Dallas Mavericks: Brandon Bass
|Former Maverick Jason Terry joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss being traded to Brooklyn, Dirk Nowitzki and having his jersey in the rafters at the American Airlines Center one day.
Dallas attempting to initiate trade talks with Boston regarding perennial Rajon Rondo created a lot of buzz over the weekend, but it’s an extreme long shot at best that the Mavs and Celtics would make a deal involving the perennial All-Star point guard.
As a source told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, "Danny (Ainge) telling them that they're only interested in Dirk (Nowitzki) is his way of saying: ‘You don't have enough to get in the game.’”
|Donnie Nelson joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the crazy NBA draft, new Mavs Shane Larkin and Ricky Ledo, and Dirk Nowitzki's long-term roll with Dallas.
Getting back to the realm of much more realistic possibilities, the Mavs are intrigued by Jose Calderon’s high basketball IQ and history of being an extremely efficient distributor and shooter. They’ve expressed that interest, but the Detroit Pistons intend to attempt to re-sign Calderon and several other teams have inquired about him.
USA Today reported that the Clippers, who met with O.J. Mayo in the early hours of free agency, could be interested in a Mayo sign-and-trade that would send Chris Paul's ready-to-start backup Eric Bledsoe to Dallas.
The Mavs will at least touch base with most of the veteran point guards in free agency, such as Mo Williams, Jarrett Jack and Monta Ellis. The Mavs could also reach out to restricted free agents Brandon Jennings, Jeff Teague and Tyreke Evans, but the likelihood of the Dallas making an offer their teams would decline to match is slim.
A low-cost, stopgap possibility: 36-year-old Chauncey Billups, who credits coach Rick Carlisle for helping his career take off in Detroit and would be a tremendous mentor to the rookies.
|Tim MacMahon joins Galloway and Company to discuss the NBA draft and where the Mavericks stand on getting Dwight Howard.
Wright, like Brandon Bass and Ian Mahinmi in recent years, was a minimum-salary reclamation project whose value increased significantly during his two-year stint in Dallas. Wright, the eighth overall pick of the 2007 draft, had the league’s 20th-best player efficiency rating (21.03) in a limited role last season. The 25-year-old fell out of the rotation for a stretch in the middle of the season, but he finished on a high note, averaging 11.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 24 minutes per game to help the Mavs got 15-8 down the stretch.
The Mavs own Wright’s Early Bird rights, which would allow them to exceed the salary cap to sign him to a multi-year deal worth up to 104.5 percent of the average player salary (more than $5 million per year). The cutoff point for the Mavs’ bidding could be the four-year, $16 million deal Mahinmi signed with the Pacers last season.
The issue: What assets do the Mavs have that would be intriguing to a rebuilding Celtics team?
|Donnie Nelson joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the crazy NBA draft, new Mavs Shane Larkin and Ricky Ledo, and Dirk Nowitzki's long-term roll with Dallas.
If the conversations pick up, can the Mavs make an offer that would be better than what Boston could get elsewhere? Remember, Dallas can’t trade future first-round picks because it owes a protected pick to Oklahoma City (via the Lakers and Rockets, originally from the Lamar Odom trade).
Boston reportedly likes Dallas first-round pick Shane Larkin, but the former Miami point guard isn’t going to be a centerpiece to a blockbuster deal. If the Celtics decide to go the direction of a total teardown -- and give themselves a good chance to land phenom Andrew Wiggins with the No. 1 overall pick next summer -- the Mavs might be able to intrigue Boston with an offer that dumps a lot of salary on Dallas.
Some contracts the Celtics probably would want to part with: former Mavs forward Brandon Bass (two years, $13.35 million remaining), shooting guard Courtney Lee (three years, $16.35 million remaining) and soon-to-be-officially-acquired-from-Brooklyn forward Gerald Wallace (three years, $30.32 million remaining).
It would be miraculous for the Mavs to be able to carve out the cap space needed to successfully recruit Dwight Howard and swing a blockbuster deal to get Rondo.
If the Mavs managed both, Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson would deserve to share the executive of the year award. Pull off one or the other, and it’d still be a heck of a summer.
Brandan Wright would like to be back with the Mavericks.
The Mavs would like to keep Wright, a young, athletic center/forward who took advantage of his return to the rotation in the final month and a half, averaging 11.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks as a 24-minute-per-night part-time starter in the final 23 games. Wright was a major reason why the Mavs went 15-8 during that stretch and probably earned millions in the process.
