Dallas Mavericks: Steve Novak

Countdown: No. 14 Brian Cardinal

May, 15, 2012
Second in a 15-part series ranking the Mavericks' 2011-12 roster in importance of bringing back next season.

Look, these rankings might seem easy to put together, but it takes hours of hair-splitting internal debate. So believe me when I say there's a certain starting center that flirted with this early position in the Countdown until reality set in that big-bodied centers are just too hard to find (not that Dallas won't decide to amnesty this certain starting center anyway) to toss one, as disappointing as he might have been, into the trash bin at No. 14.

Such is the case even when talking about a hustle guy like The Custodian, the quintessential locker-room guy, a guy the coach knows is always ready, the guy who will always make the smart play and come through in a pinch and always, always works his tail off.

That described Brian Cardinal a year ago during the Mavs' championship run. This year? Eh, not so much, minus the work-his-tail-off part.

At 35, if Cardinal can't be counted on to get in the game and knock down a corner 3-pointer to go along with a jarring drawn charge, then he becomes expendable. Therefore, and it is with a touch of sadness, Cardinal's two-year stop in Dallas, as entertaining and as joyous (mostly) as it was, has come to a close.

At No. 14 in the Countdown is ...

Pos: PF
Ht/Wt: 6-8, 240
Experience: 12 years
Age: 35 (May 2, 1977)
2011-12 stats: 1.0 ppg (20.4 3FG%), 0.8 rpg
Contract status: Free agent
2011-12 salary: $854,389
2012-13 salary: TBD

[+] EnlargeBrian Cardinal
Jerome Miron/US PresswireBrian Cardinal didn't see much playing time this season even after the departure of Lamar Odom.
His story: Consider this about Cardinal: During last season's playoff run, he knocked down 3-of-4 shots from beyond the arc. He made 10 overall this season, which is especially tough to swallow considering the 3-ball accounted for 89.1 percent of his total shot attempts. Cardinal dropped 42-of-87 (48.3 percent) from beyond the arc in 56 games during the 2010-11 season. The addition of Lamar Odom obviously pushed Cardinal deeper on the bench, but even after Odom's dismissal in early April, Cardinal didn't see much time. Cardinal will draw a charge or make a steal, but he's got to be able to spread the floor while he's on it.

His outlook: During the Mavs' exit interviews, Cardinal made it clear that he wants to play at least one more season. It's highly doubtful that it will be in Dallas, but surely there's a team out there that can use a steady veteran presence for spot minutes. Who knows, maybe the Mavs will have a last roster vacancy as free agency toils into August and beyond and they'll bring him back on another veteran's minimum deal. Remember, when Cardinal first arrived at training camp in 2010, he was on a make-good contract with Steve Novak. Cardinal made good, Novak did not.

The Countdown
No. 15 Lamar Odom
No. 14 Brian Cardinal
No. 13 Coming Wednesday

W2W4: Can Mavs contain Jeremy Lin?

March, 6, 2012

DALLAS – Linsanity gained lot of believers the last time the Knicks faced the Mavericks.

There has only been one point guard to really light up the Mavs since Shawn Marion became the primary defender of that position. That was Lin, who had 28 points and 14 assists to lead the Knicks to a win over the defending champions in a nationally televised Sunday afternoon matinee at Madison Square Garden last month.

Tyson Chandler laughed after the game when he recalled how his former Mavericks teammates told him they had a plan to shut down Lin, the sudden phenom.

“I guess they were dead wrong in the scouting report,” Chandler said.

Or maybe Marion just had dead legs, which he admitted was a major issue the next week.

We also might not see the Lin-Matrix matchup nearly as much this game. Rodrigue Beaubois, who was on a personal leave during the Mavs’ trip to New York, will take his turns guarding his former summer league teammate. And Carmelo Anthony is back for the Knicks, so Marion might spend most of the night defending the perennial All-Star small forward.

“That's my guess,” Lin said of the Melo assignment for Marion. “We’ll just be ready for whatever they throw out at us. I think he’s a great defender. I actually didn’t think he did a bad job. He forced me into a lot of tough shots. I know he got some fouls and a lot of times he was attacking the pick, it wasn’t necessarily him. Whatever they throw at us we have to be ready for.”

The Mavs better be more ready for Lin than they were last month.

Records: Mavs (22-17); Knicks (18-19)

When: 7:30 p.m.

