Dallas Mavericks: Lamar Odom

Is Larry Sanders worth risk for Mavs?

May, 13, 2014
May 13
1:54
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LArry SandersAP Photo/David Zalubowski
In an ideal scenario, the Mavericks would make Samuel Dalembert one of the league’s better backup big men this summer.

The problem is there aren’t many potential upgrades available in free agency. In fact, you could argue that only Marcin Gortat fits the Mavs’ need for a center who can serve as a rim-protecting, rebound-grabbing defensive anchor while also posing a threat as a roll man offensively. And the Washington Wizards aren’t likely to let Gortat go without putting up a financial fight.

There is a pair of intriguing possible salary-dump trade options at the position, as mentioned by ESPN.com’s Marc Stein in his Mavs Summer Scoop: Tyson Chandler and Larry Sanders.

Chandler, who will be forever beloved in Dallas due to being such a critical piece of the 2011 championship puzzle, would be an extremely safe trade target. Sure, there is always an injury concern with him, but the Mavs would only be committed to the final season of that big contract he signed with the New York Knicks. They are obviously familiar with Chandler and know he’s almost as valuable in the locker room as he is on the floor.

Sanders, on the other hand, would be about as risky as they come. He’d arrive in Dallas with a four-year, $44 million contract extension that begins this summer and character red flags the size of billboards.

But, man, does this freakishly athletic 6-foot-11 dude have the tools to be a great fit next to Dirk Nowitzki for the big German’s golden years.

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Mavs' debt on Lamar Odom deal finally paid

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
12:22
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Dallas Mavericks have finally paid their debt on the disastrous Lamar Odom deal.

The protected first-round pick the Mavs gave up in the trade, which has since been shipped from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Houston Rockets to the Oklahoma City Thunder, is officially OKC’s property in this draft.

The pick was top-20 protected through 2017, so the Mavs had to finish with one of the NBA’s top 10 records to unload the pick this season. With the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls both losing their regular-season finales, the 49-33 Mavs have the league’s 10th-best record, giving the pick to Oklahoma City.

Had the Bulls or Raptors won, there would have been a random drawing to break the tie with the Mavs and determine the draft order. If the Mavs won the drawing, they wouldn’t have lost the pick this year.

It was the Mavs’ preference to part with the pick this season.

“I’d rather just get it over with,” owner Mark Cuban said before the Mavs’ loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. “I’m fine just getting it out of the way so it’s no longer over our head or an issue.”

The Mavs owing Oklahoma City a protected pick prevented Dallas from discussing giving up future first-round picks in trade talks. An NBA rule prevent teams from trading first-round picks in consecutive years, so the earliest first-rounder the Mavs can deal now would be their 2016 pick.
DALLAS -- When checking the NBA standings in the morning, Mavericks fans shouldn’t just focus on the cluster of teams competing for the final couple of Western Conference playoff spots.

Keep an eye on the middle of the East playoff pack, too. The records for the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls, in particular, could have a significant impact on the Mavs’ future.

That’s because of that pesky top-20 protected pick the Mavs owe the Oklahoma City Thunder (via the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets) from the disastrous Lamar Odom deal. The Mavs would much prefer to unload the pick this season, freeing them to discuss future first-rounders in trade discussions.

For most of the season, it appeared that the Mavs would simply have to make the playoffs to avoid having a top-20 pick because the East was so inferior. However, the Bulls and Raptors have both pulled even with the Mavs in the loss column with 46-32 records.

Right now, with the 48-32 Mavs sitting in eighth place in the West, they would get the No. 21 pick and give it to the Thunder. But, like their fight for a playoff spot, their hopes of staying out of the top 20 could go down to the wire.

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Value of picks painful lesson for Mavs

February, 19, 2014
Feb 19
2:58
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DALLAS -- Draft picks have never been more precious commodities in the trade market.

That’s one conclusion reached by owner Mark Cuban as the Mavericks do their annual due diligence of exploring any possible opportunities to upgrade their roster. It confirms what the Mavs have learned over the last couple of years.

“Teams really value picks more than they used to,” said Cuban, who has used picks as sweeteners in trades in the past, such as the Jason Kidd deal. “Teams now value receiving picks a lot more than they used to, so I think teams would rather not do a deal than do a deal without picks.

“Teams have kind of defined their strategy post-CBA where you either went all in and the team you’ve got is the team you’ve got [or] you went all under and you’re going young and you’re mining for draft picks. What I call the three years away from three years away strategy. Then there’s teams like us that are looking to make deals, that are flexible but aren’t willing to give up picks.”

Never mind willing. The Mavs aren’t able to give up any first-round picks before 2020 because of the top-20-protected pick they owe from the dreadful Lamar Odom deal that is now owed to Oklahoma City.