“The truth is Brandan is a very unique player. He fits in with us. He fits in with our personnel,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “There’s some teams that he really plays great against. That’s been consistent for both years. There’s other teams where it’s tougher for him because of the physical strength, some of the bruising type teams. But we like him. He has continued to get better.
“We met with him (the day after the season ended) and told him that we definitely wanted him back here. These decisions are going to come down to the money and the market and so on and so forth, but he’s a guy that we like.”
It could be more complicated than just the money. Timing of negotiations with Wright could be tricky, too.
Wright feels a sense of loyalty to the franchise that picked him up off the scrap heap after the lockout, but he’s facing the first major business decision of his career. He understands, however, that he won’t be the Mavs’ top priority this summer.
What if Wright gets an offer he likes while the Mavs are pursuing Dwight Howard or Chris Paul or whoever their Plan C, D, E, etc. might be? Wright might not have the luxury of waiting to see whether the Mavs would be able or willing to match.
There is strong mutual interest in Wright returning to the Mavs. Now, it’s a matter of whether the business of basketball gets in the way.
2012-13 stats: Averaged 8.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks while shooting 59.7 percent from the floor in 18.0 minutes per game. His player efficiency rating (PER) of 21.03 ranked 20th in the league.
Brandon Bass – Averaged 8.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 0.8 blocks while shooting 48.6 percent from the floor in 27.6 minutes per game. Signed three-year, $19.4 million deal in 2012.
JaVale McGee – Averaged 9.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks while shooting 57.5 percent in 18.1 minutes per game. Signed four-year, $44 million deal in 2012.
Ed Davis – Averaged 7.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks while shooting 53.9 percent in 20.1 minutes per game. Has one season remaining on rookie contract.
Amir Johnson – Averaged 10.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while shooting 55.4 percent from the floor in 28.7 minutes per game. Signed five-year, $30 million deal in 2010.
Estimated contract: Bass got $18 million over four years after his two-season stint with the Mavs. Ian Mahinmi, another two-year Mavs project, got $16 million over four years. The bidding for Wright figures to start in that range.
The theft led to a Dirk Nowitzki jumper that was part of 10 consecutive points scored by the big German. He finished the half with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Sounds like all fun and games, but as poorly as the massively undermanned Celtics are playing, Dallas might think it should be leading by more than 10. Boston, playing without starters Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett, plus reserve forward Brandon Bass, are shooting 40.5 percent. The Mavs aren't doing much better at 40.9 percent, which means no one besides Dirk is doing much on the offensive end.
OK, Jason Terry is 3-of-4 with two 3s for eight points.
But, to the point, Dirk is 8-of-18 from the floor and the rest of the team is 10-of-26 for 23 points.
Paul Pierce leads Boston with 11 points. Allen and Texas-ex Avery Bradley have eight points each.
"Whew," was about all Marion could muster with a shake of the head and a quick rise of the eyebrows.
After weeks of playing four, five and six games a week, to say the Mavs are looking forward to the All-Star break come Thursday is a vast understatement. Only Dirk Nowitzki will be headed to All-Star Weekend in Orlando as a participant, a reserve for the 11th consecutive time for the West squad. Jason Terry will be there doing work with Reebok.
Otherwise, this squad, the oldest in the league, will take a break on Thursday and won't return until Monday. They won't play again until Tuesday when a point guard named Deron Williams comes to town with Avery Johnson and the woebegone New Jersey Nets.
But, first there's a little business to take care of against the Celtics tonight and Kobe Bryant and those Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.
"That's how we like it, we like it tough," Terry said. "These are the type of games you love -- New York, Boston, L.A. What more can you ask for?"
Tonight: vs. Boston Celtics (15-15), 7 p.m.
TV/Radio: TNT/ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM; 1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch: The Celtics enter this one in desperation mode as losers of three in a row. They fell to .500 Sunday and 4-7 on the road with a 96-81 wipeout at the hands of the suddenly hot Detroit Pistons. The Celtics could be rather shorthanded as well with former Mavs forward Brandon Bass nursing a sore left knee, Kevin Garnett's status uncertain due to personal reasons and point guard Rajon Rondo awaiting word from the league on a possible suspension after being ejected against the Pistons. The Mavs will be looking to close out their nine-game run with bounce-back game after falling to the Knicks Sunday afternoon. They beat the Celtics in Boston, 90-85.
Wednesday: vs. Los Angeles Lakers (18-13), 8:30 p.m.
