Dallas Mavericks: Dallas Mavericks

New Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer drew comparisons to Mark Cuban with his high-fiving, chest-bumping, shouting introduction to the franchise’s fan base last week.

The scene came as no surprise to the Dallas Mavericks owner, whose enthusiastic exhibitions had been unique among the NBA’s owners.

“I’ve known Steve for a long time, going back into my twenties, and he’s always been this way,” Cuban said during an appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s “The Afternoon Show with Cowlishaw and Mosley” last week. “So this isn’t Steve Ballmer getting hyped just for the Clippers. This is just the way he is. He’s going to be great for the league.

“You know, in reality, I already know, knowing him, he’s going to be a lot calmer than I am. He’s great hyping people up in a sales environment, but it’ll be interesting to see him during a game. I hope he’s crazy, but I’m not expecting it.”

Ballmer, who paid $2 billion to buy the Clippers from disgraced former owner Donald Sterling, has been welcomed into the NBA ownership fraternity. That wasn’t the case when Cuban brought the Mavs in 2000 and showed up to games acting like a maniac in T-shirts and jeans.

“I just wish he would have been around to give those speeches when I first came in, seen the response by all the old-timers when I came in,” Cuban said. “When we were in Reunion Arena, I used to run up and down the aisles trying to exhort people to cheer and to stand up. I mean literally, I was running up and down the aisles I was so pumped up and so excited.

“I remember going into a board of governors meeting and one of the old-school guys -- I won’t name him; he’s since passed away -- said, ‘You haven’t done shinola in this league. You need to sit the eff down and shut the eff up. I never want to see you or hear from you again.' And David Stern literally had to tell him to calm down. Then he said something else, and I said, ‘Well, such and such ...’ and [Mavs CEO/president Terdema Ussery] taps me on the shoulder and said, ‘You just got his name wrong.’ It would have been interesting to see what it’s like just to have Steve’s energy.”

Why Mavs couldn't keep Marion for minimum

August, 22, 2014
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Shawn MarionKevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsIf Shawn Marion was going to take the minimum, Cleveland was the best possible fit for him.
The Dallas Mavericks would have been thrilled to re-sign Shawn Marion for the veteran’s minimum.

That’s what Marion got to join LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers next season.

So why didn’t Dallas keep Marion for the minimum? Because that was never an option for the Mavs.

“It’s different when you’re going back to your same team as supposed to going to a new team,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban said on ESPN 103.3 FM’s “The Afternoon Show with Cowlishaw and Mosley” on Thursday. “I think there’s a different dynamic and different expectation.

“I have a great relationship with Shawn. We’ve kept in touch. We messaged yesterday. He just thought that he wanted to go to somebody that he thought, and this was all prior to signing Chandler [Parsons] and everything, that he thought was closer to a ring particularly in the Eastern Conference. He decided to go that route and we wish him nothing but the best. Trix is a champion in our eyes and always will be.”

Marion, a consummate professional during his five seasons in Dallas and a critical piece of the Mavs’ 2011 title team, said at the end of last season that his preference was to re-sign with the franchise. Asked what it would take for the Mavs to keep him, Marion said, “Not much.”

(Read full post)

Source: Mavs re-signing Bernard James

August, 22, 2014
Aug 22
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The Dallas Mavericks and center Bernard James are finalizing a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, a source told ESPNDallas.com.

The deal will be fully guaranteed, according to the source. That makes 15 players on the Mavs’ roster with fully guaranteed contracts -- the limit for the regular season -- in addition to forwards Eric Griffin and Ivan Johnson, who have partially guaranteed deals.

This will be the 6-foot-10, 240-pound James’ third consecutive season with the Mavs after being selected with the 33rd overall pick in the 2012 draft. James, 29, an Air Force veteran, averaged 2.1 points and 2.3 rebounds in 7.9 minutes per game over the last two seasons. He has played in 76 games, including 11 starts as a rookie.

James is the fourth center on the Mavs’ roster. Starter Tyson Chandler and efficient, athletic reserve Brandan Wright are likely to log the vast majority of the minutes. The Mavs acquired Greg Smith this summer to give them a minimum-salaried banger off the bench. James’ best attribute is his ability to block shots (2.7 per 36 minutes).

Chandler Parsons doesn't play in USA win

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
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[+] EnlargeChandler Parsons
David Dow/NBAE/Getty ImagesChandler Parsons not playing Wednesday had to make Mark Cuban happy.
If Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban watched Team USA dominate the Dominican Republic in Wednesday's exhibition, he probably liked what he saw.

Or more like what he didn't see.