Where: American Airlines Center


Radio: ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM; 1270 AM (Spanish)

What to watch: The Mavs, losers of five of their last six games, desperately need a win but might not have much gas in their tank after last night’s down-to-the-wire loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Dirk Nowitzki played 38 minutes, Jason Terry 37 and Marion 36. Will they have enough life in their legs to finish strong if this game goes down to the wire? And can the Mavs figure out how to execute down the stretch even if the energy is there? They haven’t been good in clutch situations all season and have been awful lately, a reversal of the trend during their title run.

Key matchup: Mavs bench vs. Knicks bench – Dallas prides itself in being one of the deepest teams in the league, but the Knicks bench destroyed the Mavs bench last month at Madison Square Garden. Steve Novak lit it up for 14 points in 23 minutes. J.R. Smith had 15 points in his Knicks debut. Lamar Odom was especially dreadful for the Mavs, who were outscored by 17 in Odom’s 20 minutes. The Mavs’ bench is shorter than usual because of injuries, but there’s no reason the Knicks' reserves should be a dominant force.

Injuries: Mavs – C Brendan Haywood (sprained left ankle) is questionable; G Delonte West (fractured right ring finger) is out; C/PF Brandan Wright (concussion) is out. Knicks – G/F Bill Walker (elbow) is out.

Up next: Mavs at Phoenix Suns, 9:30 p.m., Thursday

Peja not expected to join team on road trip

January, 29, 2011
DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks bid farewell to Sasha Pavlovic after Saturday night's game, opting to waive the small forward after his second 10-day contract expired rather than sign him for the remainder of the season.

That leaves the Mavs in transition mode once again at least for the next four games, if not longer. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said Peja Stojakovic, signed to a full contract last Monday, but still nursing a knee issue, is not expected to travel on the team's upcoming three-game road trip through New York (Wednesday), Boston (Friday) and Charlotte (Saturday).

If that's the case, the earliest Stojakovic would return is Feb. 7 at home against Cleveland.

"He will stay here and concentrate on conditioning and the physical aspects of getting ready to play," Carlisle said after the Mavs' 102-91 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. "At that point we believe he will be much more ready to step on the court. That is subject to change, but that is where I believe things are right now."

Pavlovic played 10 games and started six, allowing the Mavs to return to their comfort zone with Shawn Marion accompanying Jason Terry off the bench. The Mavs won their final four games and five of the six Pavlovic started.

Marion would now seem to have to step back into the starting role.

The Mavs are down to 14 players, including Stojakovic. Carlisle said the club will either sign another player to a 10-day contract or stick with what they've got for now.

While Joe Alexander, a 6-foot-8 forward for the D-League Texas Legends has received some rave reviews, one team source said the Mavs could look to bring back sharpshooter Steve Novak on a 10-day contract. Novak made the team on a non-guaranteed contract out of training camp, but was waived prior to the deadline for all contracts to become guaranteed for the season.

Novak, however, is not a guy the Mavs would likely slide into the starting small forward spot to keep warm until Stojakovic is ready to go. When with the team, he appeared in just seven games.

Positive Sasha Pavlovic hopes to impress

January, 10, 2011
DALLAS -- Sasha Pavlovic has 10 days to prove he deserves another 10 days and so on as the 27-year-old former teammate of LeBron James attempts to revive his career with the Dallas Mavericks.

Drive Time with Tyson Chandler is here once again. Tyson calls in on the way to practice and compares Ben to Oprah, discusses his future with the Mavs, and serenades us again with a Michael Jackson tune.

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Pavlovic arrived in Dallas on Sunday, signed a 10-day contract Monday morning and then took part in his first practice with the Mavs.

"This is the first time in my seven years that I have been in this position," Pavlovic said. "I'm going to do my best and whatever happens happens."

The Mavs are searching for ways to fill the void left by Caron Butler, who is expected to miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee. The Mavs waived 3-point shooter Steve Novak last week and will give the 6-foot-8 Pavlovic, who was out of the league this season, a look.

"There were a lot of names we looked at and to us he was the guy that made the most sense for us, what we needed and how he would fit in with our personnel," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "Off a day-and-a half of having him here, I’m very pleased with the condition that he’s in, his IQ for the game and what we’ve thrown at him in a short period of time."