TV/Radio: ESPN, FSSW/ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM; 1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch: The Lakers don't win much on the road, just five times in 16 games, including a 102-90 spanking at Phoenix on Sunday. L.A. will play Portland on Monday before traveling east for a back-to-back at Dallas and Oklahoma City. Last month, Dallas lost a tough, ugly one in L.A. on a Derek Fisher 3-pointer in the final seconds for a 73-70 win. Maybe Dallas can take advantage of a fatigued team. Where the Mavs have concentrated on keeping their stars' minutes, down, Kobe, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum rank near the top of the league in minutes played. Kobe is averaging more than 38 minutes and Gasol is at 37. A victory over the Lakers would send the Mavs into the All-Star break having to feel pretty good about the first half of the season and looking forward to a second half that becomes road-heavy entering March.
These days there's arguably no one better in the league producing in the clutch than Nowitzki. He made that perfectly clear in the NBA Finals -- Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem will attest to that, and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle continues to put the ball in his big man's hands when the game is on the line.
Nowitzki continued his game-winning dominance with Wednesday's drive-and-finish despite getting dropped to the floor by Celtics forwards Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett. The three-point play gave Dallas an 88-85 lead with 5.1 seconds to play. Nowitzki scored nine of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, another fourth that showed how much the Mavs depend one of the game's most difficult covers to take over in the final frame.
"It’s a fun situation to be in," said Nowitzki, who needs three points to reach 23,000 for his career. "Everybody’s looking at you and your team really depends on you so I like to be in the position where I can make something happen. It doesn’t always have to be a shot, but just to make a play for my teammates and it's been going pretty good."
These numbers from ESPN Stats & Info highlight the Mavs' reliance on Nowitzki's fourth-quarter production:
Nowitzki took over for the Mavericks in the fourth quarter by going to his isolation game. Nowitzki scored nine of the Mavericks’ 22 fourth-quarter points, five of which came on isolation sets. This season, the Mavericks have run isolation plays for Nowitzki more than twice as often in the fourth quarter compared to the first three. Among the 50 players who have at least 20 isolation plays this season, Nowitzki ranks third in field-goal percentage (52.6).
How it happened: After struggling most of the night, Dirk Nowitzki delivered when it mattered most.
The Dallas Mavericks had allowed a 13-point second-half lead to melt away when Nowitzki got the ball with about 10 seconds to go at the 3-point line, just right of the top of the arc. After facing up against Kevin Garnett's physical defense, Nowitzki drove hard to his right and went right to the rack, making an and-1 layup despite being knocked down by Brandon Bass and Garnett.
He made the free throw, giving the Mavs a three-point lead and Nowitzki 16 points on the night.
That, along with some stingy defense in the final seconds, prevented the Boston Celtics from pulling off a comeback.
If coach Rick Carlisle meant to spark the Mavs with his rant at the referees, his plan worked well.
Carlisle marched all the way in front of the Celtics’ bench to protest Garnett’s physical defense on Nowitzki, promptly drawing a pair of technical fouls to earn an early exit. That occurred early in the third quarter, when the Celtics had seized momentum and the lead.
The Mavs responded with a 24-6 run to build a lead that swelled to as large as 13 points. The Celtics battled back to pull even a few times in the fourth quarter, but the Mavs never trailed again, pulling out a pretty ugly win in the final minute.
What it means: The Mavs left Dallas without a road win this season and return home with a couple after back-to-back victories at Detroit and Boston. This could be the beginning of the Mavs, who had the NBA’s best road record the last two seasons, re-establishing themselves as a beast away from the AAC. It also pushed the defending NBA champions above .500 (6-5) for the first time this season.
Play of the game: The Finals MVP had an and-1 game winner. What more do you want?
Stat of the night: The Mavs shot only 14-of-25 on free throws. Centers Brendan Haywood and Ian Mahinmi combined to go 2-of-10 during otherwise solid performances.
Avery Johnson was out, and owner Mark Cuban told reporters during the club's media day that a handful of players came to him and told him they wanted to play elsewhere if the head-strong Johnson was coming back.
Cuban wasted little time in hiring the quirky, yet successful Rick Carlisle, who had taken the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers to the Eastern Conference finals in rather short order. Carlisle was the Mavs' lone candidate granted an interview.
Dallas would become the first team in the NBA to start 2-7 and go on to post 50 wins. But, make no mistake, it was a struggle. The Mavs never won more than five in a row and that streak started with the early-season rally against the lowly Knicks.
Jerry Stackhouse played just 10 games due to a mixture of injury, overall conditioning and attitude. Josh Howard, coming off his dubious end to the 2007-08 season and the ensuing summer, played just 52 games due to a wrist injury, but mostly a sprained ankle that wouldn't go away.