Chandler Parsons, the Mavs' new $46 million investment, did not play a minute in the rout. Kyle Korver and Mason Plumlee were the only other available Team USA players who didn't enter the game, with Derrick Rose sitting out due to soreness in his surgically repaired knee.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski will soon cut Team USA from 16 to 12 players.

It'd be fine with Cuban, who has repeatedly made it clear over the years that he doesn't like NBA players participating in international competition, if Parsons doesn't make the cut.

Josh Howard making push for NBA return

August, 18, 2014
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The jump shot seldom betrays the pure shooter. It is the rest of the body that, with age, breaks down like a car with too much mileage. It is the ankles, battered through too many stops and starts, twists and turns. It is the knees that have endured so many liftoffs and landings. But a good jumper? That can last a lifetime.

On his best days, Josh Howard stopped on a dime in that perfect sequence when his defender backpedaled a step too far and help defense remained a step away. He rose, cocked, and released the ball into the awaiting nets.

He is now 34, and for the most part, his once deadly pull-up game is a memory, but not always.

He was the Howard of old for one fleeting moment last month, when he played for the New Orleans Pelicans at summer league in Las Vegas. He was the natural-born scorer, pushing forward for 14 points off jumpers and drives and calling out switches on defense. He was happy, eager even, to perform in a setting normally restricted for rookies, wannabes, and dreamers -- in the same gym where he had once performed as an NBA All-Star.

But he is one of the hopefuls now, looking forward to one final chance at restarting his career, appreciative of his past and optimistic about his future.

Although Howard finds himself back near the bottom of the NBA totem pole, he doesn’t regret the choices he’s made. Some led him to become that All-Star and a dynamic forward who played a crucial role for the almost-champion 2006 Dallas Mavericks; others, like a handful of controversial comments, hurt his reputation and darkened the light on a once promising career.

A flood of injuries didn’t help either. His NBA run seemed to end almost as soon as he had peaked.

“I’ve had the worst of the worst, man. I’ve just never let that define me,” Howard said. “I say everybody’s got a story. It’s what you do with that story that defines a person.”

Read the full story from Grantland here.

2014-15 schedule: 10 games to watch

August, 13, 2014
Aug 13
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Dirk NowitzkiAP Photo/Eric GayThe Mavericks will begin the 2014-15 season where last season ended, in San Antonio on a night the Spurs will be presented with their championship rings.
The Dallas Mavericks will have a different look when the season kicks off with some new faces -- among them Chandler Parsons, Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler, who is back for a second go-around -- and renewed excitement.

With that in mind, let's look at 10 games worth circling on the Mavericks' 2014-15 schedule, which was released Wednesday:


SpursMavs at San Antonio Spurs, Oct. 28: The Spurs will get their championship rings in front of the only team to push them to seven games in last season’s playoffs. The Mavs revived the Interstate 35 rivalry with a respectable showing in that series and will unveil their remodeled roster in the season opener in San Antonio.

JazzUtah Jazz at Mavs, Oct. 30: The NBA didn’t exactly deliver a sexy opponent for the Mavs’ home opener, but there should still be a buzz in the building. This will be the first time Parsons wears a Mavs uniform at American Airlines Center in a game that really matters. Chandler, the 2011 title hero who returned to Dallas via an offseason trade, might get an even louder ovation than Dirk Nowitzki during pregame introductions.

HeatMiami Heat at Mavs, Nov. 9: LeBron James might be gone, but Dallas’ hard feelings for the Heat will be strong as long as 2006 Finals MVP Dwyane Wade is on the Miami roster.

RocketsMavs at Houston Rockets, Nov. 22: The Interstate 45 rivalry has the potential to be a great one with Parsons leaving Houston for Dallas and all the verbal back-and-forths that ensued. This will be the first regular-season meeting between the teams. It will be especially interesting to hear how the Houston crowd treats Parsons, a second-round, six-figure bargain the past few seasons who cashed in as a restricted free agent.

KnicksNew York Knicks at Mavs, Nov. 26: Chandler and Felton reportedly didn’t depart New York on the best terms when they were dealt to Dallas in a six-player trade this summer. This will be the first time they see their former teammates. The Mavs have nothing but fond memories of point guard Jose Calderon, the key player Dallas gave up in the deal.

CavaliersMavs at Cleveland Cavaliers, Jan. 4: The Mavs’ annual trip to Cleveland is a major event now that LeBron James has returned to his hometown. This also might be a chance for the Mavs to see Shawn Marion, a key piece on the 2011 title team and consummate pro during his five-season tenure in Dallas. The Cavs come to Dallas on March 10.