Dallas plays next on Wednesday night at Indiana, the start of a four-game road trip. Pavlovic is expected to be active and could see playing time.

"He [Carlisle] told me he wants me to step up defensively and make open shots," Pavlovic said. "So that’s what I’m going to try to do."

Pavlovic played on the Cleveland Cavaliers' 2007 Finals team, but his career has been on a downward trajectory from there.

He was dealt to the Phoenix Suns in the Shaquille O'Neal trade, was released and then signed by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He played in 71 games for the Wolves last season, averaging 3.7 points.

"It’s tough, but you've got to stay positive," Pavlovic said. "This is a tough league to be in and even tougher to stay in. As soon as you relax or have one bad year like I had you’re out. Last year I was a little bit down on my confidence and I think that’s the reason I didn’t have a job. But, like they say, what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger."

Source: Mavs eyeing Sasha Pavlovic

January, 9, 2011
The Dallas Mavericks are getting closer to making a roster move in the wake of Caron Butler’s season-ending knee injury … albeit a minor roster move.

The Mavs plan to sign former first-round draft pick Sasha Pavlovic to a 10-day contract this week, according to a source close to the situation.

Dallas doesn’t play again until Wednesday, when it visits the Indiana Pacers after a three-day break.

Pavlovic has been looking for a new team since the summer after averaging just 3.7 points in limited minutes last season in 71 games with Minnesota. The 27-year-old is regarded as a small forward with decent size and a proven 3-point stroke, but likewise considered suspect defensively.

The Serbian swingman, drafted No. 19 overall pick in the 2003 draft by the Utah, spent one season with the Jazz and five with Cleveland before the Cavaliers dealt him to Phoenix in the Shaquille O’Neal trade in June 2009. Pavlovic never played for the Suns, signing a one-year contract with Minnesota in the summer of 2009 after the Suns bought him out.

Dallas waived Steve Novak last week to make room to add a player.

Brian Cardinal sticks; could Novak return?

January, 5, 2011
DALLLAS -- Reserve power forward Brian Cardinal will be sticking around with the Dallas Mavericks. His non-guaranteed contract became fully guaranteed Wednesday, the day the Mavs waived the small forward Steve Novak, who was also signed in the offseason to a non-guaranteed contract.

Cardinal found a niche in Dallas in limited playing time, bringing solid defense and 3-point shooting. He's become move valuable in the wake of injuries to Dirk Nowitzki and Caron Butler.

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said Novak remains a possibility to return at some point. Teams can sign players to 10-day contracts starting Monday, meaning Dallas could also reach out to its D-League affiliate in Frisco for a player. The Mavs now have 14 players on the roster with one available spot.

"As a franchise we’re keeping our options open," Carslisle said. "We love Novak. What happened today doesn’t preclude the possibility of him returning at some point, possibly soon. We’ll see. We’ve got to evaluate a lot of things right now."

What's in store for the Mavericks?

January, 5, 2011

The Mavericks will make a trade eventually in the wake of Caron Butler's season-ending knee injury.

How can we be so sure?

Simple: The Mavs always make a trade.

Don't they?

Yet while sources with knowledge of the team's thinking say there is indeed some sentiment within the organization to pursue Stephen Jackson -- who was hoping to land with the Mavs last season when Golden State dealt him to Charlotte instead -- one source told ESPNDallas.com that the smaller-scale acquisition of a player who can fit into the Mavs' available $3 million trade exception ranks as the more likely move for now.

Stephen Jackson
Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty ImagesCharlotte guard Stephen Jackson could be a viable option to fill Caron Butler's void.
Could that stance change? Sure. The trading deadline isn't until Feb. 24.

But the immediate plan, as covered in this cyberspace Sunday, is giving the players on the current roster some time to prove they can -- or can't -- cover for Butler. Pointing to the Boston Celtics and how they've consistently weathered injuries without much dropoff since their championship season in 2007-08, Mavs owner Mark Cuban said: "That's more the model than anything else."

Some evidence to illustrate Dallas' deliberate-for-now pace when it comes to making changes: Word arrived Wednesday that the Mavs want to take their time filling the roster spot vacated by Wednesday's release of little-used Steve Novak as opposed to immediately signing a fill-in to a 10-day contract.

The Mavs, though, are indeed huddling to assess their trade options already, so they're ready to pounce if Roddy Beaubois' worryingly slow recovery from a broken foot continues to drag. Or if the regular-season load on Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd gets even heavier than it is now, when it's already pretty daunting.

