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Optimism At An All Time High In Mavs Nation

by Ryan Wilson on July 23, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

ChandlerParsonsArt

My, how things have changed. It was around this time last year when the Mavericks were once again left scratching their heads in disbelief, after failing to land yet another big name free agent. Dwight Howard had given the Mavericks the opportunity to woo him, but in the end, he chose to join forces with James Harden and Chandler Parsons in Houston. How he could pass up on a pitch of this magnitude I’ll never truly understand.

 

Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson, as they typically do, found the best way to make do with what was left, eventually striking gold with Monta Ellis, a player that was labeled selfish by many of his critics.

The 2013-2014 season proved to be a season of ups and downs for the Mavericks, and dealing with the Western Conference night in and night out didn’t help their cause much either. After finishing the season in the eighth and final spot, many NBA “analysts” gave them no chance whatsoever in competing with the San Antonio Spurs in the 1st round. What the analysts failed to understand was the Mavericks were ready for the challenge, as they pushed the eventual NBA Champion Spurs to the brink of elimination in 7 games, ultimately falling short.
TysonChandlerFast forward to June 26, 2014. What had been rumored as a possibility had finally became the reality all Mavericks fans had dreamed of. Tyson Chandler would be returning to the Dallas Mavericks in a 6-player trade that would also land them troubled point guard Raymond Felton. Dallas gave up quite a bit to get Chandler back in the Mavericks blue, including Samuel Dalembert and Jose Calderon. In completing the trade, the Mavericks would once again have that big defensive presence in the middle, which was an obvious weakness in the San Antonio Spurs series.

That brings us to July 1, 2014, a Christmas of sorts for NBA fans everywhere. Free Agency was finally underway, and all of the MFFL’s clung to their social media apps waiting for news of who the Mavericks were going to bring in. Once again, they had their sights set on another big time name in Carmelo Anthony, as the Mavericks were one of five teams to get a sit down meeting with the highly coveted forward. In typical fashion, the Mavericks were left waiting for a response from Carmelo, ultimately allowing other free agents to sign elsewhere. That was until they prepared a huge offer sheet for Houston Rockets forward, Chandler Parsons. Later that night, Parsons would meet with Mark Cuban in a Florida nightclub, and sign the offer.

We were all prepared for the Rockets to eventually match that offer sheet, but the curveball that Chris Bosh delivered in the Rockets direction was something they couldn’t swaChandlerParsonsllow. It had seemed likely that after hearing the news of LeBron’s return to Cleveland, Bosh would sign with Houston, and they would match Parson’s offer sheet, giving them a “Big Four” in Howard, Bosh, Parsons, and Harden. When Bosh decided to return to Miami, Houston couldn’t convince themselves to match the Parsons offer sheet, officially landing him in Big D.

The Mavericks now featured a starting lineup that looked like this:

C – Chandler

PF – Nowitzki

SF – Parsons

SG – Ellis

PG – Felton/Harris 

A week or so later, the Mavericks would replace Vince Carter with Richard Jefferson, who still appears to have plenty of gas left in the tank, and should still be able to provide a spark off the bench with his shooting ability.

The Mavericks won the NBA championship back in 2011, and the team was ultimately dismantled in the wake of the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Act. Many people were hard on Mark Cuban and criticized some of the moves he made. It looked like Nowitzki’s best chance of winning a 2nd NBA Championship had ultimately vanished. Year after year of failing to land the proverbial “big fish” was hard for the Mavericks and their fan base to understand. Fast forward to now, and the Mavericks find themselves once again being talked about as possible championship contenders again. Credit everyone from the top down. Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson stuck to their game plan. Rick Carlisle got the best from what he was given, which he always does, and Dirk Nowitzki showed just how valuable he is, and just how lucky all of us are to have him as the cornerstone of this franchise. He could’ve signed for a max contract in Houston or Los Angeles, but he wanted to give this city one more good run, so he signed for far less than he should’ve received, ultimately allowing the Mavericks to land Parsons and some others.

It’s a great time to be a Mavericks fan, and we have all of the organization to thank. They have given Nowitzki one final run at a title, and we may have found the future of the franchise in Parsons.

Good times ahead MFFL’s. Good times!

Mavs

 

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Chandler Parsons, The Wait Is Over

by Greg Higgins on July 14, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

ChandlerParsonsArt

Each year around this time, the NBA goes into a frenzy as marquee players are offered contracts by teams from all over. Every year, a group of elite players are wined and dined in hopes that they will wind up in their city.

Because there are only a few of these superstar players each year, usually it’s the next group of guys that make the difference. This next group of players don’t quite fit the “max contract” mold like the superstars but they are good enough to fill a role on a team.

This is where the Dallas Mavericks come into play. Every year, the Mavs take a shot at one of the big-named free agents on the market. Every year, these free agents flirt with the idea of making Dallas their home and yet ever year the Mavs wind up empty handed (unless it’s bringing back one of their own like Dirk Nowtizki.)

Even though there were talks with Carmelo Anthony, most Mavs fans knew he wasn’t going to sign with Dallas. There was too much money to be had with the New York Knicks. LeBron James was a good thought as well but we all knew that wasn’t happening. Instead of being left high and dry, though, Mark Cuban went on the offensive.