Nowitzki put up MVP-type numbers for a team that had to have him go for big numbers every night just to have a chance to win. When Howard didn't play, which was often, the Mavs were the only team in the NBA that featured just two players averaging double-digit scoring. Even with Howard in the lineup, the Mavs never knew when a fourth scorer might emerge.
Still, the Mavs managed to snap a two-year skid of first-round defeats, dusting off a beat-up San Antonio team that was without Manu Ginobili. But, Dallas was no match for the Denver Nuggets in the second round, losing 4-1.
Coach: Rick Carlisle
Record: 50-32 (3rd, Southwest)
Playoffs: Defeated San Antonio (4-1); lost to Denver (4-1)
Team payroll: $95.05 million*
Highest-paid player: Jason Kidd ($21.4 million)*
Offseason transactions: Signed C DeSagana Diop (free agent); signed G Gerald Green (free agent); signed F James Singleton; traded G/F Eddie Jones, a 2009 second-round draft pick (A.J. Price) and a future 2nd round draft pick to Indiana for F Shawne Williams.
In-season transaction: Jan. 16, 2009: Traded C DeSagana Diop to Charlotte for C Ryan Hollins and G Matt Carroll.
The high: With Jerry Stackhouse out of the picture early on, Jason Terry gladly accepted the sixth-man role and thrived, averaging 19.6 points, his best as a Maverick. It earned him the league's Sixth Man of the Year award. Terry and Dirk Nowitzki made up the third-highest scoring duo in the NBA at 45.5 points.
F Dirk Nowitzki (25.9 ppg, 8.4 rpg)
G Jason Terry (19.6 ppg, 3.4 apg)
F/G Josh Howard (18.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg in 52 games)
G Jason Kidd (9.0 ppg, 8.7 apg)
F Brandon Bass (8.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg)
G J.J. Barea (7.8 ppg, 3.4 apg, 20.3 mpg)
G Antoine Wright (7.3 ppg, 23.9 mpg)
C Erick Dampier (5.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg)
F/G Gerald Green (5.7 ppg in 38 games)
F James Singleton (5.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg)
G/F Jerry Stackhouse (played in 10 games)
G/F Devean George (3.4 ppg, in 43 games)
C Ryan Hollins (2.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg in 27 games)
G Matt Carroll (1.2 ppg in 21 games)
F Shawne Williams (played in 15 games)
C DeSagana Diop (1.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg in 34 games)
Eighth in a series chronicling the Dallas Mavericks' streak of 10 seasons with 50 or more wins (previous installments).
Where to start with this strange season? In the rearview mirror was the double-doozy hammer of the 2006 Finals flop and the 2007 first-round failure. The Dallas Mavericks were considered mentally shot. How could the same core players regroup after consecutive unfathomable, gut-wrenching heartbreaks?
The first order of business was to promote slashing point guard Devin Harris as the full-time starter. Here's what coach Avery Johnson said about Harris before the season:
"The experiment with me trying to make him Jason Kidd, that's not his game. We have an idea now exactly who he is and I think we can maximize him being a certain type of point guard. He has a chance to be in that mold of a [Tony] Parker or even a Kevin Johnson."
Before Harris sprained his ankle on Jan. 27, 2008, he was averaging 14.4 points and 5.4 assists. The Mavs were 30-13 and in contention for the top spot in the West with the All-Star break a couple of weeks away. Yet, there was an undercurrent brewing that management, Johnson and Dirk Nowitzki were unhappy with Harris' ability to create for teammates. That game would be the last one of Harris' career in Dallas.
Oddly, in Kidd's fifth game with the Mavs, Johnson benched his quarterback in the final 30 seconds of a heated game at San Antonio. The Mavs failed to score on their final possession and the Spurs won the game. With Kidd, Dallas finished the regular season 16-13 and dropped to the No. 7 seed. Before the playoffs started, Josh Howard, who was having a career season, averaging 19.9 points and 7.0 rebounds, began one of the weirdest meltdowns in team history.
Howard went on local radio to announce his offseason marijuana use. During the first-round series against New Orleans, he defied Johnson's plea not to party during the playoffs and passed out fliers to teammates advertising his late-night birthday bash. It was the beginning of a long, injury-filled end for Howard in Dallas. During the New Orleans series, Stackhouse went on local radio and for some reason blasted then-Hornets coach Byron Scott. Stackhouse had an awful playoff series, which proved to be the beginning of the end for him as a productive player in Dallas.
