Dallas Mavericks: Raymond Felton
The Mavericks remain interested in re-signing Delonte West, a source said.
The Mavs still intend to add backcourt depth after acquiring point guard Darren Collison and shooting guard Dahntay Jones in a sign-and-trade deal with the Indiana Pacers. Dallas’ decision makers value West’s toughness and versatility and would like him to return to the Mavs after averaging 9.6 points, 3.2 assists and 1.3 steals as a part-time starter last season.
As with every move the Mavs make this summer, West’s return would have to be at the right price, which is likely in the salary range of $2 million. The Mavs might be willing to be flexible on offering more than one year on the contract, the source said.
There are several other free-agent guards who interest the Mavs, depending on the market. That list includes Leandro Barbosa, O.J. Mayo, Randy Foye, Raymond Felton, Courtney Lee, Marco Belinelli and Ben Uzoh.
With the coming crunch of the new tax penalty, teams are becoming increasingly wary of handing out multiyear contracts. As Dallas Mavericks fan have quickly come to realize, the local plan is to sign up players preferably on one-year deals. Dallas might be able to hand out a higher salary for the one year than a player might be able to make in the first year of a multiyear deal with another team, then setting the player up to become a free agent again in 2013.
That's the type of decision with which a player such as point guard Ramon Sessions is likely to grapple. He wants to start, and the security of a multiyear was initially high on his priority list. The Mavs can offer a starting job, but not the security.
Over the last few days, some players have been taken off the board and others added.
Here's a look at five players at each position who remain on the board. Some are realistic options for the Mavs and some might not be. Dallas, still with just seven players under contract -- plus three draft picks -- needs reinforcements just about everywhere.
The Mavericks have had a strange knack for playing down to their competition, especially on the road.
The Mavs are only 4-5 on the road against teams that currently own a losing record this season. Only two teams in the league, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, have a lower winning percentage in those games than Dallas: Charlotte (2-11, .154) and Sacramento (3-9, .250).
|Mavs coach Rick Carlisle talks about Brandon Wright's strong play, whether the team is scoreboard watching and more.
Tonight's game at Portland, which has split a pair of games at Dallas, is imperative with Houston, Phoenix, Denver and Utah also in action. The Trail Blazers are just playing out the season and will do so without LaMarcus Aldridge, who will have season-ending hip surgery. J.J. Hickson will replace Aldridge, who averaged 29.0 points and 12.0 rebounds in the first two games against Dallas.
"We don’t talk about the standings very often, but our guys are basketball guys. They watch games, they know where things are at and we’ve been talking about playoff mode now for two weeks," coach Rick Carlisle said. "It’s a must and the pressure that comes with that is a good thing. It’s the kind of pressure that you like. It brings you to higher levels and we embrace it. We embraced it last year in the playoffs and it got us a ring. Right now, we’re not looking just to get in, we’re looking to move up."
Records: Mavs (33-26); Trail Blazers (28-31)
Where: Rose Garden
TV: ESPN, FSSW
Radio: ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch: Jason Kidd played 33 minutes Thursday night because the Mavs allowed a depleted Golden State team to climb within three points in the fourth quarter after being down by as many as 19. Without Aldridge and Nicolas Batum ailing, the Mavs have a great opportunity to again jump out to a sizable lead. If they do, can they hold this time and allow Kidd -- and Dirk Nowitzki -- to rest up for Sunday's early afternoon tip in Los Angeles against the Lakers?
Key matchup: Raymond Felton vs. Mavs guards
In Portland's overtime win in Dallas a week ago, Felton lit up anyone who tried to guard him, knocking down 12-of-18 shots and 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. He finished with 30 points to reach that threshold for the only time this season. Jamal Crawford is more likely to be the guard to go off for 30, but if the Mavs let Felton heat up, especially if Crawford is on too, it can be a long night at a revved up Rose Garden where the Blazers are 20-11.
Injuries: Mavs -- None. Blazers -- F LaMarcus Aldridge (right hip) is out; F Nicolas Batum (left quad) is probable; G Elliot Williams (right shoulder) is out.
Up next: Mavs at Los Angeles Lakers, 2:30 p.m. Sunday
That’s about the only way a reasonable mind could stretch the truth and say that these Mavs resemble a title contender.
Screw stretching the truth after the Mavs let a 15-point lead slip away in Friday night’s 99-97 overtime loss to the lottery-bound Blazers. Let’s keep it real: The Mavericks are a mediocre team at the moment.
