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December 22, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Tim MacMahon

Tim MacMahon
  (3:01 PM)

Thanks for joining me. The Mavs have given folks reason to be excited. Let's get rolling with questions.

Nick (NY)

what new with Dirk?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:02 PM)

Nothing definitive to report. There is a chance he could play tonight against Portland, but we won't know until close to tip. The good news is that his elbow is infection free, so this won't be a long-term issue.

Will (Atlanta, GA)

What does winning against lebron and the cavs, without dirk, say about this '09 Mavs team?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:04 PM)

I think it's an indication that this is a deep team with a lot of savvy, tough veterans. Guys like Tim Thomas and Shawn Marion have been total professionals, accepting smaller roles than they've played in the past for the chance to win. Thomas, in particular, was impressive as a fill-in starter for Dirk. Thomas drifts in and out of the rotation, but he's still a dangerous scorer and underrated defender. He'd get my vote for 11th man of the year.

Casey (Fort Worth)

Hey Tim,What moves if any do you see the Mavs making down the stretch to get into serious contention come playoff time? We are all anticipating the upcoming summer of free agency and using the Damp chip, but can we expect to see something sooner as other teams look to make trades?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:06 PM)

I do not think the Mavs will be aggressive shoppers leading into the trade deadline. They'll do their due dilligence and be "opportunistic," as Mark Cuban always says, willing to pounce if a bargain presents itself. But this core has won games while battling with health issues all season. The Mavs brass shouldn't feel any need to break it up. Give these guys a chance to jell and see how far they can go.

chris (beaumont tx)

Do you think the mavericks have a chance to compete against L.A. in the playoffs?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:08 PM)

As good a chance as anybody else in the West. The Lakers are the clear-cut favorites, but who knows what can happen? An injury can change everything. I will point out that the Mavs beat the Gasol-less Lakers by 14 in LA earlier this season. They aren't intimidated by the Lakers, but they aren't as talented, either.

Andrew kleiman (Dallas)

What is your feel on the role Roddy is or should be playing

Tim MacMahon
  (3:10 PM)

Who should the Mavs bench to get Roddy Beaubois playing time? You might say JJ Barea, but he's been outstanding as the starter at shooting guard and doesn't make the rookie mistakes that plague Roddy B. Beaubois isn't ready to play point guard for a good NBA team. He needs seasoning, which will come either in the D-League or summer league.

byron (Dallas)

What do you think the chances are that Dirk wins his second MVP title if he keeps playing at this level all year round.

Tim MacMahon
  (3:12 PM)

If Dirk keeps performing at this level, he deserves to be in the conversation. But I doubt that he wins another MVP unless he carries the Mavs to a title. This isn't fair, but there is a perception that he's a second-tier superstar who isn't quite great enough to win it all. I know it's a regular-season award, but that kind of perception influences votes.

Uwe (Dallas)

When will Marion demand more minutes/become publicly disgruntled? Or, is he a stand-up guy who will play his role?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:14 PM)

I don't see Marion as a ticking time bomb. He's at the point of his career where all he wants to do is win. He said after signing in Dallas that he was willing to be a dirty-work-doing glue guy. That's what he's been. The guy might lead the Mavs in smiles. If he's disgruntled, he's doing a great job of masking it.

Uwe (Dallas)

Can you think of a more gruesome injury than Landry/Nowitski (Kermit's assault of RudyT doesn't count)? Do you think Dirk's game will suffer for awhile?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:16 PM)

Shaun Livingston's knee injury comes to mind. Tough to say about Dirk. Shooting the ball is obviously the thing he does best. If he has trouble extending and bending that elbow, he could have a tough stretch.

Martin (Dallas)

Do you see Josh Howard coming off the bench with JT for the remaining of this season? Or is he slowling making his way back to starting lineup?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:19 PM)

I don't know, and I don't think Rick Carlisle knows right now, either. The point of bringing Howard off the bench is to help Carlisle manage his minutes. JJ Barea has been good enough as a starter that the Mavs can be patient with the process. At some point, Howard will probably be starting at shooting guard, especially since the Mavs will likely see some big 2s during the playoffs. But they don't want to rush Howard and have to be careful disrupting the rhythm this team has built.

Andrew (Dallas)

Hey Tim! Long time listener, first time caller. What's your take on the lack of minutes for Beaubois/Humphries? Carlisle doesn't even want to see if they can get it done enough to give the old guys some blow?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:20 PM)

Humphries is in and out of the bottom of the rotation. His minutes come at center, and that's a pretty crowded position with Dampier and Gooden. Beaubois isn't ready to spell Kidd at the point. His minutes would come at the 2, where three guys (Barea, Terry, Howard) are splitting time and Quinton Ross is waiting in the wings.

Philip Postel (Dallas)

Josh Howard seems to be passing the ball a lot more lately - has he bought into the system finally, or is he just easing his way back and its just a matter of time before he starts forcing things?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:22 PM)

I've given up trying to read Josh's mind, but I believe he bought into the system late last season. He played very well down the stretch and was the Mavs' best player in their series against the Spurs. Perhaps this is just a continuation of that.

