No official announcement from the team as of yet, but the NBA Store has two Maverick alternates available for sale, grouped in with the rest of the jerseys for game use. Dallas has a ton of “fashion alternates,” (weird alts/color schemes for sale but not for game use) available through their own store, but NBA.com — with the exception being women’s fitted jerseys — seems to only sell the real deal team unis. So take a look at what looks to be a new road and home alternate for next season (via Angry Trey’s Blog):
The jerseys are dubbed “Revolution 30″ by the store, likely in honor of the Mavs’ 30th anniversary this season.
Not sure how to feel about these, honestly. The first one is so bright that I think we’ll need to see it in action before making a final determination, and the changes in the home alternate are subtle but…odd. Not sure I’ll ever get used to seeing full-sized numbers on the front of the Maverick unis as long as they maintain this general jersey design.
You can take a look at Dominique Jones sporting the new road alternate at Rookie Photo Day here.
For the record, here’s Mark Cuban’s response when asked if new jerseys were in the works. From Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas:
We’ve heard of new duds for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers, but this is the first — I think — news of new Mavs uniforms. So, are new uniforms in the offing?
“Maybe,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban coyly wrote in an email.
Delightfully definitive, Mark.
In the basketball gods’ latest attempt to toy with Mark Cuban’s psyche, they’ve stricken Rodrigue Beaubois down by the foot. Beaubois has broken the fifth metatarsal in his left foot while practicing with the French national team according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas, and could possibly require surgery and a recovery period of up to three months. There will be no more point guard trials for Rodrigue this off-season, and now he’ll face his first significant injury since joining the NBA last fall.
Just about the only thing that could have stopped Beaubois’ ridiculous momentum was a busted tire, and he was unfortunate enough to suffer one at a rather critical time. It’s better for Rodrigue to miss time now than during the regular season, but off-seasons like this one are still very important for his development and role establishment.
While Beaubois was refining his playmaking abilities this summer for his eventual takeover as the post-Kidd Creator, this year’s training camp was also a very significant opportunity for Beaubois to cement his immediate status as a starter. Rick Carlisle and his staff have clearly been considering the idea, but without the benefit of a full-speed training camp (not to mention the regular season time Beaubois could potentially miss), Rodrigue’s debut as a full-time starter is delayed at the very least.
If Rodrigue does end up missing the initial games of the regular season, two players stand to benefit: J.J. Barea and Dominique Jones. Barea is the more experienced heir to Beaubois’ role and responsibilities, but the Mavs could plug Jones into the lineup in order to keep the rest of the rotation in place. Coincidentally, a similar situation allowed Beaubois to make a name for himself during Josh Howard’s early-season injury last year, so some good may yet come of this. Even if that pesky fifth metatarsal means a little less Beaubois, wouldn’t it all be worth it if Dominique Jones steals the show and forces his way into some extended playing time?
The Mavs haven’t had a ton of success in free agency this summer, but they had previously done a terrific job of taking care of their own. Dirk Nowitzki was signed to a great value deal, keeping Dallas’ window forced open for a bit longer. They re-signed Brendan Haywood, who was the Mavs’ best option for a legitimate center next season. Yet when it came time to secure a free agent on the other end of the pecking order — undrafted point guard Jeremy Lin — Dallas was beaten out; Lin and the Golden State Warriors are close to an agreement on a multi-year, partially guaranteed deal that will allow Jeremy to reprise his role as a local hero in the Bay Area.
It’s unfortunate, particularly because Donnie Nelson was so pivotal in Lin’s emergence. Though Jeremy wasn’t committed to any one team, the point guard seemed like the Mavs’ to lose. Well, they lost him. It’s not earth-shaking, but it does set the Texas Legends back a bit. The Warriors were ultimately able to offer Lin the contract, role, and potential for playing time he was looking for, and regardless of the franchise’s intentions in signing him, it’s a good fit. The organization may be a mess, but running the point for the Dubs will give Lin a chance to really show off for other NBA suitors, and I’d be surprised if he didn’t parlay this one opportunity into a few more.
The Mavs still have J.J. Barea, who is the better player today, and for the future until Lin proves otherwise. Let’s not forget that J.J. was once where Jeremy is right now, but he carved out a rotation spot on one of the top teams in the Western Conference by force of will alone. He was once the plucky underdog, but has elevated himself into an NBA player worthy of being judged by his limitations, which is something that at this moment, Lin can only aspire to. It would be terrific if the Mavs could have signed Lin to be the face of the Legends next season. Although, let’s not forget that while Lin is an interesting prospect, he’s still just a prospect. Barea, faulted though he may be, is already a legitimate player.
