Dallas Mavericks: Matt Carroll

DALLAS -- Rodrigue Beaubois figured he knew the consequences if his flair backfired before he wrapped the ball around his back and soared for a SportsCenter-worthy slam dunk to finish a fast break.

“Oh, I’m out, for sure,” Beaubois said when asked what would have happened if he botched the showboat act.

[+] EnlargeRodrigue Beaubois
Glenn James/Getty ImagesRodrigue Beaubois scored eight of his 14 points in the fourth quarter.
That’s not necessarily the case, according to Rick Carlisle, the man who has emphasized the importance for Roddy B. to make being a competitor the priority over being an entertainer.

As long as Beaubois is competing, Carlisle can deal with the occasional flash. And Beaubois competed up to Carlisle’s standards during the second half of Thursday’s win over the Charlotte Bobcats, scoring eight of his 14 points and grabbing all four of his rebounds in the fourth quarter.

Carlisle demands intense defense and aggressive offense from Beaubois. Give the coach that and he’ll be cool with playing to the crowd a little bit.

“I had no problem with that because he was playing with great intensity at both ends,” Carlisle said. “He was competing hard at both ends. In the first half, he was out there, but he wasn’t a factor. He had no presence. I talked to him about that at halftime, and in the second half, he got in his stance and he made things happen.

“It’s one of the habits that he’s got to continue to develop, and that is the habit of keeping the motor going. It doesn’t come natural to some guys, and so it’s got to be things that keep you on, and we’ll stay on him about it.”

A few more notes from Thursday’s win:

1. Oh no, DoJo: The Mavs came dangerously close to blowing a 17-point lead in the final four minutes. Carlisle thought a 10-point lead was safe with 1:40 remaining an dpulled Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry from the game, but they were back in their five points and 61 seconds later. Reserve guard Dominique Jones especially stunk it up during garbage time, committing a careless turnover and compounding the mistake with a foul seconds later.

“I made the mistake of subbing too early,” Carlisle said. “I shouldn’t have put Jones in there. He went in there and half-stepped it.”

2. Matrix plays in pain: Shawn Marion’s left knee didn’t feel good despite taking Wednesday’s practice off. “Hell no,” Marion said. “I’m good, though. I’ll fight through it.”

Marion is the only Maverick who has played every game this season, but he didn’t play particularly well against the Bobcats. He had four points on 2-of-8 shooting, six rebounds and four assists in 27 minutes. Carlisle said that the Mavs wouldn’t let Marion play if there was any question about whether he would benefit from sitting out a game or two.

3. Dallas dumping grounds: The presence of three ex-Mavericks at the end of the Bobcats’ bench is evidence of what a miserably managed franchise Michael Jordan’s Bobcats are. DeSagana Diop, Matt Carroll and Eduardo Najera will combine to make $13.6 million this season. They combined to score four points and grab three rebounds in the Bobcats’ loss to the Mavs, with Carroll and Diop never taking off their warm-ups.

The Mavs shipped Diop to Charlotte months after making a massive mistake by giving him the full midlevel exception in 2008, getting Carroll and rental reserve center Ryan Hollins in exchange. Diop will make $7.3 million next season.

Mavs owner Mark Cuban somehow convinced Jordan to take the contracts of Carroll and Najera off the Mavs’ hands in what was supposed to be a Tyson Chandler salary dump. Najera comes off the books this summer, but Carroll is due another $3.5 million next season.

Even Cuban's wallet has threshold these days

February, 25, 2011
2/25/11
10:45
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DALLAS -- For years, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has spared no expense to acquire talent. It wasn't always money well spent, but it was money spent in the name of doing whatever it takes to put a winner on the floor.

The lone glaring exception, of course, was Cuban's decision to let Steve Nash walk for big cash in Phoenix. But, back in the summer of 2004, few media voices blamed Cuban, and most even agreed that Nash, who had yet to hit is two-time MVP form, was a health liability moving forward. Nash, of course, has made all those people look foolish, and ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline that the Mavs were interested in bringing Nash back if the Suns were ready to deal.

Money, and more precisely how it's spent, now seems to matter far more to Cuban. The obvious reason is the expiring CBA and the assumption that a hard cap is on the way. For years, the Mavs have ranked at the top of the league with the New York Knicks in payroll and Cuban has coughed up millions more each season in dollar-for-dollar luxury tax.

Looking at the 2011-2012 season (assuming all or at least a partial season is played after a potential lockout), the Mavs have around $57 million locked into eight players. The (soft) salary cap this season is $58 million and the Mavs' payroll hovers around $86 million. If a hard cap is enacted and is set at, say, around $60 million -- and it might not be that high -- taking on additional salary now can be extemely limiting over the next few seasons.

And, in particular, this offseason when the Mavs will pull out all the stops to keep center Tyson Chandler after he becomes the most sought-after big man on the free agent market.

We saw a harder financial stance taken by Cuban last offseason when the Mavs had Al Jefferson targeted in a potential trade with Minnesota, but balked at taking on Jefferson's three-year, $42 million contract without the Timberwolves helping out and taking back some of the Mavs' bad contrats. Charlotte eventually did, taking Matt Carroll and Eduardo Najera off Dallas' books in the deal that sent Chandler and his expiring $12.6 million contract. Utah landed Jefferson because it didn't need to dump salaries back on Minnesota.

Money was again a factor at the trade deadline. The Mavs seem to have dug in regarding taking on salary, which is why seemingly difference-maker-type players such as Stephen Jackson, who has two more years at some $19 million left on his contract, never got a serious sniff despite the immediate impact he could have made offensively and defensively at the wing position. And why Tayshaun Prince, with an expiring contract, was much more palatable. Detroit, however, hung on to Prince.

The Mavs were willing to take on Devin Harris and his remaining $18 million only because they viewed him as a gateway to possibly acquiring Deron Williams.