The Houston Rockets were in advanced talks with Chris Bosh and had offered him a max contract. Sources said Bosh was considering this move so Cuban went after Rockets’ small forward Chandler Parsons. Parsons, a restricted free agent, was offered a three year contract worth around $46 million. Being a restricted free agent, though, meant Houston could match the offer sheet the Mavs had in place.

As the waiting game ensued, reports came out that if Houston could land Bosh, they would match the offer made by the Mavericks. Luckily LeBron left the Miami Heat and signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers. This caused the Heat to keep Bosh and the Rockets allowed Chandler to walk away and become a Maverick.

This was a move that almost all Mavs fans wanted to happen during this offseason. As great a defender as Shawn Marion was, the Mavs needed to get younger at the small forward poition. Chandler allows this to happen.

Chandler (25) will be replacing the 36 year old Marion. Parsons, in only his third NBA season averaged 16.6 points per game. He also had 5.5 rebounds, 4 assists and 1.2 steals in 74 games with the Rockets. Compare those numbers to Marions (10.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.2 steals) and you can instantly see an improvement in the small forward position.

Last season the Mavericks won 49 games with Dirk, Marion and Samuel Dalembert in the front court. How many more can they win this season with Dirk, Parsons and Tyson Chandler? I don’t know the exact number but I can’t wait for the season to start so we can find out.

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Carmelo Anthony: Free Agent Scouting Report

by Damian Jackson on June 28, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

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Strike One. Strike Two. Strike Thr

Let’s hold off on Strike Three for a moment and delve into Carmelo Anthony, the Dallas Mavericks’ most realistic ‘Big Fish’ option this time around. (LeBron isn’t happening)

The Mavericks half-heartedly whiffed on Deron Williams in 2012, followed by watching Dwight Howard pick neighbor Houston last summer.

Dallas enters this shopping season with ample cap space while also coming off an impressive season and playoffs in which they took eventual champions San Antonio to a complete seven-game first round series.

Already in good spirits, the Mavericks’ bolstered their roster by reacquiring defensive center and beloved 2011 champion Tyson Chandler in a six player trade with New York on Wednesday.

Take a closer look at what he brings to any squad in this loaded Free Agent Scouting video put together by Mike Schmitz of DraftExpress.com:

It’s important to take this information and analyze how Anthony’s strengths can be enhanced while also seeing his weaknesses reduced in the right situation.

We used the comparison of Mavs guard Monta Ellis and his adjustment to the Dallas system under head coach Rick Carlisle and playing alongside Dirk Nowitzki.

While Anthony is an even better talent than Ellis, this basic concept exists. Carlisle rests comfortably among the elite active coaches in this league. Carlisle does his best with veterans, pros, guys who relish the desire for ultimate success. Can Carmelo show he’s that dude?

The health uncertainty in Chicago paired with somewhat stripping away parts to make room for Anthony, leaves them with the hope Derrick Rose stays healthy and Joakim Noah recovering from a knee injury himself.

In the Eastern Conference your odds to make it to the NBA Finals are better, but winning always comes down to the best team. Indiana didn’t even get the chance and Miami got served a wealthy plate of whoop-ass from the Spurs.

If Anthony’s choices came down to Houston and Dallas, I look at it this way. Both would become better and closer to legit championship contender.

The difference for me is what Anthony said in his interview with VICE in which he said this free agency decisions depends largely on the family aspect just as much as the basketball side.

“The average person just sees opportunity to say that, ‘Oh, Melo should go here, Melo should go there. I think he should do this, I think he should do that.’ But they don’t take into consideration the family aspect of it. Your livelihood. Where you’re going to be living at.”

Dallas’ core of Dirk, Monta and Tyson share something in common that has nothing to do with basketball. They’re married, they have kids, they are family men.

I’m only pinging off Anthony’s comments about the importance of taking his family into consideration, not saying I have inside knowledge of any family members.

The Mavericks are a well-structured organization that focuses on the ultimate goal – WINNING.

Ellis wants to win. Dirk and Tyson want to win, again.

 

 

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Free Agent Forecast: Centers

by Marc Cashion on June 27, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

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The center position in the NBA has now become one of the hardest positions to come by.  A good healthy, lane closing center will very rarely just be picked up in free agency.

Unfortunately for the Mavs, as witnessed this past year, that is exactly what we need to play alongside Dirk. While there are opportunities for trade acquisitions, such as Omar Asik (Traded to New Orleans) or a Tyson Chandler (Traded to Dallas), only the free agents will be examined.

1. Chris Bosh | Heat (Early Termination Option)

16.2 PTS 6.6 REB

A Dirk/Bosh combination would not be ideal, but as far as the best basketball player in this free agent crop, Chris Bosh is the best center that could potentially be available.

While underutilized in Miami he could go back to his Toronto dominating days if he was on a team that ran an offense based off of ball movement. No center in the NBA can be a big factor with the amount of isolations the Miami Heat run.

He isn’t the defensive force the Mavs need but a Bosh/Monta Ellis pick and roll would be absolutely deadly.

2. Marcin Gortat | Wizards (Unrestricted)

13.2 PTS 9.5 REB

Gortat will surely be highly coveted player this offseason by just about every team with enough cap space. He is versatile, quick, and has a high offensive IQ. He also showed during the playoffs that he can patrol the paint and be a good defender.