ClippersMavs at Los Angeles Clippers, Jan. 10: This Saturday matinee is the middle of a stretch of six road dates in seven games, including a pair of back-to-backs. The Clippers are one of the few teams in the West widely considered a strong bet to finish above the Mavs in the standings.

ThunderMavs at Oklahoma City Thunder, Feb. 19: The Mavs don’t get to ease back into the schedule after their eight-day All-Star break. They will make the short trip across the Red River to face reigning MVP Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder.

WarriorsGolden State Warriors at Mavs, April 4: All of the Mavs’ April home games could have playoff feels. This matchup is in the middle of a three-game homestand between games against the Rockets and Phoenix Suns. It would be no surprise if Steph Curry's Warriors and the Mavs were fighting for the fourth seed and home-court advantage in the first round.

Trail BlazersPortland Trail Blazers at Mavs, April 15: LaMarcus Aldridge's Blazers, who ended a long playoff series win drought last season, could also be competing for home-court advantage in the first round. As competitive as the West is, it would be stunning if something isn’t at stake in the regular-season finale.

Remodeled Mavs are built to run

August, 11, 2014
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Expect to see a lot of Rick Carlisle’s impression of a third base coach sending a runner home next season.

That’s what the Dallas Mavericks coach does when he wants his team to get out in transition, cranking his arm around and around. His shoulder might be sore if the Mavs play at the pace Carlisle wants next season.

Carlisle
Brendan Maloney/USA TODAY SportsThe Mavericks believe an increased pace will help them be even more efficient on offense.
Then again, if the Mavs get the message, maybe Carlisle won’t have to wave as he watches his team push the tempo on a consistent basis.

The Mavs ranked in the middle of the pack in pace last season, averaging 95.7 possessions per game, almost six fewer than the team that played at the fastest tempo. Carlisle hopes the remodeled Mavs, a team he believes is built to run, will be among the leaders next season.

“We want to play faster,” Carlisle said. “We’re going to have to do it by playing with our depth and playing with intelligence. We should be able to do that because we’ve got a lot of high-IQ players.”

That includes three point guards with significant starting experience in Jameer Nelson, Raymond Felton and Devin Harris. Of that trio, only Harris could be considered fast by NBA point guard standards. However, the Mavs’ hope is that their three-man rotation at the position gives their point guards the luxury of playing at maximum speed without concern for conserving energy.

The idea isn’t necessarily for the point guards to run the transition offense on a regular basis anyway. The best way for them to push the pace is often via the pass, something Jason Kidd was a master of as an old man during his second tenure in Dallas.

(Read full post)

How much better can Chandler Parsons be?

August, 8, 2014
Aug 8
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Chandler Parsons and James HardenAP Photo/Pat SullivanA move to Dallas could benefit Chandler Parsons, just as leaving for Houston helped James Harden.
The Dallas Mavericks paid a premium rate for Chandler Parsons’ potential.

It’s a luxury the Mavs had due to Dirk Nowitzki’s hometown discount deal. It was a requirement to prevent the Houston Rockets from exercising their right to match the Mavs’ offer to the restricted free agent.

[+] EnlargeChandler Parsons
Bill Baptist/NBAE/Getty ImagesChandler Parson's numbers have improved each of the last three seasons, but the Mavs believe he can still reach another level.
But based purely on Parsons’ production so far in his career, he’ll be significantly overpaid while making $46 million over the next three seasons. The Mavs aren’t paying Parsons for his production in Houston, though. They bid big based on the belief that Parsons will blossom in Dallas.

“We think he can take his game to a whole 'nother level,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban said recently.

There’s sound reason for such optimism. Parsons, who turns 26 in October, improved his scoring, rebounding and assists total in each of his three seasons in Houston. He averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists as a complementary piece last season, and the Mavs anticipate that his production will spike as a featured attraction in Dallas.

Call it the James Harden phenomenon. After the Rockets star downplayed the impact of Parsons’ departure, essentially labeling him a role player, Parsons noted that Harden of all people should understand how much room for growth he gained by changing teams. After all, Harden’s numbers soared when he left Oklahoma City for Houston, jumping from 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists as the third option in 2011-12 to 25.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 5.8 assists as the go-to guy the next season.

Parsons isn’t going to be the clear-cut go-to guy in a starting lineup that includes Nowitzki and Monta Ellis, but he’ll have the ball in his hands and the offense run through him much more often than he did with the Rockets.

