Countdown: Ranking the Mavs - No. 15
With the NBA lockout paralyzing all league business at a time when teams would normally be signing and re-signing free agents and making trades to set their 2011-12 rosters, I offer you my ranking and analysis of the world champion's roster, as is. Whenever the lockout ends and teams get back to daily business, the Mavs' roster will look a bit different. The core is likely to remain intact. Others will have to go, and if Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson are offered the right deal for either a player at a position of need or to take a big contract off their hands (i.e. Brendan Haywood), a trade is always possible.
So as the heat melts North Texas and the lockout freezes the NBA, let's continue as I rank the 16 players -- one each day -- currently on the Mavs' 15-man roster in order from least critical to most critical for a title defense.
Today's ranking: No. 15
Experience: 13 years
Contract status: Free agnt
2010-11 salary: $402,065 (pro-rated after signing with Mavs on Jan. 25)
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezPeja Stojakovic wouldn't seem likely to return, but the door opens a little if Caron Butler leaves.
His outlook: It could be argued that Stojakovic, who said after the season that he is not contemplating retirement, should have led off this countdown at No. 16 (but, someone please tell me where DeShawn Stevenson fits with Rudy Fernandez, Jason Terry, Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones guaranteed roster spots -- therefore he became my automatic No. 16). Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson loves pure shooters and accomplished veterans. Stojakovic's skills have clearly deteriorated and injury is always a concern, but he can still shoot the rock. If the Mavs have a roster spot open, don't be terribly surprised if they look to sign Stojakovic for the minimum and use him as a spot, 3-point specialist. Small forward is clearly unsettled at the moment with Butler coming off major knee surgery as well as being a free agent. Shawn Marion can start or come off the bench and Dallas would obviously love for springy Corey Brewer to become a rotation player. Odds are Stojakovic won't be back, but if Butler does not re-sign it could crack open the door for a return.
Thursday: No. 16 DeShawn Stevenson
Today: No. 15 Peja Stojakovic
Monday: No. 14
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast ESPN NBA analyst Jalen Rose joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to talk about the NBA playoffs.
Play Podcast Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle gives his take on the contrasting styles of the Pacers and Knicks, Carmelo Anthony, Bulls-Heat, Tom Thibodeau, the state of the West and more.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to talk about who he would rather have if forced to choose between Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.
Play Podcast Tim MacMahon joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the possibility of Chris Paul joining the Mavericks and break down what kind of pitch Mark Cuban would have to make to the NBA's best point guard.
Play Podcast ESPN.com senior NBA writer Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to touch on the storylines in the NBA playoffs and offer a Mavs perspective.
Play Podcast Rick Carlisle joins Chuck Cooperstein and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Mavericks' disappointing season and what needs to happen for them to get back to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Donnie Nelson joins Chuck Cooperstein and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Mavericks' season and the importance of this summer.
Play Podcast Rick Carlisle joins Galloway & Company to discuss the Mavericks playing after being eliminated from playoff contention, whom he wants to keep for next season and much more.