Gortat averaged 1.5 blocks per game last season even with virtually another center playing alongside him in Nene. Gortat alongside Dirk would be a great fit as Gortat primarily plays inside the paint giving Dirk plenty of room to operate. He also is a smart passer making a potent Dallas offense even more intimidating.

UPDATE: Tyson Chandler trade takes Dallas out of potential chase for Gortat, whom the Mavericks like but understood a bidding war price might get too high.

3. Greg Monroe | Pistons (Restricted)

15.2 PTS 9.3 REB

At only 24-years-old, most teams in the NBA would love to give the young center a huge contract.  With not enough room in Detroit for Monroe and Andre Drummond, I anticipate Monroe being available.

Monroe has not proven to be able to be the guy that can dominate on the defensive end, however, he has not been given much of an opportunity since his teammate, Drummond, is one of the best shot blockers in the league.

While his chemistry with Dirk would need some work I’m always in for having a chance at an up and coming center like Monroe.

4. Pau Gasol | Lakers (Unrestricted)

17.4 PTS 9.7 REB

Pau Gasol as our starting center would be a huge upgrade. The 7 footer has proven to be able to patrol the paint on defense and is an outstanding rebounder. Gasol and Calderon are good friends from the Spanish national team so he can be our best recruiting tool.

He is a smart player and doesn’t need much coaching, he could immediately help this team greatly and would be an awesome piece for Dirks last years in the NBA.

Gasol appears much less likely with Chandler back and Calderon out the door.

5. Spencer Hawes | Cavaliers (Unrestricted)

13.2 PTS 8.3 REB

If we strike out on the top four in this list or can’t find someone to trade for the next best option is Dalembert/Spencer Hawes at center.

Hawes does not play a ton of defense, but at 7’1” Hawes is a viable option. The thing working for his favor is he has never played for a contender or with the true professionals that he would if he were in Dallas.

Hawes has shown flashes of brilliance the last few years and with the right teammates and coaching could turn into a threat down low that wouldn’t come at the price as the other centers on this list before him.

6. Andray Blatche | Nets (Unrestricted)

11.2 PTS 5.3 REB

Blatche is an under the radar center that could be a potential target for the Dallas Mavericks. At 260 pounds Blatche is a big body that could share time with Samuel Dalembert.

Although his character has been an issue, we have seen in the past there is hardly a better team that can control attitudes than the Mavs and Rick Carlisle.

As I have said before the center position is really a difficult position to obtain, while numbers 7-10 on this list may make you cringe, as far as free agents go they are our next best option.

7. Andrew Bynum | Pacers (Unrestricted) 

8.7 PTS 5.6 REB

Ever since Bynum took a cheap shot to J.J. Barea in the 2011 playoffs his career has spiraled.

Only playing 26 games last season injuries and character have taken the once superstar potential center into a nobody.

Rumors and scandals plagued his stay in Cleveland, then he went to the Pacers where he made virtually no positive impact. The only way the Mavs sign Bynum is through a cheap contract and an evaluation to see if he can still play.

8. Emeka Okafor | Suns (Unrestricted)

Did Not Play in 2013-2014

Another injury plagued center, Emeka Okafor missed the entire 2013-2014 season and has really diminished as a player. Much like Bynum the only chance we have to sign Okafor would be a thorough evaluation to see if he still has something left in the tank.

9. Chris Andersen | Heat (Unrestricted)

6.6 PTS 5.3 REB

Certainly not a starter by any means the “Birdman” would only be a Mavs player coming off the bench, something the Mavs really don’t need. He shows flashes of being a solid center and comes off the bench with plenty of energy.

10. Jermaine O’Neal | Warriors (Unrestricted)

7.9 PTS 5.5 REB

Hard to believe the 35 year old is still playing in the NBA considering how many injuries the once star for the Pacers has gone through.

O’Neal absolutely shocked the NBA showing he still had room in the tank last season getting some pretty serious minutes after Andrew Bogut went down with injuries, which is something Bogut is known to do.

Another rotation player, O’Neal could help with depth at the Center postion for the Mavs, but again, the Mavs really need a starter.

 

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Mavs Fanatic Six Pack: Tyson Back In Big D: Good Move?

by MavsFanatic on June 26, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

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A rumor that started a little over a month ago turned into a reality much faster than any Mavs Fanatic could have imagined. Tyson Chandler is back in Dallas, and we can only hope that he can fill the void many believed was missing following the historic 2011 championship run.

We gathered all of the Mavs Fanatic contributors to get their thoughts on this move. Here is what they had to say:

Ryan Wilson 

Good opening move by Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson, but there must be more to follow in order to make a true impact. The Mavericks did give up one of the top three point specialists in the NBA in Jose Calderon, and both of their draft picks, along with a few other players. However, they are filling two huge needs before Free Agency even begins: A defensive presence in the paint, and attitude. Tyson Chandler provides both, and the Mavericks didn’t even have to give up Brandan Wright in the process.

Sure, they gave up both of their draft picks, but the Mavericks have never really prided themselves on the NBA Draft anyways. It’s also important to note that the Mavericks could still find a way to get back into the 1st Round of this deep draft class.