That makes it awfully tough for the Mavs to get any significant conversations started. Cuban says there are ways around it, methods the Mavs could use to be able to peddle picks, but he declined to elaborate. Suffice to say, it wouldn’t be simple or easy.

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That pesky pick from the Lamar Odom deal

February, 17, 2014
Feb 17
10:39
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The Mavericks essentially have one hand tied behind their back as they explore options for upgrading their roster before the trade deadline.

They’d prefer to be in the same situation next season, although only under certain circumstances.

That’s because the Dallas front office wants to have a first-round pick in what’s considered the deepest NBA draft in years. The Mavs still owe the Oklahoma City Thunder a top-20-protected pick, an asset the Mavs originally used to get Lamar Odom (oops) from the Los Angeles Lakers, who traded it to the Houston Rockets, who used it as part of the package to land James Harden.

It’s not that the uncertainty of their first-round pick, which forbids the Mavs from trading any first-rounders, is preventing the Mavs from making a deal. It just eliminates one major form of trade-deadline currency for a buyer. With no picks and no young talent that’s good enough to headline a package, it’s extremely unlikely that the Mavs will do anything significant before Thursday’s deadline.

As it stands coming out of the All-Star break, the Mavs have the eighth best record in the league, meaning the Thunder would own the No. 23 pick.

The Mavs obviously don’t want to drop into the lottery, which is the only way they can guarantee holding on to their pick this year. The ideal situation would be for a few East teams to finish strong enough to bump the Mavs up in the draft order.

Good luck with that. The Toronto Raptors (28-24) and Chicago Bulls (27-25) are the only East teams other than the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers who are even above .500.

This is a pick the Mavs expected to unload in the summer of 2012, but Dallas stumbled in the lockout season and ended up with the No. 17 pick, which they turned into Jared Cunningham, Jae Crowder and Bernard James after a draft-day trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Mavs ended up in the lottery last season, selecting Shane Larkin at No. 18 overall after twice trading down in cost-cutting moves.

The worst-case scenario would be for the Mavs to fail to finish high enough in any season to unload the pick before it becomes unprotected in 2018. Can you imagine the Mavs being in rebuilding mode after Dirk Nowitzki’s retirement and having to donate a lottery pick to the Thunder due to the Odom disaster?

Despite the deep draft, a strong case could be made that it’d be in the Mavs’ best interests to give up the pick this year, especially considering Dallas’ draft history the last decade.

3 Points: Biggest threats to playoff quest?

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
12:00
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Marc Gasol and Dirk NowitzkiJerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsThe return of Marc Gasol makes the Grizzlies a more formidable obstacle for the Mavs getting into the playoffs.
ESPNDallas.com columnist Jean-Jacques Taylor and MavsOutsider.com editor-in-chief Bryan Gutierrez will join me each week to run a three-man weave on a few questions on the minds of Mavs fans.

1. Which teams are the biggest threats to the Mavs' quest to make the playoffs?


Gutierrez: The only team behind Dallas right now that might bring some cause for concern is Memphis. That's due to the fact that Marc Gasol, the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year, returned to action after spraining a left knee ligament less than eight weeks ago. Their defensive tenacity can help them get back in gear, but they may be too far behind in the pack. I'm going to take an indirect route for the answer and say that the Mavericks themselves are the biggest threat to their quest to make the playoffs. They have the ability to score on any given night, but their own shortcomings on defense and in terms of rebound really derail their potential. It's up to them to decide how far they can really go.

Taylor: Denver and Minnesota are the best bets to improve and get better over the course of the season, which makes them the biggest threats to the Mavs. Denver has a new coach in Brian Shaw and it always takes teams time to adjust to a new coach and a new system. It takes time for all the players to find a role and get comfortable in it. The Nuggets are just 11-8 at home, where they have traditionally been outstanding. Once they play better at home, they'll start putting some winning streaks together. Minnesota's biggest problem is it doesn't know how to win. Kevin Love is among the league's best players. If they can continue to get strong performances from Ricky Rubio and Kevin Martin, they will eventually make a push for the playoffs. Rick Adelman is a terrific coach and sooner or later he'll get the most from that team's talent.

MacMahon: The Grizzlies are by far the biggest threat with Gasol back. I figured Memphis as a playoff lock before the season started. The Grizzlies got off to a disappointing start and struggled without their best player, but they are only one game below .500 and completely capable of still getting to 48 or 49 wins. The Nuggets and Timberwolves can't be discounted, but the Nuggets' inconsistency and Timberwolves' stunning inability to win close games (0-11 in games decided by four points or fewer) make them lesser threats.


