Dallas Mavericks: Stan Van Gundy

Mavs out of luck if Dwight Howard traded soon?

May, 22, 2012
5/22/12
11:43
AM CT
If Dwight Howard is dead set on leaving the Magic's small (market) world ASAP, as reports suggest, and Orlando grants his wish, it's hard to find the happily-ever-after ending for the Dallas Mavericks.

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Is the Dwight Howard to the Mavs dream alive? Dwight still wants out of Orlando and it could open the door for the Mavs to put a proposal together.

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That's the picture Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi painted Tuesday morning during an appearance on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike in the Morning." If you thought D12 got what he wanted with Monday's news of coach Stan Van Gundy's firing and the franchise parting with general manager Otis Smith, it might come as a surprise then that Bianchi suggested that Howard could be traded before the June 28 draft.

Bianchi believes the Magic will first ask Howard for a long-term commitment. If the game's top (and seemingly profoundly confused) center says no thanks, then Bianchi thinks the Magic will act quickly to move him out to spare the club and its fan base another derailing, drama-filled season.

If Orlando again begins to solicit trade offers for its statuesque big man coming off back surgery just a month ago -- while also likely looking to unload the egregious Hedo Turkoglu contract (two years, $23.6 million) -- what's the Mavs' best offer?

Think the Magic jump at Brendan Haywood, Lamar Odom's partially guaranteed contract, Shawn Marion, Brandan Wright, Rodrigue Beaubois and whoever else the Mavs might want to throw in?

Not likely (and it's here where speculation can run wild that re-signing Tyson Chandler might have made the Mavs a more prominent player in a potential deal).

Howard has been adamant that he wants to play for the Brooklyn Nets. That's presumably because of his desire (or is it adidas' desire?) to play in a large market where his superstardom can really shine, and his arrival would almost certainly convince All-Star point guard and free-agent-to-be Deron Williams to sign long-term in the borough. If the Nets get a top-three pick in the draft lottery May 30, they'll keep their protected pick from the Gerald Wallace deadline deal, a golden nugget to toss into a package to Orlando.

The Nets, with restricted free-agent center Brook Lopez, and the Los Angeles Lakers, with center Andrew Bynum or power forward Pau Gasol as prime bait, are the top contenders to deal for Dwight now.

The Mavs simply are not.

Dallas' best hope would be that the Magic are desperate to trade Howard out of the Eastern Conference and can't work out a deal with the Lakers. The worst-case scenario, obviously, would be for Orlando to deal him to Brooklyn, effectively (presumably) taking the Mavs out of the running for D-Will and leaving Mark Cuban and Dirk Nowitzki staring into an uneasy future.

Mavs' stars incapable of such a Magic circus

April, 6, 2012
4/06/12
3:04
PM CT
DALLAS -- There's Lamar Odom's drama and Jason Terry's mouth. And for whatever reasons Rick Carlisle appears headed to the postseason without a contract extension. There have certainly been some interesting days in Dallas this season, but it all pales to the ongoing circus in Orlando -- the Dwightmare as some have dubbed it.

PODCAST
Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle discusses Friday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Rodrigue Beaubois' play of late and whether he's ever had a player try to get him fired.

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After his Indecision '12, Dwight Howard -- who listed the Mavs among the three teams he preferred to be traded to (when he actually preferred to be traded) -- finally opted to stay in (moments after he opted out) Orlando for another season, but Magic coach Stan Van Gundy told the media Thursday that his star center is angling to have him canned.

The scene truly turned bizarre when Howard sidled up to the Diet Pepsi-swilling SVG as he was surrounded by media moments after Van Gundy dropped the bomb.

Howard, unknowing that SVG had leaked his conspiracy, put his arm around his coach in seemingly a show of support -- and then denied he'd gone to management with a request to fire his coach.

Unreal.

"I guess my perspective is it makes me realize how fortunate we are here to have very stable ownership and great stability with star players like Dirk and Jason Kidd and Jason Terry," Carlisle said. "We haven't gone through things like that. Dirk was a free agent two years ago and he was only interested in being here, and that's what makes him special and makes our situation special. That's what I take from that situation is it just makes me more grateful for what we've had here."

Howard then laid an egg Thursday night as the Magic got trounced at home by the New York Knicks for their fifth consecutive loss. As the final seconds ticked down, a contingent of Knicks fans cheered the visitors' victory and Howard sat on the bench smiling and waving his arms as if urging the Knicks fans to bring it.

The most dominant center in the game today has said he stayed in Orlando to chase a championship this season. Who knows if that team can even keep it together at this point?

And the defending champs, just one game over .500 since Feb. 1, thought they had problems.

"I think everything we've been through the last three to four years, we'll never let it divide us," Terry said. "Yeah, I've said whatever I say in the media, but I'll come back and back it up the next night. And Dirk will say what he says, but it'll fire somebody up. It never breaks us apart and I think that's the difference between us and other teams."

The Mavs have handled internal strife, the limited amount there has been over the years, quickly and mostly seamlessly. One incident that sticks out was the screaming match between Terry and Jose Juan Barea late last season that also saw Terry jaw with Carlisle with the coach banishing Terry from the huddle.

"You've got to give credit to myself, Dirk, J-Kidd, the leaders of this team for not allowing distractions to divide us," Terry said. "You may go through your struggles throughout the season and guys get into it, but it's a family and it's going to happen. But you can never let it divide you. We believe in each other, we believe in the system. Obviously coach Carlisle, what he accomplished last season, he's one of the best.

"When you've got everyone's back and everyone's on the same page, it's a big difference."
DALLAS -- No controversy involving the Mavericks can pass without Mark Cuban being asked for comment.

So we asked him to weigh in on the infamous, invisible haymakers thrown by Brendan Haywood at Dwight Howard's lower back. Or so Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said, at least.

