Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

January 18, 3:00 PM ET
Mavs Chat with Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan
  (3:00 PM)

Hello everyone. Welcome back to the big chat, Lob Angeles style. No word yet on if Chris Paul will play tonight. As for the Mavs, they're hopeful Dirk Nowitzki will play. He missed shootaround with a cold. Meanwhile, Vince Carter is headed home with his sprained left foot, which is not a good sign. He'll get checked out by team docs tomorrow. On with the chat.

Shawn Jacob (Carrollton, TX)

With Vince Carter's injury, was it really worth it for Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson to save a few bucks by trading away BOTH Corey Brewer and Rudy Fernandez? Wouldn't it have been smart to have kept one of the two?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:03 PM)

Shawn, excellent question to start us off. I did not understand that trade. Look, still don't know whole story with Rudy other than when Mavs signed VC he saw his playing time go down the drain and wanted out. Denver said they'd take him, but demanded Brewer, a guy Dallas was high on. Dallas got nothing in return and lost athleticism and youth. They'll claim they created additional cap space, but it's like $3 million come summer and they could have traded him at the end of the season if they needed that cap space to make a big free agent signing (or 2).

nish (mesquite)

Does Odom need more time to get adjusted to Mavs?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:04 PM)

Nish, quite possibly. He's certainly not in a rhythm and frankly you could make that case for others Mavs too. Minutes are down -- by design -- across the board. With Vince Carter out, Lamar could see more time at the 3. We'll see how he responds.

MavsFanatic (Phoenix,AZ)

Hey Jeff, please follow me @TheMavsFanatic . With VC out for a few games, do you see this being a blessing in disguise? Could it jump start Odom and Beaubois?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:07 PM)

You never know.We'll see. Like I said it could create more time for Odom, but he has to deliver. Look, he started the Lakers game hot, 3-of-4, 7 pts in the first quarter but was 1-7 3 pts in the second half. He has got to get more aggressive and take things upon himself to mesh with this group and earn playing time.

Lawrence (Houston)

Is there any indication or speculation as to a trade of Lamar Odom if a similar value comes along. I know a lot of the game is mental and Odom, as talented as he has proved to be, seems to be struggling in facets of the game he had not exhibited in LA. Do you agree? Is there anyone out there in your opinion that would be a valuable trade?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:09 PM)

Lawrence, I don't think so. The Mavs have made it clear that their intention is to have as much cap space this summer as possible. Odom can be bought out for a couple mil and be off the books. They certainly aren't going to trade him and take back salary. I mean if something appeared where they were just tired of him by the deadline and they could get a player or players of need also on expiring contracts, then maybe. Right now they're going to have patience with Lamar.

Joseph (Charlottesville, VA)

Jeff, any more word about whether Paul can go tonight?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:09 PM)

He's questionable.

meech (akron ohio)

do u think the mavs have the same mentality to win it all again this year or jason terry wont be adding another tattoo this year

Jeff Caplan
  (3:11 PM)

Meech, good question. I think yes and no. I mean the changes to the team were drastic and happened quickly. On top of that you had a shortened training camp, and then just thrown into these games, 14 in 23 days. So I think so much focus has been put into conditioning and trying to familiarize everyone with each other and the system that I think an attitude of defending the title has taken a backseat. Let this thing play out another month and see where we are.

Robby L (Cincinnati)

With Vince Carter possibly being sidelined for a week or two, will Rick Carlisle start to increase Roddy's minutes?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:13 PM)

Yes, and then it's up to Roddy to earn more minutes. They need him and Carlisle has said he's seeing improvement, particularly with his attention to detail defensively, being more disciplined and playing within the structure as opposed to trying to make a steal every time and then leaving his teammates vulnerable and opening opportunities for easy buckets for the opponent.

Ezra (Austin)

What do you think of the Mavs' D?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:14 PM)

I'm surprised it is as good as it has been after the awful start. Give the Mavs this, they have bought in as a team again to realizing that defense is what gets the job done, especially in these games where no one is shooting particularly well. they're allowing 88.5 points a game so it's hard to argue with that.

Jeff (Houston)

With Dirk averaging less than 20 points a game so far this season, should we be worried that his deterioration will be quicker than expected?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:16 PM)

Jeff,I wouldn't go that far this quickly. He's also playing fewer minutes by far than ever before at 30.3. Factor in that he's not in the best condition of his life and that some games have lacked any real flow, plus a handful of blowouts in both directions in which he hasn't played at all in the fourth quarter. I am getting a little concerned that his right knee is bothering him and at the rate of these games, it might be hard to find a real comfort zone.

JFB (Dallas)

Timetable for Carter's return? Have they done an MRI since he heard something pop which would sound like a tendon in the foot?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:17 PM)

No idea on a timetable. No MRI yet, only X-rays. He is headed back to Dallas today and will be examined by team docs today or tomorrow. So stay tuned for updates.

Alexis (Cedar Hill, TX)

Hi Jeff, I think the Mavs will be competing for the 7th or 8th spot for the west play-offs and with the present line-up they won't go far. My question is what are the guarantees that they would eventually land Dwill and Dwight here in Dallas?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:19 PM)

Alexis,well,I have to say that I do believe the chances of landing Deron Williams are quite good. He is miserable in NJ -- you can read a piece on ESPNLA.com about Deron from the other day when the Nets played the Clips -- and if NJ doesn't land Howard, which I don't think they will, coming to Dallas is a very logical scenario for Williams. Word from Orlando is that the Magic will hold onto Howard and try to convince him to stay. And look, they're 10-3, so who knows...As for a trade, i only see the Lakers having viable pieces that makes sense to Orlando. If Howard gets to free agency, a double dip in Dallas is possible.

tom (dallas)

since dominique jones was sent to the d-league is he going to be part of the ring celebration jan 25

Jeff Caplan
  (3:20 PM)

He could be re-called by then. I would assume he will part of the ceremony. Do the Legends play that night?