2. Should the Mavs want Andrew Bynum if he'll take the minimum?


[+] EnlargeAndrew Bynum
AP Photo/Mark DuncanWould Andrew Bynum be worth the risk for the Mavericks?
Gutierrez: Hypothetical or not, Dallas doesn't really need to go after Bynum. Do they need a legitimate big man? The answer is obviously yes, but I don't consider Bynum to be that anymore. Mark Cuban has created a culture and locker room over the last decade-plus that has withstood a lot. The only thing it can't seem to withstand is when former L.A. Lakers have to change colors and become Mavericks. Dallas hasn't had any significant luck, mainly just aggravation, when it comes to bringing in players who used to wear the purple and gold. Fans who remember see Bynum as the "thug" who took a cheap shot on J.J. Barea during the conference semifinals of the 2011 playoffs. For those who haven't really kept up with him this year, the analytics say that Bynum isn't worth the hassle, even at the minimum. He doesn't radically improve the team defensively or in terms of rebounding. The culture has worked with various players, even this year with Monta Ellis, but past results in a specific category suggest that this isn't worth the hassle.

Taylor: I wouldn't want Bynum under any circumstances. He has a loser mentality and there's been no indication he loves the game -- only what it can prove him materially. The Mavs under Cuban, and especially under Carlisle, has been a franchise that plays with maximum effort. Lamar Odom drove Carlisle and Cuban crazy. Bynum would do it faster.

MacMahon: Yes. The Mavs were right -- and I was wrong at the time -- for not making Bynum an offer this summer when it would have taken significant guaranteed money to get him. Bynum obviously wasn't worth that risk. But there would be no risk with a minimum contract. The best-case scenario is that you get a center who can provide scoring punch, rebounding and an interior defensive presence for around 20 minutes per night. If he causes problems, cut him. For me, it comes down to this: Would you rather have Bernard James or Bynum?


3. Should the Mavs be buyers or sellers in the trade market?


Gutierrez: They should be buyers, but I don't really see what they can buy that makes a substantial difference. They have nice assets, but the assets likely won't fix what ails them unless they radically shift the makeup of their roster. Defense is clearly the issue, so they would have to give up key pieces to their offense to fill that void. It doesn't make sense to trade pieces such as Jose Calderon or Monta Ellis because they're new pieces to your core. When you look on the other side, guys such as DeJuan Blair, Vince Carter, Samuel Dalembert and Shawn Marion have contracts that are expendable, but they all provide something of substantial value to the team. It's a precarious spot for the Mavericks. They can't be sellers because they have a solid chance to be a playoff team, but their assets don't provide the foundation to provide a quick shot in the arm as buyers.

Taylor: This depends on what they're getting. If it's a high-end lottery draft pick, then be sellers because they have zero chance to win a title this season. If it's a low first-round pick, then the Mavs might as well try to have the best season they can and ruin someone else's season in the postseason.

MacMahon: They can't be sellers. Not if they want to avoid the wrath of a certain 7-foot German. Cuban is too competitive to do anything to reduce the Mavs' chances to get back in the playoffs anyway. But I don't think it's realistic to expect the Mavs to be buyers, either, unless a team is really motivated to dump salary. The Mavs just don't have the assets to be aggressive in the trade market, especially because they can't trade future first-round picks since they're still being handcuffed by the Odom deal.
Forget about Andrew Bynum’s bum knees for a few minutes. Do the Mavericks really want to bring another 2011 Laker to Dallas?

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.

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Maybe the third time would be the charm. The first two members of that squad -- the two-time defending championship team that ended up being barely a speed bump in the parade route around these parts – who later joined the Mavs were disasters in Dallas.

Lamar Odom goes down as one of the greatest disgraces in Dallas sports history. He went from Sixth Man of the Year to scrub during the lockout, and his lack of effort for the Mavs was just embarrassing. The man stole Mark Cuban’s money for a season, continuing to cash checks after Cuban finally had his fill and kicked Odom off the team.

Oh, and the protected first-round pick the Mavs gave up to get Odom seemed like chump change at the time, but it’s handcuffing the Mavs as far as trade assets go (they can't trade future first-rounders) and indirectly helped deliver Dwight Howard to Houston. The Rockets, who acquired that pick from the Lakers, shipped it to Oklahoma City as part of the blockbuster deal to get James Harden, which made recruiting Howard a realistic goal.

And the Odom deal/debacle can get even worse for Dallas. What if the Mavs aren’t good enough to give OKC the pick while it’s top-20 protected through 2017? Can you imagine the Thunder getting a high lottery pick from the Mavs right as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are reaching the middle of their primes?

