Dallas Mavericks: Pat Riley

Now what will Daryl Morey do?

The Houston Rockets were willing to step into luxury-tax territory to exercise their right to keep Chandler Parsons if they were first able to sign Chris Bosh to a near-max deal. That scenario is off the table, however, after Bosh's decision to take more money to stay in Miami.

Will the Rockets still match the Dallas Mavericks' three-year, $46 million offer to the restricted free-agent small forward? At this point, the only sure thing is that we will find out by 10:59 p.m. CT Sunday night.

The Rockets were willing to pay a steep price for Parsons if they succeeded in their offseason mission to add a stretch-shooting All-Star power forward to complement their current stars, shooting guard James Harden and center Dwight Howard. But that plan was messed up when Houston missed out on Bosh.

Maybe Morey, the Rockets' ultra-aggressive general manager, will decide to keep the core of Houston's 54-win team from last season together. Perhaps he'll swallow hard and agree to pay Parsons more than $15 million per year, knowing that would take the Rockets out of the Kevin Love sweepstakes if there is one next summer.

This certainly isn't the decision Morey thought he'd have to make this summer.

First, Morey couldn't have anticipated Parsons signing such a massive offer sheet when the Rockets made him a restricted free agent by declining the team option to pay him $965,000 next season in the final year of the former second-round pick's rookie contract. Mark Cuban and the Mavs threw a major wrench in the Rockets' plans by getting Parsons to agree to a near-max offer as soon as a deal could be signed.

Morey also believed he'd have a premier stretch-shooting power forward in place -- a perfect fit with Harden and Howard -- before the clock ran out on the Rockets' right to match Parsons. Pat Riley and the Heat threw a wrench into those plans by making Bosh a lot richer.

The Mavs and Heat, two-time Finals foes, formed a tag team of sorts to make Morey's job as hard as possible this summer.

How will Morey respond? Stay tuned.

Trend could hinder Terry Stotts' candidacy

August, 2, 2012
8/02/12
12:30
PM CT
If Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Terry Stotts -- who has 17 years NBA coaching experience that includes four as a head coach -- doesn't land the Portland Trail Blazers job, he can point the finger at Erik Spoelstra.

Spoelstra?

The champion Miami Heat coach was 38 when he succeeded Pat Riley and became a rookie head coach. Now 41, Spoelstra, a four-year starting point guard at the University of Portland, got his start with the Heat in 1995 as a video coordinator and climbed the ladder all the way to the lead chair.

Stotts' remaining competition for the Portland job is Blazers interim coach Kaleb Canales, a 34-year-old go-getter initially hired as the team's video coordinator intern in 2005. Canales took over as interim coach when Nate McMillan was fired in March.

The Laredo, Texas, native and graduate of UT-Arlington proved to be an animated and intense presence on the sideline and also displayed savvy coaching chops.

The decision facing Portland general manager Neil Olshey is thus: Hire the smart, steady and experienced Stotts, 54, who has paid his dues and deserves another shot, or opt for continuity with the belief that Canales' fiery youthfulness will evolve with his team.

An interesting youth movement has certainly been under way in sports, starting in the front offices. Baseball got it rolling when the Boston Red Sox hired 28-year-old general manager Theo Epstein, now with the Chicago Cubs. The Texas Rangers followed by hiring their own 28-year-old GM in Jon Daniels. Their successes have certainly resonated.

In the NBA, the Seattle SuperSonics, now the Oklahoma City Thunder, made Sam Presti their GM at age 31. The Orlando Magic recently hired 30-year-old Rob Hennigan, groomed by Presti, to be their GM.

The movement is trickling down to the bench. Spoelstra was the youngest head coach in the league until New Orleans hired 38-year-old first-time coach Monty Williams in 2010. Hennigan just handed 37-year-old Jacque Vaughn his first first job as coach of the Magic.

Canales follows the unorthodox path taken by Spoelstra. Both had no future playing professionally and essentially started on the ground floor in the company mail room, or in the NBA's case the video room.

Stotts, a four-year starter at Oklahoma and a second-round draft pick by the Houston Rockets in 1980, played several seasons overseas before joining George Karl's staff in the old CBA. He followed Karl to the NBA and began the traditional journey of climbing the coaching ladder.

Stotts got his first head coaching break a decade ago -- when Canales was an assistant high school basketball coach -- with the Atlanta Hawks for just two seasons. He coached the Milwaukee Bucks from 2005-07, again given just two seasons.

