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January 5, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Tim MacMahon

Tim MacMahon
  (3:00 PM)

Gotta give the Mavs credit for this: They picked a great time for their worst performance of the season. If you're not going to show up, do it when everybody in Dallas is celebrating the Cowboys winning the NFC East. On to the questions ...

Philip Postel (Dallas, TX)

Is Dampier this years X-Factor rather than Josh Howard? (i.e. Laker game Sunday night)

Tim MacMahon
  (3:03 PM)

You could make that argument, although the Mavs managed to win most of their games during Dampier's absence. But Dampier is their only real interior defensive presence. The Mavs don't have anybody else who is a legitimate shot blocker. Dampier is also by far their best rebounder. It makes you wonder what the Mavs will do at center if Dampier isn't on the roster next season, which is a strong possibility.

Austin (Fort Worth, TX)

Yahoo Sports is reporting that the Mavs may be interested in aquiring Eduardo Najera from thwe Nets for Kris Humphries and Shawne Williams. I personally like Humphries, but how nice would it be to have Najera's energy back with us? The guy is a scrapper.

Tim MacMahon
  (3:05 PM)

I was told that the Mavs were called about this deal but didn't have any interest in pulling the trigger. I know Eduardo Najera is a MFFL favorite, but we're talking about an undersized 33-year-old power forward who can't crack the Nets' rotation. Humphries is a young guy with potential who can play center. The deal doesn't make sense for the Mavs.

Glendon Alexander (Carrollton, TX)

When is Carlisle going to put Josh Howard back in the starting rotation since he at his best in the 1st quarter ?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:07 PM)

If Carlisle has a timetable in mind, he hasn't made it public. The idea is to ease Howard back into the flow while carefully monitoring his minutes. JJ Barea definitely isn't a traditional 2, but he has filled Howard's shoes as a first quarter scorer, so the Mavs can afford to be patient.

Joe Gibson (Kansas City, MO)

Tim,Do you see the Mavs making any moves before the deadline this season? I know before the season there was speculation that Dampier and his expiring deal would be dealt but wouldn't it behoove Cuban to save that space for a nice piece next season?Thanks!

Tim MacMahon
  (3:10 PM)

All indications are that the Mavs will keep their core intact the rest of the season. Damp's contract has the most value as the bait in a sign-and-trade this summer, plus trading him this season would leave a major void in the middle. The Mavs are always willing to listen to offers, but it'd be surprising if they traded one of their top eight players. They will try to get something of value for Shawne Williams' expiring contract ($2.4 million salary).

Ryan Kahn (Dallas, Texas)

Why does Tim Thomas not play more? It seems like he has a reliable shot and post up game and is 6'10 - is his defense that bad?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:13 PM)

Dampier is going to get most of the minutes at center. Gooden picks up most of the scraps. There are only about 10-12 minutes per game behind Dirk at power forward. Thomas is a decent post defender, but his playing time will be sporadic because of numbers. It'll come mostly when Carlisle wants a big shooter to space the floor. Thomas understood the situation when he signed with the Mavs.

Kimberly Padawer (Memphis, TN)

Why are we not letting Roddy Beaubois to develop more? He slices through defenses like a skilled surgeon.

Tim MacMahon
  (3:15 PM)

It's pretty obvious that Roddy Beaubois hasn't earned Rick Carlisle's trust. The coaches are more comfortable with JJ Barea than Beaubois right now. At this point, they might as well send Beaubois to the D-League to let him get some minutes.

Casey (Fort Worth)

What do you see the Mavs future looking like past the Dirk era? We have had an awesome run over the last decade thanks in large part due to the front office, but have a lot of players nearing the end of their contracts and up there in age. Outside of Beaubois how do we start re-building through free agency and the draft to stay relevant?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:18 PM)

The Dirk era probably lasts another four or five years at least. The Mavs' primary goal is to win a championship during that span. It's tough to build through the draft when you're picking in the low 20s every year (or don't have a pick at all). I think the Mavs will be a veteran team for the foreseeable future that needs to make wise moves in free agency instead of hoping that a bunch of late first-round picks form a solid core.

Micah Epstein (Uptown Dallas)

Dirk recently said on a post-game interview that of all of his teammates and himself, he was the most like "Frank the Tank" from Old School (the crazy drunk guy) - have you ever partied with Dirk?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:19 PM)

Can't say that I have, but like the rest of the world with an Internet connection, I've seen photos of him in action.

Betty and Asher (Dallas)

Have we heard anything on the protest the Mavs sent in to replay the final 1:05 of regulation against the Rockets?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:20 PM)

The Rockets filed their retort last week. Should get the league's decision soon.

Bryan Grossman (Dallas)

Why is James Singleton not getting more minutes - he is similar to Marion and always brings energy, a lot like an ex-Mav favorite -Eduardo Najera.

Tim MacMahon
  (3:22 PM)

Singleton is an undersized 4/5 who doesn't perform well when pressed into duty at small forward. He's a nice hustle/energy guy, but he's not a better player than the guys getting minutes at center and power forward. Marion is a small forward who can play the 4 or defend guards. They're both good athletes who bring energy, but Singleton isn't nearly as versatile as Marion.

Nish (mesquite)

Aren't there any set plays run for Shawn Marion. It seems like he is not an option at all.

Tim MacMahon
  (3:23 PM)

There aren't many set plays for Marion, although the Mavs do like to try to get him post-up touches when he's being guarded by a smaller guy. His buckets will come mostly from transition and second-chance opportunities or cuts to the basket.

Altonio (Dallas,TX)

Why don't the mavs try to trade Josh Howard for Caron Butler? That would make them a lot better.

Tim MacMahon
  (3:24 PM)

If the Wizards put that deal on the table, I'd think the Mavs would seriously consider it. But it takes two to trade.

Dave (Grapevine)

How do you think a healthy and active Dampier would have affected the game against the Lakers?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:25 PM)

Does anybody really think Erick Dampier would have made 35 points worth of difference? He might have helped, but the Mavs simply got their tails kicked on the butt end of a road back-to-back by a reigning championship squad that had a score to settle.

Dave (Grapevine, TX)

This is quite ahead of schedule, but if we use Damp's contract in a sign-and-trade in the offseason, are there any indications that he would re-sign once his new team cuts him?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:27 PM)

I'd think the Mavs would be very interested in Dampier returning at a drastically reduced price after he's waived by another team. Or, for that matter, after he's waived by the Mavericks if they can't make a good deal using his insta-expiring contract. The Mavs' braintrust likes Dampier a lot. The owner just doesn't want to pay $13 million for midlevel production again.

Nathan (Weslaco, Texas)

What position do you feel that we need more consistency from? What or who do we need to take it to the next level?? Meaning Championship....

Tim MacMahon
  (3:29 PM)

Instead of a position, I'd go with a group: the bench. The Mavs thought they made major upgrades as far as depth goes this summer, but the production has been shaky. For the Mavs to be serious title contenders,Jason Terry has to perform like a Sixth Man of the Year in the playoffs.

Tim MacMahon
  (3:30 PM)

All right, folks, we're gonna wrap it up. Check out ESPNDallas.com tonight for coverage of Pistons-Mavs, including a live chat during the game. Thanks for joining us.