Derek Fisher's layover in Dallas didn’t cause a whole bunch of collateral damage, other than hurt feelings. At least he had the decency to stop being paid when he quit on the Mavs.

The 37-year-old Fisher lasted a few weeks as the Mavs’ starting point guard before deciding he wanted to spend quality time with his family. That, of course, was a politically correct way of Fisher freeing himself to wait for an opportunity with a contender to come up.

Can the Mavs trust Bynum to pack his heart if he moves to Dallas? Of course not. But it isn’t like there are better big man options available.

We are talking about a guy whose motivation was questioned many times during his stint with the Lakers. This is a dude who quit on Phil Jackson in the legendary coach’s last stand, a broom-waving blowout in Game 4 of the 2011 West semis at the American Airlines Center.

Mavs fans’ strongest memory of Bynum is of his cheap-shot body slam of J.J. Barea, guaranteeing that the big man could exit the Game 4 rout early instead of enduring the embarrassment for 48 full minutes. Who can forget Bynum ripping off his jersey like a pro wrestler as he headed into the tunnel while being hollered at by Cuban and 19,000 other fans?

Do the Mavs really want that guy on their roster? Do they want to test their luck with another 2011 Laker?

In ideal circumstances, the answer would be absolutely not. But Bynum represents the Mavs’ only hope to hit a home run this summer, so they’d roll the dice on his character if his knees don’t scare them away.
As an opportunistic franchise, the Mavericks are of course interested in trying to take advantage of the Celtics’ fire sale by trading for All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo.

The issue: What assets do the Mavs have that would be intriguing to a rebuilding Celtics team?

PODCAST
Donnie Nelson joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the crazy NBA draft, new Mavs Shane Larkin and Ricky Ledo, and Dirk Nowitzki's long-term roll with Dallas.

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ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports the Celtics have asked for Dirk Nowitzki. That makes for an awfully brief conversation, especially considering Nowitzki’s no-trade clause.

If the conversations pick up, can the Mavs make an offer that would be better than what Boston could get elsewhere? Remember, Dallas can’t trade future first-round picks because it owes a protected pick to Oklahoma City (via the Lakers and Rockets, originally from the Lamar Odom trade).

Boston reportedly likes Dallas first-round pick Shane Larkin, but the former Miami point guard isn’t going to be a centerpiece to a blockbuster deal. If the Celtics decide to go the direction of a total teardown -- and give themselves a good chance to land phenom Andrew Wiggins with the No. 1 overall pick next summer -- the Mavs might be able to intrigue Boston with an offer that dumps a lot of salary on Dallas.

Some contracts the Celtics probably would want to part with: former Mavs forward Brandon Bass (two years, $13.35 million remaining), shooting guard Courtney Lee (three years, $16.35 million remaining) and soon-to-be-officially-acquired-from-Brooklyn forward Gerald Wallace (three years, $30.32 million remaining).

It would be miraculous for the Mavs to be able to carve out the cap space needed to successfully recruit Dwight Howard and swing a blockbuster deal to get Rondo.

If the Mavs managed both, Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson would deserve to share the executive of the year award. Pull off one or the other, and it’d still be a heck of a summer.

How could Mavs deal for DeMarcus Cousins?

June, 20, 2013
6/20/13
10:40
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Mum is the word for DeMarcus Cousins regarding the Sacramento Kings’ new regime.

[+] EnlargeDeMarcus Cousins
Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty ImagesThe Mavs would have to do some fancy maneuvering to come up with a deal for DeMarcus Cousins.
The Sacramento Bee caught up with the talented, erratic young center at Cousins’ basketball camp and attempted to pick his brain about the Kings’ new owner, general manager and coach. After a pause, Cousins offered a clumsy “no comment,” followed by a chuckle and the rolling of his eyes.

Cousins, the Bee reports, is simply following the orders of his agent to avoid comment on the Kings while they push for a max extension or a trade before he begins the final season of his rookie contract.

The Mavs have long been enamored by the skilled, 6-foot-11, 270-pound Cousins’ immense talent. They made several attempts to try to pry him from the Kings last season, when the unstable ownership situation essentially kept Cousins off the trade market.

The Mavs would certainly be interested in bringing Cousins to Dallas this summer in the likely event that they don’t land Dwight Howard. The problem: What package could the Mavs offer Sacramento that could possibly persuade new Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro to pull the trigger on a trade?

Proven veterans on expiring deals don’t have much value to a franchise that’s a lottery regular and attempting to rebuild. In other words, Shawn Marion and/or Vince Carter wouldn’t get the deal done.

PODCAST
Jalen Rose joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Game 7 of the NBA Finals and what he thinks it will take to win the championship.