“I think he’ll be far better,” Cuban said. “I think he’ll have the opportunity to showcase a lot more of his talent. He’s a good passer, he can drive the ball, he was top two or three in terms of finishing using floaters at the bucket. He doesn’t get to the foul line enough, but that’s something we’re going to work on with him.”

The Mavs consider coaching a major key to Parsons’ potential for improvement. They’re counting on Rick Carlisle, one of the NBA’s elite coaches, to schematically put Parsons in positions to utilize his talent and to help him enhance his skills.

The Mavs think their up-tempo, movement-based offense perfectly fits Parsons. Carlisle plans to work with Parsons on footwork and 1-on-1 concepts to make him a more effective scorer in late-shot-clock situations. And Carlisle will certainly push Parsons, who has bulked up to almost 240 pounds, to be a better defender.

“I think defensively I can get much better,” Parsons said during a recent appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s “The Afternoon Show.” “I think I can guard pretty much one through four. You have the luxury of switching pick-and-rolls with me. I'm 6-9, 6-10; I can really use my length on smaller guys. I’ve just got to be locked in out there for as long as I’m out there. I can really cause havoc on the defensive end.

“Offensively, I just want be able to do it all. I want to continue to be one of the more versatile players in the league and knock down shots and facilitate and play-make and just make the game easier for others. I think the sky's the limit, and I haven't even scratched the surface of how good I can be.”
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has made his stance against NBA players participating in international competition clear over the years, reiterating it after Paul George gruesomely broke his leg in Friday’s Team USA scrimmage.

Yet there is Chandler Parsons, the Mavs’ prized free-agent addition, in Las Vegas attempting to make the Team USA squad.

Parsons’ participation isn’t Cuban’s preference, but Cuban does not have the power to deny Parsons from playing, as was the case for the many summers that Dirk Nowitzki suited up for Germany.

“Like Dirk, I can't stop him,” Cuban said in an email reply to ESPNDallas.com. “It's his decision.”

Cuban said he did not specifically tell Parsons that he didn’t want the small forward playing for Team USA after signing a three-year, $46 million deal with Dallas. Cuban didn’t think it was necessary and isn't allowed to pressure players to not play international ball.

“He knows how I feel,” Cuban said.

As was the case for Nowitzki for many years, the opportunity to represent his country was more important to Parsons than appeasing his billionaire boss.

Dirk Nowitzki documentary in the works

August, 2, 2014
Aug 2
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Get a sneak peak at a German-produced documentary about Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki, featuring comments from Kobe Bryant and Marc Stein.

Mavs open preseason vs. Rockets

July, 31, 2014
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Chandler Parsons can get any awkward moments with his former team out of the way in the preseason opener.

The Dallas Mavericks will open the preseason against the Houston Rockets at the American Airlines Center on Oct. 7. After spending his first three seasons in Houston, Parsons signed a three-year, $46 million deal with the Mavs in restricted free agency.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, center Dwight Howard and shooting guard James Harden have all made comments diminishing the impact of Parsons’ departure. All have been duly noted in public fashion by Parsons.

The preseason finale features a reunion for point guard Jameer Nelson, another free-agent addition for the Mavs. The Mavs will finish the preseason on Oct. 24 in Orlando, where Nelson spent the first 10 seasons of his career before being waived this offseason. The Orlando Magic put up billboards around town expressing their appreciation for Nelson after that decision.

One other reunion on the Mavs’ preseason schedule: Vince Carter will come to town with the Memphis Grizzlies on Oct. 20. The Mavs hoped to re-sign Carter after his contributions the last three seasons, but he opted to go to the Grizzlies for a three-year, $12.2 million offer, more than the Mavs would have ended up being able to offer.

The Mavs’ preseason schedule:

Oct. 7: vs. Houston Rockets
Oct. 10: vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Oct. 12: vs. Indiana Pacers
Oct. 17: at Cleveland Cavaliers
Oct. 18: at Indiana Pacers
Oct. 20: vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Oct. 23: at New Orleans Pelicans
Oct. 24: at Orlando Magic

Mavs make change on coaching staff

July, 30, 2014
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The Dallas Mavericks have hired assistant coach Jamahl Mosley to replace Tony Brown, who left to join Lionel Hollins' staff with the Brooklyn Nets.

"We appreciate the great job Tony did for us the last three years in Dallas and wish him the very best," Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said in a text message.

Mosley was an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers the last four seasons and spent the five seasons before that with the Denver Nuggets.

Mavs sign F Ivan Johnson

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
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The Dallas Mavericks signed former Atlanta Hawks forward Ivan Johnson, the team announced Tuesday.

Most of Johnson's veteran-minimum salary is not guaranteed, a source said.

