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November 9, 2:30 PM ET
Mavs with Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan
  (2:32 PM)

Hello everybody and welcome to the Dallas Mavericks chat. The 2010-11 season is already off to an interesting start with lots to talk about. It appears a lot of you still want to know who eles this team can get to push it over the top. We'll take a look at that and other issues. And remember,ESPNDallas.com is now in Year 2 and we're just getting bigger and better so get all of your Mavs news -- as well as all other sports news -- right here. OK, let's go...

Matt (Plano, TX)

Who should deserve more time at center in your opinion? Haywood or Chandler

Jeff Caplan
  (2:33 PM)

Matt, the easy answer is Tyson Chandler. He is easily the more emotional, more athletically gifted center of the two. He's also the better fit to play with Jason Kidd because he can run the floor extremely well for a 7-foot-1 center. His double-double against Boston was a spectacular showing. Now, he has to become more consistent. He had 3 points against a frontcourt depleted Denver team and Boston was also without center Kendrick Perkins and Shaq and Jermaine O'Neal played barely 11 minutes before hurting his knee.

Rachel (Hattiesburg)

Hi Jeff! Why do the Mavs insist using Terry as a 6th man? He is their best guard and deserves to start. Is it a spark off the bench type thing they like or is it Terrys decision? Thanks!

Jeff Caplan
  (2:36 PM)

Rachel, you really have a problem with Jet coming off the bench? Manu Ginobili did it for years, although the Spurs are now finding him much more valuable as a starter. Terry started the first five games of the season and on Monday Rick Carlisle moved him to the bench because it needed some pop. Roddy Beaubois is expected to be the eventual starter. Terry is fine coming off the bench. Last night he played 34 minutes and was in during crunch time, which he always will be. Check out my story on him from last night on espndallas.com Mavs blog.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who are the Dallas Mavericks Rookies that are Playing this Year?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:38 PM)

Hey Chris, the Mavs have one rookie on the squad, shooting guard Dominique Jones out of South Florida. The Mavs moved into the first round, purchasing the No. 25 pick from Memphis, to nab the slasher. He's getting about eight minutes a game, but is definitely showing to be a rookie. He did not play at all Monday night against a very sound Boston defense. It was a game that was probably just too rich for the rookie. The Mavs, as you know, are a veteran-laden club, so it's going to be hard to get him a lot of time, but I think Carlisle is determined to break him after last year's situation where he didn't play Roddy Beaubois enough. Jones has tremendous upside as a strong penetrator who gets to the free throw line, aspects the current roster just doesn't have. Beaubois figures to help in that category as well when he returns from a broken left foot.

Billy Tulsa, OK [via mobile]

Who is "available" that the Mavs could/would/should try to make a move for that would push the team to a clear cut #2 in the west and actually challenge the Lakers and the east threesome?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:41 PM)

Billy, good question, but a hard one to ask. It's just too early to know who might become available. If you're talking about an impact player that can create his own shot, Gilbert Arenas is the No. 1 guy out there. Yet, he comes with his own warts, as do so many other guys. The other problem is the expiring CBA. Drastic changes to the salary cap are likely on the way, which could seriously reduce how much salary teams can load up before the thing expires. For example, Mark Cuban keeps a payroll around $90 million, which is like $20+ million over the luxury tax so Cuban is accepting the fact that he has to pay a dollar for dollar tax on that payroll. But, if a hard cap comes into play and I'm told the owners are united on a hard cap, teams are going to be reluctant to take on big salaries, such as an Andre Igoudala from Philly because they don't want to be stuck trying to get rid of those salaries when they have to drastically trim payrolls.

Luke (Forney, TX)

Hey Jeff, I was doing some homework and I was wondering if Andre Iguodala would be a better fit here than Butler. His contract if for three more years but the Mavs are getting any younger and I like his game. He could handle the ball when Kidd isn't in the game and let Roddy play off. Trading Butler and Alexis Ajusenta would work for Iggy. Would the Mavs do it? Would the Sixers do it to clear payroll? I just think the Mavs need more from their starting 3.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:44 PM)

Luke, similar question to the one before. I'm with you, at least I think I am in that I'm not a huge Caron Butler fan. I don't think his game does much for the Mavs in their halfcourt sets. He was 5-of-17 from the floor against Denver and 5-of-13 against Boston. He's a volume shooter who typically doesn't get to the line all that much. The crazy thing is a young Josh Howard is really the guy this team needs. Unfortunately, we all know how that worked out. Personally, I cna't see the Mavs going after Igoudala.