If the Mavericks are able to land Carmelo Anthony, because of his respect for Tyson Chandler in New York, great! If not, the Mavericks need to add two solid players to go along with Nowitzki, Chandler, and Ellis.

The addition of Felton is questionable at best. Losing Calderon leaves no point guard on the roster at the moment, because Devin Harris is a free agent at the moment. Even if the Mavericks re-sign Harris, as expected, I’m still not sure he is a starting point guard in this league.

It’s too early to tell. One thing is for sure, the Mavericks came out guns blazin’ and have gotten this “arms race” started far earlier than expected.

Damian Jackson 


The trade works for me, easily.

TysonIf anything really stung it was the short-term idea of losing our starting point guard Jose Calderon and the 34th pick in the draft.

Dallas is in win-now mode and this trade exemplifies such. We landed the best player in the deal.

The most iffy part about the whole trade was taking back Raymond Felton, but financially made out well by shedding Calderon’s contract which runs through 2017.

Parting with Shane Larkin, a waste of a draft pick,  and Wayne Ellington was not and shouldn’t be tough. Neither guy was making an impact on this team going forward.

Sam Dalembert had a roller coaster season and did well in stretches. DeJuan Blair was the Mavericks best center in the playoffs against the Spurs, a series in which Dallas struggled to defend the interior.That problem was addressed with Chandler. Chandler also poses a possibly important figure in the Mavericks pitch to Carmelo Anthony whom he was locker pals and most respected Knicks teammate.

Oh, and Dirk’s happy about this trade, so I’m happy that Dirk is thrilled.

Greg Higgins 

Any time I hear the name Tyson Chandler in association with the Dallas Mavericks, I get excited. I mean, let’s face it, he’s one of the main reasons the Mavericks made it to the Finals in 2011. Most Mavericks’ fans don’t understand the legistics as to why Mark Cuban let him go after the championship and they will always ask the question, “What might have been?”

Unfortunately that’s a question that will never be answered. We do, however, have another saga to discuss. Tyson Chandler 2.0 will be in effect this next season. Chandler was traded to the Mavs along with Raymond Felton for Samuel Dalembert, Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington and Shane Larkin. The Knicks also get two second round picks (34 and 51 overall).

At first I didn’t know how I felt about this trade. I’m a huge Chandler fan and I love the fact that he will be back in a Mavs uniform this next year. However, I was a little worried that the deal involved two point guards in Larkin and Calderon. With Devin Harris not guaranteed back next season, I was a little baffled by getting rid of those players in this deal.

Then I was reminded of something by another MavsFanatic.com writer. I was reminded to trust in Cuban. Sometimes we don’t understand every move but there’s usually always a means to an end. There have been times I didn’t agree with his moves and there have been times my reasoning was proven right. However, more times than not, I’m proven wrong in my reasonings.

I know there’s a long way to go with free agency and we’ve only just begun to see the moves that will be made. I know the Mavs have an idea of where they want to go with this so I’m going to trust them. Because I’ve decided to do this, the Chandler deal makes me extremely happy.

Michael Lark 

I love the deal. The Mavs get back the player that was the defensive anchor to the only championship this franchise has ever known and a fan favorite that brings a number of intangibles to the table, including leadership and energy that the Mavs have been severely lacking since he left.  Sure, it sucks to lose Calderon, who finished 5th in the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage (44.9%) but most importantly I think it’s a great trade because as free agency kicks off in a matter of days, the Mavs are armed with a core of Monta, Dirk and now Chandler that they can bring to the discussion table as they attempt to lure the “big fish.”

Dwight-Howard-Deron-Williams-Future-MavericksClearly, Mark Cuban and the Mavs front office have learned from their unsuccessful attempts to sign Deron Williams and Dwight Howard the past couple of off-seasons. Williams was quoted as saying the Brooklyn Nets trade for Joe Johnson just hours before he re-signed, significantly influenced his decision to re-up with the Nets.

This time around the Mavs are ahead of the curve, having decided to not rely solely on cap space to lure free agents, but to upgrade their roster via trade in the process. Worried about those draft picks? Quick, name me a 2nd round prospect you believe can immediately and significantly help this team become a top 5 contender? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

This team is and will always be in win now mode as long as Dirk Nowitzki is in a Mavs uniform so, you can forget about getting younger and developing players for now.  Let’s retool and get another championship with Dirk.  Who knows? Maybe the Kings will buyout the last year of Jason Terry’s contract and we’ll resign him for the minimum and defend that 2011 title, three years later.  The possibilities are endless. It’s a win for the Mavs.

Terence Huie


I might be the only MFFL who doesn’t agree with this trade. For the most part, I feel that the Knicks-Mavs trade could have been negotiated better so that Cuban would not lose all the assets.

Losing Jose Calderon puts the team at a huge disadvantage right now. The team loses a guy who is in the top 10 category for three-point percentage. After dropping Darren Collison and picking up Calderon last summer, the Mavs jumped from 12th to 4th in team offensive efficiency. Not to mention, the backup guard Devin Harris is currently a free agent. Right now, Raymond Felton is the only point guard on the team now. This isn’t a good feeling considering Felton coming off a struggling year.