It was also the beginning of the end of Johnson's rapid tenure that achieved more incredible regular-season highs and unthinkable postseason lows than can fill most careers. In disarray throughout the 4-1 first-round loss to New Orleans, Johnson's teams went 3-12 in playoff games after leading Miami, 2-0, in the 2006 NBA Finals.
Johnson would never get a chance to improve that record.
Coach: Avery Johnson
Record: 51-31 (4th, Southwest Division)
Playoffs: Lost to New Orleans (4-1)
Team payroll: $101.7 million
Highest-paid player: Jason Kidd ($19.7 million)*; Michael Finley ($18.59 million**)
Offseason transactions: Drafted Nick Fazekas (2nd round, 34th pick); Signed F Brandon Bass (free agent); Signed G/F Eddie Jones (free agent); traded G Greg Buckner to Minnesota for G/F Trenton Hassell.
In-season transaction: Nov. 1, 2007: Signed F Juwan Howard (free agent); Feb. 19, 2008: Traded Devin Harris, DeSagana Diop, Trenton Hassell, Maurice Ager, Keith Van Horn (retired), a 2008 first-round draft and a 2010 first-round draft pick (and waived Nick Fazekas) to New Jersey for Jason Kidd, Antoine Wright and Malik Allen; Feb. 26, 2008: Signed C Jamaal Magliore (free agent); March 4, 2008: Signed G Tyronn Lue (free agent).
The high: The Mavs became just the fourth franchise in NBA history to win at least 50 games in eight consecutive seasons. In the 743rd game of his career, Dirk Nowitzki became the Mavs' career scoring leader (16,644). His 15-foot jumper in the final minutes of a 111-91 win over New Jersey moved Nowitzki past Rolando Blackman. It gave Nowitzki the franchise records in points, rebounds, 3-point field goals and free throws.
The low: Even though Avery Johnson, by all appearances, was behind the trade for Jason Kidd, it seemed the two never meshed. Johnson's need for control vs. Kidd's need to freelance was like oil and water. If the theory was that Mark Cuban traded for Kidd to try to save Johnson's job, that plan backfired horribly. Johnson, it became all the more apparent, was losing his team as the season wound down. The final straw for him was Howard's birthday bash. Johnson was so outraged by it that he canceled practice the day before Game 5, only at the time no one was certain why he had called off the workout on the eve of an elimination game. Cuban wasted no time after the Game 5 debacle in New Orleans and fired Johnson on the plane trip back after just three full seasons and with three years remaining on his lucrative contract.
F Dirk Nowitzki (23.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg)
F Josh Howard (19.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg)
G Jason Terry (15.5 ppg, 37.5% 3FG)
G Devin Harris (14.4 ppg, 5.3 apg in 39 games)
G Jason Kidd (9.9 ppg, 9.5 apg in 29 games)
G/F Jerry Stackhouse (10.7 ppg, 40.5% FG)
F Brandon Bass (8.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 19.7 mpg)
G Antoine Wright (3.5 ppg, 11.7 mpg in 15 games)
C Erick Dampier (6.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg)
G Tyronn Lue (3.8 ppg in 17 games)
F Malik Allen (3.1 ppg, 0.6 rpg in 25 games)
G J.J. Barea (4.3 ppg, 1.3 apg in 44 games)
G/F Eddie Jones (3.7 ppg, 29.3% 3FG)
G/F Devean George (3.7 ppg, 32.4% 3FG)
C DeSagana Diop (3.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg in 52 games)
G/F Trenton Hassell (2.1 ppg in 37 games)
C Jamaal Magliore (played in six games)
G Maurice Ager (played in 12 games)
F Juwan Howard (1.1 ppg, 1.6 rpg in 50 games)
F Nick Fazekas (played in four games)
**The Mavericks waived Michael Finley on Aug. 15, 2005, taking advantage of a one-time amnesty provision that allowed them to avoid luxury taxes on the $51.8 million owed him over the next three years. Finley became an unrestricted free agent and joined the San Antonio Spurs, although the Mavs remained on the hook to pay his full salary.
The ex-Maverick scored seven points during a 10-0 run in the final few minutes that gave the Magic the lead for good. Bass finished with 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting in the Mavericks' 110-105 loss, doing the bulk of his damage once the stars sat on the bench.
Bass was a nice find for the Mavs as a street free agent, providing scoring punch off the pine while making a minimum salary the last two seasons. But the Magic's offer of $18 million over four years was far too rich for Mavs owner Mark Cuban, who didn't see Bass as anything more than a decent reserve in Dallas.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.
Play Podcast Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
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.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
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.