Ronnie (Little Elm, TX)

Could you see Dallas trading Haywood during the season for a C in the last year of his contract? Guys such as Jermaine O'neal come to mind. I know he's injury prone but with the depth and emergance of Mahinmi I think it could help clear some cap space for next year without a major drop off. Plus O'neal can catch a pass in the post. Your thoughts?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:21 PM)

Do you really think Jermaine O'Neal is better than Haywood at this point? I don't. The guy is never healthy for one. I don't see them trading Haywood. He can be amnestied in the summer. Mahinmi has played well, yes, but he's not a dependable starter at this point.

MavsFanatic (Phoenix,AZ)

Hey Jeff, you didn't address Beaubois in previous question. Do you consider him a non-factor over these next few games? @mavsfanatic

Jeff Caplan
  (3:22 PM)

Sorry Fanatic...I see Roddy as a factor. I think he has to play with VC down and out.

Joseph (Charlottesville, VA)

More points tonight, Dirk & Jet or Griffin

Jeff Caplan
  (3:22 PM)

Well, if Dirk plays, and if you hadn't heard, he missed shootaround with a cold, I'll take the duo over Griffin in points.

vic (dallas)

In your opinion, did Cuban let Barrea/Chandler go because he specifically wants Deron Williams/Dwight Howard next offseason -- or because he simply wanted the flexibility to sign from a pool of decent upcoming free agents?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:24 PM)

Obviously. Deron-Howard is the dream. But, in the bigger picture, it is to choose from the pool available. The bigger picture is that Cuban did not want to get caught in a luxury tax trap by re-signing the title team AND not having any ability to go after free agency. Under the new CBA, if you are a luxury tax team, your ability to make trades and use the MLE are greatly reduced so the only way to alter your team more or less is to have cap space.

Tom (Chicago)

What's the deal with Dirk's knee injury? When did he hurt it? How long is it supposed to linger?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:26 PM)

Tom, we're not real sure what's up with his knee. Not sure I would classify it as an injury, maybe a nuissance. He sprained that right knee last season you might recall and missed nine games. After the long postseason, he played for Germany in the Olympic qualifying tourney, so he put a lot of wear and tear on his legs. This might be a result of that. He pretty much dodges the question when asked.

meech (akron ohio)

how bad will there be a need to replace a future hall of famer in jason kidd if dallas dont get d will do you see a guard for the future in the draft as of today because i see alot of combo guards in college today what will they do

Jeff Caplan
  (3:28 PM)

Meech, don't discount J-Kidd coming back next season. He wants to play two more years and I am sure Cuban will bring him back at the right price. Still Dallas will need a starter if they don't get Deron Williams. Haven't really looked at college prospects closely so not sure who would fit that bill. Of course, Roddy was once the PG in waiting, at least that's what the club hoped, but that seems to be a pipedream at the moment.

JFB (Dallas)

Lebron/Bosh or Howard/Williams which would be the better free agent pickup?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:28 PM)

We'll just have to wait and see, won't we?

Joe (Denver)

Do you see the Nets moving Williams before the deadline and does Dallas have the assets to get him, or is there another team DWill would sign with long term that has the assets to get him?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:30 PM)

Joe, good question. If the Nets are out of the Howard sweepstakes and they feel they have no chance of keeping D-Will, then yes I could see them looking for a trade. No, the Mavs have nothing to pry him in a trade. They need him to go to free agency. Just like with Howard, the Lakers really are the only ones with the players to entice a deal. It will get interesting as the March deadline approaches. The Nets are atrocious, D-Will is unhappy and I don't think they can get D12.

Brent (Denton, TX)

A lot of Mavs fans are really banking on the promise of 3D in Big D with Dwight and Deron hopefully headed here over the summer. If that plan doesn't work out, what is a realistic Plan B? Does Donnie Nelson go into full rebuilding mode?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:32 PM)

If one or the other comes here, then Dallas can build a nice team around whichever one and Dirk. If neither come, then Dallas is in some trouble. This is a very old team with really no young players of promise. I mean right now Mahinmi is the top young player and who would have said that at the start of the season. If neither come it's basically Dirk and a bunch of other guys.

Jim (San Francisco)

What are the chances that Ray Allen becomes a FA target? Would you see him leaving Boston to chase a title with Dallas, especially if the Mavs land D-Will?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:33 PM)

Jim, perhaps. I mean if the Mavs get D-Will or Howard or both, then wouldn't vet guys want to come to Dallas and play like Battier did with Miami this season? it will all be very interesting.

meech (akron ohio)

who wins the championship this year

Jeff Caplan
  (3:33 PM)

meech,I picked Miami to start the year, so I guess I've got to stick with it. They'll need a healthy D-Wade though.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:34 PM)

OK,thanks everyone for joining me today. I'm in Los Angeles so keep checking espndallas.com today and tonight for updates on Dirk's health and everything else going on with the Mavs.Thanks everyone.