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The Kings are well under the salary camp and don’t have any contracts on the books that are so bad that they’d be desperate to dump them in a deal. Maybe they’d like to unload John Salmons ($7.6 million next season with a $1 million buyout for 2014-15) or Marcus Thornton ($16.6 million over the next two seasons), but they aren’t going to give up Cousins just to get rid of those guys’ contracts.

The Mavs can’t trade future picks because of their protected first-rounder that’s still floating around (now Oklahoma City’s property) from the Lamar Odom deal/debacle.

Cousins, despite his on-court character issues, has value. Guys with that size and skill set don't come along very often. If the Kings shop him – and maybe even if they don’t – they will get intriguing offers that feature young talent and/or attractive draft picks.

At the moment, they Mavs don’t have the assets to make that kind of offer. Never say never, but it certainly seems that the Mavs would have to get at least one more team involved in the deal to come up with a proposal that could feasibly bring Cousins to Dallas.

It's a safe bet that Mark Cuban has plugged in all sorts of scenarios on his spreadsheets. It's a long shot that Cousins actually ends up in Dallas this summer.

Buzz: Cuban proud of fans booing Odom

March, 28, 2013
3/28/13
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DALLAS – Mark Cuban was a rowdy, loud and proud man Tuesday night, when he watched the Mavs’ OT thriller on television in the Cayman Islands, his family’s annual spring break getaway destination.

The fact that the Mavs managed to pull out the 109-102 win over the Clippers obviously pleased Cuban.

PODCAST
Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the historical perspective of Miami's 27-game win streak, the Mavericks' playoff push, the job Rick Carlisle has done this season and if it's a good idea for the Mavs to shave their .500 beards.

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He was also content with the sellout crowd’s rough treatment of Lamar Odom, who was booed relentlessly the second he started to take off his warm-ups, and every time he touched the ball.

“Absolutely,” Cuban said before Thursday’s game against the Pacers, which he’ll watch before flying out in the morning to rejoin his wife and kids. “I was proud of the way everybody received Jet. Proud of the energy the crowd had [Tuesday night]. You could feel it through the TV. We felt it in the Caymans.”

Jason Terry, aka Jet, received the appropriate standing ovation when the Mavs legend recently returned to the American Airlines Center for his first appearance here as a member of the Boston Celtics.

Odom, of course, received the polar opposite sort of welcome, which was appropriate given his disgraceful partial season in Dallas that ended prematurely after Cuban basically kicked him off the team.

Odom told ESPNDallas.com before Tuesday’s game that he felt no guilt about what happened during his tenure with the Mavs, but would apologize if he ever had a conversation with Cuban.

Confused? Well, Odom’s pseudo-intellectual comments didn’t exactly clarify his stance, but they did give Cuban some comedic fodder.

“You might be married to somebody for 40 years and then go to the Caymans,” Cuban said, mocking Odom’s bizarre explanation of why he felt no guilt about his failed Dallas stint. “You might just go the Caymans one time and just move there and live there for 100 years. That’s just a thing a man has to figure out.”

Odom indicated that he felt that Cuban didn’t really have any harsh feelings for him, saying, “I can say, 'F--- that garbage can,' but I love it. And you wouldn't ever know, because every time I come up to you I say, 'F--- that garbage can,' you know what I'm saying?”

Cuban’s laughing response to the garbage can metaphor: “Why do you think they line it with plastic?”

However, Cuban did indicate that he’d be willing to have a conversation with Odom at some point.

“Look, there’s only one person, two maybe that I still hold grudges against and neither are basketball related,” Cuban said. “You guys thought the same thing about [Don Nelson]. Nellie and I get along great. So …”
DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki’s overtime dominance doesn’t happen unless the Mavericks’ most maligned clutch player came through with the game on the line.

PODCAST
Tim MacMahon joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss his recent conversation with Dez Bryant, the Cowboys' attempt at landing free agents without money and the Mavs' playoff push.

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O.J. Mayo had two huge buckets in the final 82 seconds of regulation to give the Mavs a chance to pull off Tuesday night’s thrilling upset over the Clippers.

Yes, the same Mayo whose clutch turnovers have caused Mavs fans to scream countless cusswords over the course of an often frustrating season.

Yes, the same Mayo whose production has plummeted all season long against the West’s best teams.

None of that mattered once Mayo got matched up against the smaller Chris Paul in crunch time. Nor did the fact that Mayo made only three of his first nine shots from the floor.

Mayo’s first big bucket was an and-1 turnaround off a post-up that tied the score with 1:22 remaining. The second was one of the most memorable plays of the Mavs season, with Mayo spinning away from the help defense to beat Paul on the baseline before flipping in a pretty lefty layup to tie it up again with less than a second remaining.