Mavs president Donnie Nelson said after Thursday's 2 p.m. trade deadline passed with the Mavs standing pat, that the organization did not draw a line in the sand regarding taking on salary.

"No. I think that in a couple years there's certainly an argument for having some room," Nelson said. "But, again it's talent first, second, third. So, if there was a talented player that went into that cap space we were willing to look at that."

Instead of adding big money, the Mavs signed Peja Stojakovic on the cheap after the Toronto Raptors bought out his eight-figure salary on the final year of his deal. And the return of Roddy Beaubois the week leading into the All-Star break provides what the Mavs hope will be a super-impact player at the bargain-basement price of $1.2 million.

Something must give with streaking teams

December, 3, 2010
12/03/10
9:44
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The Utah Jazz have undergone some changes. Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver defected to Chicago. But, in came big Al Jefferson and veteran agitator Raja Bell, and the Jazz might be better than ever.

With arguably the league's best point guard, Deron Williams, running the show, the Jazz are off to a 15-5 start, have won seven in a row and are always one of the most difficult road games for the Dallas Mavericks to leave a winner.

Also riding a seven-game win streak, the Mavs (14-4) will shoot for their first win at Utah in six games tonight in what should be an action-packed showdown at 9:30 p.m. (ESPN). Utah has won four straight at home. The Mavs are 6-1 on the road.

"They're winning games and we are, too," Mavs forward Caron Butler said, "so it should be a good one."

Utah has won 10 of the last 13 over Dallas at home and have had a habit of breaking out to fast starts, working their crowd into a lather while putting the Mavs on their heels. And, of course, strange things seem to happen in Utah. In successive years, Dirk Nowitzki left Salt Lake City with a one-game suspension. In 2007, a rough takedown of Andrei Kirilenko under the basket got Nowitzki suspended, but not ejected. The next season, an incident with Matt Harpring got him ejected and suspended.

Harpring no longer plays for the Jazz, but the always antagonistic Kirilenko does, although his new-look, long, stringy hairy makes him difficult to recognize.

'"They're always one of the best teams in the West, obviously well-coached," Nowitzki said. "They always play hard there, their fans are great, so it's definitely a great test for us. But, if we can just keep doing what we're doing we should be all right. If we defend well, get the rebounds and then spread the ball around, let everybody touch it, let everybody score, we're a tough team to beat."

The Mavs had serious interest during the offseason in dealing for the 6-foot-10 Jefferson, but the Minnesota Timberwolves preferred the Jazz's offer that included no salary dumps. The Mavs were determined to ship Matt Carroll and his overpriced salary in any trade. So Jefferson is with the Jazz and is averaging 16.8 points and 8.7 rebounds. He and Paul Millsap (18.4, 8.5) form a tough-to-handle combo at the 4-5 positions.

Dallas ended up trading Carroll's salary and Erick Dampier to Charlotte for 7-foot-1 center Tyson Chandler, and the Mavs are pretty happy with how that's worked out.

The Jazz make their first visit to Dallas in eight days, but in this first of four meetings, the Mavs are expecting a Jazz team to be at their high-energy, agitating best.

"They make you play on every single possession and in many cases they make you play 22, 23 seconds," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "You can never relax against this team."

Mark Cuban: Beaubois' injury not a concern

August, 9, 2010
8/09/10
11:22
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Injured Dallas Mavericks guard Roddy Beaubois is on his way back to Dallas from France and upon arrival later will have his broken left foot examined by team physician Richard S. Levy on Monday.
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Mark Cuban talks about making a play for the Rangers and Roddy B's status on The Ben and Skin Show.

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Beaubois broke the fifth metatarsal bone last week while training with the French National team for the FIBA World Championships later this month. Initial estimates were that Beaubois could miss up to three months. Mavs training camp opens in late September and the regular season starts in late October.

Mavs owner Mark Cuban, appearing Monday on the "Ben & Skin Show" on 103.3 FM ESPN, said he's not overly concerned because of the amount of time that remains until the start of the season.

"No, it wasn't a huge setback," Cuban said. "He broke his foot, he didn't have it amputated."

Cuban said he is also not concerned with Beaubois' progress at point guard despite what appeared to be a somewhat disappointing summer league in Las Vegas. Cuban said Beaubois will play better when surrounded by Jason Kidd, Caron Butler and Dirk Nowitzki as opposed to playing with a makeshift roster of guys who will mostly be headed overseas.

"Those guys are going to make a point guard look a whole lot better than Omar [Samhan]," Cuban said, referring to the Saint Mary's center who played on the Mavs' summer-league team and will begin his pro career in Lithuania.

Cuban hit on a couple of other subjects:

*The owner said he was excited about acquiring center Tyson Chandler in a trade: "We traded Matt [Carroll] and Eddie [Najera], two guys that barely got off the bench, for the starting center on Team USA," Cuban said. Chandler does appear to be a lock as the starting center for Team USA as it competes in the World Championships in Turkey beginning on Aug. 28. Cuban said Mavs head athletic trainier Casey Smith, a member of the Team USA medical staff, has reported that Chandler appears to have regained the explosion he had prior to ankle injuries that ruined the past two seasons.

*Cuban said rookie shooting guard Dominique Jones is in Dallas and working out. "We're excited about him," Cuban said.

*Regarding Nowitzki's new, four-year, $80 million deal, Cuban said his 7-foot forward was never about the money (he could have signed for as much as $96 million) and that they discussed ways to improve the team through a major trade. That didn't happen this summer, but Cuban said the two also discussed how the bigger deals typically happen near the trade deadline in February. The Mavs have made two big deadline deals over the past three seasons. "That’s when the over-the-top trades happen," Cuban said.

Bigger plans than just Chandler and project

July, 13, 2010
7/13/10
2:54
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Clearly this is part of an on-the-fly master plan moving forward because relinquishing the coveted $13 million Erick Dampier trade chip for Charlotte Bobcats centers Tyson Chandler and underachieving 2008 first-round draft pick Alexis Ajinca would seem a move solely to create financial flexibility.

