Mavs must keep focus despite Bank of Cuban

DALLAS -- Rick Carlisle’s reaction to his boss’ declaration about the “Bank of Cuban” being open was basically to shrug.

Carlisle doesn’t consider Mark Cuban’s intention to be aggressive in the trade market to be big news.

“It’s how we’ve done business here for four and a half years,” Carlisle said Tuesday. “I don’t see any major change.”

Well, it’s not quite how the Mavs did business last season, when keeping the powder dry was the franchise’s top priority. And Cuban hasn’t been this public about his plan to be a central figure in the trade market since 2010, when the Mavs ended up sending Josh Howard and spare parts to Washington for Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson.

It’s understandable that Carlisle downplays the newsworthiness of Cuban’s comments. Of course, he’s not going anywhere.

Every player on the Mavs -- with the exception of Dirk Nowitzki (no-trade clause) and Elton Brand (ineligible to be traded as an amnesty waivers claim) -- faces the possibility of having to pack up and move before the Feb. 21 trade deadline.

“You’ve got to shut it out, but you do got to pay attention because this is a business,” said Shawn Marion, who was traded midseason in consecutive years, going from Phoenix to Miami to Toronto. “That’s what you’ve got to realize. This is not anything negative or positive. It is what it is, and it’s a business first. That’s how you’ve got to look at this.”

The trade rumors haven’t really started yet, but when they do, the Mavs will be right in the middle of many of them.

That presents a challenge despite Carlisle’s contention that “people underestimate the resiliency of players,” adding that he doubts that his team will be affected by the rumor mill.

But Vince Carter, who has also been traded twice midseason, acknowledges that it’s pretty much impossible to ignore the rumors and uncertainty. It takes strong mental toughness to prevent those factors from affecting a player’s focus and performance.

“It’s hard to focus on it because you’re trying to wonder, ‘Why? What are they thinking? Blah, blah, blah. Where can I end up?’” Carter said. “Especially when you hear the scenarios, you’re kind of like, ‘If I go here, who’s there? Can I play? Will I play?’

“You drive yourself crazy. For me, who’s been around, been through it a couple of times, you just say, ‘Hey, there’s nothing I can do about it at this point.’ You just come out to play. You play for the name that’s on your jersey at the time. You just have to play your best basketball, as good of basketball as you can, and be ready to go in your next city or be ready to go at your next game.”