Imagine if Mavs owner Mark Cuban had pulled the plug on Rick Carlisle after two seasons. Anyone recall the end of the 2009-10 season? Dallas was embarrassed in six games by the San Antonio Spurs as Carlisle allowed rookie sensation Rodrigue Beaubois to languish on the bench. When the series was over, the team had the feel of one ripping at the seams.

A year later the Mavs were NBA champions.

Soon, the two Portland finalists -- 20 years separating them in age and with vastly differing coaching experiences -- will know which qualities Portland's new GM covets more.

MIAMI – “One suit, one shirt, one tie.”

That’s what former Miami coach Pat Riley packed for the Heat’s second trip to Dallas during the 2006 Finals, as he shared with the world after while the visitors celebrated at the American Airlines Center. That’s how confident Riley was that the Heat would need only one chance to close out the series.

Now, it’s the Mavs who have the opportunity to clinch a championship on the road. Rick Carlisle, however, doesn’t believe the clothes in his suitcase are any of our business.

“I feel like I’ve gotten to know you well,” Carlisle deadpanned to the assembled media. “But I don’t believe at this point I’m ready to share the number of pairs of underwear I packed.”

New center tandem likes the company

September, 29, 2010
9/29/10
3:52
PM CT
UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas --When LeBron James made 'The Decision," he also made it for Brendan Haywood.

"I had to take at least a little notice when Pat Riley came to Charlotte. That kind of got my attention a little bit," Haywood said of the Miami Heat president's visit to his home during the first few days of free agency. "They were very interested. We were talking the whole time."

The whole time that did not include James as a member of the Heat. When Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh committed to the Heat, the club could have made a handsome offer to Haywood. That is, as long as James was out of the picture. That, of course, quickly changed. Once James signed on, Miami no longer had the financial capability to pay Haywood anywhere close to the six-year, $55-million deal he finalized soon after with the Mavs.

"I don't think anybody knew," Haywood said regarding whether the Heat would sign James at the time. "I don't think LeBron himself knew. I don't think he had this planned the whole time. I think it was one of those things that over time they knew they were going to get two big guys, whether it be D-Wade and Bosh or whoever, they knew they were going to get two. nd And when three came along they got him."

The Mavs were thankful to get the 7-footer signed. Then they doubled their pleasure by trading for 7-1 center Tyson Chandler and cut ties with aging center Erick Dampier to usher in an all-new era of the center tandem in Dallas.

"I'm happy to be here," Haywood said. "I like the guys, I like the team. This team is just one of the best teams as far as not talent, but just personnel, how everybody gets along and cheers for each other. That’s one of the things I haven’t experienced in a long time and I really enjoy it."

Chandler is happy to be in Dallas, too. He's had two rough years dealing with injuries and although his former team, the Charlotte Bobcats, made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history last season, the Mavsare veteran team with a belief that they can contend in the Western Conference.

The Haywood-Chandler tandem gives the Mavs an unusual pairing of 7-footers at a time when many teams are searching for one serviceable center. Haywood is wider and more physical. Chandler is more athletic, more capable of running the floor and making splashy plays above the rim.

"They both bring a little something different that we need, so it's a tag team," Carlisle said. 'Between them, they've got to get the job done at our center spot."

Both have said they're eager to play on the same team and that they can and will co-exist even though they've traded a few elbows in the past as competitors, including a heated scuffle in 2005 in which Chandler, with Chicago at the time, was ejected from the game.

"Normally big guys don't really like each other. You know, it gets physical down there," Chandler said. "I was excited for the opportunity to play with a guy like Brendan, even though we've had our battles. He's always been a guy I've respected because he always brings defensive intensity and he shows up every night.

"I've never had a guy like that on my team. And I think with us being together, coach is going to have a lot of options and opportunities to play us in different positions and play us at different times, depending on the matchup."

Said Haywood: "He's more of that athletic, energy, up and down the court, catch-a-lob-out-of-nowhere type, get-the- crowd-excited type of basketball player. I think we bring different dynamics, but both are needed on this team to be successful."

The Mavs believe the center tandem does give them two dynamic 7-footers that provide different skills andabilities, giving them more options to defend teams such with big front lines such as the Los Angeles Lakers. There will be times when Chandler will spell Dirk Nowitzki and play power forward alongside Haywood in the middle.

Haywood said with Chandler coming off the bench, he can be more aggressive against some of the league's top centers such as Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard because he won't have to be concerned with fouls.

The duo could also be the highest scoring tandem the Mavs have had since they've employed a center rotation going back to Dampier and DeSagana Diop. Chandler has averaged 8.1 points over his career and reached double figures (11.8) during his best season three years ago playing with Chris Paul in New Orleans Hornets.