It’s good that Tyson Chandler is back in a Mavericks jersey. BUT, Chandler is 31 years old with injuries that are affecting his play on the court. Chandler only played 55 games last year, compared to Dalembert who played 80 games. If the Mavs want to content for a title, Chandler has to stay healthy. Point blank, period.

Marc Cashion 


The biggest complaint that I have seen over this giant Tyson Chandler trade has been the loss of Jose Calderon.  The best way to look at the results of this trade is to look at the depth of each position.  According to ESPN’s Real plus or minus stats the 25th best point guard is Jrue Holiday, who actually is a really good point guard in the NBA. The 25th best center is Pero Antic, who I honestly have absolutely zero knowledge of.  The point being point guards are replaceable, Damian in his top 10 PG free agent article has Isaiah Thomas as his 7th best point guard.  While my top 10 Center article, that will be out Friday, has (SPOILER ALERT) Jermaine O’Neal.  Thomas is a starter in this league while Jermaine O’Neal is not.  Point being, a good solid Center is much more difficult to come by than a point guard.

After those that are angry about losing a good point guard have died down, you have to look at the big picture.  We now have a great core of players that are just begging for a superstar to catapult us to a championship caliber team.  The addition of Melo, for example, would give us Monta Ellis, a rim protecting center in Chandler, and one of the greatest power forwards of all time Dirk Nowitzki.  Breaking down the trade piece by piece looking at last year’s results: Wayne Ellington was a no factor, Shane Larkin was a no factor, Samuel Dalembert sometimes didn’t even want to play, and Jose Calderon was great on offense but had no defense.  This team will never have an issue scoring so adding a high caliber defensive center is a dream scenario.

The main thing to realize is this front office is not even close to through, Mavs fan’s need to hang tight and be excited about this teams future.

 

Photo Credits: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

 

 

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Free Agent Tracker: Trevor Ariza A Viable Option?

by Marc Cashion on May 28, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

Ariza2

With the Free Agency period getting closer, and the Mavs having plenty of financial flexibility, the speculation begins.  The Mavs have seemingly been a candidate for just about every big free agent rumored so far.  As we have seen in the past Plan A does not always come through and it is important to have a good B and C plan.  While Luol Deng, Marcin GortatLance Stephenson, and yes even Carmelo Anthony have been looked at as possibilities, a maybe more reasonable target has emerged; Trevor Ariza.

Ariza made $7.73 million in the 2013-2014 season and will certainly demand a higher pay check after seeing the impact he made this year and during the playoffs. His WAR for the Wizards was 5.8.  WAR is a stat on ESPN that calculates your Wins Above Replacement, meaning he gives your team close to six more wins above his replacement, showing how much value he has for your team.  A stat is meaningless without a little persepective, 5.8 puts him at 74th in the NBA.  74th is just below Lance Stephenson, Reggie Jackson and Tyson Chandler.  He was a huge part in the surprise that was the Wizards this year. He marked the opponent’s number one scorer for much of the year and still put up 14.4 points per game and 6 rebounds. This defensive presence is something the Mavericks desperately need and at 28 years old, a three or four year contract would still be within his prime.

ArizaWhile Trevor Ariza may ask for a large chunk of money it won’t be the max.  If the Mavs miss out on Deng, Stephenson, and Melo Dallas could be an intriguing possibility.  Ariza may look around and see that there aren’t a ton of options available any longer. Although just resigning with the Wizards could be an option, I doubt they would be able to offer the money he is looking for.  With the contract of Nene, John Wall, and also having to have the money to resign Bradley Beal, there won’t be a ton to go around.

The Mavericks could provide Ariza with another winning option, but with a team full of proven veterans, but the young talent that the Wizards possess has obviously caught his attention:

How He Would Fit In:

For the Mavs, Ariza would only be our third or fourth scorer on the team.  This would mean he would have plenty of energy to mark the opponents top scorer.  With all the space Dirk Nowitzki provides for his teammates and Monta Ellis and his ability to penetrate, Ariza would get plenty of open threes, his offensive specialty. I can picture a Monta and Dirk pick and roll with Ariza sitting in the corner with space to hit in rhythm three pointers.

With the addition of Ariza, and Dirk taking less money, we would still have plenty for a big time center.  Let’s say we land either Ariza’s teammate, Marcin Gortat, or Tyson Chandler comes back to Dallas.  We would then have a Calderon, Ellis, Ariza, Dirk, and Gortat/Chandler lineup.  While I still do not believe this would be enough to contend, it would still be a great improvement from last year.  With a deep bench I could see this lineup making a run.

Photo Credits: Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post ; Paul Buck 

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Luol Deng: Are the Mavericks a Perfect Match?

by Ryan Wilson on May 23, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

DengToDallasFI

For Luol Deng, the past couple of years have been a non-stop roller coaster ride with more downs than ups, and he is finally starting to see the end in sight. Last season, he dealt with a nagging Achilles injury, and was traded from the Chicago Bulls to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

It’s safe to say that he wasn’t to thrilled with the move, and he now looks to a summer full of teams fighting for his services.

