Thanks for joining me for our weekly Mavs chat. The going is about to get tough for this .500 team, which has 11 of its next 15 and 16 of its next 23 games on the road. Fire away with questions ...
Do the Gortat rumors have any legs? If so who would Mavs send?
I haven't seen or heard any rumors about Marcin Gortat for the Mavs. I guarantee you the Mavs would be interested. Remember, he got that contract when they signed him to an offer sheet as a restricted free agent. But why would the Suns give up a good, young starting center with a reasonable contract? I guess stranger things have happened, but I don't see how this would make sense for the Suns, who are in position to be spenders in the summer.
Anything in the rumor mill as far as the free agent class of 2013 is concerned? Where is financial flexibility getting us these days?
Financial flexibility is getting you a lot of frustration so far. James Harden getting traded to Houston, where he signed a max deal, was a big blow to the Mavs. That's a guy they would have chased. I guess I could tell you there's still hope for signing Dwight Howard or Chris Paul, but does anyone really believe that? Only way it's even a slim possibility is if one or both LA teams totally tank and those guys want to escape their situations. The most interesting thing about this summer might be whether the Mavs re-sign O.J. Mayo or let another team pay him big money.
Will Elton Brand ever be utilized on the offensive end?
This is kind of a chicken-and-egg deal. Does Brand deserve more touches when he's shooting 34.2 percent from the floor? Would he be shooting better if he were more in the flow of the offense? Not sure about the answer, but I'm not optimistic that we'll ever see evidence in Dallas that Brand used to be an outstanding scorer.
You think Carlisle will be here long-term? Is he going to be on the hot seat because he was saddled with this mediocre bunch?
You want to run Rick Carlisle out of town? There aren't many elite coaches in the NBA, and he's one of them. He also has a great working relationship with Mark Cuban. Carlisle just signed a new contract, too. I expect him to be in Dallas for a long time.
Can I come back? You're paying me anyway.
Actually, Lam Lam, the Mavs managed to dump you this summer without being on the hook to pay your bloated butt another dime. It truly is amazing that 1) the Clippers traded for you with the intention to pay the full $8.2 million for this season and 2) You're even worse for the Clippers than you were for the Mavs.
We tend to focus on the offensive end, but aren't Collison & Kaman huge negatives on the defensive end? The Mavs seems to get killed on the high screen
Carlisle definitely is more concerned about the defensive end. For good reason. Right now, the Mavs rank 27th in scoring defense. The new bigs have had trouble adjusting to the Mavs' aggressive pick-and-roll coverages. Collison and Mayo both allow way too much dribble penetration. They've been able to get by in a lot of games because they shot the ball extremely well, but that's the only way the Mavs are winning.
Would Josh Smith be a good fit with the mavs and if so would they wait till FA or try a trade.
I don't see Smith as a good fit for the Mavs. He's a power forward. That's the one position they're set at for at least the next few years. Maybe he could be a Matrix-like small forward, but if this team pays big money in free agency, it needs to be for someone who can take the scoring load off Dirk's shoulders.
Any new info on a timeframe for Dirk's return?
He hopes to begin basketball activities by next week and start playing in mid-December.
Do the Mavs have a shot at signing Andrew Bynum next summer?
Yeah. Sure you want a big man with bad knees?
Could you see the Mavs trying to unload Marion before the trade deadline? He's still a very useful player but I'm sure the Mavs would like to have his salary off the books for next year, if possible.
The only two players who are untouchable on the Mavs in terms of trades are Dirk and Elton Brand. (Can't trade a player within a year of claiming him off of amnesty waivers.)
Why is Carlisle so adamant about play Wright at the 5? Guy seems much more suited as a 4...
Carlisle likes his fours to be able to space the floor as shooting threats. That's not Wright's game. He can be compatible with Chris Kaman because of Kaman's ability to shoot the ball, but Wright isn't getting much burn because of his poor rebounding.
This team has played a lot better than I thought without Dirk (even if they are 7-7). Where do you see this team stacking up against the rest of the West when Dirk gets back? Memphis is solid, SA is SA, and I think the Thunder wish they would have held on to Harden at least through this year. All and all there are some really good teams in the West, but none above and beyond ( Would say Memphis but need to prove it in the playoffs first).
Let's see how these next few weeks unfold before we get too excited about how well this team played without Dirk. Their early schedule was extremely soft. I think they'll be a few games under .500 when Dirk gets back and have to battle for one of the last playoff spots in the West.
Anything to these Michael Finley rumors? Is this just smoke, or will the Mavericks actually bring him back?
As Marc Stein reported, Michael Finley wants to make a comeback. However, I don't see the Mavs as a fit. They don't have an open roster spot, and it doesn't make sense for a non-contender to sign a 39-year-old role player.
Do you see Dirk's injury affecting his career, either with his production or early retirement?
The aging process will affect his production, and this injury is part of that. Dirk made it clear the other day that he plans to play a couple of seasons after his contract expires, which means through the 2015-16 season.
Is there a possibility that CP3 creates an interest on joining the Mavs just to team up with Dwight Howard? I just personally think if both team fails to win it all, we have a chance. Dwight might opt out from the old looking Lakers.
Is it possible? Sure. At one point, before CP3 got traded to the Clippers and Dwight did his fence-riding act in Orlando, they planned on playing together in Dallas. But they've both moved on, so I'd say the odds of it actually happening are awfully slim.
What do you think of UNTs Tony Mitchell? I think he could be a good fit for the Mavs come draft season.
As a Mean Green alum, I might be biased, but Mitchell reminds me of a young Shawn Marion. He's a 3-4 tweener with freakish athleticism. He needs to work on his ballhandling, but he's a pretty good perimeter spot-up shooter and a spectacular finisher. I'm not sure how NBA-ready he'll be after playing in the Sun Belt, though. He might be more of a project, even though he's projected as a lottery pick in a supposedly shallow draft class.
How frustrated is Carlisle with Collison running the point? He was used to the giant basketball brain of Kidd and now he's stuck with Collison who seems to have no clue how to run a team.
Collison's struggles as a closer and on the defensive end are definitely challenges to Carlisle, who owns up to a lot of the blame for those issues. The Mavs need Collison to play to his strengths. He's been good when he's been aggressive and pushed the tempo. If he's not doing those things, he's hurting the team.
Appreciate the questions, folks, but I've gotta run. We'll get into the Mavs a little bit while I'm filling in for Coop with Nate Newton from 2-3 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM.