Chat with Tim MacMahon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, Dallas Mavericks reporter Tim MacMahon stops by to chat about the team.
MacMahon joined ESPN in September 2009 and covers the Cowboys and Mavericks. He has covered the local sports scene from high schools to colleges to pros during his six-year tenure at The Dallas Morning News. MacMahon is a graduate of UNT.
Send your questions now and join MacMahon Tuesday at 2 p.m. CT/3 p.m. ET!
Tim MacMahon (3:03 PM)
The Mavs are eight games below .500, so there are a ton of questions about this team. I'll do my best to provide some answers. Fire away.
wishing 2011 (lewisville)
since it looks like the mavs will be in the lottery ---I have not really watched college basketball this year. Since the mavs need just about everything in the future --what player would you like them to take?
Tim MacMahon (3:05 PM)
One scout told me this is the weakest draft he's ever seen. That's a pretty popular opinion. So good luck getting a star out of this draft, especially if the Mavs are in the 10-12 range, as appears likely. Oklahoma State PG Marcus Smart, a Flower Mound Marcus product, is a guy who I think would be a good fit. I'll readily admit, however, that I don't watch much college hoops until March.
david portland, oregon [via mobile]
Could you see a possible nowitzki for howard trade happen before the deadline?
Tim MacMahon (3:06 PM)
Only in fantasy leagues.
Why don't the Mavs just shut Dirk down for the rest of the season and let him get healthy?
Tim MacMahon (3:07 PM)
His knee is healthy. The muscle strain was unrelated to the knee surgery. There are a couple of reasons not to sit Dirk the rest of the season: 1) He's too competitive to be down with that. 2) How rusty would he be to start next season if he hasn't played for nine months at that point?
Alternate universe...the Mavs right now have Kidd, Barea, Terry, Stevenson, Marion, Brewer, Dirk, Wright, Chandler, and Mahimi/Bernard James, where do they sit in the Western Conference right now and how far would that team have gotten last year in the playoffs?
Tim MacMahon (3:09 PM)
I think that's a 6 or 7 seed in the West right now. They might have gotten into the second round last season, but they weren't going to beat OKC. The Mavs seized the moment when they had a shot to knock off the Thunder in 2011, before Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka had hair on their chin.
Deven (Dallas, TX)
Why are the Mavs having troubling closing out games lately?
Tim MacMahon (3:12 PM)
They have no continuity and their guards and trying to learn how to close games on the fly. Plus, Dirk isn't Dirk. They need him to be an elite closer, like he has been the last several years. He's not capable of that right now.
todd (new london tx)
when did mark stop caring about competing, was winning the title bad for the present fans and players? why is he turning in to Donald sterling?
Tim MacMahon (3:13 PM)
I disagree with the premise of your question. I don't think Cuban has stopped caring at all. He's as competitive as ever. He just took a major risk by stripping down the title team and it's blown up in his face. If you want to criticize him, get on him for thinking he was smarter than the rest of the NBA front offices, not because he's cheap. He'd love to spend big money on a free agent this summer. He just probably won't have the chance.
Out of Kaman, Collison, Carter, Marion, and Mayo, how many of these guys would get you another teams first round pick?
Tim MacMahon (3:16 PM)
None will get you a lottery pick, but I think they'd all have some value to contending teams with needs at their position. The Mavs should be working the phones to try to figure out if they can get anything of value (young players or picks) for any of those guys. This season isn't going to be salvaged with a trade, but the Mavs might be able to kickstart the rebuilding process.
I think Cousins has potention to be the best center in the league and he is the only one who we should try to trade for. Is there any chance Cuban make a super trade?
Tim MacMahon (3:17 PM)
Trust me, the Mavs are trying to trade for Cousins, as are other teams. The Kings aren't budging. He's the type of talent who would be worth sacrificing the (slim) chance to sign Dwight Howard this summer.
Damian (Menands, NY)
Hey Tim, I'd like to get your take on whether or not the Mavs should end up becoming sellers of veterans Shawn Marion and/or Vince Carter if they continue to play this way or worse. At what point before the deadline does the MBT sell Marion/VC 'high' and see what they can net in return while likely shaving their 13'-14' salary off the books going into the summer?