Team officials consider the Mavs' in-house harmony to be the best seen in their locker room for years, but sources say that it's really not chemistry concerns that would put them off the edgy Jackson. Not with Nowitzki and Kidd -- veterans Jackson respects -- around to bond with him. And not with Jackson's proven abilities to make 3s, play dogged D and perform in the playoffs ... all of which would have sounded appealing even with Butler healthy.

ESPN NBA senior writer Marc Stein joins Ben and Skin to talk all things Mavericks, the NBA trade market and much more.

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The pause with Jackson would be mostly financial, since Jackson turns 33 in April and is only in the first year of a new three-year contract valued at $28 million. Dallas would be discouraged further if Bobcats owner Michael Jordan holds out for more than a mere Butler-for-Jackson salary dump.

The ex-Warrior wouldn’t be as pricy as going for Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala -- who isn't as well-rounded offensively as Jackson and thus not nearly as appealing from a fit standpoint -- but one source close to the situation says Cuban would have to be sold that acquiring Jackson is an “over the top” move.

Even in a West far more wide open than anticipated, Dallas isn't quite sure.

Houston's Kevin Martin remains a fantasy target -- coveted by the Mavs since last winter -- but the Rockets have made it clear that trading Martin is not in their plans ... and that trading him to an in-state rival probably never will be.

As Cuban noted in his Tuesday night session with reporters, speaking generally about players he'd want to go for: "The other side has to want to make the trade."

Memphis' O.J. Mayo, although he's not a small forward, is an interesting name and presumably not untouchable given all the troubles Mayo is having in Memphis. Sacramento's Omri Casspi -- whose modest $1.3 million salary more than fits into the $4.3 million and $3 million trade exceptions Dallas has available through July 13 -- is a small forward and is another name known to intrigue the Mavs.

The price for either, however, would be high. The Grizzlies are expected to ask for a lot in return for Mayo, no matter how mad they are about his role in this week's fight with teammate Tony Allen on the team plane, largely because they gave up Kevin Love to get him in the 2008 draft. Casspi, meanwhile, has several teams chasing him, but sources say Sacramento wants a point guard or another need-filler in return for the Israeli, who is treasured by Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof. It remains to be seen whether the Kings will eventually be willing to work with a team offering, say, a future first-round pick and a willingness to take on Francisco Garcia's or Beno Udrih's contract.

Kevin Martin
Bill Baptist/NBAE/Getty ImagesWhile the Mavs would love to acquire Kevin Martin, he, along with the likes of O.J. Mayo and Kevin Love, remains a long shot.
But Dallas apparently has begun scouring league rosters for potential trade targets in the $3 million-or-less category who, thanks to their trade exceptions, could be acquired for as a little as a future second-round pick if another team out there is simply looking to get off some money.

The Mavs, meanwhile, also continue to cling to hope that a big second-half comeback looms for the dynamic-in-theory Roddy Beaubois, who has the unquestioned ability to provide scoring on the weakside opposite Nowitzki in ways no one else the roster (including Butler) can ... but who still hasn't practiced once since October's re-aggravation of the foot he broke in August.

Will Beaubois be the closest thing to a marquee in-season addition we see from the Mavs? You never want to assume anything with Mark Cuban's operation, but that is the vibe emanating from Mavsland as we speak, with the trade deadline still 50 days away.

"Other than the Spurs," Cuban said Tuesday night, "it's not like the other teams aren't having their issues, too."

Translation: Cuban wants to see how the deepest team Dallas believes it has assembled in years can cope with a season-ending injury before deciding it's fatal to their title chances.

"We're a much better team with Caron, obviously, but we're still a better team than we were last year even without Caron," Cuban said.

Happy holidays for Brian Cardinal

December, 24, 2010
DALLAS -- It's easy to forget that professional athletes don't live in a sports vacuum. They have real lives and real families -- wives and children who can go weeks and months in a stretch without seeing or hugging a husband or daddy.

Take Dallas Mavericks reserve forward Brian Cardinal. After two seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Cardinal signed a non-guaranteed contract to join the Mavs. That meant moving his family -- pregnant wife Danielle, 4-year-old son Bryson and 2-year-old daughter Emery -- from Minneapolis to their permanent home in Northern Indiana, and then leaving them behind to join the Mavs for training camp in late September.