The Mavs missed out on an opportunity to pick up a good, young player for very little, but considering what the Mavs have already done to bolster their depth at almost every position this off-season (let’s not forget that while the Mavs let Lin slip through their fingers, Mark Cuban shelled out the cash to draft Dominique Jones, who was even more impressive in Vegas), it’s nothing more than a pity.
UPDATE: The Mavs have confirmed the trade via press release.
Here’s what Donnie Nelson had to say about the deal: “We wish Erick, Eddie and Matt nothing but the very best. They are consummate professionals that represented the Mavericks family with class and integrity. We could not be more excited to add Tyson Chandler. He is one of the most versatile big men in the league today. He gives our front line a defensive, shot-blocking, athletic punch we haven’t had here in awhile. Alexis Ajinca is a fine young center with significant upside.”
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Mavs have traded Erick Dampier, Matt Carroll, and Eduardo Najera to the Charlotte Bobcats for Tyson Chandler and Alexis Ajinca. The chip has been traded, and while it’s not LeBron James, or Dwyane Wade, or Joe Johnson (or Al Jefferson, or Andre Iguodala, or…), the Mavs did trade Damp to fill a bit of a positional need.
This move isn’t a particularly good one, and it’s not going to thrust the Mavs into the title discussion. However, like the Ian Mahinmi signing, it stabilizes the frontcourt rotation and gives Dallas some depth in the middle. It’s important, but definitely underwhelming. Dampier’s contract was thought to be much more valuable than this.
If the Mavs could have picked up Chandler circa ’07-’08, when he was one of the game’s elite interior defenders and a Chris Paul sidekick? This would be a definite upgrade. Yet as it stands, it’s actually very debatable whether Chandler is better than Erick Dampier at all. Even gifting Chandler the advantage, it’s entirely possible that Damp’s contract, which was supposed to add a significant, long-term piece for the Mavs, could have no direct roster impact past next season. The Mavs may choose to let Tyson walk next summer, and for all of the hullabaloo, that’s awfully anticlimactic.
Plenty more to come on the Mavs’ “big” off-season move.
Third-string centers are a bit of a novelty and a luxury, and it’s generally hoped that they aren’t forced to become much more. They are stop-gaps and a safety nets, and an elevation in the responsibilities of the third C typically has less to do with rapid improvement or flawed appraisal than it does a far more disappointing reality at the top of the rotation. Having three players capable of playing the position is practically an NBA necessity, even if the third is only really present to fill in the gaps and prevent a complete disaster.
Ian Mahinmi will slide into that role comfortably for the Mavs next season, as Dallas has reportedly agreed to terms with Ian on a two-year deal for the veteran minimum. (Note: Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com reported that Mahinmi will receive the full biannual exception, so it’s possible that Ian’s annual salary is closer to $1.9 million).
This is a fantastic move. Mahinmi had trouble earning playing time during his career in San Antonio, but he’s an energy big that can actually help the Mavs off the bench. During the 2007-2008 season, Ian posted a 23.0 PER for the D-League’s Austin Toros, and averaged 20.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per 36 minutes. Mahinmi is not really a physical beast, but he is long and athletic with pretty good instincts. This is exactly the kind of player the Mavs should be using to fill out the rotation, and with the full mid-level exception still intact (and likely the biannual exception as well) , the Mavs have almost their entire roster assembled. It’s obviously preferable that Mahinmi falls as the third center rather than Haywood’s backup, but one more reserve center aside, this team looks quite complete.
Creation on the wing is still a bit of a concern, but adding Mahinmi to an already talented roster is quite helpful. Ian is still, in many ways, more of a prospect than a player, but he does come in as a usable big with a better price tag and future than Eduardo Najera. Dallas could have shot for a big like Brad Miller or Matt Bonner (and reportedly, they did), but in Mahinmi the Mavs have acquired a piece that’s likely already a better NBA rebounder and shot blocker than either of those two vets. Even at 23, Ian is still growing into his game, and while he does have immediately usable skills, it’s conceivable that he’ll only get better and better during his time with the Mavs.
Here’s a tentative depth chart in light of the Mahinmi signing, assuming Rick Carlisle chooses to keep Butler and Marion as starters:
PG – Jason Kidd, Rodrigue Beaubois, J.J. Barea
SG – Caron Butler, Jason Terry, Rodrigue Beaubois, DeShawn Stevenson, Dominique Jones, Matt Carroll
SF – Shawn Marion, Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson
PF – Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Ian Mahinmi, Eduardo Najera
C – Brendan Haywood, Ian Mahinmi, Eduardo Najera
TBD: Returns on Erick Dampier’s contract, the mid-level exception, and possibly the biannual exception
Per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, the Mavs have agreed to a six-year, $55 million deal with Brendan Haywood. Dallas held on to a legitimate starting center for a salary befitting successful players at his position. This is a good thing. The Mavs now have an actual center on the roster for next season! Huzzah!