Tim MacMahon (3:19 PM)
As I mentioned, I'm 100 percent on board with the Mavs being sellers at the deadline. They're fooling themselves if they think there is a deal that can save this season. The Mavs have to play at a 50-win pace the rest of the season just to finish .500.
Has Dirk played in his last all-star game or will we see a better Dirk next year provided he's a as healthy as a 35 year old basketball player can be?
Tim MacMahon (3:20 PM)
I'm not in the business of ruling out a Hall of Famer after one down year that has been marred by injuries. Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett both made it back to the All-Star Game after their long streaks were snapped. Having said that, I do believe that Dirk's days of being the lone superstar on a legit contender are done.
What is Carlisle doing playing Mike James? I know he has no good options at PG but what is the point of playing a washed up has been?
Tim MacMahon (3:22 PM)
It's not like Roddy Beaubois or Dominique Jones have any future here. Carlisle is just trying to win games. James has a toughness that Carlisle likes, but he has been painfully inefficient. His shooting percentage would be a mediocre batting average.
Paul (Midlothian, TX)
With the current status of the team what the heck are they playing for?
Tim MacMahon (3:22 PM)
Howdy T-Mac,Do you see the rookies finally getting more playing time now that the Mavs are most-most likely out of the Playoff picture (unless the Lakers, Rockets, Blazers and another 5-8 seed team collapse, right)? It is nice to see Sarge getting playing time at the start, and Crowder getting rewarded for his hard work and aggression (despite terrible shooting) - maybe Jared Cunningham should be activated as well - your thoughts?
Tim MacMahon (3:24 PM)
The fact that Cunningham, an Oregon State product and Oakland native, got sent to the D-League the day the Mavs took off for a trip to Portland and Golden State is a pretty strong sign that the powers-that-be aren't pleased with him. I'm all about giving Sarge and Crowder minutes over vets who won't be here next season. Let's see what the young guys have and how much they can improve the rest of the season.
Rodolfo Queiroz (Fortaleza, Brazil)
Hey Tim,Bernard James seems to be the closest thing to what we had with Tyson Chandler, with that being said, do you think he can be that defensive anchor we have desperately needed? Going the next few years Dwight-less seems okay to me.Thanks
Tim MacMahon (3:25 PM)
Way too early to say that. Maybe James' ceiling is as a 20-minute-per-game energy guy. That'd still make him a very good second-round pick.
How do the Mavs get out of the mess they are in now? Unless they can pull off some miracles this summer, are we talking a total rebuild job through the draft?
Tim MacMahon (3:27 PM)
Barring a summer miracle, whether that's signing Dwight Howard or trading for a star, it might be best for the Mavs to rebuild the old-fashioned way. If they stink next season, they'll have a high lotto pick and pretty much a clean slate for a payroll. The problem is you're wasting one of Dirk's golden years, but they might not have a choice.
Backup PG is a problem for the Mavs (James, Roddy, Jones, a big drop off from Collison)...would the Mavs have an interest in Brandon Jennings who becomes a free agent. He could start or Collison but either way, we have two pretty good PG's.
Tim MacMahon (3:29 PM)
If the Mavs sign Brandon Jennings, Collison won't be coming back. Collison will look for a team that wants him to be a starter. My radio co-host Landry Locker is big on Jennings, but I'm not real high on a small, shoot-first point guard with a sub-.400 career shooting percentage.
What do you think of Crowder? Thought was billed as a high energy player who would be a real asset off the bench? Not really seeing that. He seems more a guy who likes to shoot from deep albeit not very well.
Tim MacMahon (3:31 PM)
I agree that he jacks up too many jumpers, but I think Crowder has a chance to be a gritty role player. I don't see him ever being a starter, but he might be able to stick in the NBA as a rotation player. But he has to be a dirty-work guy. He's a little short for a small forward and not very athletic by NBA standards.
Can we trust a Mavericks front office to rebuild a team on the legs of an aging superstar in Dirk, and an inability by the Mavs front office to scout and draft talent that will fit the team concept?