“Guys that are 'players' – and I put players in quotes – they don’t worry about their shooting percentage,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “You’ve got to stay in the now and you’ve got to trust all the years that you’ve practiced and trained. In those situations, O.J. is one of those guys that all he’s thinking about is how to get the ball in the basket. He looks at it as an opportunity.

“Guys that are wired that way, whenever you can get ‘em, you want to get ‘em.”

This isn’t out of character for Mayo. He’s been a prolific clutch scorer all season. According to NBA.com’s advanced stats, Mayo ranks eighth in the league with 109 clutch points (scored in last five minutes with the score within five points). Yet his most memorable crunch-time plays have been turnovers, a league-high three of which came in the final 10 seconds of losses, and missed free throws.

Those failures didn’t instill any fear in Mayo.

“He wants to win and he’s not scared of the moment,” Elton Brand said. “He’s putting himself in situations to tie the game. Some guys shy away from it. He’s put himself in situations all year. Sometimes he succeeded; sometimes he didn’t. That’s the mentality he has to have.”

Mayo’s description of his crunch-time mindset: “Keep being aggressive. Obviously, you’re not going to make every shot. I want to. … Just keep being in that attack mentality and try to win ballgames.”

Mayo played a major role in winning this one.

A few more notes from the Mavs’ most impressive win of the season:

1. BOOOOOO!!!!: Mavs fans made their feelings for Lamar Odom loud and clear, booing as soon as he took off his warmups to check into the game and again every single time he touched the ball.

Odom earned that wrath with his inexcusable lack of effort during his 50-game stint with the Mavs last season, which ended after Mark Cuban finally got sick of it and essentially kicked him off the team, albeit with pay.

Of course, Odom shrugged it off after his six-point, six-rebound, 19-minute outing in the Clippers’ loss.

“I’ve played in really hostile environments all my life,” Odom said. “It’s sports. You got to expect that. That’s what we love about sports.

“I’ve played in the championship round before, you know what I’m saying? In Boston. That’s what happens. That’s what we really love in the game. That’s the way it’s going to be in the playoffs for everybody.”

2. Big D in Dirk: It’s natural to focus on the fact that Nowitzki scored a season high 33 points on 12-of-21 shooting. Especially since he shouldered the offensive load in overtime, singlehandedly outscoring the Clippers while accounting for the Mavs’ first eight points of the extra period.

Just don’t overlook Dirk’s contribution on defense.

“If you remember, he was the one out there trapping Chris Paul to get it out of his hands,” Brand said. “He’s out there running, trapping, rotating and then coming down and scoring. It was great, great leadership by Dirk.”

3. Brand banging: Elton Brand joked that he feels like a leper because the Mavs coaching staff is so fixated on making sure he gets rest. They won’t even let him do much during shootarounds.

Brand needs all the energy he can muster to bang with guys like Blake Griffin.

Brand more than held his own against the young, explosive All-Star power forward. He held Griffin, who scored only 14 points on 4-of-12 shooting, in check.

“It’s a team effort any time you try to stop a scorer like that,” said Brand, who had eight points, five rebounds and four blocks in 25 minutes.

That’s a swell thing for Brand to say, but the stats don’t lie. Griffin had 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting in the 21 minutes he was on the floor and Brand was watching from the bench. In the 15 minutes they were matched up, which included the majority of OT, Griffin scored only three points on 1-of-6 shooting.
DALLAS – Lamar Odom, whose one-year stint with the Mavericks was one of the biggest disgraces in Dallas sports history, returns to the scene of the crime Tuesday night.

PODCAST
DeAndre Jordan of the L.A. Clippers joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to talk about the Mavericks, why Dirk Nowitzki was one of his favorite players growing up and how he enjoyed the success of his Texas A&M Aggies on the football field.

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The court of public opinion has found Odom guilty of first-degree basketball fraud for his antics last season, when his out-of-shape body went through the motions with the Mavericks while he left his heart and mind in Los Angeles.

Khloe’s little Lam Lam was acquitted on one count of attempted murder on the Mavs’ soul. After all, Odom can’t be reasonably accused of trying during his four months of failure in Dallas.

“It was like going to war with wet gunpowder,” Donnie Nelson said after the Mavs parted ways with the veteran in April, summing up the Lamar Odom saga in Dallas.

Alas, the punishment for Odom’s hoops felony is pretty light. Other than a permanently stained reputation for the former reality show star, all Odom has to deal with is the wrath of the American Airlines Center crowd during the Los Angeles Clippers’ lone visit this season.

