Dallas Mavericks: Brian Cardinal
Jackson and a whole bunch of other folks at the AT&T Center on Friday night were peeved after Cardinal’s flagrant foul on Tim Duncan, who got hit in the face and landed on the floor when Cardinal prevented a layup attempt.
“To me, it was a dirty play,” Jackson told the San Antonio Express-News. “When you can’t play no more, I guess all you can do is go out and try to hurt people.”
Cardinal’s deadpan reaction the next night: “The thing I take from that is that he thinks I once could play. Boom! I’ll take it!”
“The Custodian” is an 11-year vet with robust career averages of 4.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and a few floor burns per game.
Stevenson joins former Mavs coach Avery Johnson and point guard Deron Williams, a native of The Colony near Dallas who is highly coveted by the Mavs when he can become a free agent this summer.
Four of the Mavs' six free agents from last season's title team are with new teams. Brian Cardinal re-signed with Dallas and Peja Stojakovic retired.
Then there's still the shock factor involved in the deflating losses of Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea, DeShawn Stevenson and also Caron Butler. Odom has his own shock factor to overcome in no longer playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, where he won two titles and played the last seven seasons and probably figured he'd play seven more.
|Ben and Skin discuss what can be taken away from the Mavs' two preseason losses including: Lamar Odom's surprising leadership and the depth of the roster. |
With that, Dallas Mavericks, get out there and defend your title.
Could things be any zanier with the season opener quickly approaching on Christmas Day against the -- by comparison -- remarkably stable Miami Heat?
The Mavs might be in flux, but as defending champions they know there will be no sympathy. Hey, it's a jungle out there.
"The constant this year is going to be that the teams we play are going to have the increased edge because they're playing the champions," Carlisle said. "I went through this in 1986-87 -- the year after we won the title in Boston. We saw how it was. Every night it's a championship game. I can talk about it all day long and try to get the guys ready for it. But until the games start coming, we won't really know what it's about. And it's going to add to the challenge. But that's part of it."
The Mavs' two preseason losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder, who like the Heat did not undergo major changes -- in fact no changes at all -- did lend credence to the notion that Dallas won't get off to a roaring start. The first 15 games will be played in 23 days and includes matchups against Miami, Denver, two against Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Boston, the Lakers and the new-and-improved Clippers.
And, oh yeah, 12 of those games are back-to-back sets.
"Of course, we’ve got to get a feel for where the new guys are going to be at and situations and stuff like that, but for the most part we just walk in and play ball," forward Shawn Marion said. "There’s always going to be some waves. At the same time, you’ve got to be able to take the good with the bad and learn from it."
So, let's get on with the predictions.
Jeff Caplan, ESPN Dallas beat writer
Like everyone else, I expect the Mavs to have their issues early on as assimilation proves challenging. After the lockout, the roster reshaping was fast and furious and inconveniently intertwined with training camp. Carlisle has proven to be quite proficient in finding workable combinations and mixing and matching to suit different situations. He has a deep team at his disposal and he will find lineups that work. The big question is whether he can implore this team to discover a defensive backbone with Chandler now supplying one for Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. My guess is probably not as strong as they will need, and that's going to produce a lot of shootouts, but in the end it won't be a team capable of repeating.
Predicted record: 40-26
Tim MacMahon, ESPN Dallas beat writer
A slow start should probably be expected from a team fitting in new pieces, especially after seeing the Mavs struggle in the preseason. There will be bumps down the road, too, as the Mavs make resting old legs a priority. The goal is to peak for the playoffs again.
Predicted record: 40-26
Marc Stein, ESPN.com senior NBA writer
The Mavs won't slip as far without Tyson Chandler as you think. Especially not in the regular season because they've still got a lot of depth and versatility after the arrival of Lamar Odom -- one of the best players in league history with zero All-Star invites on his resume -- as a one-year bridge between Chandler and whoever Mark Cuban lands with all that cap space he's amassing. The streak of 11 consecutive 50-win seasons is going to perish thanks to the 66-game condensed schedule. The dropoff in rim protection minus Tyson, furthermore, will eventually punish Dallas in the playoffs. But this group can still get to the West finals. Bank on 41 wins for Dirk and his Mavs at worst.
Predicted record: 41-25
Chuck Cooperstein, Mavs play-by-play voice
After a bumpy start which will see them naturally struggle to assimilate their new pieces, the Mavericks will finish strong and will be a very entertaining team to watch. They will be like the Nellie teams of '02-'05, with a better defensive presence. But, like the Nellie teams (and every other Mavericks team besides 2011), they don't have the necessary presence in the middle to take them all the way.