Haywood is a 7.7-point scorer over his career, but was at 9.8 points prior to be being traded to Dallas last February. Both players have good hands and can finish at the rim, qualities point guard Jason Kidd will try to make good use of.

"That possibility certainly exists," Carlisle said of the tandem's scoring potential. "But, that's not the reason to make the move. The reason to make the move was to address youth, dynamic athleticism and having guys with some unique individual abilities."

*Carlisle said he's been impressed with another 7-footer on the club, Alexis Ajinca, who came over from Charlotte in the Dampier trade that also netted Chandler. Ajinca has had two disappointing seasons in the NBA and he comes to Dallas as the fourth center behind free-agent signee Ian Mahinmi.

"He's been steady," Carlisle said. "He's a shooter. For a 7-foot guy, he’s going to make open shots from mid-range. He can even stretch it out a little further than that."

*The Mavs held one, 2 1/2-hour practice Wednesday at SMU. They'll practice twice Thursday and then again once on Friday to conclude the SMU portion of training camp. They open the preseason on Oct. 5 at home against Washington.

Mavs 'hammering' out Haywood offer

July, 2, 2010
7/02/10
6:19
PM CT
According to Dallas Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, the club is "hammering" out a contract offer for center Brendan Haywood.

Terms of the deal are unknown, but a source said Haywood could command $8 million and possibly up to $10 million a season. He made $6 million last season.

Having surveyed the limited centers available in free agency, the Mavs seem intent on re-signing Haywood to avoid having to possibly use valuable trade assests to deal for a big man.

"No secret," Nelson said. "Dirk is 1A and Brendan is 1B. We want to keep him a Maverick."

That's heady talk for a nine-year veteran whose career averages stand at 7.7 points and 6.4 rebounds. Coach Rick Carlisle met with the 7-foot Haywood, 30, as soon as free agency began. Haywood did average 9.1 points and 9.3 rebounds in a season split between Washington and Dallas. However, he lost his starting role mid-way through his time with the Mavs, but has been assured by the team that he would enter next season as the undisputed starter.

"We are currently in contract discussions," said Haywood's agent Andy Miller, who believes his client is the top center available in free agency and a top 10 center in the league. "But, at this time I couldn't give you an estimate as to the stage we are at."

Miller said Haywood will meet with Miami on Saturday in North Carolina.

Interest is high in Haywood, mostly among mostly Eastern Conference teams. Cleveland, Toronto, New York, Detroit and Utah have expressed interest. Chicago and Boston have also reportedly inquired. Of those teams, only the Heat and Bulls have available cap space. The other clubs could only acquire Haywood through a sign-and-trade.

Because Hawyood is a Bird-rights free-agent, the Mavs can sign him for more than the other teams.

A King's triumvirate on Wade's turf: Boring.

June, 29, 2010
6/29/10
10:31
AM CT
This convergence of All-Star, Olympic gold medalists in South Beach, I just don't see it. It's not that I don't see it happening. If LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh want to team up, they will (as long as Pat Riley can shed Michael Beasley for the needed cap space).

I just don't see it working.

Who do they think they are, the Harlem Globetrotters, barnstorming the country, entertaining the masses, whistling "Sweet Georgia Brown" while they ground the rest of the NBA into the Washington Wizards, er, Generals?

As a fallback, Wade, according to a story Monday from the South Florida Sun Sentinel, sources say will grant the Mavericks, among a few other teams, a sit-down. The Mavs are also angling to talk to LeBron.

As for the triumvirate, I just don't see it. Take LeBron or D-Wade and partner with power forward Bosh, yes, I'm buying. But, Wade and LeBron on the same team, on the same floor? Like Kobe Bryant, neither is a point guard -- and technically, LeBron and Wade play different positions -- but each transcends the boundary of positions and each is the dominant ballhandler and creator on their respective teams.

Could Jordan and Kobe have co-existed? Jordan and Magic? Magic and Kobe?

How would that work? This isn't a one-time All-Star Game or a two-week Olympic showcase. It's 82 regular-season games of grinds and personalities and egos, and the ultimate pressure to win titles season after season or be doomed to overwhelming failure.

While a LeBron-Wade-Bosh squad is intriguing for obvious reasons, such a trio is bad for the game. It's boring. The NBA doesn't need it's collection of top talent colluding to join forces.

It would be far more interesting for LeBron and Wade to determine where each could go to create the most vibrant rivalry.

The NBA needs heated rivalries and rivals, not a concocted psuedo-dynasty among friends.

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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