Tim MacMahon (3:33 PM)
Has the front office already burned up all the benefit of the doubt from a 12-year playoff run that featured two trips to the Finals and a championship? This rebuilding project can't be based on Dirk as the foundation. He has to be a complementary piece. That's the challenge. And they've got to start hitting on draft picks, but they'll be picking a lot higher than they have in the previous dozen years.
Determining which Mavericks have the most value to organization going forward is going to be incredibly important this off season. Who would you like to see us keep and scratch off this year's squad?
Tim MacMahon (3:37 PM)
A lot of that depends on the money. I think O.J. Mayo can be a significant contributor to a good team, but I don't want to pay him $10 million per season. He might get that in the open market this summer. I'd like to give Darren Collison a J.J. Barea-like deal, but he'll be looking for more. The second-round rookies (James and Crowder) are inexpensive and worth keeping around. But Dirk is the only guy guaranteed to be back next season. I wonder if Carter and Marion can be more valuable to the Mavs' rebuilding project as trade bait than on the floor.
Tony(dallas) [via mobile]
Do u see the mavs going after josh smith in a trade? What about brandon jenning in the offseason? Granted not superstars but best thats out there after superstars
Tim MacMahon (3:38 PM)
I don't see why Atlanta would trade him. Their pitch to Dwight Howard would be to join Al Horford and Smith in the league's best frontcourt. I know Smith is entering free agency, but he's good friends with Howard and the Hawks have room to sign both of them.
In his latest interview Dwight remains as non committal to the Lakers as ever. Realistically though Tim if Dwight decided to walk this summer ..... Dallas or Atlanta would be the likely destinations. What would Atlanta have that Dallas doesn't?
Tim MacMahon (3:40 PM)
Just touched on this with my last answer. The Hawks are a playoff team that could become a legitimate contender by adding Howard. The Mavs would make Howard the centerpiece of their rebuilding project. The one major advantage the Mavs have is a coach/front office that has proven they can win a title.
DCON (Mavs Fan since '89) (Austin, TX)
Thnx for all your coverage, Tim. What % of Cuban's/Donnie's decisions are based on having a better team for the next 2-3 years (during Dirk's remaining career) vs. for the next 5-6 years (i.e., based on drafted youth). Go Mavs! -Dave
Tim MacMahon (3:43 PM)
Good question. They want to have their cake and eat it, too. Ideally, they can maximize the rest of Dirk's career by acquiring a player good enough to bump him down the pecking order. Then that star would be the face of the franchise's post-Dirk future. Of course, Dirk has made it clear that he won't be content to just compete for the eighth seed, which is pretty much the best-case scenario if the Mavs whiff again this summer. I haven't discussed this with him yet, but I wonder whether he'll opt to retire after this contract if the Mavs don't have a major talent upgrade between now and then.
Tim it has been incredibly frustrating as a MFFL to watch our neighbors down I35 continue to stay relevant year in and year out for just as long as the Mavs, while the Mavs have sputtered out of control in a year and a half. What could the Mavs done differently over the last 3 years to remain at the top of the WC like their rivals?
Tim MacMahon (3:46 PM)
Hit on their draft picks. The Spurs do a remarkable job of finding contributors in the late first round and second round. That's one of the main reasons they've been able to sustain success for so long. They also made a great move by trading George Hill to get the pick to draft Kawhi Leonard. The Mavs passed when they had a chance to flip Roddy Beaubois for a lotto pick. How much better would the Mavs' present and future look if they had Paul George?
Tim, Why is everyone so down on this team and Cuban's failed plan to blow up the championship team to bring in a superstar? Even if we had kept Chandler, JJ, Kidd, etc would the Mavs be any better this season? That championship team without Dirk wouldn't be doing any better, would they?
Tim MacMahon (3:47 PM)
That team would be better, but I firmly believe it would not have won another title. Of course, we'll never know for sure. But unless the Mavs turn this financial flexibility into a legit star, the plan will be a failure. And I say that as someone who agrees with the logic and believes the risk was worth it.
Tim MacMahon (3:48 PM)
Gonna wrap it up now, folks. Thanks for all the questions. Hope I at least touched on your topic if I didn't answer your question directly.