Predicted record: 43-23
Jeff "Skin" Wade, co-host of "Ben & Skin Show" 103.3 FM ESPN and Mavs TV sideline reporter
The Mavs will once again have a strong playoff run riding the shoulders of the Big German, but their age and demanding schedule prove too tough to overcome and they eventually run out of gas against a younger, hungrier team. But, it'll be a solid year for a franchise transitioning into their next phase with over $20 million in cap space in the summer of 2012 to build a squad for the few remaining years of Dirk's peak. The real trick is for Dallas to know for certain by the end of the season what they have in Roddy B, DoJo and possibly even Brandan Wright.
Predicted record: 40-26
A day after Jason Terry fell ill and was taken to the hospital to be checked out, backup point guard Delonte West missed this morning's shootaround with an illness. He'll be a game-time decision for tonight's second and final preseason game at the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Terry did not even make the trip. If West can't play that will likely mean increased time for Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones, which wouldn't be an awful thing.
Last week, Brian Cardinal and Brandan Wright were the victims with Wright feeling so badly that he couldn't play in Sunday's preseason game.
Terry is not expected to join the team for Tuesday's preseason game against the Thunder with the Mavs' season opener quickly approaching Sunday afternoon against the Miami Heat.
Brian Cardinal and Brandan Wright have also been ill in recent days with Wright missing Sunday's preseason game against the Thunder.
The 6-foot-7 Marion can run the floor, post up and rebound at both ends. The 6-foot-10 Odom can handle the ball like few big men and brings the added dimension of being able to initiate the offense. He doesn't need plays called for him to be a central figure in the offense. He can step out and bury the 3-pointer as effectively as a dip of the shoulder and drive.
As for the 7-foot Nowitzki, well, entering his 14th season, there's little need to list his litany of devastating powers.
Combined, the three averaged 49.9 points, 22.6 rebounds and 7.0 assists a game last season.
The forward position should be one of greater strength than last season, when small forward beyond Marion became a revolving door after Caron Butler's New Year's Day knee injury took him out for the rest of the season. Marion eventually became the full-time starter after Sasha Pavlovic played out two 10-day contracts and Peja Stojakovic hurt his neck.
Carlisle holds his plans close to the vest, but Marion would seem the likely candidate to remain a starter with Odom coming off the bench to defend his sixth man title won last season with the Los Angeles Lakers. A glimpse at both forward positions:
Small forward: The position belongs to Marion and Odom now that youngster Corey Brewer is playing for the Denver Nuggets. Carlisle will likely approach the tandem like he did with Marion and Butler before the injury, managing their minutes and going with the hot hand in the fourth quarter or whichever matchup is best suited for the situation. If needed, the 6-6 Vince Carter can slide over.
Power forward: A year ago, Marion was the de facto backup to Nowitzki, and he did a fine job of playing the bigger position. This season, Odom might find himself doing the switch more than Marion. Dallas also acquired Brandan Wright, a former lottery pick who hasn't lived up to that status in his brief career and, of course, there is fan favorite Brian Cardinal, who will always play sturdy defense, take and give a hard foul and nail a corner 3-pointer.
The young man asking unsuspecting media caught on camera to sign a waiver said the footage could be used on either show.
"No? Really?" was Brian Cardinal's reaction to being told the crew was from the reality TV show starring Khloe Kardashian and her basketball-playing husband, who now happens to play for the Dallas Mavericks, Lamar Odom.
Asked if Khloe and her brother Rob, who lived with the couple in L.A., are excited about coming to Dallas, Odom, in his hushed voice, said they most absolutely are.
"The whole family pretty much is," Odom said prior to Sunday's first preseason game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. "While we’re here we’re going to have fun like we always do. Sometimes people think given the circumstances that our lifestyle is bizarre, but people forget that in any family you have your differences. But, like every other family you have normalcy, you know what I mean? So, I’m looking forward to Christmas Day and eating and just enjoying my family."
They're already in Dallas as Khloe let her more than 5 million Twitter followers know: "Yay!!! On my way to the first pre-season game with @robscheppy to see my Lam play for the @dallasmavs. Woooohoooo"
Hopefully, she reminds here Lam that the Mavs also open the regular season at 1:30 p.m. Christmas Day against the Miami Heat.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said he believes Cardinal will be ready to play in Sunday nights' first of two exhibition games against the Oklahoma City Thunder over the next three days. The coach said he's not sure on Wright's situation.
Cardinal, in his second season with the defending champs, is well-versed in the system, but the newcomer Wright could use as much court time as possible as he fights for minutes behind Dirk Nowitzki and perhaps so more so as a backup center.
DALLAS -- All bets are off for the Dallas Mavericks if the remarkably durable Dirk Nowitzki suffers a significant injury this season.
The worst-case scenario is that they’ll be another version of the 2003-04 Mavs. That one-and-done playoff squad will always be remembered for the Antoines. Or the Antawns.