“That’s an internal issue,” Cuban said. “To me, teams have to manage their own internal issues and that’s one of the ways you do it. So who knows?”

Cuban declined to elaborate, so it’d be inaccurate to report that he said it was a desperate attempt by Van Gundy to salvage his relationship with the Magic's superstar by making a big scene of sticking up for Howard. Cuban just implied that.

Give Cuban credit for seeing through the bull, which he’s pretty good at spreading himself when he sees fit. He made his “internal issue” comment Wednesday evening, well before Van Gundy pulled back the curtain after the Magic’s morning shootaround and let the world know that management had confirmed that Howard had lobbied for the coach’s firing.

So, just to be clear on all this, Van Gundy’s complaints about Haywood punching Howard in the back were probably part of an effort to prevent Howard from stabbing Van Gundy in the back.

Pregame buzz: League won't punish Brendan Haywood

April, 2, 2012
4/02/12
7:19
PM CT
DALLAS -- Apparently the league office didn't see Brendan Haywood throw a punch either.

NBA authorities do not plan to take any action regarding the alleged punch that Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said Haywood threw into the back of Magic center Dwight Howard during the Mavs' comeback victory Friday night, according to a league source.

Van Gundy said he turned in film for the league to review. Haywood has maintained his innocence saying that things can get testy between players, but that he never threw a punch.

Howard missed Saturday's practice and did not play in Sunday's game against Denver because of back spasms, just the third game he's missed due to injury in his eight-year career. After Saturday's practice, Van Gundy told reporters that Haywood threw two punches into Howard's back during one possession and that he planned to send the film to the league. Howard still played 44 minutes, recording 19 points and 15 rebounds. Van Gundy said Howard was able to stay in the game because he was loose, but that after the game Howard tightened up.

Haywood said he doesn't know about the film Van Gundy must have sent to New York because the Mavs' staff has scoured the game film and found no evidence of a punch being thrown.

"I guess he’s got something no one else has," Haywood said of Van Gundy on Monday during an appearance on "The Ben & Skin Show" on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. "Like I said, it’s a physical game and sometimes guys get testy with elbows thrown, forearms, but no one throws any punches out there. Most of the NBA guys, without a doubt, it’s all WWE to us. We’re fake tough guys. No one throws any real punches. It’s unfortunate Stan feels that way. I know he has to protect his guy, but that’s just not the case. No one has any footage of it I guess except him, so unless he had [assistant coach] Patrick Ewing on the bench taping with his iPhone, I don’t think that really happened."

Brendan Haywood: Punch claim no April Fool's joke

April, 2, 2012
4/02/12
10:25
AM CT
Brendan Haywood initially figured Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy had to be pulling an April Fool's joke on him Saturday when he claimed the Dallas Mavericks center had sucker-punched Dwight Howard in the back during Friday's game.

PODCAST
Mavs C Brendan Haywood responds to Stan Van Gundy's claim that he punched Dwight Howard. April Fool's joke?

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Haywood, making an appearance Monday morning on the Ben & Skin Show on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM, said he quickly realized Van Gundy wasn't kidding around.

"I was at home and I thought Stan Van Gundy was setting everybody up because it was April 1st," Haywood said. "I thought it was a big April Fool’s joke. I thought we’re all going to laugh about it, and then I realized he was serious. There's nothing to it."

Haywood, who claimed innocence after Sunday's practice, was still chuckling about Van Gundy's accusation Monday morning, making light of it when he was introduced onto the show: "I’m just sitting here training with Floyd Mayweather getting ready for my next fight," Haywood said.

Van Gundy wasn't laughing when he made the claim after the Magic's Saturday practice in which Howard did not participate, and he certainly wasn't chipper Sunday when back spasms sidelined Howard in the Magic's 104-101 loss against Denver. It was only the eighth game Howard has missed in his eight-year career and the third due to injury.

Van Gundy didn't specify when the alleged incident occurred, but he accused Haywood of punching Howard in the back twice during one possession and said he planned to send video of the infraction to the league office.

"It's really ridiculous and I want to get it on film and send it in," Van Gundy said Saturday, according to OrlandoMagic.com. "Haywood just punched him literally with a closed fist right in the back. So [Howard] got through the game because he was loose, but then it really tightened up."

Haywood, who had missed the previous seven games with a sprained right knee, reiterated that he didn't throw any punches. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said his staff has reviewed the game film and and found no evidence of a punch.

"I guess he’s got something no one else has," Haywood said of Van Gundy. "Like I said, it’s a physical game and sometimes guys get testy with elbows thrown, forearms, but no one throws any punches out there. Most of the NBA guys, without a doubt, it’s all WWE to us. We’re fake tough guys. No one throws any real punches. It’s unfortunate Stan feels that way. I know he has to protect his guy, but that’s just not the case. No one has any footage of it I guess except him, so unless he had [assistant coach] Patrick Ewing on the bench taping with his iPhone, I don’t think that really happened."

Haywood called Howard the most physical player in the league and said that 6-foot-11, 266-pound All-NBA center made his presence felt on the opening possession.

"The first play of the game he popped me real good in my chest," Haywood said. "He hit me so hard in my chest, I felt it in my knee. You’re never supposed to get hit hard enough in your chest that you feel it in your knee. I didn’t know what that was about."

The league office did not immediately respond to an email asking if it has received a video from the Magic. Haywood said he isn't concerned about any disciplinary action because he doesn't believe the punch exists.

"No one has this footage except for Stan," Haywood said. "Stan has it and it’s going in his video archive."

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Monta Ellis
PTS AST STL MIN
20.3 4.4 1.8 33.8
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 12.0
AssistsR. Rondo 7.2
StealsM. Ellis 1.8
BlocksT. Chandler 1.4