While there are still two bigger names out there in LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, Deng figures to be the next big Free Agent target in the summer of 2014. While it figures that LeBron will stay in Miami and choose not to opt out of his final year under contract, Carmelo figures to be the only real big name ahead of Deng in terms of priority. deng

So what does a team that wins the bidding services for Deng receive? Deng is a true two-way player who can give teams fits on the offensive end of the floor, as well as the defensive end. In 23 games with the Bulls last season, Deng averaged 19 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists, to go along with 1 steal per game, but once he was traded to the unfavorable destination of Cleveland, his numbers dipped significantly.

 

 

What could it mean if Dallas were to persuade Deng into coming to play at the AAC on a nightly basis?

The Mavericks, by all early rumors, think they have a significant shot of persuading Carmelo Anthony to Dallas, but if that fails, look for them to immediately turn their attention to Deng. While Deng may be the Mavericks’ second option, Dallas could be Deng’s first. He is looking to play for a contender, and while Dallas may have been bumped in the first round of the playoffs, it took all seven games for the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs to eventually advance.

Kelly Scaletta, featured columnist for Bleacher Report wrote in a piece about Deng’s potential suitors:

Dallas makes the most sense for Deng for several reasons. First, it’s a perfect situation in terms of fit and chemistry. Deng is a bad first option, okay as a second and fantastic as a third. He could serve that role well playing alongside Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis.

He would be joining a very good duo in Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis, two guys who want to win NOW, and are just looking for a third scoring option, while improving their defense in the process.

After watching the Spurs manhandle Portland in five games, and cruising to a 2-0 lead over Oklahoma City, the Mavericks look like they are much further along in competing for a title than we originally thought. He would be going to a place where he wouldn’t have to be leaned on so heavily on the offensive end, and could truly provide the Mavericks a solid veteran on defense.

If the Mavericks and Nowitzki can come to an agreement on a lower contract, it would provide the Mavericks to offer Deng some big money, and maybe leave room for the Mavericks to go after a center, possibly Marcin Gortat.

While the possibility of a Tyson Chandler reunion with the Mavericks, and welcoming Carmelo to Dallas in the process, the grouping of Gortat, Nowitzki, Deng, Ellis and Calderon could be a very tough squad to compete with on a nightly basis.

Deng is looking to join a team built to win now. Nowitzki and Ellis, combined with Rick Carlisle and the Mavericks management should allow Deng to do just that.

Photo Credit: Michael Mulvey / AP

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Dallas’ Role in the Carmelo Drama

by Michael Lark on May 22, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

MeloToDallas

Madison Square Garden – it’s February 24, 2014 and the Dallas Mavericks are tied at 108 with the New York Knicks, with only 10.6 seconds left in the game. Vince Carter inbounds the ball from the left sideline to Jose Calderon, who quickly feeds the ball to Dirk Nowizki at the top of the key. Only seconds left, Dirk awkwardly makes his move (in only a way that only Dirk can), and just before the buzzer sounds he heaves a shot at the rim.

The Mavs win.

Carmelo Anthony’s face following that memorable shot says it all. He had one of the best offensive performances of his career, finishing the game with 44 points. But the end of the night, it was his lackluster defense that told the story.

MeloDirk

Now, I’ve never claimed to be any sort of expert when it comes to telling people how to play defense, but I’ll have to bet that putting your hands behind your back as the 10th ranked scorer in NBA history goes up for the game-winning shot is probably not the way to play defense.

Clearly, the Knicks superstar forward still has some room for improvement.

This summer “Melo” will arguably be the biggest name in free agency (Hint: Lebron James is not opting out). The 11-year veteran is known around the league as an offensive juggernaut who essentially considers defense optional.

Anthony is a 7-time NBA All-Star, 2-time All-NBA second team and 4-time All-NBA third team player. He’s the 2013 NBA scoring champion.

Nevertheless, it’s reasons like Carmelo’s lackluster performance in the final 10.6 seconds on February 24 that have many fans questioning the idea of adding him to the Mavs roster this summer.

I’m here to give you a big wakeup call.

Whether you like it or not, the Mavs will be going after Mr. Anthony when free agency commences July 1. Here’s one thing you should know about the NBA, when talent is available, teams will go after it – and there’s no question the Syracuse product is one of most talented players in the league.

But, is the feeling mutual?

Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports the Mavs are quietly optimistic they will be on the short list of teams that will be granted a face-to-face visit with the Knicks’ small forward. While the Mavs only have about $27 million locked up in guaranteed money next season, they also have a ton of holes to fill.

Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com reports the Mavs will only be interested in adding Carmelo if they are able to sign him at a deal that pays him less than the $22 million annually he’s able to get on the open market.

Convincing a superstar athlete in his prime to leave millions of dollars on the table sounds difficult enough, so let’s take a look at what the Mavs can arm themselves with in their potential face-to-face meeting.

The Monta Ellis Case Study

 

Monta Ellis was a disgruntled Milwaukee Bucks employee in the prime of his career. According to Steve von Horn of SB Nation, Ellis was free to sign anywhere he wanted or accept a three-year contract extension worth $36 million. Ellis left money on the table and chose to sign with the Dallas Mavericks.

Why?

“For me it was more important to be in an environment of winning, and to be on a team with a great group of guys,” Ellis said.