Kevin (Arlington VA)

After a huge win against the Celtics, is it too early to say Dallas will be a top contender in the West and the NBA?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:46 PM)

Yeah, I think it's too early. I don't think it's too early to say that the Mavs can be a top four seed in the West. The Lakers are far and away the top team. Then a group of teams are kind of on equal footing. The Spurs I think could be good improved this season with some nice young players surrounding the Big Three and Ginobili is playing out of his mind. The Denver situation is fluid with Carmelo. Utah is trying to figure things out. OKC has started slowly and I've tapped the brakes some on talk that OKC is automatically going to be a two-seed. Portland should be good. Any way, what I am saying is that there are no clear cut favorites behind the Lakers. I think the Mavs have warts of their own, but when they play defense consistently and keep moving on offense, they can be tough to beat.

eddy (college station)

Why don't the mavs give rookies more minutes? Last night would have been a perfect opportunity to play Dominique Jones who seemed really promising in the preseason, and not to mention taking roddy out of the game during last years playoffs

Jeff Caplan
  (2:48 PM)

Eddy, I'm going to respectfully disagree with you. I don't think last night against the Celtics was the right platform for Dominique Jones. He'll get plenty of chances, but the Mavs took that game very seriously as one they needed to win after losing two straight at home. Who would Jones have guarded? Ray Allen? That's not something you need to do to the young man who has a promising game, but has a ways to go. I think you'll see Jones some in Memphis tomorrow night and they'll continue to develop him during practice.

Eric (GA)

Has the Mavericks division proven to be the best so far with New Orleans undefeated and the Spurs being the Spurs and Memphis improved from last year

Jeff Caplan
  (2:48 PM)

Eric, yeah, so far you've got to say the Southwest is back.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:50 PM)

The one mystery in the SW so far is Houston. What a bad start for them. The Spurs have been winning a lot of close games, but that's what good teams do. And Memphis is going to be a pretty good team. We all know that they've given the Mavs fits the last couple of seasons. I'm looking forward to tomorrow night's game.

Steve (Euless)

I'm a little shocked there hasn't been more talk of Butler's poor play since becoming a Maverick. He doesn't drive, his defense we were promised was overrated, his free throw percentage is far below his career average as a Mav, etc. Why does he keep getting the start? When will Rick bench him to send him a message that his current level of play is unacceptable? What's your thoughts on Butler?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:53 PM)

Well, Steve, I think it's just so early in the season an that any loud criticism probably isn't quite warranted. As I mentioned before, I am not a big Butler fan. I think he takes too many shots and doesn't drive enough. He got himself in tip-top shape this summer and said he did so to be a better penetrator. We're seeing that some. I don't think you'll see him as anything but a starter. He's in the final year of his contract and if nothing else, the Mavs want to use his $10.8 million in a contract and they want another team to think they're getting a player in his prime. That doesn't appear to be the case. When the Mavs made the trade, there were some out there saying that Butler's game was in decline. Maybe it is. We'll see.

khaled (denton)

will the mavs look 4 a back up point or just wait and hope roddy can do it

Jeff Caplan
  (2:55 PM)

Khaled, the Mavs are still high on J.J. Barea. I know he frustrates fans with his volume dribbling, but he had a nice game last night against Boston with 11 points and three assists in 14 1/2 minutes. Yes, he had three turnovers, but that's going to be a part of his game. He badly beat Nate Robinson in the battle of backup point guards last night. And yes, Roddy is going to see some time at point, that's the plan at least. But, until Roddy proves he can play the point without hurting the team, we'll just have to see how Carlisle plays it. I don't expect them to go after a backup point guard anytime soon.

FJ (DC)

Hi Jeff, quick question: do you think if the Mavericks have early success this season Cuban will not push as hard for a big "move" by the trade deadline? Many believe that the Mavericks will not be able to truly challenge the Lakers in a playoff series without a roster change/addition. Your thoughts?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:57 PM)

The big addition could be Roddy Beaubois. If you've been reading espndallas.com lately, which you should be, you've seen Dirk talk quite a bit about wanting to get Roddy back. The kid provides all the elements they don't have right now on this veteran, veteran roster. Roddy can break down defenses, drive, get to the line, he's an electric presence that can turn the Mavs' stagnant halfcourt sets into a much more exciting experience. It will be interesting to see how quickly Roddy regains his confidence in that foot to do what he does. Otherwise, yes, Cuban has been vocal about being active at the trade deadline. They've got Butler's contract and Chandler's contract, plus other smaller ones to make a big trade, but the bigger question is, who is really going to be available to make a big splash?

zach (delmar)

when does roddy be return?!!