About a month later, just before the start of the regular season, Cardindal flew home for the birth of his third child, daughter Delanie. Home just a few days, it would be the last time Cardinal would see his wife and kids for nearly two more months.

[+] EnlargeBrian Cardinal
Glenn James/Getty ImagesBrian Cardinal had a hard time being away from his family after signing with the Mavs, but with his crew now with him in Dallas, all is merry for the reserve forward.
"It’s hard just because you miss certain things, you miss certain events or you’re on the road during a birthday or during a holiday," Cardinal said. "It’s difficult when you miss the important dates, and heaven forbid somebody gets sick or is not feeling 100 percent and you’re not able to be there to help out so it makes it hard."

Because the 33-year-old Cardinal signed a non-guaranteed contract, the Mavs can release him by Jan. 10 and not owe him the remainder of his salary. So Cardinal's future has always been in some doubt, which initially made him think for stability's sake that it was wiser to keep his family in Indiana.

"That was the thought for a while, but that’s hard when you’ve got three kids," Cardinal said. "To have them down in Dallas is great."

The family made the move just a few weeks ago, a midseason transaction that has kept Cardinal smiling, if not up to his elbows in diapers.

"The crew's back together," Cardinal said. "It’s straight chaos in the Cardinal household."

The NBA schedule-makers did Cardinal and the Mavs a big favor this season with a five-day break between games over Christmas. Dallas wrapped up a two-game road trip at Orlando on Tuesday and doesn't play again until Monday night at Oklahoma City.

Such an extended holiday break is rare in the NBA. The Mavs could be playing on Christmas as they did a few years ago in Portland. Or take San Antonio, for instance. After playing Thursday in Orlando, the Spurs are back in action Sunday night.

"It’s great just to be able to spend time with them over the holidays and be home to open presents and wrap presents for mom and decorate Christmas cookies and do all the things we enjoy to do as a family," Cardinal said. "It’s great to have everybody there."

The best Christmas present Cardinal could receive now is assurances that he'll stick with the Mavs for the remainder of the season. The 6-foot-8 forward in his 11th season has not had much playing time recently, but he was an effective defender and 3-point shooter when he received his only stretch of consistent playing time in November when Caron Butler missed three games with back spasms.

Cardinal has also been an easy fit in a congenial locker room, and he is a reliable insurance policy at the forward position.

He said the club has not given him an indication of their intentions. It would seem that he and forward Steve Novak, who is also on a non-guaranteed contract, will remain with the team. However, as their contracts state, there is no guarantee.

Cardinal just knows he's not ready to move his young family back to Northern Indiana.

"Hopefully," Cardinal said, "we'll be here for the whole year."

Steve Novak gets shot on active roster

December, 1, 2010
DALLAS -- With Dominique Jones playing for the D-League's Texas Legends, Steve Novak moves onto the active roster for tonight's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Novak this season is averaging a rebound per minute. Of course, he's logged just two total minutes in one appearance against the Memphis Grizzlies on Nov. 11.

Alexis Anjinca got his shot to wear the uniform last Friday at San Antonio when Brendan Haywood was suspended for the game. But, with Haywood, Tyson Chandler and Ian Mahinmi all suiting up, the Mavs went with the long-range shooter.

Sources: Novak, Cardinal make Mavs' roster

October, 21, 2010
Veteran swingman Brian Cardinal and sharpshooter Steve Novak have made the Mavericks' opening night roster, according to team sources.

All NBA teams must reduce their rosters to a maximum of 15 players by Monday afternoon, but the leaguewide deadline for cuts was essentially Thursday because players need 48 business to clear waivers.

On Thursday, Dallas announced the release of guards Dee Brown and Adam Haluska, its other two players in camp.

The Mavs also waived swingmen Rashad McCants and Sean Williams.

McCants and Williams were signed earlier this week to audition for the Mavs and undergo physicals. Under a new rule instituted by the NBA starting this season, Dallas' D-League affiliate in nearby Frisco can claim the rights to three of the four players released Thursday for the coming season as long as their D-League rights were not previously held by another team.

McCants and Williams are both expected to sign with the Texas Legends -- who will be coached by Nancy Lieberman and who are co-owned by Mavs president Donnie Nelson -- after clearing waivers next week.