Speaking of winning, that also might entice the 29-year-old Anthony to come to Dallas. After all, he’s playing with a New York Knicks franchise that has 10 losing seasons since 1999 which just happens to be the last time the Mavs actually had a losing season of their own – and they’ve had nothing but a winning culture since.

Let’s also not forget the Larry O’Brien Trophy lassoed in 2011 by having the best owner in sports and one of the smartest front offices in the NBA.

In his 11 NBA seasons, Carmelo has never played with a star anywhere close to Nowitzki’s caliber. Melo is often criticized publicly for being an inefficient, volume shooter.

Sound familiar? That’s because the same label that was given to Monta Ellis before he came to Dallas. That’s now a long forgotten characteristic for Ellis.

So what changed? Two words – Dirk Nowitzki.

For the first time in his career, Monta had the opportunity to play with a respected NBA All-Star and future Hall of Famer who opened up opportunities for him. In a March 2014 article, Grantland detailed the evolution of Monta Ellis’ shooting production with and without Nowitzki. [Also see 'The Evolution of Monta Ellis' by Howard Beck]

The graphic above provides an incredible representation of Ellis’ improved efficiency just by playing alongside the “Tall Baller from the G.” That’s a lot of red and orange! Simply put, the “Dirk effect” allowed Ellis to get open opportunities, which improved his efficiency because defenses were paying so much attention to Dirk.

Imagine how this scenario could work with Carmelo in the fold. Teams around the league would be scrambling to defend the new “Big 3 in Big D” of Carmelo, Dirk and Monta.

The Melo Concerns

 

The Melo to Dallas scenario, however, doesn’t come without major concerns.

While convincing him to take less money is an already particularly difficult proposition in itself, there will be several other viable teams including the Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers that will be providing plenty of tough competition for his services.

Secondly, on the defensive end for the Mavericks, Nowitzki and Anthony would be a nightmare for head coach Rick Carlisle. Neither player is particularly known for their defensive prowess and there’s definitely a good reason for it.

While this may be an immediate red flag for the Mavs, it’s also important to note that the probability remains high that there will be several defensive centers that will be available this summer, including Larry Sanders, Anderson Varejao, Tyson Chandler and Marcin Gortat that could help.

NOTE: Shawn Marion, the Mavs best defensive player and starting small forward, is a free agent.

Then, there’s Carmelo Anthony’s wife, Alani Vasquez Anthony or simply “La La” as she more commonly known in Hollywood circles. La La and Dallas Mavericks fans have a history of bad blood dating back to Anthony’s days with the Denver Nuggets.

In May 2009, during the Western Conference Semifinals, while attending a game in Dallas, La La was alledgedly the subject of racial slurs and threats by a couple of Mavs fans sitting behind her in the stands that evening, according to her issued statement.  

It is unclear how she feels about Mavericks fans today and whether or not this 2009 incident could sway Carmelo away from Dallas. Either way, I say it’s time to put that situation behind us and move on. Rumors say the “reality TV star” (if there’s such a thing) has a desire to stay in New York to pursue her career in…whatever it is she does.

Despite several contending issues, the fact remains the Mavericks should have a legitimate shot at landing Anthony this summer. In 2011, it was reported that Mavs attempted to trade for Carmelo Anthony’s services before he was ultimately traded to the Knicks because of the Mavericks refusal to include the “untouchable,” (gasp) Roddy Beaubois in a trade.

Unlike the mess that was Dwight Howard last summer, this time around, the Mavs will be dealing with a mature, NBA veteran who is hopefully focused on winning titles and not watching cartoons. So if the Mavs are able to put the pieces together to swing a signing of Anthony, you can bet I’ll be first in line to say, “Get the parade route ready!”

On second thought, never mind, we’ll just use the same parade route we used in 2011.

_____________________

Mandatory photo credit to Colorado Sports Desk; Yahoo! Sports/Screencap via @Jose3030

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Could Larry Sanders Be A Risk Worth Taking?

by Damian Jackson on May 14, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

Larry Sanders

The 2013-2014 season for the Dallas Mavericks was a godsend from only one year ago. With several new faces on board once again, this time the pieces fit infinitely better. Adding the starting back court of veterans Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis sparked Dallas’ offense which finished 4th best in the NBA.

What did they lack? Defense and plenty more defense. Shawn Marion, well on the wrong side of 30 still checked in as the team’s best defender…by far. That’s asking way too much of one guy and Marion’s defense is limited to primarily wings and guards, not the interior, post or paint.

Larry Sanders, a 25-year-old center who registers in at 6-foot-11 and 235 pounds, presents a rather massive risk vs. reward predicament. The $44 million invested over four years in the young defensive center kicks in this summer, which makes the decision to trade for Sanders a gigantic question mark.

 

Why The Mavericks Should Take Risk

 

I’ll give my two major reasons that Dallas ought to strongly consider pulling the trigger on a Larry Sanders trade in the right situation:

1) Larry’s defensive impact cannot be denied. Sanders embodies the ideal fit next to Dirk Nowitzki, an athletic center who can rebound and defend the interior with the league’s best. While other defensive options are much safer, Tyson Chandler (31, trade) or Marcin Gortat (30, free agency), they’d come in or past their primes.

Dallas usually acquires players whose primes are left behind, readjust and play new roles in the Mavericks system. It would be enticing and intriguing to add a player who could possibly blossom and enter his prime with Dallas.

