area,” Carlisle said. “Shane’s one of the best in college basketball at doing that. A lot of people try to go under screens because of his quickness and he shot behind screens very effectively. He’ll see a lot of different coverages in this league, and what we’ve seen is that he does a good job reading situations.”

Not only did Larkin turn heads during his sophomore season, he also impressed scouts at the NBA Draft Combine last month. He had a 44-inch vertical leap, which was 1st among all players, and was also one of the fastest players as well.

It seems as though Larkin will fit in quite well with the NBA system. His consistent outside jumpshot, pick-and-roll ability, and his determination and winner mentality should help the Mavericks immediately.

“This league now is a lot about playmakers and being able to make plays off the dribble, having a feel for the game,” Carlisle said. “Speed is important. He brings some of those dynamics and characteristics. We think he’s going to help us.”

Larkin figures to come off the bench, which is no surprise to anyone that knows Rick Carlisle.

(On if Larkin is a starter in this league) “I don’t know that. I think what I said was, is I think that he’s good enough to earn playing time. We’ll see what form that takes and what form the roster ultimately takes. We like him. If we hadn’t taken at 18, he would have been gone at 19. We do know that.”

With the 43rd pick, the Milwaukee Bucks(Traded to Philadelphia to Brooklyn to Atlanta to Dallas) select Ricky Ledo, from Providence. 

R-A-W. The one word that comes to mind when you take a look at Ledo. He actually never played a minute for Providence, due to academic probation, but did practice throughout the year. This is a guy who has Lottery potential, but has some character issues to work on. If he turns into anything near the player he’s supposed to be, this will be a STEAL for the Mavericks.

At 6’6 and 200 pounds, he is your prototypical shooting guard, and boy can he shoot. His senior year of High School, Ledo averaged 23.4 points and 6.2 rebounds. He can handle the ball with the best of them, and has a quick first step, allowing him to pull back and hit the jumper or attack the rim and finish.

The Summer League will be huge in determining the type of player Ledo is or can be as a Maverick. I expect Rick Carlisle to do quite well in addressing the character issues and getting the full potential from his player, as he often does.

Please Click The Image Below To Hear MAD Mavs Radio Debut Podcast Covering Last Night’s Draft


What’s Next?

The Mavericks will now turn their attention to finding a way to shed more salary in hopes of landing Dwight Howard. They will most likely discuss with Shawn Marion and figure out a way to keep him a Maverick, but in a more financially beneficial way. Marion must decide if he will opt in to his final year of contract by Sunday, June 30th.


Then the real fun will begin. Monday, July 1st marks the first day that NBA teams can court their potential free agents.

Buckle up Mavs Nation! If you thought last night was exhilarating, you haven’t seen anything yet!


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Heat Defend Home Court

by Ryan Wilson on May 31, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

The biggest postseason comeback in Miami Heat franchise history wasn’t enough.

The Heat needed more — and got it, digging deep to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

LeBron James scored 34 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Dwyane Wade scored 23 and the Heat rallied from 15 down to beat the Boston Celtics 115-111 in overtime on Wednesday night.

Mario Chalmers scored 22 for the Heat, who won despite an unbelievable night by Rajon Rondo. The Celtics guard played all 53 minutes and scored 44 points, dished out 10 assists and grabbed eight rebounds. The Heat expected Boston’s best — and the Celtics didn’t disappoint.

“This group had resolve,” Wade said of the Celtics. “They came out and played a great game. It was physical early. They brought the game to us. That can’t happen. We used our crowd and the energy to get back into the game and we had to play better.”

Paul Pierce scored 21 points, Kevin Garnett added 18 and Ray Allen 13 for Boston.

Rondo finished 16 of 24 from the floor, 10 of 12 from the foul line and made both his 3-point tries.

“He was absolutely phenomenal,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “Put us, put the whole team at times on his shoulders. … We had a lot of opportunities to win the game.”

Allen’s 3-pointer with 34.3 seconds left tied the game at 99-all. James missed two shots, first a layup — he got the rebound of his own miss — and then a jumper on the final possession of regulation, and to overtime they went.

“We had to do it the tough way,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Game 3 is Friday in Boston.

The Heat had come back to win from 14 points down in playoff games twice before, first in Game 6 of the 2006 NBA finals — their title clincher — and again last season against Philadelphia.