After initial indications that the Mavericks would keep only Cardinal or Novak and leave one roster spot open, management decided to keep both, meaning Dallas will begin the season with 15 players.

Cardinal was always considered the favorite, sources said, but Novak came on strong as the preseason progressed.

Shawn Marion eager for PF minutes

October, 4, 2010
Part of the Mavericks’ offseason mission was acquiring a capable backup power forward, which would allow them to trim Dirk Nowitzki’s minutes.

The Mavs swung and missed on a couple of free agents. Udonis Haslem took less money to stay in Miami as part of the SuperFriends’ supporting cast. Al Harrington opted to go for Denver for the same money and a bigger role. It appeared that the Mavs plugged the hole by re-signing Tim Thomas, but that didn’t work out due to his wife’s illness.

Brian Cardinal and Steve Novak, a couple of power forwards with NBA experience, are fighting for a roster spot. There’s talk of 7-footer Tyson Chandler seeing some spot duty at power forward against big teams.

But the reality of the situation is that the Mavs need Shawn Marion to get significant playing time at power forward. And that’s fine by the 6-foot-7 Marion, who had some of his best years as a power forward for the run-and-gun Suns.

“It’s cool actually,” Marion said. “Honestly, the 4 gets all the baskets and gets all the shots. So I’ll get in there real quick. Give me some shots, baby! Why not? I’ll take it.”

Coach Rick Carlisle said he loves the idea of using the 32-year-old Marion, who might be losing his starting job at small forward, as a power forward.

“He’s going to have a quickness advantage almost all of the time,” Carlisle said. “He’s a movement maker. He just makes things happen on the court. For years, people have been trying to label him as some particular type of player. He’s just a basketball player. It’s very difficult to say he’s this position or that position. His position is on the court.”

But Marion didn’t play much power forward in his first season with the Mavs. According to 82games.com, Marion played only 16 percent of available minutes at power forward, which is a little less than eight minutes per game. A lot of those minutes came in smallball lineups with Nowitzki at center.

The goal is to cut Nowitzki’s minutes to the 35-36 range each game. Marion believes he’s more than capable of providing a dozen quality minutes per night as a power forward.

Heated competition set for 14th spot

September, 30, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas --When the Dallas Mavericks open the preseason Tuesday night at home against the Washington Wizards, there will be interesting areas to observe, such as who starts at shooting guard and small forward, as well as the anticipated debut of rookie Dominique Jones.

But, the most heated competition going on will be for the 14th spot on the roster and the important role as backup power forward behind Dirk Nowitzki. OK, so maybe that role is better defined as backup backup power forward because small forward Shawn Marion and center Tyson Chandler are expected to play the bulk of the minutes there during the 13 minutes or so a game when Nowitzki is not on the floor.

Still, outside of Nowitzki, the Mavs don't have a true power forward. They made it clear what type of player they were looking for when they passed on 6-foot-9 inside presence Ike Diogu (the Garland product joined the Detroit Pistons on Monday on a make-good contract) and signed a pair of power-forward perimeter shooters to make-good contracts in Steve Novak and Brian Cardinal. The Mavs also brought in shooting guard/small forward Adam Haluska and undersized guard Dee Brown.

All figure to busy during the preseason.

"Last year we only had seven exhibition games. This year we have eight and no back-to-back so we are going to have to use all eight to look at these unknowns," Carlisle said. "The possible 14th spot, the different big guys, what they can do."

The big guys are young and unproven centers, 6-11 Ian Mahinmi and 7-foot Alexis Ajinca. They're part of the Mavs' overcrowded, four-headed center position behind Brendan Haywood and Tyson Chandler.

Ajinca was acquired from Charlotte along with Chandler in the Erick Dampier trade. Ajincawas put on the trading block, but obviously the club wasn't able to move him. That could change once the preseason begins. Carlisle was talking up Ajinca's attributes Wednesday and his solid performances in the early days of camp.

"I'm very certain there's going to be teams calling us about trade possibilities once they start seeing some of these younger guys in exhibition games," Carlisle said. "But, we'll see about that."

*The Mavs are back at SMU Thursday for two practices, a morning and late afternoon session. The annual Fan Jam will be held at the American Airlines Center Monday night before the preseason opener on Tuesday.