Swifty (Queens, NY)

Do you think the Mavs are exploring Jason Terry trades now that he has turned 32 and his shot has been off pretty much all year?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:23 PM)

I've heard nothing to indicate that. Why trade him now? His performance this season hasn't helped his value and his contract isn't cap-friendly enough yet to help cost-conscious teams. His contract will have some value next season, because he has a Stack-like buyout the following season.

Nish (mesquite)

What is Shawne Williams doing. Are you hearing any trade rumors involving Shawne and Matt Carrol. They are making quite a bit of money

Tim MacMahon
  (3:26 PM)

My best guess is that Shawne Williams is impersonating Snoop Dogg on a daily basis. The only reason he's still on the roster is that his expiring contract ($2.4 million) could come in handy in a trade. Carroll's contract has limited trade value. His salary decreases each season, but he still has three more years left on the deal, I believe.

Anthony Kahn (Dallas)

Would you agree that the icing on the cake for Kidd-Harris trade will be when the Mavericks acquire a bonafide all-star to play along side Kidd via free agency or a sign-n-trade? Everyone wants to play with Kidd and we are close now, someone is coming, and they are going to take us over the top!

Tim MacMahon
  (3:27 PM)

I would agree that good players enjoy playing with Jason Kidd and his presence on the team could help the Mavs put together a sign-and-trade deal for an impact free agent. In fact, it already did with Shawn Marion.

Casey Trammell (Houston, TX)

Would you agree Jason Kidd is a top 8 point guard in the NBA?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:30 PM)

I can't think of eight point guards I'd rather have in a playoff series right now. Let's see: Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo, Tony Parker, maybe Derrick Rose. If you're thinking future, obviously you'd rather have Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings and Derrick Rose, but the Mavs are focused on now.

Grant Meredith (McKinney)

At the begining of the season the mavs held a valuable trade piece with Erick Dampier. Since Erick is having a great season so far, does that mean the mavs may (gulp) hang on to dampier for years go come?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:32 PM)

Don't know about years to come, but I could see Dampier back in Dallas next season. However, there is no way he finishes this contract. He would have to negotiate a new deal after either the Mavs decline the final season of his deal or -- better yet -- the team that trades for that instant-expiring contract lets him go.

Chris (Southlake)

I assume you are around the locker room a lot. What kind of person is Jason Kidd behind the scenes? Is he the vocal leader in the locker room?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:35 PM)

Kidd is not a real rah-rah guy. He isn't the type who delivers fiery speeches on a regular basis. But he isn't hesitant to say what he thinks needs to be said and he's an excellent communicator when it comes to X's and O's type of stuff. He really is the old cliche of a coach on the floor. He has also embraced the role of mentor for Roddy Beaubois and JJ Barea, which says a lot for his leadership. Jason Terry is probably the most vocal guy in the locker room.

Neil (Arizona)

Any chance at all of landing Gilbert Arenas through a salary dump by the Wiz?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:36 PM)

Not sure Arenas would be a good fit for the Mavs. Caron Butler, on the other hand ...

Bryan (Springdale)

Is a versatile big man in Gooden the answer to our problems against the big men of Denver if it came down to a playoff series against the Nuggets?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:39 PM)

Gooden is a better matchup for Nene than Dampier. But I think the bigger issue was finding guys who have a chance of guarding Carmelo Anthony. Shawn Marion is better suited for that job than anybody the Mavs had last year. Quinton Ross has had success defending Melo in the past. Not sure if the Mavs would beat the Nuggets in a series, but I'd bet that it'd be a heck of a lot more competitive than it was last season.

Anne (Ft. Worth)

Why did Mark Cuban make a big deal out of the ref call in the loss to the Houston game? Doesn't he know this just makes the refs mad and they get back at him by calls not going our way in the playoffs?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:41 PM)

Cuban thought there was an obvious blown call(s) and that he had a strong enough case to appeal. We'll find out this week whether the NBA agress. After Tim Donaghy's recent comments on ESPN 103.3, I think the NBA has to be very careful about anything that can be conceived as an anti-Cuban bias in the playoffs.

Chris (Southlake)

Is Roddy still part of the Mavs plans? Yes the Mavs have done well with JJB starting, but they did just as good with Roddy starting. You think he could steal some of Jets pt at the 2?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:42 PM)

Roddy B is still a big part of the Mavs' plans. But he's a bit player at best this season. The Mavs believe he has star potential, but it will take some time and a lot of work to bring it out of him.

Michael (Big D)

Gooden and Dampier are not long term answers, you think? Some nights Dampier plays like a dead corpse.

Tim MacMahon
  (3:45 PM)

I don't think even Wilt Chamberlain's corpse could average 8.2 ppg, 9.6 rpg and 2.1 bpg. Dampier has been outstanding this season. But the Mavs don't have a long-term solution at center, seeing how Dampier and Gooden are both in contract years. That's why they tried to get Marcin Gortat.

Tim MacMahon
  (3:46 PM)

OK, folks, gotta run. Thanks for all the questions. Check out ESPNDallas.com tonight for coverage from the Mavs-Blazers game, including a live in-game chat.