Headed to Charlotte with Dampier is the Dallas Mavericks' lone backup power forward Eduardo Najera and, interestingly, bench-warmer Matt Carroll, who returns to his previous team the day after Minnesota general manager David Kahn killed a Mavs trade proposal for Al Jefferson by refusing to take on Carroll's remaining $11.7 million over the next three years.

ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports that the Mavs are now looking to shore up the power-forward position by signing Al Harrington, a strong, physical presence and a good scorer, starting at the full mid-level exception of $5.8 million next season. Harrington made $10 million last season and averaged 17.7 points and 5.6 rebounds for the New York Knicks, but with a shrinking market, the MLE will likely be his best offer. The 12-year veteran was part of the Golden State team that took down the No. 1-seeded Mavs in the 2007 playoffs.

Stein also reports that the trade was made to create as much financial flexibility as possible to keep pursuing a major deal, such as New Orleans' Chris Paul if the struggling franchise, as remote as it would seem, reverses field and decides to part ways with its star.

Among Chandler ($12.6 million), Caron Butler ($10.8 million), DeShawn Stevenson ($4.1 million) and J.J. Barea ($1.8 million), the Mavs currently hold nearly $30 million in expiring contracts.

The Bobcats will waive Dampier and reap the $13 million savings (although Stein reports Charlotte might try to shop Dampier first to fill another void). Dampier will then become an unrestricted free agent and it is not expected that he will return to Dallas, a source with knowledge of Dampier's thinking said, which would end his six-year stint with the franchise.

The 7-foot-1 Chandler, who played so well for New Orleans, blocking shots and slamming lob passes from Paul during the 2008 season when the Hornets ousted the Mavs in the first round, has dealt with multiple injuries, but has said he's eager to show teams that he is healthy again as he enters a big contract year.

Chandler, at $12.6 million in the final year of his contract, becomes the highest-paid of four 7-foot centers now on the roster. Brendan Haywood was promised the starting job before he signed a six-year, $55 million deal. The other two centers are both projects from France, Ajinca, and Ian Mahinmi, who was signed on Monday to a minimum contract.

This should also finally put to rest any further speculation that Shaquille O'Neal is or ever was a Mavs target.

As badly as the Mavs and their fans wanted to see a significant free-agent splash come from the Dampier chip, it became obvious that it just wasn't going to happen. This trade, at best, gives the Mavs a second athletic center in Chandler, who, if healthy, can be an intriguing piece, as well as keeping the door open with additional financial flexibility to wheel-and-deal and further re-make the team moving forward.

Matt Carroll stays; Al Jefferson to Utah

July, 13, 2010
7/13/10
6:03
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Yes, big Al Jefferson comes with a price tag to match, $42 million over the next three seasons. Not to mention the cost to get him: The $13 million Erick Dampier trade chip and two conditional first-round draft picks.

A reasonable arguement exists that it is too steep a price to pay for a 25-year-old, 6-foot-10, 265-pound power forward/center that can dominate the low block, score, rebound and perhaps, even with a past knee injury, prove to be a perennial All-Star. To that end, patience will be preached by the Dallas Mavericks in hopes of using the Dampier trade chip down the road to commit Pau Gasol-like thievery and fleece a financially desperate franchise of its star.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is hailed, and rightly so, as a big spender and a risk-taker. He will absorb unsightly contracts in the name of winning and winning now. He proved it with the 2008 Jason Kidd trade and again in 2009 with the Caron Butler-Brendan Haywood-DeShawn Stevenson deal.

Yet, in 2004, the heart of the franchise, Steve Nash, walked without a fight. Now what must Dirk Nowitzki be thinking? He recently preached caution to Cuban about doling out unwarranted contracts and becoming trapped under them. His new four-year deal, Nowitzki rationalized, affords time to acquire heavy hitters, if not this summer. But, how welcoming would Big Al on the blocks be to Nowitzki; a dominant, young scorer and rebounderwho could relieve responsibility from Nowitzki's broad shoulders as he heads into the latter years of his career? Never has the Mavs' unconventional power forward played with such a low-post force.

The shame is past decisions to take on salary has hindered the franchise as opportunity knocked. Two summers ago, the Mavs spent their entire mid-level exception on happy-go-lucky center DeSagana Diop not long after they traded him to New Jersey. A couple months into the season, the Mavs shipped the underwhelming 7-footer to Charlotte for 3-point shooter Matt Carroll and his suprisingly large, long-term contract, plus skinny, developmental center Ryan Hollins.

Hollins is long gone. The affable Carroll, meanwhile, remains a fixture, in full sweats, at the end of the Mavs' bench despite being due $4.3 million next year. That's actually $8.6 million when figuring the dollar-for-dollar luxury-tax penalty and a whopping $23.4 million total over his remaining three seasons (Carroll is owed $11.7 million in salary) if the Mavs continue to remain north of the luxury tax.

Cuban played hardball with Minnesota Timberwolves general manager David Kahn, demanding Kahn absorb Carroll and Stevenson if the Mavs were to agree to relinquish two first-round draft picks. Carroll's albatross of a contract ultimately made a deal for Jefferson unpalatable for Kahn, a man who just signed Darko Milicic to a four-year, $20-million contract. It's possible that Kahn would have agreed to take Stevenson's expiring contract ($4.1 million), but Carroll's money was too much. Both parties stood firm.

The Utah Jazz, armed with a valuable trade exception, was capable of completing the trade without forcing bad contracts on the Wolves. Deal. Utah essentially replaced the departed free agent Carlos Boozer with Jefferson, and a main Western Conference competitor got better than it was the day before.

Jefferson's flimsy defense and the health of his knee are real concerns. So is the fact that former 15th overall draft pick might be a luxury-priced reserve in Dallas, playing behind Nowitzki and Haywood, who was promised the starting job at center before signing his six-year, $55-million deal.

