Chat with Jeff Caplan
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, Dallas Mavericks reporter Jeff Caplan stops by to chat about the team.
Caplan covers the Mavericks, Stars and colleges for ESPNDallas.com. He joined ESPN in December 2009.
Send your questions now and join Caplan Wednesday at 2 p.m. CT/3 p.m. ET!
Jeff Caplan (2:59 PM)
Welcome back everyone for Mavs chat with me, Jeff Caplan. In honor of Lamar Odom's return to existence last night, I am wearing a headband. Now, on with the show...
Darren dallas,tx [via mobile]
Do u think d.west will play in the miami game in help the mavs win?
Jeff Caplan (3:01 PM)
Darren in Dallas, what do I think of D-West. Wow, that's a lot of D's...First, I don't think Delonte will play against Miami. I could ultimately be wrong but it just didn't seem like he'd be ready. I got an up close look at his finger on Monday and it is swollen and very stiff. He said while he's targeting either Miami or Orlando on Friday, more realistic might be next week. The Mavs play the Clippers at home on Monday.
JJ (DALLAS, TX)
I would like to see Sean Willams play with the Mavs more, but they already have 3 big guys. I think that Williams and Yi would be better at Lamar Odoms spot. D-league shouldn't have been just a threat to Odom. I say drop him down and make him quit. I know he can be good, but "reality" is keeping him from working as hard on his game as he needs to. Are they saving Yi for the playoffs? What do you think?
Jeff Caplan (3:03 PM)
JJ..let me clear up a few things for you and others out there. Sean Williams is no longer a member of the Mavs. They waived him last week. He cleared waivers and he could sign with the Texas Legends, where he played most of this this season while under contract with the Mavs. He also played in Frisco last season. As for sending Odom to the D-League, the Mavs can't unless Odom agrees to it as he did upon his return from his personal absence, although the Mavs scrapped that idea...the new CBA does not allow teams to send veterans to the D-League without their consent. Yi is not really being saved for anything. He has no clue what he's doing on the defensive end.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Do you think the Dallas Mavericks will Repeat as the 2011-2012 NBA Champions?
Jeff Caplan (3:04 PM)
Chris, honestly I do not think the Mavs will repeat as champions.
Hey Cap. I don't know how often if any you get to talk to the players but I want you to pitch this to them. Since Odom had a pretty decent game, while wearing a headband, throw the idea for the whole team to wear them as a showing of solidarity. If we could get half of what Odom gave LA in his sixth man of the year stint, I believe we drastically move up in terms of strength in the West.
Jeff Caplan (3:06 PM)
Gary, my job is to talk to the players, so yes I do talk to them. Not sure the headband thing will fly although remember when Dirk started, was it last season, with a headband when his hair was really long? but, you are right, if Odom can give effort an energy every night, he will be a valuable asset to the team. they know that and just hope he can put together some consistent stretches of play.
Maniesh (New York)
Do you think the next 3 games will be indicative of if the Mavs will get into the playoffs and how far in the post-season they would go?
Jeff Caplan (3:08 PM)
Maniesh, thanks for chiming in from NY...Sorry to hear about Amare and get well soon, Jeremy...As for the next 3 games, no I don't think the next 3 games will be indicative of much. We'll see if Brendan Haywood is back and I don't expect West to play so Mavs still won't be whole. Miami is going to gunning coming off consecutive road losses. Orlando will be a very tough matchup on the second night of a back to back. And then Monday against the Clippers followed by the Grizzlies will be tough tests as well. But, this team has to get totally healthy, figure out a rotation before we see what their potentially really is.
MsLettic (Dallas, TX)
Given Mavs current performances how probable Mavs win over Miami?
Jeff Caplan (3:10 PM)
Hi MsLettic...Well, as I just mentioned, the Heat will be ready to ball back on their home floor and looking to end a two-game skid. Tough spot for the Mavs, who haven't exactly looked like a well-oiled machine over the last four games. The two wins over the Rockets, whose backcourt is depleted, weren't very impressive. So tomorrow's game will be interesting and should be fun to watch.
Shawn Jacob (Carrollton, TX)
Any word yet if Lamar Odom will retire the headband he wore against he Rockets last night?
Jeff Caplan (3:11 PM)
Shawn...retire the headband? Heck, if I'm Carlisle I told Lamar last night that he better sleep with that thing on.