2) While the risk is real, I have the utmost confidence in Dallas’ winning culture to provide Sanders with an atmosphere to succeed. From the Mavs front office to the elite coaching staff to its veteran players, it’s a situation to garner the best out of the promising young NBA center.

The price tag seems extremely steep, but is it really for NBA centers? It’s probably more the four years that concern people. His 2014-2015 salary of $11 million at this point will rank only 18th among his position. That doesn’t include the deals free agents may get in the market this offseason.

Why The Mavericks Should Pass

 

1) My concern with Sanders isn’t about his ability to become a major impact at center, but rather how he’s perceived by his NBA peers. You hear mumbles about his lack of effort after earning the big payday and something you never want is a satisfied player at such a young age.

2) Better options may be available for the Mavericks. By no means is Larry Sanders a must have and his stock is quite low at the moment, which ought to lend the Mavs ample time in their decision making. Dallas will have options that are safer and provide the defensive impact needed without the bulging worries.

The aforementioned Chandler only has one year left on his contract and the Mavs know what they’d be getting in the 2011 championship center. Gortat himself was almost a Maverick in 2009 before the Orlando Magic matched the 5-year/$34M offer sheet he signed with Dallas. So the interest in Gortat is there, but his price is only rising with stellar postseason play for the Washington Wizards. It could very well be a bidding war with several teams and a number that matches or exceeds that of Sanders’ $11 million.


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Tyson Chandler: Maverick Return, Yay or Nay?

by MavsFanatic on May 6, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

TysonChandler19

The Dallas Mavericks’ offseason began the moment the buzzer sounded on their lopsided 119-96 loss in Game 7 to the San Antonio Spurs.

It’s well known by now that the Mavericks do have plenty of flexibility this summer to improve the roster whether it be in free agency or the trade market. Mavs Fanatic partners discuss the topic of Tyson Chandler and a possible return to Mavs blue.

Ryan Wilson:


If the Knicks miss out on Carmelo Anthony, there is a good chance they make Chandler available in trade discussions. While the discussion about whether or not the Mavericks should have let Chandler go following their championship season remains a mystery, this time around should leave the Mavericks with one simple answer – No!

Yes, Chandler is only 31 years old, but on those knees and that historically ailing back, the Mavericks need to start looking younger. Chandler could provide them with a very athletic and versatile defender in the paint, which is something they sorely lacked, but he only played 52 games this season. While the Mavericks medical staff seemed to have all the answers in Chandler’s first go around, this isn’t the time to be taking chances.

The Mavericks scored on a huge signing of a still young star like Monta Ellis, so why not look to go younger here as well. Greg Monroe could be that option. He is only 23 years old, and with Rick Carlisle’s ability to develop young talent, he could turn into a viable option long term, whereas Chandler will only provide the short term outlook.

Monroe played all 82 games this past season and averaged 15.2 pts and 9.3 rebs. He could use some improvement in his blocking ability, but he provides Dallas with a big man who can rebound the ball, provide some offense, and play defense.

While the Mavericks are looking to give Nowitzki the best shot at winning, they still have to be smart when it comes to finding the right pieces for the future. I believe that Chandler will only solve the issue IF and only IF he stays healthy.

Even then, it will only be for the next few years, and the Mavericks will be left with no Nowitzki and no big man. The Mavericks must find a younger better option at this point, and I’m not sure Chandler is that option, healthy or not.

Damian Jackson:


The Mavericks will have many options to improve its roster over the course of the offseason. Several different ideas are surfacing already about what needs to happen for this team. One of those premature ideas originated from ESPN that offered the idea of Dallas re-acquiring center Tyson Chandler along with defensive wing Iman Shumpert.

Why would Dallas be interested in bringing back their championship center after his three seasons with the New York Knicks? Defense and more defense. Dallas will keep an eye on the Knicks outlook and whether they make the center with one year left on his contract available in trade.

Dallas’ intent this summer will need to be on overall defensive improvement while also getting younger top to bottom. The potential free agent class is rather attractive, but cross names like LeBron James off the wish list – it’s just not going to happen.

Chris Bosh may be an option, but do you really want to spend $20 million on the now 31-year-old forward/center who has clearly stated he had no interest in playing for the Mavericks back in 2010? My opinion is that Dallas would be better off paying other center options in free agency such as Spencer Hawes or Detroit Pistons’ restricted free agent Greg Monroe.

Now Dallas will also need to look into younger defensive two-way players on the wing to replace older guys like Shawn Marion and Vince Carter.

This brings us to Tyson Chandler and how he could end up back with Dallas and why it’d be a positive reunion. We’re not here to argue whether the decision to let him walk in 2011 was the right or wrong choice, everyone holds his own view on the issue.

Chandler would be 32 when next season gets underway, the same age as Mavs current starting center Samuel Dalembert. That said Chandler’s intensity and intangibles are not matched by man y in the NBA at his position, only guy I say is better in that area would be Joakim Noah.

While I share the notion that it’s best to go younger and with a less injury-prone player, I believe Dallas could do much worse than Chandler back in Mavs #6.

What do you think, Tyson would be a good addition or better to look elsewhere?

 

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