Picking starters and divvying up playing time is coach Rick Carlisle's challenge, one he just might have enjoyed with a frontcourt of Nowitzki, Haywood and Jefferson, who averaged 17.1 points and 9.3 rebounds last season. Carlisle will have to sit tight. Suddenly, a franchise that bills itself as living in the moment, always prepared to drop the hammer, is preaching patience and frugality, from Cuban to Nowitzki, at a time when going all in would have been completely -- and enthusiastically -- justified.

The roster and what's next

July, 11, 2010
7/11/10
11:28
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The first wave of free agency is history and the Dallas Mavericks did what they could and what they had to in re-signing Dirk Nowitzki and Brendan Haywood.

While fans might have become intoxicated with talk of landing LeBron James or another high-caliber free-agent, the odds were stacked against the Mavs, who have no cap space and must work a sign-and-trade to acquire a free agent that will command more than the mid-level exception ($5.765 million).

As the Mavs move into the next phase of free agency, which amounts to targeting one or more players to fit in the MLE, plus other low-salary free agents (and, don't forget about Erick Dampier's non-guaranteed contract that the Mavs will try to trade for an impact player), let's take a look at what the club's roster looks like as of today:

Guards (8): Jason Kidd ($8.5M); Caron Butler ($10.8M); Jason Terry ($10.4M); Roddy Beaubois ($1.15M); DeShawn Stevenson ($4.15M); J.J. Barea ($1.8M); Matt Carroll ($4.3M); Dominique Jones (not yet signed).

Forwards (3): Dirk Nowitzki ($17.3M); Shawn Marion ($7.15M); Eduardo Najera ($3.0M).

Centers (2): Brendan Haywood ($7.0M); Erick Dampier ($13M).

By the start of the 2010-11 season, the roster could look a lot different or virtually the same. At the least, Dampier will not make $13 million. Because his contract is non-guaranteed, he will either be traded (and than waived by the team he's traded to) or cut. Dampier can then re-sign with the Mavs -- or any other team -- at a greatly reduced rate. Butler, Stevenson, Barea and even Terry and Carroll are trade chips to varying degrees, with Butler's expiring contract and Dampier's non-guaranteed contract at the top of the list.

We know the Mavs have had at least initial talks regarding unrestricted free agents Rasual Butler and Matt Barnes. Udonis Haslem is a target, but it appears the Miami Heat have found a way to keep him.

Dallas has also shown interest in a potential trade for Minnesota forward/center Al Jefferson.

The rest of July, and even beyond, will be an interesting time. The Mavs have little to spend in a pool of free agents that don't offer much excitement. Dallas boasts attractive trade chips that they will try to make work, but hold no guarantees.

Fantasy GM No. 6: Draft-day dealin'

June, 23, 2010
6/23/10
12:01
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For Part VI of our fantasy offseason series, we’ll do some pre-draft wheeling and dealing. It involves a couple of Texas two-steps, a couple of Eastern Conference teams, and it requires Dallas taking on a lot of salary. But I’d argue that it makes the Mavs much better with a chance to score in the lottery. And it go a ‘lil summin’ like this.

The Basics: There are three teams involved here (Dallas, Detroit and Miami) and two separate transactions to make it all happen. Detroit and Miami will get varied degrees of salary relief and Dallas will get an aging player at a position of need but it’ll also net a lottery pick.

The How: In move No. 1, Dallas will use the trade exception from the Kris Humphries deal to acquire Daequan Cook and his $2.1 million dollar salary. Miami can obtain Dallas’ No. 50 pick or $1 -- who cares? Make it what you want. This will make more sense after the ensuing transaction, but the obvious motivation for Miami is to shed more salary for the summer of 2010 and Dallas’ motivation is because they’re about to get other cool stuff. Move No. 2 is convoluted, but it goes down like this:

[+] EnlargeRichard Hamilton
Allen Einstein/Getty ImagesThe Pistons might be willing to give up a lottery pick in a deal to get rid of Richard Hamilton's contract.
Dallas acquires Richard Hamilton and his $37.5 million over the next three seasons as well as the No. 7 pick in this year’s draft from Detroit and Miami point Mario Chalmers.

Miami acquires Eduardo Najera and J.J. Barea

Detroit acquires Matt Carroll, DeShawn Stevenson and Michael Beasley plus the No. 18 pick in this year’s draft and $1 million from Dallas.

The Why: For Dallas it’s a lot of money to take on softened by the blow of moving Matt Caroll’s contract (almost $12 million over the next three seasons). But they get a lottery pick to try and acquire a young big and they get a usable two in Rip Hamilton. I’ll be honest: At this point I’m not a big Hamilton fan whatsoever and fully expect him to be a complete financial disaster by the end of his contract. I do think, however, that he gives the team some flexibility at the two if Mr. Cuban can absorb the dough. It also makes moving Caron Butler a lot more palatable if he helps you net another key transaction this summer. The real excitement here is getting the No. 7 pick where there are plenty of tantalizing young players that provide athleticism and youth. And Chalmers will be a suitable replacement for Barea.

Miami gets all that cap space to go chase the dream team. By moving Cook, Chalmers and Beasley for Barea and Najera they’ll add another $3.1 million in cap space. If they choose to release Najera immediately it’ll be $3.6 million. Plus they won’t have the $1.2 million they’d have to allocate towards the No. 18 pick. That means they’ll have upwards of $45 million in cap space. Wow.

Detroit gets to unload Hamilton’s contract. The difference between the combined total of Carroll and Stevenson’s contract over the life of the deals is about $20 million dollars. Dallas throws in $1 million this season so Detroit’s bottom line is about the same for 2010-11. So the logic for the Pistons is that they trade the No. 7 pick for Beasley and the No. 18 pick and then they save an additional $20 million by parting with a player in Hamilton who doesn’t fit their plans whatsoever. They’ll be way younger and have the chance to score a lot of points while spending way less money over the long haul. If the cap were the same for 2011, this move would put them under the cap in the neighborhood of $15 million or so.