See, they couldn’t even get on the same page regarding the spelling of the shared first name for their two major offseason additions. Adding Antoine Walker and Antawn Jamison to the mix was a failed chemistry experiment.
The Mavs hope that isn’t the case with Lamar Odom and Vince Carter, a couple of similarly accomplished players who are a little further along in their careers.
“That’s fair,” Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. “The problem with that is we had two guys who couldn’t pass. One wasn’t willing, and one wasn’t able.”
Nelson laughed as he made the point, but he’s not kidding when he says he thinks Odom and Carter have the unselfish mentality to mesh well with the Mavs, who became the symbol for the power of team basketball while beating the superstar-studded Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
Another significant difference between these Mavs and their ’03-04 predecessors is that coach Rick Carlisle knows he has a starting-caliber center in Brendan Haywood. Don Nelson went the "mad scientist" route at center in that season, splitting time between wide-body Danny Fortson, creaky Scott Williams, 7-foot-6 stiff Shawn Bradley and various small-ball lineups. The result then was a defensive disaster, as the Mavs ranked second to last in points allowed.
The Mavs’ Tyson Chandler-led defense made a parade in downtown Dallas possible last season. If Haywood can step up to provide a stiff defensive backbone, the Mavs could be the team to beat in the Western Conference. If he can’t, the Mavs could revert back to one-and-done mode.
Picture this: A quarter of a million people cram into downtown Dallas. The Mavericks ride through the streets on floats and wave to the screaming masses. Dirk Nowitzki and his teammates emerge onto the balcony overlooking the American Airlines Center's South Plaza and the 7-foot German belts out as best he can, "We are the Champions."
Just a few days ago as it became apparent that Tyson Chandler and the rest of the Mavs' free agents -- excluding Brian Cardinal -- were hitting the streets, the doomsayers railed on a lost season to come. The closest the Mavs would come to back-to-back, many thought, was the 20 they'd play during this rapid-fire, 66-game regular season.
Then came a flurry of activity -- Vince Carter, Lamar Odom, Delonte West to spice things up. And suddenly, not only has hope risen for this season's championship hopes, but next summer now promises to be must-see as Dallas will be positioned well below the salary cap and as well as any team to nab one of the big three potential free agents -- Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Dwight Howard.
But let's keep things focused on the here and now. Job No. 1 for the Mavs' front office was to give coach Rick Carlisle another deep team. They've done that. Carlisle has the necessary bodies to navigate through the regular season and, barring injury, he should be able to steer this ship into the playoffs with a roster that's ready to roll.
"It’s going to be really a matter in my mind," Carlisle said, "of the deepest team that can stay healthy and stay together is going to be the team that’s going to have the best chance of coming out of the West."
On paper, there is no team is deeper than the Mavs. Consider that two of the last three NBA sixth men of the year will be coming off the Mavs' bench in the ultra-versatile, 6-foot-10 Odom and gunner Jason Terry. West, a veteran with a needed edginess, will back up Jason Kidd. Shooting guard is loaded with Carter, Terry and a finally healthy Rodrigue Beaubois. Center is the lone question mark, but after Dallas dealt wings Rudy Fernandez and Corey Brewer to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, it now has roster space to go after depth in the middle.
There's no such thing as paper champions, but just days ago despair had set in among the fandom. Now, the Mavs suddenly look like bona fide contenders in the Western Conference. It's a conference that boasts some dangerous young squads like the Oklahoma City Thunder and the rising Memphis Grizzlies, as well as the old guard in the San Antonio Spurs team that's a year older and made no moves of consequence, and the Los Angeles Lakers, who lost Odom to Dallas, but still can't be counted out simply because of Kobe Bryant (and a Paul deal that's apparently not dead yet).
Still, no dominant team exists to overcome. That only benefits these quickly retooled Mavs who, best-case scenario, will have a June to remember as they repeat.
Popular reserve forward Brian Cardinal was back about 36 hours after breaking the news of his re-signing on Twitter. He’ll play for the veteran’s minimum salary.
The Mavericks’ two big-name additions, Vince Carter and Lamar Odom, are expected to be available for the team’s Tuesday media day.
Carter observed practice, but he still has not officially signed his contract. That is expected to be done within the next day as he has to officially clear waivers.
Odom had 48 hours to report to Dallas after his trade from the Lakers became official. US Weekly, which excels in chronicling the lives of Odom’s wife Khloe Kardashian and her famous family, is among the media outlets who have requested a credential for Tuesday’s media day.
With Carter and Odom unavailable, the media horde surrounded Cardinal, whom coach Rick Carlisle jokingly called Mick Jagger.