The 6-foot-8, 255-pound Johnson will compete for a roster spot after playing in China last season. He started for the Mavs’ Las Vegas Summer League team this month, averaging 7.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in 20.8 minutes per game.

In two seasons with the Hawks, Johnson averaged 6.5 points and 3.9 rebounds in 15.8 minutes per game.

Johnson is the 16th player on the Mavs’ roster. The team can carry 15 players during the regular season.

Aminu an awesome bargain for Mavs

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
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The Dallas Mavericks believe forward Al-Farouq Aminu is one of the best bargains of the summer.

Aminu, 23, officially signed with the Mavs on Tuesday. It’s a two-year deal for the veteran’s minimum with a player option for the second season.

That’s tremendous value for a player who was the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft and started in New Orleans the last two seasons.

[+] EnlargeAl-Farouq Aminu
Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE/Getty ImagesThe Mavs expect Al-Farouq Aminu to be a key rotation player right away at both forward positions.
The Mavs don’t view Aminu as a reclamation project like Brandan Wright, another former eighth overall pick, was when he arrived in Dallas on a minimum-salary deal a few years ago. They expect the 6-foot-9 Aminu, a phenomenal athlete with limited offensive skills, to be a key rotation player right away at both forward positions.

The Mavs also believe Aminu, who has career averages of 6.5 points and 5.5 rebounds, can blossom as a role player on the Mavs.

“He’s still a young player,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I feel like he’s got big upside and skill. We’ve got to get him better. His outside shooting can improve, but we’ve got to put him in position to play to his strengths now.”

Those strengths offensively are rebounding, running and finishing. He’s a poor shooter (29.2 percent from 3-point range for his career), but the Mavs are confident that Carlisle can figure out how to make Aminu a useful offensive role player.

If that happens, the Mavs expect Aminu to emerge as an elite defender. Given his length (7-foot-3 wingspan) and athleticism, his Synergy Sports defensive stats from last season were surprisingly mediocre. One Mavs source said he thought the Pelicans crushed Aminu’s confidence and killed his energy by essentially demanding that he not shoot the ball.

The expectation is that Aminu, who still led NBA small forwards in rebounding percentage for the second consecutive season, will be mentally recharged by joining the Mavs, giving him the opportunity to contribute to a playoff team for the first time in his career. The hope is that Carlisle will get more out of Aminu than his previous coaches have.

If Aminu is the same player he was for New Orleans, he’s still a great value for the minimum. But the Mavs believe Aminu can be much better than that.

No real backup PF? No problem for Mavs

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
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The Dallas Mavericks do not have a pure power forward on the roster other than Dirk Nowitzki. They do not consider that to be a problem.

It’s been that case for several years, with Shawn Marion sliding over a spot for most of the minutes when Nowitzki rested. Marion’s tenure in Dallas has almost certainly ended, but the Mavs have several players on the roster they believe are capable of playing quality minutes at power forward.

Coach Rick Carlisle, who would like to cut Nowitzki’s minutes down to 30 per game if possible (the 36-year-old played nearly 33 in 2013-14), listed Chandler Parsons, Al-Farouq Aminu, Jae Crowder and Richard Jefferson as the primary candidates. He’s also open to the idea of giving Brandan Wright more minutes at power forward, although Wright’s career has been redefined in Dallas an athletic center who thrives with floor-spacers around him.

"I don’t see us having a problem of finding a guy who can play that position effectively," Carlisle said. "It’s a matter of figuring out who plays well with who, getting the right guys on the floor together."

Parsons played some small-ball power forward for the Houston Rockets and will continue to do so for the Mavs. He presents a major matchup problem for the opposing defense when he plays that position. He has struggled defending bigger power forwards in the post, which is part of the reason he’s emphasizing strength training this summer.

However, Parsons might not necessarily play the majority of the power forward minutes when Nowitzki is off the floor, as Marion did.

Carlisle sounded especially intrigued by the idea of Aminu, an extraordinary athlete who is 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, at power forward. He sees Aminu, who agreed to a two-year deal with the Mavs for the veteran’s minimum with a player option for the second season, as someone who can mitigate some of the things the Mavs will miss absent Marion.

The Mavs believe Aminu has elite defensive potential. He has proved to be a premier rebounder, leading the league’s small forwards in rebounding percentage the past two seasons.

"He’s played mostly the 3 so far in his career, but I really feel like the 4 is a better position for him,” Carlisle said. “Those backup Dirk minutes are going to be a possibility for him to really bring a different dimension."

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsS. Marion 6.5
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9