The Bottom Line: For Dallas this is a way to get better while also adding a crucial lottery pick. They’ll also have several super-valuable trade chips in Erick Dampier’s expiring contract, Butler’s productivity/expiring contract and a potential sign-and-trade with Brendan Haywood if they don’t want to keep him. These moves are pricey, but they add youth and veteran production, and Dallas still maintains tremendous flexibility for other moves. Me says, make it happen.

Duke sharpshooter is gifted, but NBA caliber?

June, 19, 2010
6/19/10
7:34
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Jon Scheyer played four years at Duke so there's no questioning his intelligence and fundamentals when it comes to the game of basketball.

But, the NBA ain't college.

"The biggest red flag is he going to be able to defend big two guards or points?" said Ryan Blake, the NBA's director of scouting. "Is he a guy that can come off the bench at 6-5, 6-6 and run? He has the mental capability to do it and he knows how to play, better than most of the people out here, most of the top players out here. But it's the physical things that you have the concerns about."

The Dallas Mavericks brought the Dukie to town earlier in the week for a workout, so clearly the 6-foot-5, 180-pound Scheyer is on the Mavs' radar. Dallas doesn't select until the 50th pick in Thursday's draft.

And why wouldn't Scheyer be on the radar? After all, vice president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson has a saying: You can't have too many shooters. Scheyer is projected as a late second-round pick or to go undrafted. If it's the latter, he's certain to find his way onto some team's summer-league squad for a shot to make a training camp roster.

Scheyer can shoot it. He averaged 18.2 points and shot 38.3 percent from beyond the 3-point line for the NCAA national champion Blue Devils. He is a tremendously efficient scorer and makes up for his lack of quickness with his obvious savvy.

Scheyer turned himself into quite a combo guard and had one of the best turnover-to-assist ratios in the nation. His biggest knock, as Blake pointed out, is who is he going to guard at the next level? But, tick of the names of backup point guards and shooting guards and ask yourself if Scheyer can handle them. Maybe, maybe not.

But, with the 50th pick, you don't expect to take a guy that's going to play a major role for your team anyway. Just try and find the Mavs' past second-round picks. Scheyer could be an intriguing pick for the Mavs, who could have used a few more dead-eye shooters in the first-round playoff loss against the Spurs.

A few years ago, when little-used Mavs guard Matt Carroll was regularly knocking down 3-pointers for Charlottle, you might have compared Scheyer to him. Some compare him to Orlando's J.J. Redick, a former Dukie himself.

And really, if Scheyer can be a guy that hits between 38.9 percent and 43.6 percent of his 3s as Carroll did during a three-year stretch, the Mavs would probably be pretty happy.

Stevenson re-upping with Mavs a slam dunk

May, 24, 2010
5/24/10
11:53
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But, will he be on the roster when training camp opens?

Unless the Dallas Mavericks work DeShawn Stevenson into a trade scenario, he'll be an expensive piece at the end of the bench.

Agent Mark Bartelstein confirmed Monday that Stevenson made the only smart choice he really had by exercising his player to option to return to the Mavs next season for $4.15 million. Had the 10-year veteran opted out of the final year of his contract, he would never command that sum. Stevenson ended last season averaging 2.1 points a game, his lowest output since his rookie season with Utah. Just two seasons ago, Stevenson was averaging 11.2 points and logging more than 30 minutes a game with Washington.

The Mavs acquired Stevenson with Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood in the big All-Star break trade with the Wizards for Josh Howard and others.

There is the possibility that Stevenson could be the lone survivor of that deal. Haywood is an unrestricted free agent and can sign elsewhere, plus the Mavs aren't as enamored with the big man as they might have been upon his arrival. Butler, who is entering the final year of his contract, is a potential sign-and-trade piece.

Of course, there could be no survivors. Stevenson's deal adds him to the Mavs' list of attractive expiring contracts that could be used in a deal around the June 24 draft or after the free agency period begins.

Here's a look at the players, who at this point are contractually guaranteed -- or practically so (of course, anything can happen) -- of being on the roster when training camp opens:

G Jason Kidd (signed for two more seasons)
G J.J. Barea (Mavs expected to exercise team option)
G Jason Terry (signed for two more seasons)
G Roddy Beaubois (billed as team's future, but possible sign-and-trade piece)
G Matt Carroll (signed for three more seasons)
G DeShawn Stevenson (exercised player option for next season)
F Shawn Marion (signed for four more seasons)

Fantasy GM: Working out a deal for LeBron

May, 24, 2010
5/24/10
7:45
AM CT

For Part III of our fantasy offseason series we’ll try and work some angles brought up by our homie Timmy Mac in this post on LeBron James.

LeBron James
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty ImagesIf LeBron James demands a sign-and-trade to the Mavericks, here are two possible scenarios in which the deal could get done.
Obviously any King James-to-Dallas talk would only be possible if James forced the Cavs' hand and demanded a sign-and-trade to the Mavs. It’s been brought up many times that not engaging in any sign-and-trade discussions is the only real leverage the Cavs have, thus forcing LeBron to pass on about $30 million to go elsewhere. Then again, getting nothing for LeBron and being left with Antawn Jamison, Mo Williams and about $12 or $13 million in cap room to lure free agents to one of the least desirable places to live in the NBA doesn’t exactly give Cleveland the hammer in these negotiations? If LeBron demands an S&T to Dallas, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert will have to play ball and get some assets back in return. There are two main angles here: Cleveland rebuilding while staying competitive; and Cleveland tearing this bad boy down. We’ll tackle both.

The Basics #1: I’ve never been a Jamison fan, but he can still get you 20 a night. And even though he’s overpaid, his contract only has two years left on it. I don’t see him being as big an albatross as others might. In fact, if acquiring LeBron means the Mavs must give up Rodrigue Beaubois, as most have theorized, then I’d suggest that Mo Williams and his likely three remaining years is a bigger issue for Cleveland moving forward than Jamison.

