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December 29, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Tim MacMahon

Tim MacMahon
  (4:02 PM)

Thanks for joining me again this week. The Mavs are cruising along in second place in the West despite having dealt with all sorts of injury issues. The wins haven't always been pretty, but this is a good team that has a chance to be great. On to the questions ...

Kevin (Dallas)

How much longer can the Mavs rely on JKidd to run the point? What happens if he gets hurt, and is there any longterm plan?

Tim MacMahon
  (4:04 PM)

Mark Cuban said last season that the Mavs would be "awful" without Kidd -- which is why Cuban went to New York and wore a sportcoat while meeting with Kidd in the first minute allowed in free agency. They'd be pretty bad without him this year, too. JJ Barea is really an undersized combo guard. He's not a guy the Mavs can rely on to run a team for 36 minutes a night. Jason Terry just isn't a point guard. Roddy Beaubois isn't ready to play point in the NBA, but the exciting rookie is the long-term plan. The hope is that he'll be ready in a few years, when Kidd's contract expires. Don't rule out Kidd being effective into his low 40s, though. Like John Stockton, his game is powered by his brain, not his legs.

Frank (Frisco)

Tim, love your work on ESPN Dallas. Why isn't the team giving Roddy Beaubois any love as of late. Seemed like he provided a necessary spark early, but has been riding the pine a lot since.

Tim MacMahon
  (4:07 PM)

He's not ready to play the point, and he's not more effective than JJ Barea at shooting guard. With Josh Howard in the mix, there just aren't any minutes available for Beaubois. Ideally, the Mavs could get him some playing time late in blowout wins, but they aren't putting teams away early enough for that to happen. Beaubois will still probably get some chances to help the Mavs this season, but he's on the outside of the rotation looking in right now. He might be better off going to the D-League to run a team for a little while, although he's not a big fan of that idea.

Tom (Fort Worth)

Doesn't it seem like Dirk is logging more minutes than usual? Is this a concern as the team goes forward? Could it bite them come postseason?

Tim MacMahon
  (4:12 PM)

I asked Rick Carlisle about that today. He said Dirk's minutes were slightly higher than he wants at 37 and change per night, but it's not a huge concern. He noted that Dirk got an unplanned break when he missed most of the Rockets game and all of the Cavs game after getting Carl Landry's teeth in his elbow.

Chris (Irving)

Do you think the Mavs might have any interest at all in Tracy McGrady? What's your take on the Southwest Division?

Tim MacMahon
  (4:14 PM)

They won't be in the market for Tracy McGrady. The last thing they need is an oft-injured gunner who has his mind on the summer free agency market, especially since they'd have to give up something significant to get him. The Mavs are in the driver's seat in the division. You can count on the Spurs to make a run in the second half, but I see no reason why the Mavs can't hold on and earn homecourt advantage through at least the first round of the playoffs.

Jeremy (Fort Worth)

Why do you think the Mavs are still flying under the radar this year? They're number two in the west, and have wins over Cleveland, Lakers, and Nuggets to their credit yet were only#7 in power rankings.

Tim MacMahon
  (4:16 PM)

I can tell you that the Mavs couldn't care less about power rankings, no offense to the fine work of my man Marc Stein. And they're really not concerned about flying under the radar. They recognize that there's a lot of room for improvement despite being the No. 2 team in the West at the moment. And, not to be a downer, but they beat the Lakers without Pau Gasol and the Nuggets without Chauncey Billups. Still solid wins, especially on the road, but hard to see those victories as proof that the Mavs ought to be considered legit title contenders.

Steve (Mesquite)

Is Shawn Marion the right fit for this team or not? Seems like he's awfully hit and miss this seaosn.

Tim MacMahon
  (4:21 PM)

Marion has been hit and miss offensively. He's not going to put up huge numbers here, becuase he's usually the third or fourth scoring option on the floor and rarely gets plays run for him. But he has to take advantage of the opportunities he gets, especially around the rim. Having said that, Marion has made a tremendous impact for the Mavs. Just look at their defensive improvement. They've gone from a mediocre defensive team to one that ranks fifth in the league in defensive efficiency (102.9 points/100 possessions). Marion has been the biggest difference on the defensive end. He's one of the league's most versatile stoppers. Look at the shooting lines that Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James had recently against the Mavs. Marion had a lot to do with those numbers.

Andy (Chicago, IL)

What would it take to get Martin from the Kings? I am guessing Howard plus something but he could be the SG they have been looking for.

Tim MacMahon
  (4:26 PM)

I can only offer speculation on this subject at this point, but your guess is probably a pretty good one. Beaubois is the guy other teams will ask for as an add-on in trades, because he's an intriguing young talent who doesn't make much by NBA standards. I don't think the Mavs pull the trigger on Howard and Beaubois-for-Martin. Martin would be the Mavs' best scorer at SG since maybe Ro Blackman, but they'd be a significantly worse defensive team if he replaced Howard in the rotation. My hunch is that the Mavs won't make a blockbuster deal before the deadline, opting to see how this group jells. But that's just a hunch. They'll certainly do their due dilligence and listen to offers.

Ryan (Irving)

I remeber the Mavs beating the Lakers without J-Ho but also the Lakers without Pau Gasol, but by looking at the Lakers and the Mavs, do you think the Mavs have a REAL chance to compete with the Lakers?

Tim MacMahon
  (4:28 PM)

That is a legitimate point that the Mavs didn't have Howard in that game. However, the Lakers are clearly the favorites to win the West and defend their championship. This is a title team that upgraded its talent. The Mavs could probably be competitive with the Lakers, but I can't see how anybody could pick them to beat LA in a series. Stranger things have happened, but that'd be a huge upset.

marco (suffolk)

I am a die hard Mavericks fan and I want them to win a championship. I like Josh Howard game but do you think that the Mavs should trade him for Caron Butler because of Josh history of injuries?

Tim MacMahon
  (4:31 PM)

If that offer is put on the table, the Mavs ought to seriously consider it. Butler is a well-rounded player, not just a scorer. And I'm sure Butler would be thrilled to come to Dallas, while I don't know how happy Howard is to be here, just judging by his body language on the floor and bench. But the only reason for the Wizards to do this deal is to save money. The salaries for Butler and Howard are pretty close to a match, but Howard has a team option for next season. It sounds like the Wizards would rather unload Gilbert Arenas or Antawn Jamison, who have more lucrative, longer-term contracts.

Israel (Mesquite, TX)

Do you think the Mavs will be able to make a run for Bosh? We have the parts to trade for him, or do we?

Tim MacMahon
  (4:34 PM)

The Mavs' best chance of landing Bosh is probably a sign-and-trade deal over the summer in which they send Erick Dampier's instant-expiring contract and other parts (Beaubois, picks, cash, etc.?) to Toronto. It'd probably be a complicated deal like the one that brought Shawn Marion here. It's a long shot, but I wouldn't rule it out. Bosh has also kept his feelings on free agency pretty close to the vest. We don't know whether he would want to come home to be the second banana to Dirk and log most of his minutes at center.

Tim MacMahon
  (4:36 PM)

OK, folks, we're going to wrap it up. Be sure to join Shawn Marion for a live chat Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. CT. Go ahead and get your questions early. http://espn.go.com/dallas/chat?id=30126&slug=mavericks-shawn-marion