It’s safe to assume that Mark Cuban will join a sellout crowd in giving Odom a cold welcome. Cuban admits to muttering bad things about Odom under his breath during the Mavs’ two road losses to the Clippers earlier this season. The boo-every-time-he-touches-the-ball treatment would be appropriate.

You can’t blame Cuban for still being furious about Odom’s fraud. Forget what seemed like a steal of a deal backfiring in the Mavs front office’s face. Odom made Cuban look like a fool for having his back over and over again to the point of being perceived as an enabler, especially during Odom’s bizarre post-All-Star-break sabbatical, when the owner met with Odom at the W Hotel to talk him into rejoining the team while the rest of the Mavs were in the midst of the lockout-compressed season’s most grueling stretch of games.

Cuban finally had his fill of Odom’s bull by April 7, well after home fans had started booing him. After seeing Odom loaf through four first-half minutes in Memphis that night, Cuban angrily confronted him in the locker room, repeatedly asking if he was “in or out.” Odom’s response of “stop playing games” didn’t satisfy the owner, who decided to send Odom home for the rest of the season, paying him to just go away.

Oh, and the Mavs aren’t done paying for the Odom ordeal.

Dallas still has to give up a first-round pick to complete the Odom trade. It’s now the property of the Oklahoma City Thunder, who acquired it in the James Harden deal from the Houston Rockets, who acquired it from the Lakers along with Derek Fisher (how fitting) for Jordan Hill.

The pick is top-20 protected through 2017, so the worst-case scenario is that the OKC gets a lottery gift from its Interstate 35 rival in 2018, just before Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook turn 30.

Maybe the Odom deal, which was made possible by the trade exception created in the sign-and-trade that sent Tyson Chandler to the New York Knicks, was the basketball gods’ way of punishing Cuban for breaking up a team coming off an NBA title.

The basketball gods certainly didn’t enact any vengeance on Odom. He landed back in Los Angeles with the contending Clippers, making the full $8.2 million salary in the final season of his contract to serve as a role player on arguably the NBA’s best bench. (The fact that Dallas was able to trade Odom for essentially nothing instead of having to pay his $2.4 million buyout was considered a minor win for the Mavs.)

Odom hasn’t exactly regained his Sixth Man of the Year from 2010-11. In fact, he’s averaging a career-low 4.1 points per game while shooting an unsightly 38.8 percent from the floor, numbers that are a continuation of his drastic offensive decline last season. However, Odom has been a contributor for the Clippers since getting in reasonably decent shape, averaging 5.8 rebounds in 20.4 minutes and playing good defense.

“He’s in a situation that’s really perfect for him,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said, taking the diplomatic route. “He’s a defender, rebounder and can play off of other people. He’s having a really good year for them.”

Mavs fans have every right to interrupt that “really good year” by making Odom miserable for one night.

Deron Williams doesn't deserve Dallas boos

March, 20, 2013
3/20/13
9:06
AM CT
DALLAS -- Mark Cuban, the Mavericks’ unofficial boo leader, didn’t hesitate to highly recommend that fellow MFFLs loudly direct their wrath at Derek Fisher on Sunday.

What about Deron Williams tonight?

Cuban is keeping his mouth shut on that one. Or he at least didn’t reply to an email inquiring about the subject. And he intentionally avoided making the trip to Brooklyn to see the Mavs play the Nets at the beginning of the month because, he explained, “I don’t need to be on the back page of the New York Post.”

That’s probably wise. No need for Cuban to give an opposing star any additional, fresh motivational fodder. (That worked out so well with Kobe Bryant, huh?)

Besides, Williams doesn’t deserve to be booed during his annual trip to the American Airlines Center, an arena the native of nearby The Colony described last year as his favorite in the NBA.

Unlike full-of-it quitter Fisher, Williams didn’t do the Mavs wrong. He just politely and professionally declined their halfhearted recruiting pitch and decided to move to Brooklyn with the Nets.

You can debate whether Williams made the right decision. You can argue that he’d have been better off as the centerpiece of a two-year rebuilding plan in Dallas instead of being stuck on a roster with bloated contracts in Brooklyn, which will be handcuffed by the CBA in its attempts to make the upgrades necessary to become a legitimate contender.

Cuban could have made those points in a face-to-face meeting with Williams in July, but he opted to have Michael Finley join Donnie Nelson and Rick Carlisle as the point men for the most important free-agency pitch in franchise history. Filming "Shark Tank" on the West Coast was Cuban’s priority, hence the halfhearted recruiting pitch.

If you’re still upset about Williams not coming home this past summer, boo Cuban, not the point guard.

Cuban is the one who has said that he didn’t really want Williams anyway -- and the whole "Shark Tank" deal seems to support that statement. (Cuban, who has taken some reality=show-related heat from Dirk Nowitzki, has vowed to keep his schedule clear for the first two weeks of July this summer.)