The How #1: If the Mavs were to offer Erick Dampier’s non-guaranteed contract, Beaubois, DeShawn Stevenson (final year of a deal with $4.1 million on it) and a future pick or two for James and the complete waste of money that is Daniel Gibson’s deal (three more years with almost $11 million guaranteed), then I’d think Cleveland would have to roll with that considering holding an empty bag is also an option.

The Why #1: I’d think Cleveland could still be competitive with this deal while they rebuild around Beaubois, JJ Hickson and cap space using Jamison, Williams and Andy Varejao to bridge to the future. If Cleveland demanded Caron Butler in the trade to get more value, then The Mavs would have to counter that Delonte West be included in the deal in place of Gibson since he’s only guaranteed $500,000 for 2010. But if I’m Dallas, I have James’ camp force the issue that he wants to play with Butler. Remember that Roddy B and picks beats nothing in return.

[+] EnlargeBeabois
AP Photo/Ben MargotOne scenario: Trading Rodrigue Beaubois, Erick Dampier, DeShawn Stevenson and a pick or two to the Cavs for LeBron James and Daniel Gibson. But if the Mavs were forced to take on Antawn Jamison, then they shouldn't have to trade Roddy B.
The Basics #2: If The Cavs are completely tearing down, then they’d want to jettison Jamison and Williams. Varejao has five years left, but doesn’t make outrageous dough for what he brings, and his energy will still translate to rebuilding. The Mavs could do either variation of trade idea #1 and then swap out Jason Terry for Williams and the Cavs could save some money. But if Cleveland insisted on a Jamison/LeBron $31 million megabomb, then I’d think the Mavs would have to play it this way.

The How #2: Dampier’s non-guaranteed contract, Butler in the last year of his deal and Matt Carroll’s descending contract (very much in the Boobie Gibson realm) and two future picks for Jamison/LeBron. But NO Roddy B if you have to take on Jamison.

The Why #2: Jamison is a completely useless player for the Mavs at his salary and really hurts the finances of the team. If Dallas has to take him on, then they shouldn’t have to come off of Beaubois, too. Butler will give the Cavs similar production to Jamison at about $18 million less. Honestly, Cleveland would be better taking the first incarnation of Deal 1 and then sending Jamison, Williams, West and Jamario Moon to Philly for Elton Brand, Samuel Dalembert, Jason Kapano and the #2 pick. They take a financial hit this season, though they wouldn’t come close to luxury tax territory and then they’d rebuild around the undeniable backcourt of Roddy B and Evan Turner with over $20 million in cap space next summer. Now that’d be fun to watch.

The Bottom Line: The Mavs can get LeBron if he wants to come here. Who knows if Dallas is even on his radar. But if Cleveland plays it right, they could be competitive quickly. Which is all you can ask when you lose one of the best players in the world in his prime.

2009-10: All dressed up, nowhere to go

May, 21, 2010
5/21/10
1:48
AM CT
Tenth in a series chronicling the Dallas Mavericks' streak of 10 seasons with 50 or more wins (previous installments).

[+] Enlarge Caron Butler
AP Photo/Mike FuentesA 13-game winning streak that followed the acquisition of Caron Butler and two others from Washington had the Mavs flying high.
As the regular season wound down, Dirk Nowitzki was confident his team was built for the playoffs. He was ready to roll in the postseason, looking for his first long playoff run since the 2006 NBA Finals.

Once again, owner Mark Cuban opened his wallet in making moves that he believed would help the franchise get back into the thick of Western Conference contention. Dallas finally traded Josh Howard to Washington and in return received scorer Caron Butler, an agile big man with good hands in Brendan Haywood and an extra defender in DeShawn Stevenson. With the addition of Shawn Marion in the offseason, even the pundits couldn't help but notice the size, strength and toughness of this revameped roster.

Through some wild swings throughout the 82-game regular season, it was the Mavs who outlasted Utah, Denver and Phoenix for the No. 2 seed, and after a big win over the Los Angeles Lakers during a 13-game win streak following the blockbuster trade, the Mavs themselves were buying into the hype -- and the growing expectations.

Nowitzki, who had another outstanding regular season, avergaging 25.0 points and 7.7 rebounds, said this team had more talent than any he played on in his dozen seasons in Dallas. Jason Kidd, who had played in two NBA Finals with the New Jersey Nets, said this was one of the best teams he's played on.

Yet, somehow, it all came crashing down in a familiar postseason letdown.

The Spurs, led by the Big Three plus the emergence of George Hill and revolving role players, made big shot after big shot and defensively suffocated Kidd, who struggled to get the Mavs on the run. With a stagnant halfcourt offense, Dallas failed to score more than 90 points in four of the six games, leaving more questions than answers about the club moving forward.

No one, not in this season, expected the Mavs to be licking their wounds again before the calendar turned to May.

Coach: Rick Carlisle
Record: 55-27 (1st in Southwest)
Playoffs: Lost to San Antonio (4-2)
Team payroll: $88.9 million*
Highest-paid player: Dirk Nowitzki ($19.8 million)*

Offseason transactions: Traded 21st overall draft pick C B.J. Mullens to Oklahoma City for 24th draft pick G Rodrigue Beaubois and a future second-round pick; in four team deal, traded F/G Devean George and G Antoine Wright to Toronto, and G/F Jerry Stackhouse plus a future second-round pick to Memphis for F Shawn Marion, Kris Humphries and Nathan Jawai (from Toronto), plus Greg Buckner (from Memphis, later released); signed G Quinton Ross (free agent); signed F Drew Gooden (free agent); signed F Tim Thomas (free agent); signed F Kris Humphries (free agent);

In-season transaction: Jan. 11, 2010: Traded Kris Humprhies and Shawne Williams to New Jersey for Eduardo Najera; Feb. 13, 2010: Traded Josh Howard, Quinton Ross, James Singleton and Drew Gooden to Washington for Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson.