Actually, they’ve been a mediocre team for more than two months. Mark Cuban can talk about the lockout-compressed season producing “dirty data” all he wants, but win-loss records don’t lie.
And Dallas has been the definition of mediocre for more than half the season. Never mind the stumbling start of the season. The Mavs recovered from that, but they boarded the plane to Memphis as a .500 team (17-17) since Feb. 1.
“We’ve got to keep going,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I don’t know that it’s time for amateur psychologist analysis. It’s time for everybody to get in gear.”
No need to get bogged down in the details of this dreadful loss to a Portland squad that has an 8-19 road record and is realistically playing for nothing but pride. Analyzing how the Trail Blazers outscored the Mavs by a 30-10 margin in the third quarter -- when freakin’ Raymond Felton had 16 of his season-high 30 points -- is kind of trivial. So is discussing how Dallas’ closers failed in crunch time – Dirk Nowitzki had a terrible turnover with 22 seconds remaining and Jason Terry gave a bone-headed foul 40 feet from the hoop with 3.7 seconds left to allow Portland to set up the game-winning play -- after staging its own comeback.
After LaMarcus Aldridge's buzzer-beater beat the Mavs, just put this one near the top of the pile of disappointing losses by the defending champs.
“Ain’t no use in sitting here and harping on it,” Shawn Marion said. “It’s been that way mostly all year.”
If these weren’t the defending NBA champions, what remains from the team that stunned the basketball world last summer, we’d be digging the 2011-12 Mavs’ grave. They have to be given some benefit of the doubt after proving all the one-and-done predictions so wrong last seasons, but the list of reasons to believe they have realistic hopes of repeating is really short.
Let’s see ... They’ve still got Dirk. And this is still a top-six defensive team statistically. And, well, maybe they can catch lightning in a bottle again?
Sorry, but it’s hard to believe that. Especially after watching this 1-2 homestand, when they got lit up by Randy Foye and Raymond Felton. Man, the Mavs better hope they don’t run into a disappointing lottery pick-turned-journeyman in the playoffs.
That’s assuming they make the playoffs, which can’t be considered a sure thing with just a two-game lead (and the tiebreaker) over the ninth-place Utah Jazz and 10 games to go.
Yet hope remains, at least in the Mavs’ locker room, that this team can get healthy and make a run.
“It’s been a tough ride, but we knew with so many games in so many days that injuries were going to be a part of the season, especially with an older team,” Nowitzki said. “It’s been tough having some guys in and out. Hopefully we can get everybody healthy here at last, make a push and get some momentum going towards the playoffs.”
They’re counting on gray-haired, 39-year-old point guard Jason Kidd to recover from a strained right groin and perform like he did last postseason. They’re crossing their fingers that Lamar Odom can contribute during the playoffs after rarely showing a pulse since his broken-hearted arrival from Los Angeles.
We could go on and on, but let’s just say the list of things that have to go exactly right for the Mavs to repeat is a heck of a lot longer than the reasons to believe.
“No concern at all,” Terry said. “I know if we’re healthy and intact that we’re as dangerous as any other team in the West.”
Jet and the Mavs backed up his crazy brand of confidence last summer, so you can’t just dismiss Dallas altogether.
Reasonable minds, however, are back in believe-it-when-they-see-it mode with the Mavericks.
That was the case for big man Brendan Haywood after Portland’s All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge hit an overtime buzzer-beater to beat the Dallas Mavericks in front of an American Airlines Center sellout crowd that included several of the Seagoville product's friends and family members.
“You make a 6-11 guy take a one-dribble pull-up shot. He hit it,” said Haywood, whose lateral movement is still affected by the sprained right knee that caused him to miss seven games and requires him to wear a bulky brace. “Tip your hat and get ready for the next game tomorrow.”
With 3.7 seconds remaining, Aldridge caught the ball outside the 3-point arc on the left side of the floor, took one hard dribble to his right to get to the elbow and launched a 17-foot stepback that swished through the net, framed by the red light of the backboard.
“It was so fast, they couldn’t scheme me on that,” said Aldridge, who finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds. “I just popped to the ball, got to my spot and shot it real quick.”
It was an All-Star moment for Aldridge. Although point guard Raymond Felton played his best game in a Portland uniform, scoring a season-high 30 points, there was never any question about who the Trail Blazers were going to go to with the game on the line.
“We’re going to LaMarcus,” Trail Blazers coach Kaleb Canales said. “LaMarcus hit a big shot. Big-time player, big-time shot.”
Nothing the Mavs’ big man could do about it.
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.