Thanks for joining me for the first of our weekly Mavs chats this season. It should be an, um, interesting season. Fire away.
I know that everyone is down on the Mavs team this year, and I understand why. In your opinion doesn't this Mavs team this year bring more to the table than last years team?
If everyone is healthy, I think this Mavs team can be better than last season's edition. The problem is the health factor is already a mess, and it killed the Mavs' opportunity to develop chemistry during training camp. Who knows how long it will take for Dirk to be Dirk once he gets back on the floor in two to four weeks? How long will it take all the newcomers to be comfortable playing with him? And how many games will the durability-challenged Chris Kaman play this season? I'd set the over-under at 60.My prediction for these Mavs, given all those factors: 42-40 and the 8 seed.
The payroll was 120 million years ago. Now it's like 23rd in the NBA at 59 million. And all the "flexibility" has got Dallas is a embarrassing 1st round sweep and a bunch of injury prone castoffs from other teams. So what is Cuban's plan here now? Tank and get a lottery pick? Because he isn't fooling anyone with this product he has put on the floor.
I can't see any tanking as long as Dirk is wearing No. 41. Just can't see that happening. Too much pride. The plan is to be as competitive as possible with the roster they have and try to upgrade -- whether that's in the trade market or the free agency market. The problem is, who is gonna be available in either market? It looks like the Mavs have stepped on the mediocrity treadmill that Cuban has always said he wants to avoid.By the way, Cuban will tell you the plan is to win the title with this team and re-sign everybody. He is not hooked up to a polygraph when he says that.
Who makes more of an impact this year, O.J Mayo or Jae Crowder?
Interesting question, Albert. I'd go with Mayo this year. The Mavs need him to fill Jet's shoes as Dirk's scoring sidekick. I think Mayo can average 18 ppg, but I don't believe he'll be very efficient. Crowder's minutes will be reduced once Dirk gets back.For the long term, Crowder will make a bigger impact here. He's at the minimum going to be a very solid role player for a long time.
Can you provide any additional details into the departure of Delonte West? According to his account, he was blamed for a confrontation between two other teammates. It's really a shame, because not only is Delonte a very underrated and valuable role player, but it seems like, by and large, (despite some of his struggles with bi-polar disorder) he's a great teammate and an all-around good guy. Your thoughts?
I'm a big Delonte West fan. Will miss his personality in the locker room. But the Mavs had major concerns about his influence on the younger players. Delonte was disgruntled about having to settle for another one-year, vet-minimum contract and struggled to contain his frustration. While he wasn't involved in the postgame confrontation between teammates in Wichita, he'd had several behavioral missteps (including an outburst after the preseason win over the Rockets). The Mavs' brass believed he was setting a volatile tone and that they needed to move on.
Do Mavs have any future plans for Dominique Jones(D league). It seems like he is taking forever to get some kind of a role with this team. I think same goes for roddy. B, dont you think?
The Mavs tried to trade DoJo and would have taken two deflated basketballs in return. They didn't find any takers. The option in his contract for next season won't be picked up. Don't expect to see him on the floor this season except in emergencies.The Mavs need Roddy B to be a decent backup point guard. He'll still get his chances, but it's certainly not like they're forecasting stardom for him like they were a few years ago. He'll be a restricted free agent after the season.
So when are we going to take advantage of financial flexibility?
Who are they going to spend all that money on? It's extremely doubtful that Dwight Howard or Chris Paul leave their respective teams in LA. James Harden has already committed to a max deal with the Rockets. When the Mavs opted to go the financial flexibility route, they thought they'd have three strikes last summer: Howard, Paul and Deron Williams. They whiffed on Williams and didn't get another pitch.Hard to see when that next pitch is coming.
What do you think Dahntay Jones role would be?
I could see him as DeShawn Stevenson -- a defensive stopper/spot-up shooter who is in and out of the rotation. Can Jones handle bouncing back and forth from the end of the bench to the rotation as well as Stevenson did during the title year? We'll see.
Who is going to get the backup PG minutes behind Collison?
To quote Rick Carlisle: "I don't [beeping] know." Actually, I think it's Roddy B's job by default to start the season, especially with Jared Cunningham dealing with a sore thumb.I won't be surprised if the Mavs end up cutting Dominique Jones and acquiring a veteran to back up Collison.
What is the Mavs starting lineup tonight?
Rick Carlisle won't confirm until 16 minutes before tip, but I expect it to be Collison, Mayo, Crowder, Marion, Curry.Brand could start instead of Crowder with Marion playing the 3.
Who is most likely to win the next title in Dallas. Cowboys, Mavs, Stars, or Rangers?
The Rangers are the only Metroplex team that's even close to being title contenders right now.
How has the Curry of late looked? Are we just desperate enough to take on a guy that couldn't get garbage minutes with the Heat or the Spurs or is he really improved?
Yes, they're desperate. Curry looked OK against the Bobcats, but it's an absolute desperation move to pick up a reclamation project off the scrap heap and start him opening night against Dwight Howard.
Good morning TIM. Do you see the team chemistry yet? How does this team look to you and do they have a chance at playoffs?
Hard to say you see the chemistry when there was a locker-room confrontation less than a week ago. As far as on the floor goes, there will be one starter from last season in the lineup tonight. Hard to establish immediate chemistry with so many new faces and so many injury issues. The Mavs have a chance to make the playoffs, but it will be stunning if they can get out of the first round.
What if Jared Cunningham shows signs of stardom this year - similar to Roddy's rookie year? Could that save the Mavs? They need another scoring punch besides Dirk and OJ, and the backup PG role is crucial. Could Cunningham be the key to everything and we don't even know it yet?
That's awfully optimistic based on what we've seen from Cunningham so far. If you want to pin your hopes on a rookie, go with Jae Crowder.
The next Mavs superstar will be either in Free Agency or through the Draft?
Trade might be the most likely avenue if the Mavs can find a franchise that is desperate to dump salary.
Any potential trade targets the Mavs might be interested in?
I could throw some names out there now, but it'd just be off-the-top-of-my-head speculation. I'm sure the rumor mill will heat up as the trade deadline nears.
Do you think Cuban is satisfied with the title from 2011 and just trying to stay in the black going forward?
I don't think satisfied is the right word. But he's maybe more willing to have a financially friendly long-term outlook instead of spending crazy money to try to win now ... and then figure out the future on the fly.He'll tell you that's because of the new CBA, not the title. It's probably a combination of both.
OK, folks, gotta wrap it up. We'll have more on the blog from the Mavs' shootaround in LA this afternoon.