[+] EnlargeJason Kidd
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Jason Kidd had an outstanding regular season for the Mavs but fizzled in the first round against San Antonio.
The high: Following the big trade that finally rid the club of Josh Howard, the Mavs played like a team in which a heavy weight had been lifted. The club rolled off a season-best 13 consecutive wins, the longest streak since the 2006-07 season. Victories included Phoenix, Atlanta, Orlando and the Los Angeles Lakers, fueling the club with optimism that it had the ingredients to conted for the Western Conference crown. Dirk Nowitzki added to his illustrous career by becoming just the 34th player in NBA history to score 20,000 career points against the Lakers on Jan. 13. On Nov. 25, Jason Kidd notched his 10,335th career assist to move into second place on the NBA's all-time list. On the final night of the regular-season, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich rested his starters and the Mavs secured the West's No. 2 seed, their highest seed since claiming No. 1 in 2006-07.

The low: San Antonio 4, Dallas 2. Sure, the Spurs were not your typical No. 7 seed, but so what? The Mavs lost the home-court advantage by losing in Game 2 and then dropped two in a row at San Antonio to go down 3-1. The Mavs melted down in the third quarter of Game 4 and then in the do-or-die Game 6 they opened the first quarter with eight points. Despite taking the lead briefly in the third quarter, Dallas suffered its third first-round defeat of the last four seasons. This one particularly stung because of the big trade that had Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd calling this club one of the best either had ever played on.

The roster:
F Dirk Nowitzki (25.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 48.1% FG)
G Jason Terry (16.6 ppg, 43.8% FG)
G/F Caron Butler (15.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 44.0% FG in 27 games)
G/F Josh Howard (12.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg in 31 games)
F Shawn Marion (12.0 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 50.8% FG)
G Jason Kidd (10.3 ppg, 9.1 apg, 5.6 rpg)
F Drew Gooden (8.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg in 46 games)
C Brendan Haywood (8.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg in 28 games)
G J.J. Barea (7.6 ppg, 3.3 apg, 19.8 mpg)
F Tim Thomas (7.5 ppg in 18 games)
G Rodrigue Beaubois (7.1 ppg, 51.8% FG in 56 games)
C Erick Dampier (6.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg)
F Kris Humprhies (5.2 ppg in 25 games)
F Eduardo Najera (3.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg in 33 games)
F James Singleton (2.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg in 25 games)
G Quinton Ross (2.0 ppg in 27 games)
G DeShawn Stevenson (2.0 ppg in 24 games)
G Matt Carroll (1.8 ppg in 25 games)

*Source: Basketball-Reference.com

2008-09: Carlisle, Mavs push, pull to 50

May, 20, 2010
5/20/10
12:07
AM CT
Rick CarlisleTim Heitman/NBAE via Getty ImagesThe Mavs barely kept their 50-win streak alive in Rick Carlisle's first year as coach.
Ninth in a series chronicling the Dallas Mavericks' streak of 10 seasons with 50 or more wins (previous installments).

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.

[+] EnlargeJason Terry
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireJason Terry thrived coming off the bench and was named Sixth Man of the Year.
Known more for a structured offensive philosophy and a strong defensive disposition, Carlisle came in with the directive to allow Jason Kidd, in his first full season back in Dallas, to do his thing. Yet, things didn't get off to a rousing start as the Mavs dropped seven of their first nine and seemed headed for an early internal showdown before Dirk Nowitzki had a huge fourth quarter and overtime for a come-from-behind win at New York to avoid a 2-8 start.

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.

[+] EnlargeAntoine Wright
AP Photo/Donna McWilliamAntoine Wright tried to foul Carmelo Anthony at the end of Game 3, but the refs didn't call it and Anthony sank the game-winner for the Nuggets.
The low: It's doubtful it would have changed the outcome of the second-round series against Denver, but the non-call as Antoine Wright tried to wrap up -- but more like flailed at -- Carmelo Anthony, who then buried a 3-pointer at the end of Game 3, goes down as another one of those "what-if" playoff moments for the Mavs. In the offseason, rather than use their mid-level exception to try to sign a much-needed scorer, the Mavs overpaid to bring back DeSagana Diop. His production was so poor that the Mavs traded him midseason to Charlotte for center Ryan Hollins and guard Matt Carroll. Hollins is no longer on the team and Carroll never plays. The Jerry Stackhouse situation was unfortunate. One of the team's prouder players and a key cog in getting the franchise to its first NBA Finals had a foot issue, but as the season wore on either Stackhouse or the organization decided to shut him down. The facts there are still fuzzy, but Stackhouse's days as a Mav were over.

The roster:
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)

*Source: Basketball-Reference.com

Will they stay or will they go?

May, 3, 2010
5/03/10
12:00
PM CT
The only certainty about the upcoming summer for the Mavs is that it'll be interesting.

Owner Mark Cuban, as usual, plans to be "opportunistic." In this case, that means swinging for the fences in what might be the best free agent market in NBA history. Even if the Mavs strike out in their quest for another superstar, there could be significant tweaking of the roster.

Here, as a complement to Jeff Caplan's report card for the Mavs' 2009-10 season, is a look at how likely it is that each player on last season's roster will return:

Dirk Nowitzki – 95 percent

I thought this was a lock until I heard Dirk’s comments after the Mavs’ third first-round exit in four seasons, which he didn’t back off the following day. Can you blame a superstar in his situation for considering his options? However, it’d still be stunning if Dirk decides to leave Dallas this summer. My hunch is he’ll simply decide not to opt out of the final season of his contract, keeping his options open if the Mavs aren’t any closer to a title a year from now.

Jason Kidd – 99.9 percent

The Mavs love him despite disappointing performances in the playoffs the last three seasons. They won’t shop him. Even if they did, there wouldn’t be much, if any, interest in a 37-year-old with two seasons remaining on his contract. The Mavs need Rodrigue Beaubois to develop his point guard skills this summer enough to let them manage Kidd’s minutes.

Shawn Marion – 99.9 percent

Teams aren’t looking to trade for a 32-year-old forward who relies on athleticism and is under contract for four more years, even though Marion doesn’t make a ton of money by NBA standards. It’ll be interesting to see how Marion’s role change if Beaubois and Caron Butler also remain Mavericks. A lot of Roddy B’s minutes might come at Marion’s expense.

Caron Butler – 50 percent

Does Butler fit that well with the Mavs? He’s a natural small forward who starts at shooting guard in Dallas, where he was inconsistent with flashes of brilliance. You can count on Butler’s name coming up in trade talks this summer, especially if the Mavs get in serious discussions about a sign-and-trade deal for a superstar. Butler’s talent and expiring contract ($10.8 million salary) make him an attractive trade chip. The Mavs knew that when they made the deal with Washington to bring Butler to Dallas.

Erick Dampier – 40 percent

There is no way that Dampier will finish his current contract, either in Dallas or elsewhere. He’s not worth paying a $13.1 million salary. Due to some creative language in the contract, that money is totally nonguaranteed and the Mavs can use him as an instantly expiring contract in their trade talks. That’s an extremely attractive asset to cost-conscious teams. But Dampier might not be done in Dallas. Whenever he’s released, whether it’s by the Mavs or another team, the Mavs will likely be interested in bringing him back. Just at a fraction of what they’ve been paying him.

Jason Terry – 80 percent

The emergence of Roddy Beaubois will cut into Terry’s role. Terry’s contract is no longer totally untradeable, as only about half of his 2011-12 salary is guaranteed, pending certain incentives. But the odds are he’ll be back for at least one more season. If that’s the case, the question is whether he’ll still be the first guard off the bench.

J.J. Barea – 60 percent

Barea gets asked about a lot when the Mavs are talking trade. That’s because he’s a proven contributor at a discount price ($1.7 million team option for next season). It wouldn’t be surprising if Barea gets thrown in a blockbuster deal this summer, especially with the Mavs’ plan to prepare Beaubois to be the backup point guard.

Brendan Haywood – 60 percent

The Mavs’ brass made it very clear when they blockbuster deal with Washington went down that they wanted to keep Haywood for the long haul. The Dallas decision-makers might not be as excited about Haywood as their big man of the future after his up-and-down few months as a Mav. But what better options are out there? Haywood is an unrestricted free agent, but it’ll be tough for him to find more money and a better fit than the Mavs can offer.

Rodrigue Beaubois – 95 percent

How could Roddy B’s return not be a lock? Because if the Mavs hit a home run in the sign-and-trade market, Beaubois will probably have to be part of the outgoing package. Think of it as a win-win situation: His departure would mean the Mavs are adding a superstar; his return would means the Mavs have a potential star in the making.

Eduardo Najera – 90 percent

The next two seasons on Najera’s contract aren’t fully guaranteed, but the savings aren’t significant if the Mavs decide to get rid of him. Plus, they need Najera’s nastiness, even if he doesn’t play many minutes. He’s a good teammate who opponents hate. In other words, he’s the kind of guy you want on the fringe of the rotation.


DeShawn Stevenson – 95 percent

He’d be crazy not to pick up his player option for $4.2 million next season. It’s possible that he could then be flipped to another team in a trade, since he is an expiring contract. It’s more likely that he’ll continue in his role as a rarely used defensive stopper and be dangled as an expiring contract around the trade deadline.

Matt Carroll – 99.9 percent

The Mavs aren’t holding their breath for other teams to show interest in a player who scored 46 points last season and is owed $14.4 million over the next three seasons.

Mavs still searching for 'right deal'

February, 12, 2010
2/12/10
9:24
AM CT
DALLAS -- The Mavs aren't any closer to making "the right deal" after the official start of All-Star Weekend.

New names will probably pop up over the next few days and until the Feb. 18 trade deadline, but Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala and Washington's Caron Butler continue to dominate the Mavs-centric rumor mill.

The Mavs have serious interest in Iguodala, but a deal for the explosive Sixers swingman appears to be a long shot at this point. The word is that Philadelphia's front office has changed its mind and is no longer looking to unload the 26-year-old with the massive contract (four years, $56 million after this season).

That could change if a team is willing to also take back the contract of big man Samuel Dalembert or power forward/center Elton Brand. Dalembert, who is due more than $12 million next season, would push Mark Cuban near the breaking point of his financial pain threshold. Dallas won't even discuss Brand, who is due $51 million over the next three years.

A trade the Mavs would probably pull the trigger on is Josh Howard/Drew Gooden/Matt Carroll-for-Iguodala/Dalembert. Including Carroll ($11.7 million over next three seasons) in the package at least lessens the sting to Cuban's wallet, but the deal would still be a major cost-cutting move for the Sixers. The problem is the Sixers seem to have reconsidered their stance on the importance of shedding salary over being competitive.

The Mavs don't want to do a deal that's based on Howard-for-Butler because they don't believe that's a significant enough upgrade to forfeit the financial freedom the team option in Howard's contract offers this summer. They especially don't want to do such a deal with Washington insisting that DeShawn Stevenson, who has a player option for $4.1 million next season, is shipped off with Butler.

If Washington is willing to expand the discussions to include big man Brendan Haywood in the deal -- here are some specific possibilities -- the Mavs' interest would soar. That hasn't happened yet, as Washington is exploring other options with Butler.

Another factor as the Mavs consider the trade landscape is that Howard appears healthy and has recently shown glimpses of his old form. The Mavs believe now more than ever that unless they can make a major upgrade, they're better off holding on to Howard and hoping that he's at his best when it matters most, much like last season.

UPDATE: ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports that the Mavs and Wizards are now discussing a deal that includes Haywood.

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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