Jeff Caplan
  (2:59 PM)

Speaking of Mr. Beaubois, thank you, Zach, we don't know when he will be back. Dirk mentioned last week that he doesn't expect Roddy on the floor until December. He's still wearing a protective boot and no one in the organization is saying much because really they don't know. Mark Cuban said he knows one thing: they're not going to rush him back. They already tried to get him up and running once and he landed back in the boot. They don't want to do that again. I know this, they need him because the offense is awful to watch in the fourth quarters. They still have yet to score more than 21 points in the fourth quarter in any of the first six games.

Brendan (DC)

Watching this team through 6 games it still seems as though they need another wing scorer. Maybe Roddy can fill that void but that's asking a lot. Can Haywood be flipped into a wing scorer after december 15th? Caron is a 3rd of 4th option but jacks up midrange jumpers at an alarming rate instead of going stong to the bucket.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:01 PM)

Brendan, your question plays off exactly what I was just talking about. In a perfect world, the Mavs could flip Haywood into another wing scorer, which they desperately need at the small forward spot. The problem is the Mavs hooked up Haywood with what I believe to be an untradeable contract. He's got a six-year $55 million contract that is really five years for less money because that last year is non-guaranteed. However, I can't imagine another team picking that up at this point, especially with the CBA troubles ahead. I am afraid Haywood is here for the long run, which, could make it tough to keep Tyson Chandler. How do you like that?

Brendan (DC)

There is one name that truly does interest me...Rodney Stuckey. He clearly needs a fresh start and is the type of slasher the Mavs could use. He also handles well enough to play with Terry or Roddy with Kidd out. The Pistons need size and we have a fairly talented Center playing off the bench. Who would say no to a Rodney for Haywood deal?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:03 PM)

Brendan, I'll give you a second question because I like that you brought up Rodney Stuckey. The Mavs believe they got their Stuckey in Dominique Jones. Maybe not this year, but in years to come. Again, as far as trading Haywood for anyone in December is a pipe dream.

pk (arlington)

realistically what is the ceiling for this team?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:04 PM)

Realistically, pk, is hard to answer. So much depends on Roddy, which is almost so unfair for the young kid. As currently constructed, the Mavs could get out of the first round depending on matchups but the second round is as far as I see things going. Now, if Roddy becomes an All-Star caliber player once he returns, the game changes.

Zach (Southlake)

If all the mavs were healthy who would you put out as your starting 5? dirk, kidd, roddy, chandler, butler?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:04 PM)

Yep, that's the lineup as long as Butler is here.

Erik (Seattle)

What is wrong with Brendan Haywood? With the exception of one game, he's been extremely mediocre, and looks like he's sleepwalking out there. Is this a motivation issue, or is this the guy we're stuck with for 5 years?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:06 PM)

Erik, look at Brendan Haywood's previous eight or nine seasons in the league. This is not a great player. Motivational issues have been a problem. He signed with the Mavs this offseason believing he was going to be the starter. He doesn't even make it to the first game as the starter and now Tyson Chandler, who played for Team USA this summer, is getting all the attention. Haywood is getting paid, but I think we're seeing what the Wizards have known. Haywood is 30, he's been in the league a long time, I think we've seen his ceiling.

Rachel (Hattiesburg)

Jeff, do you think Chandler will ever get an offensive game? It sure would be great if he could average at least 10 a game. Thanks again!

Jeff Caplan
  (3:09 PM)

Rachel,I was having this conversation with someone yesterday, that it kills me how today's centers have virtually no offensive game. I don't get it. You're 7-1, post up, stick your arm up, catch a pass and make a move standing five feet from the basket. Will Chandler get an offensive game? Doubutful. I think he's a lob-catching dunker and a glass cleaner. It's one reason I really was excited about the prospect of Al Jefferson coming to the Mavs. Not because I think he's just a great player, he has concerns, too, but he is a tremendous low-post threat and I think that would help Dirk more than any low-threat center.

smoots (dallas)

Which palyers wouled you offer come trade dead line if any for say "Melo". Do you think this is in any way possible?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:11 PM)

Smooth, first off, forget about Melo. That's just not happening. But, really everybody is on the table for the Mavs except Dirk. Butler and Chandler each have expiring $10M contracts. Stevenson and Barea are low-salary pieces that can be included in deals. I doubt Marion's deal makes him tradeable and same with Haywood for sure. But, you know the Mavs, they'll be aggressive and they won't be afraid to pull the trigger. Not that pulling the trigger means they will necessarily make the right move.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:12 PM)

OK everyone, strong imput today. We'll do this every Tuesday at 1:30 at espndallas.com. You won't find more comprehensive coverage or more updated coverage of the Mavs anywhere, so keep coming back and let others know that espndallas is in town and we're here to stay. Thanks again for participating. See you next week.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:12 PM)

imput=input. I know someone would have corrected me. Take care everyone. See you next week.