What do you see Roddy's minutes being when West is back in the rotation?
Jeff Caplan (3:12 PM)
JV...an excellent question and one that is hard to answer. I put up a blog post this morning looking at this. Roddy has put together a really nice nine-game stretch. He's playing pretty well on both ends, making good decisions, keeping his turnovers down. Now, West is going to jump back in the rotation in a big way. Then Carlisle has to figure out how to get Carter, Terry, West and Roddy minutes. We know Kidd is going to get 24-30 every night and the closer he is to 24 the better the Mavs are playing because it means Kidd will be sitting in the fourth quarter like last night.
Do the Mavs still have an open roster spot? If so who would be good to pick up for the playoffs? and if they don't have a spot when should Delonte West be back?
Jeff Caplan (3:14 PM)
Nick, no they do not. They signed Kelenna Azubuike last week and assigned him to the D-League, which counts as a roster spot.
Howdy! When Delonte returns, do you see Roddy B continuing as the secondary point guard with the former starting as a 2? I might be the only one here, but I find Vince Carter to be pretty inconsistent to be a starter. I agree he's been better than Odom, plays with heart, and has 2 good games out of 5... but we need a more defensive minded starting 2 with our antique J-Kidd starting at 1, wouldn't you agree?
Jeff Caplan (3:15 PM)
Franc, welcome from Montreal...I'm one who has been saying that West needs to start at shooting guard simply to guard opposing point guards. With Kidd and Carter starting, the responsibility of quick point guards is falling on Shawn Marion and I think that's just too much to ask of Marion, who also has to guard tough wings, especially in the playoffs. West starting allows a more normal matchup situation. But, we'll see what Carlisle decides to do.
brennan fortes (newbedford, massachusetts)
If Mavericks sign Deron Williams this summer will they have enough cap flexibility to sign jason terry and keep Shawn Marion or Brendan Haywood?
Jeff Caplan (3:18 PM)
Brennan..congratulations, you are the first one to bring up the offseason, a very hot topic throughout this season. If the Mavs sign Deron Williams, they will not be able to keep Marion and Haywood. I would think they will keep Haywood because they need a big man and they will amnesty Marion, which basically waives and clears the remainder of his salary from the books, although the Mavs will still owe him his salary. As for Jason Terry, doubtful unless he wants to take the minimum and he'll be able to get more money elsewhere. Odds are that you are seeing the last of Terry in a Mavs uniform.
Should there be concern that Vince Carter's tank is close to running on empty? Do you just ride him on the night's he's got it going and then bury him on the bench when he's off?
Jeff Caplan (3:20 PM)
Yeah Jason I think that's a fair question. I think the Mavs had the most success with him when he was playing 25 or fewer minutes a night, although he played less than 20 last night and was just 3 of 8 from the field. Again, I think West coming back will reduce his workload. He's still playing good D and hits some big 3s so I think they still like what they're getting from him, I just think he's played too many minutes.
Jason (Stillwater, OK)
Mavs fan here deep in Thunder territory. What are realistic expectations of this team from here on out? Can't watch every game because of television stuff, but I have to get my trash talking regulated.
Jeff Caplan (3:21 PM)
Jason, you are a brave soul...expectations range across the board. I mean even from game to game, half to half, you just don't know what you'll get. Carlisle called them a lottery-type team in the first half last night and then a playoff team in the second half. Defense is going to propel this team and lately they haven't been great. Games at Miami and Orlando will give us an indication of where the defense is and really they've got to get Haywood and West back in the fold to really understand what they've got.
Joseph (Charlottesville, VA)
Is it psychologically important for the Mavs to keep the game competitive tomorrow?
Jeff Caplan (3:23 PM)
Well, I definitely don't think you want to go in there and get blown out. But, look this is a veteran team and they do it won't crush them, but then to go into Orlando after a poor outing won't be easy.
Derek (North Richland Hills, TX)
In your opinion, If the Mavs are close to 100% Healthy and if Lamar somehow play like he was last year when he won the 6th man how far do you think this Mavs team can go in the post-season?