And this one was slipping away, more than once. James missed two free throws 21 seconds into overtime, and Miami looked in trouble. But the Heat held on, in a game where they took 47 free throws — 24 by James — to Boston’s 29.

The scoring dossier in overtime began like this: Rondo scored, Heat tied it, Rondo scored, Heat tied it, Rondo scored, Heat tied it.

When Rondo missed a layup — he thought he was fouled, and the Celtics agreed — with 1:33 left, Miami took advantage, with Udonis Haslem getting a dunk to put the Heat up 105-103. And after a turnover on the next Boston possession, Wade drove the lane, hit the deck and watched as his layup bounced on the rim and dropped through.

Garnett stood over Wade and glared, to no avail. Wade hit the free throw, and Miami was up 110-105 with 59.7 seconds left.

On a night where the Heat missed 16 free throws — including at least four by James in crucial situations — they would survive.

“Now we’re going home,” Boston’s Mickael Pietrus said. “Our jersey is going to be white. They got two. Fine, good for them. But we’re going home now and you know what that means.”

Miami was down by 15 in the first half and by as many as 11 in the third quarter, before a pair of 3-pointers by James started a comeback. Wade made consecutive jumpers midway through the third to shake off a slow start to his night and get the Heat within three both times, and the 2006 NBA finals MVP set up Haslem for a three-point play with 2:55 left that gave Miami its first lead since the opening minutes, 73-71.

As Haslem’s shot dropped, Wade spun at midcourt and punched the air. More highlights followed.

Miami’s lead got to as much as seven in the third after James blocked Pierce’s shot near the rim, sending the ball high into the air and starting a sequence that was capped by a three-point play from Wade, pushing the margin to 78-71. It capped a 12-0 run for the Heat, who took an 81-75 lead into the fourth.

It was the fifth straight game where Miami outscored its opponent by double-digits in the third quarter. In each of the previous four of those outings, Miami never trailed in the final period.

That streak ended in this one.

And a call that Boston argued against played a big role in the Celtics getting the lead back.

James stole the ball from Rondo early in the fourth, drove down the court and got wrapped up by Pietrus, who was assessed a clear-path foul, meaning Miami got two free throws and the ball. James missed both foul shots, Mike Miller missed a 3-pointer later in the possession, and the lead stayed at 85-81.

Barely a minute later, it was gone. Pietrus hit a 3-pointer, Rondo followed with a steal and layup and Boston led 86-85. The Celtics led by five with 3:50 left after a jumper by Pierce, and the Celtics looked to be in control.

It was temporary. The Heat scored the next nine points, Haslem’s jumper with 1:08 remaining put Miami up 98-94. So of course, back came Boston — Allen’s 3-pointer tying the game a few moments after Pierce fouled out.

Early on, it was all Boston. Over the first 15-plus minutes, Boston was shooting 65 percent (15 for 23), Miami 27 percent (7 for 26). By halftime, Rondo had 22 points, the most anyone had scored in the first half of a playoff game against Miami since 2004.

“An incredible game,” Spoelstra said of the Celtics’ point guard.

Miami’s point guard did his best to keep the Heat close.

Chalmers had 12 in the second quarter and seven in a 14-6 Miami spurt to end the half. He hit a pair of 3-pointers during the flurry, Wade got his first points of the night on a falling-down layup with 27 seconds left and the Heat closed the margin to 53-46 by halftime.


Game notes

Celebrities in attendance included UCLA coach Ben Howland, rapper Flo Rida and former Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, a regular in the Heat crowd. … Celtics F Greg Stiemsma had four fouls in the first quarter, the first NBA player to do that since 2009. … Rondo’s other 22-point first half was Feb. 22, 2009 at Phoenix. … Allen, considered one of the game’s absolute best shooters for many years, said he’s been getting plenty of unsolicited advice lately on how to get rolling again. “I’ve only been doing this for 20 years,” Allen said at the morning shootaround. … Haslem (6) had more rebounds than Boston (5) in the third quarter. … Heat C Ronny Turiaf started, played the first 4:51 and did not return. Joel Anthony started the second half in Turiaf’s place.




Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Veteran Celtics Must Show Famous Pride

by Ryan Wilson on May 21, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers loves his team’s mental toughness. It’s been on display throughout a hurdle-filled 2011-12 season. Sure, he’d love his team to take the easier route sometimes; he’s just not sure that’s possible.

“I keep saying with our team, we don’t ever do it the easy way. But I don’t know if we could,” Rivers admitted. “Sometimes I just don’t. Not because the mental [aspect], just because we are bent, and there are times that we do break, and more for other reasons than basketball.”

The latest example of upping the season’s degree of difficulty: The Celtics kicked away an 18-point second-half lead during Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night. That tied the series at 2 as it shifts back to Boston for Game 5 on Monday night at TD Garden.

Rivers chastised the Celtics after they “completely lost our discipline,” particularly on the defensive end late in Friday’s loss. But Rivers also knows that adversity has a way of bringing out the best in his team and thinks it will respond well in what’s now a best-of-three series.

“I think they’re upset, they clearly understand what happened,” Rivers said. “But you also understand that just happens. It’s happened every night [in the playoffs]. If you watched both games [Saturday] night, you’re like, ‘Wow.’ It just happens, and you move on.”

The Celtics spent a lot of time Sunday answering questions about Game 4, but captain Paul Pierce may have said it best in terms of putting the game behind them.

“It’s over. Milk is spilled, got to clean up, move on to the next game,” he said. “You can’t let it frustrate you, can’t dwell on the past. It is what it is. The series is 2-2, obviously we have to go back to Philly. But we’ve got to take care of business at home.”

Kevin Garnett also acknowledged the importance of Game 5. “It’s critical,” he said. “Nothing more, nothing less than that. We’re at home, we’ve got to win.”

Pierce said the extra day off between Games 4 and 5 probably worked against Boston this time. It’s only the second time this postseason that the Celtics have received an extra day of rest in a tightly packed schedule, but the players are eager to get back on the court and atone for the lackluster second-half effort in Game 4.

Pierce pointed to the “little things” to clean up, like doing a better job on the glass (Philadelphia out rebounded Boston 52-38), limiting second-chance opportunities (the 76ers had 17 offensive rebounds and 12 second-chance points) and winning the 50/50 game (Philadelphia out hustled and outmuscled the Celtics throughout the second half).

One chess match to watch is how the Celtics counter when the 76ers go small, often using Thaddeus Young at the 4 and rookie Lavoy Allen at the 5. Boston typically has gone small to counter the move, taking Brandon Bass off the floor and running four guards with Garnett. But that backfired Friday.

Rivers said the Celtics have to be careful about making knee-jerk reactions to one bad half.

“Honestly, if we made one mistake, we should have gone back to Bass,” Rivers said. “In the first three games, our small lineup was a better lineup than our big lineup. Statistically, in Game 4, the big lineup was better; the big lineup was what got us the lead. The big lineup at the beginning of the third got off to a good start. And both times when we went small, it hurt us.

“So that’s something as a staff we have to recognize, and it’s a tough call. We’re going to have to make a call each game, it looks like, and there’s no right or wrong to it. It’s going to have to be a gut feeling and I hope when we make it, we make the right one.”

The Celtics haven’t had to make too many tough personnel calls this postseason because they’ve been able to keep their players upright. But Rivers held second-year shooting guard Avery Bradley out of practice Sunday after his left shoulder was dislocated for the third time this postseason on Friday. Bradley toughed out the rest of the game — and is expected to start Game 5 — but his shoulder is a perfect example of the tenuous nature of the Celtics’ season.

“That’s the scariest part about our team,” Rivers said. “I’ve said it for about three months, we are very thin. That’s why games like the other night hurt you more. We don’t have a big margin for error. We don’t even have it when guys are healthy.

“Our [starters] have to play well to give our bench guys a chance to stay on the floor longer, which allows us to get more rest. There’s a minute number every game that I’m concerned by for our starters, and when they get over that we struggle.

“There’s a lot of things going on in a game every night for us that quite honestly a lot of teams don’t have to deal with. But we know that and we understand that.”

Yes, the Celtics know they’ve been forced to navigate the hard path this season. Through it all, they’ve emerged at the other end. And as Game 5 approaches, they’re confident in their chances to do the same yet again.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter,

  • Covered Celtics since 2007
  • Emmy award-winning videographer
  • Joined in 2009

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