It was only after Cuban declared that he believed the Mavs were “better off” without him that Williams fired back, telling New York reporters that he might have signed with the Mavs if Cuban had only made the effort of meeting with him and answering his questions. That back-and-forth fizzled out quickly, and nobody else with the Mavs has any ill will toward Williams, whose concerns about being left to carry the Mavs by himself if Nowitzki went down seemed pretty prescient in the first two months of the season.

“He’s still a friend of mine,” Nowitzki said before the Mavs’ trip to Brooklyn. “Obviously, he didn’t come join us, but I wished him luck then.”

For the Mavs’ wish for a win to come true, they’ll probably need to contain Williams, who struggled through his own health issues for the first half of the season but is suddenly performing like an elite point guard again, averaging an efficient 23.4 points and 7.7 assists since the All-Star break.

No need for the AAC crowd to add any fuel to Williams’ fire with boos that would just make Mavs fans look bitter.

Better to save your venom for a deserving target. On a related note, Lamar Odom comes to town next week.

Sarcasm drips as Cuban discusses Fisher

February, 26, 2013
2/26/13
7:43
PM CT
DALLAS -- Sweat wasn’t the only thing dripping from Mark Cuban during his customary pregame workout on the stairstepper Tuesday night.

The sarcasm poured when the subject turned to Derek Fisher signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder a little more than two months after requesting his release from the Mavericks for family reasons.

Cuban, who said there was “no side deal” regarding family issues when Fisher signed with the Mavs, sarcastically claimed he understood Fisher’s decision to resume his career with a contender.

“His kids are older,” Cuban said. “It’s easier to fly in and out of Oklahoma City than Dallas. I understand that. It’s a decision a parent has to make. Every parent has difficult decisions to make.”

Moments later, Cuban added: “A lot can happen in 65 days.”

This marks the second consecutive season that a former Laker has quit on the Mavs. Unlike Lamar Odom, Fisher at least had the decency to stop cashing paychecks signed by Cuban.

Asked if he planned to stay away from ex-Lakers, Cuban said, “In protection of my [Twitter] timeline, I’m not going to say anything.”

Don't bank on Mark Cuban's Mavs making a trade

January, 21, 2013
1/21/13
11:30
AM CT
Even before he expounded on a recent Weekend Dime conversation by declaring this week that the "Bank of Cuban is open," Mark Cuban and his Mavericks were already known to be aggressively exploring their trade options in the wake of the team's worst start since Dirk Nowitzki's second season.

The problem?

No matter how eager the boss is to do a deal, payroll relief is the only significant asset Dallas can offer teams between now and the Feb. 21 trade deadline, since Cuban has made it clear that Nowitzki is off limits … and with Dallas' 2013 first-round pick either required to stay in Big D if it falls in the top 20 or otherwise already owed to Oklahoma City through a previous trade with the Lakers (Lamar Odom) that ultimately put the pick in the Thunder's hands as part of subsequent trades headlined by Derek Fisher and James Harden.

So …

Cuban is serious when he says he intends to make some sort of swap before the trade buzzer sounds, but my sense is that the most likely scenario has Dallas taking the bulk of its financial flexibility into the summer as long planned. If the Mavs have waited this long for a shot at Dwight Howard, after Cuban's controversial decision to let several free agents from his 2011 title team scatter, what's another six months to wait and see if they've got any sort of shot at the famously fickle big man?

Dwight definitely wants things (and needs them) to work out in L.A., for his image and also because he loves the Hollywood scene, but let's be honest: Who knows how he'll feel about Lakerland come July?

And that's why, in the short term, Dallas is more apt to try to trade Vince Carter to a contender that could use an extra shooter, or pitch the likes of Brandan Wright to a team in search of one more big man in hopes of securing an extra draft pick or shedding a little extra salary.

The "Bank of Cuban" reference was a typically colorful reminder from the Shark Tank patriarch that the Mavs are in position to make a splashy acquisition by taking on a big contract as opposed to merely counting on a free-agent savior after missing out Deron Williams last summer. But that option will be there for them in July with their cap space, too, so holding off on taking in a big contract now -- even if their Dwight odds are microscopic -- only makes sense.

Which helps explain why sources close to the situation tell ESPN.com that the Mavs are not among the teams that have expressed interest in Grizzlies' highly available Rudy Gay.

Read the rest of the Weekend Dime here.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Monta Ellis
PTS AST STL MIN
20.9 4.5 1.7 34.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 11.9
AssistsR. Rondo 9.3
StealsR. Rondo 2.0
BlocksT. Chandler 1.4