Jeff Caplan (3:25 PM)
Fully healthy I think this team has a chance to get to the West Finals. There's just no one in the West that is absolutely scary. I think the Mavs like the way they match up against OKC. I think Memphis could be a dangerous matchup especially in the first round, just ask San Antonio. But, the Mavs have to be healthy and pretty well rested to have a chance to defend their title.
Blake (Saginaw, TX)
Are there any scenarios where we could get rid of Odom and get something halfway decent in return?
Jeff Caplan (3:26 PM)
Blake, even after his big headband game last night you want to get rid of him. The trade deadline as I;m sure you know is over, so there's no trading him until the summer if they trade him at all. They can also cut him and eat the $2.4 million he's due next season.
Joni (Denton, TX)
I was excited to see Lamar come. I thought good some help for Dirk since Tyson was gone. Boy, was I wrong. Do you think he'll go back to LA or has he sorta hurt his career by his behavior here?
Jeff Caplan (3:27 PM)
Good question Joni. I guess if anyone knows how to get through to Odom it is Kobe. Does the Lakers franchise want him back? Maybe at the right price. We'll see. Maybe the Clippers where he started his career. We do know that being married to Khloe and doing the TV show, L.A. is obviously the place he wants to be and is most comfortable.
If the Mavs are able to land Deron Williams, will it be essential for Donnie Nelson to find more under the radar and cheap players like he did with Branden Wright and Brandon Bass since they will have 2 players eating up so much money?
Jeff Caplan (3:28 PM)
Justin, absolutely, just like the Heat have had to do filling in around the Big Three. Mavs will need cheap, veteran labor.
Will the Mavs still have to amnesty either Marion or Haywood to have enough cap room to land Deron Williams?
Jeff Caplan (3:29 PM)
As noted earlier, absolutely. Mavs, on the surface, will be less than $4 million under the salary cap at the end of the season. That's when they start chopping away, such as Odom's contract, amnestying Marion most likely, perhaps even trading Roddy to clear more space. It is going to be an interesting summer to say the least.
Have you heard anything about the Mavs former 2nd rd pick of out of Florida, Nick Calathes, who's currently playing in Europe? Didn't know if the Mavs had any plans for him or if he will be another draft never to be heard from again?
Jeff Caplan (3:30 PM)
Matt, I have not kept up with Calathes at all this season. I always hear things about the kid, that he's looking good and could one day come back over here. Does that happen? Really couldn't tell you. I'll try to find out more about him for next week.
Even though Carlisle and the Mavs say the playoffs have started for them, could the same be said for half the teams in the Western Conference?
Jeff Caplan (3:32 PM)
Scot, of course, yes..for every team ranked No. 4-10 and really maybe even the No. 3 Lakers who seem to be going through a little internal strife right now with Kobe and Mike Brown and Bynum and Brown. Interesting drama there. But, the standings are so close that say the Mavs lose to Miami and Orlando, they would be out of the playoff mix come Saturday morning. And if they win both they could be No. 4 and breathing down the Lakers'neck.
G (Fort Worth)
Seems like after every game this season I think im going to figure the Mavs out - really hasnt happened. no matter if it's a win or a loss I dont know who this team is anymore. We know you dont think this team can repeat but do the guys in the locker room think they have a shot??
Jeff Caplan (3:34 PM)
Yes, sure they do. Look, like I said they know they match up well against OKC, the favorite in the West and everyone else is flawed, everyone except maybe the Spurs and wow, what a job they have done down there building a team this season. Very impressive. But, back to the Mavs, I don't think Jason Kidd has given max effort by design, Dirk has been up and down, the injuries have been non-stop. So, they feel like you give them health and they can take down anyone during a playoff series that will provide ample rest between games.
Clayton (Dallas, TX)
John,Do you think we will be seeing any of Kelenna Azubuike this season?
Jeff Caplan (3:35 PM)
Clayton, it's Jeff, but that's OK. Honestly I don't think you'll be seeing him this year. In fact, Tim MacMahon has a blog post up about him from this morning with Cuban talking about that. I think they're hoping they got a steal for next season.
Jeff Caplan (3:37 PM)
OK everyone, thanks for all the questions, really appreciate your participation. ESPNDallas.com columnist Jean-Jacques Taylor will be in Miami and Orlando so check for his blogs and columns in the coming days. And as always follow espndallas.com closely for the best in Mavs coverage. You can follow me on Twitter @espn_caplan.Have a great week.