“I’m excited to be back, just excited to be with these guys, this group, a great organization,” Cardinal said after cracking a joke about improving his Twitter game during the lockout. “I’m excited they gave me a chance last year, gave me an opportunity to come in and make the team, and I’m thankful to be here another year.”
Both players still have to sign their contracts and the paperwork sent into the league. The Mavs are expecting both players to participate in Monday's two practices. Carter is expected to sign a three-year deal. However, years two and three are not fully guaranteed. The Mavs can pay him the new "mini" mid-level exception, which is a starting first-year salary of $3 million.
Before Dallas made the trade for Lamar Odom on and his $8.9 million salary Saturday night, it is possible that the Mavs could have used the full mid-level exception on Carter, which has a starting salary of $5 million. Teams with a payroll more than $4 million over the luxury tax threshold ($70.3 million) are limited to the lesser mid-level exception.
Cardinal is believed to be signing a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum.
Odom is not expected in Dallas until Monday or Tuesday.
DALLAS -- Vince Carter, the Dallas Mavericks are hoping, could be a participant in the second practice Sunday. Meanwhile, Lamar Odom, acquired in a lightning-quick trade late Saturday night is likely to arrive Monday or Tuesday. He has 48 hours to report after the trade.
The Mavs wrapped up a morning workout moments ago on the first day that teams can hold two-a-day practices. Along with missing Carter and Odom, Rudy Fernandez remains a no-show (apparently stuck in Spain with visa issues) and Brian Cardinal is en route to re-sign with the champs.
Coach Rick Carlisle said it won't take a player like Odom long to pick things up. The regular-season opener is two weeks away against the Miami Heat.
"I don't expect Lamar today,'' Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "He's got 48 hours to report, so he certain has the right to report when he wants to within those provisions. But, when he gets here it won't take an hour to get him acclimated. He has a very high basketball IQ. He'll pick our stuff up very quickly.''
Brian Cardinal, "The Custodian," is back.
He announced his return on via Twitter: Jumping on a plane tomorrow headed for the Big D! Excited to be back with the Mavs!!! Let's get it!!!
Cardinal pushes the Mavs' roster to 14, including Odom and Vince Carter, who is expected to be in Dallas on Sunday. Cardinal could be the only one of the team's five players that entered free agency that will re-sign.
Here's a look at the 14:
PG: Jason Kidd, Rodrigue Beaubois, Dominique Jones
SG: Vince Carter, Rudy Fernandez, Jason Terry
SF: Lamar Odom, Shawn Marion, Corey Brewer
PF: Dirk Nowitzki, Brandan Wright, Brian Cardinal
C: Brendan Haywood, Ian Mahinmi
Ten players worked out with newly signed forward Brandan Wright the only newcomer to this point. Shooting guard Rudy Fernandez is still stuck in Spain waiting out visa issues. Jason Kidd looked to be in fit condition after a long offseason of playing some of this country's top golf courses and Rodrigue Beaubois took part in the full practice as he looks to make his way all the back this time from a second surgery on his troublesome left foot.
But, the bigger story Friday was who wasn't at camp. Tyson Chandler is gone, a free-agent signee with the New York Knicks. Caron Butler is with Los Angeles Clippers. J.J. Barea, DeShawn Stevenson, Brian Cardinal and Peja Stojakovic were all no-shows as they explore their free-agent options. At least Barea and Stevenson are not expected to re-sign.
It made for an interesting feel at the undermanned practice as the team leaves behind some big contributors and bigger personalities, and moves forward in this accelerated training camp period with the season opening in two weeks.
"We've got to worry about what’s in this locker room right now and wish them guys the best of luck wherever free agency is leading them," forward Shawn Marion said. "But, we’ve got to get ready for Dallas Mavericks basketball."
Coach Rick Carlisle said the roster is not complete. Currently 11 players are under contract. The Mavs will need to fill two more spots to reach the league minimum of 13 on the 15-man roster. A veteran point guard could be at the top of the list.
Carlisle, who kept the tone of the day forward-thinking, announced several obvious adjustments, starting with Brendan Haywood taking over as the starting center with Ian Mahinmi sliding in as a true No. 2 for the first time in his brief NBA career. Beaubois and Dominique Jones will both get plenty of work at point guard with the loss of Barea. The backup position will be critical this season to allow Kidd the rest he will be need to navigate through a 66-game schedule in 123 days, and with the playoffs starting on the 125th day.
"I’m big on what’s going on today and right now and getting our guys geared up to make our situation right now the best that it can be and we’re going to do that," said Carlisle, who enters his fourth season as Dallas' head coach. "We had some guys that did some great things for us here that are probably not going to be back, but that’s part of the circle of life in the NBA. And, we’re all going to adjust, guys are going to step up into some opportunistic situations and we plan on defending our crown with a lot of pride."
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Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
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Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.