Season theme: Leave egos behind

September, 27, 2010
As the Dallas Mavericks smiled through Monday's Media Day and prepare to open a more serious four-day training camp at SMU on Tuesday, the club is trumpeting its depth as its strength. Of course, it can only work that way if the players, particularly those who might be asked to accept new roles or reduced minutes, buy in.

"It's going to be real competitive between our first and second group, and we're going to look at different combinations and different guys in different situations," third-year coach Rick Carlisle said. "And look, it's very possible we're going to have some guys coming off the bench that are not accustomed to doing that."

Carlisle wasn't smiling when he suggested that he'll have limited patience for players who place their personal interests ahead of team goals.

"Anybody that presents themselves with that kind of selfishness isn't deserving of being in a Maverick uniform. That's my feeling about it. I know it's Mark's feeling about it," Carlisle said. "This ain't going to be about role definition. It's going to be about role acceptance. We'll see the character of our team, the resourcefulness of our team. Both those things are huge, and that's what's going to define us as a special team as opposed to a good team."

[+] EnlargeDirk Nowitzki
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireDirk Nowitzki said the Mavs' veteran players need to accept their roles, whatever they may be.
The biggest question heading into camp is who will start at shooting guard? The question is more complicated because of the foot injury that will keep Roddy Beaubois out of action for likely all of the preseason and possibly into the regular season. The team has sent signals that they'd like to start Caron Butler at small forward instead of at shooting guard as he did last season, which would bump Shawn Marion to the bench, a role he's never played before and one that Jason Terry has embraced the last few seasons. Terry spent most of Monday talking up his plan to reclaim the Sixth Man of the Year Award.

The Mavs could be looking at a second unit that includes Terry, Marion, J.J. Barea, Tyson Chandler, as well as possibly Beaubois and impressive rookie Dominique Jones and DeShawn Stevenson.

"If you bring Shawn Marion off the bench we're really going to have the best bench in the league, if that's what it is," Terry said. "My focus right now is getting that second unit in tune, getting us in gear so when we come in the game there's no fall off. We're coming in to make an impact and to be effective and just cause havoc."

Regardless of who starts and who doesn't, the Mavs are loaded with players that are used to starting. While Terry accepted the change and thrived, other players tend to interpret a move to the bench as an indication that the franchise believes their game is in decline. In the Mavs' situation, it is about finding combinations that put players in the best spot for the team to succeed.

Dirk Nowitzki, entering his 13th season, said whatever moves are made, it is up to veteran players to accept them and move on.

"Looking at it, you can't have hurt feelings on a good team, we're beyond that," Nowitzki said. "If you want to win a championship, you can't be running around being mad all the time at the coach or at the situation. I think we're all in this together. Some nights coach has shown that his substitution patterns are different, I want to say. Some nights you might play a lot of minutes and the next night you might not see the court. That's just Rick and we all got to get used to it and I think we did last year."

*The Mavericks on Monday officially announced the signing of Dee Brown, Brian Cardinal and Adam Haluska, along with last week's signing of Steve Novak to non-guaranteed contracts. The training camp roster stands at 17 players.

The Mavs have 13 guaranteed contracts heading into training camp, leaving two roster spots open.

"It's extremely competitive. There's spots to be earned, but there's going to be a decision made based on preseason and training camp so I think we're all just trying to bring our best," said the 6-foot-10 Novak, who played the last two seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers and two seasons prior with Houston. "We know what we've got to do. None of us are rookie, first-year guys, we've all been through it before and know that you have to put your best foot forward and show them what they want to see."

* Beaubois participated in Media Day on Monday and, in a good sign, he was was wearing sneakers -- on both feet. Beaubois is out of the boot that was saddled to his left for several weeks as he's recovered from surgery to repair a broken bone. Carlisle said Beaubois has had no setbacks, but a timetable remains elusive. The hope is he will be ready to play in the season opener on Oct. 27.

Four will try to make 15-man roster

September, 23, 2010
Steve Novak is the latest player the Dallas Mavericks will bring into training camp on a non-guaranteed contract.

The 6-foot-10 Novak played the last two seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers. He'll join forward Brian Cardinal and guards Dee Brown and Adam Haluska as hopefuls to make the final roster.

The Mavs have 13 guaranteed contracts, leaving two roster spots available.

The team will hold Media Day on Monday at the American Airlines Center and open training camp Tuesday at SMU.



Dirk Nowitzki
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
ReboundsD. Nowitzki 6.2
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9