For a bit of reading on just how important it was that the Mavs re-sign Haywood, check out a few of these recent posts:
Although this summer presents the Mavs’ best opportunity to make a notable roster addition, it was almost certain to be marked by a loss in the coaching ranks. Both the Hawks and Clippers had Casey very high on their list of candidates, and with so many openings this off-season and Dwane as good of a choice as any, his departure from Dallas was something of an inevitability.
Not so. According to Kevin Arnovitz of ClipperBlog and ESPN Los Angeles, the Clippers have chosen Vinny Del Negro over Dwane Casey as their next head coach, completing their re-enactment of the Chicago Bulls’ 2008 coaching search. VDN may not be as bad of a head coach as his legend suggests, but this is still a regretful decision by Los Angeles. Casey is a masterful tactician, but unlike most of his contemporaries of similar ilk, Dwane is also something of a statesman. He’s firm without being grating, assertive without being overbearing. In fact, the only coaching asset Casey seems to be lacking is a legitimate shot. He was wrongfully ousted from Minnesota, denied plenty of jobs he would have succeeded in, and now the Mavs will continue to benefit.
As I said earlier in the summer, Dwane Casey will get a head coaching job. The only thing that remains to be determined is who he will coach and how long he’ll have to wait. That’s why I don’t feel too bad about celebrating that Dallas will retain Casey for just a bit longer. Even if Dwane is only with the Mavs for one more season, the coaching staff is stronger with him a part of it. For now, all 30 head coaches are accounted for, and though Casey’s name isn’t listed among them, he’s just as talented, just as schooled, and coaching for the home team.
Donnie Nelson’s ownership of the Texas Legends is a bit unusual. It’s been obvious for some time that the Legends weren’t going to be an ordinary D-League team due to the nature of the purchase and ownership. At the same time, the Legends aren’t owned by their affiliate NBA team, like the Austin Toros or the Tulsa 66ers are. They’re also not partially owned via the hybrid affiliation model, meaning the win-win relationship the Houston Rockets have with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers isn’t a perfect comparison, either. The Legends are just something else entirely, and while we can’t forecast the success of the model until we see it in action, a bit of news surfaced today that does offer some clarity into the nature of the Mavs-Legends dynamic.
The D-League affiliations for 2010-2011 were made official yesterday, and the Dallas Mavericks will be the sole affiliate for the Texas Legends in their inagural season. No other NBA team is afforded a direct D-League partnership without actual ownership, but due to the unique nature of Nelson’s involvement, it makes sense that Dallas is treated a bit differently. Regardless, this is great news. The point of Donnie owning the Legends in the first place is to make the Mavs’ D-League outfit more beneficial to the mothership, and the benefit of operating the team would be diminished greatly if another NBA affiliate were involved. Such a scenario would basically entitle another franchise to have eyes and ears on the inner workings of the Mavs’ system; the Legends will likely run Dallas’ offense and defensive schemes in order to better prepare their prospects for a call-up to the main roster, but doing so while another team (and assigned, hands-off prospects from that team) can take notes is very counterproductive.
Luckily that’s something the Mavs won’t have to worry about. They’ve put in their personnel to run the organization. They’ll have oversight during every stage of player development. They’ll be able to run Maverick plays with Maverick-selected prospects, in what really amounts to a farm team. Even though all of these things have been assumed from the beginning, only now are they finally starting to materialize. This was a big “if,” and now that it’s out of the way, we’ll get to see just how adept Donnie Nelson is at using the D-League system.
Photo from Mavs.com.
Someday, I’ll be forced to sit down at my keyboard and articulate exactly what Dirk Nowitzki has meant to the Dallas Mavericks. It will be painful and absolutely futile. I’ll haphazardly throw thoughts into this virtual space with the hope that some of it means something, and yet be forced to face the realization that none of it could possibly do Dirk and his career justice. What this man has done for this franchise and basketball in general is beyond words, words, words, and I pity the future me that’s forced to write such a basketball epitaph.
Instead, I couldn’t be happier to say that the Mavericks will continue with business as usual. Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs have agree to terms on a four-year, $80 million contract, in which Nowitzki will leave some $16.2 million on the table to benefit the only franchise he’s ever known. It’s a touching gesture from the most important figure in Dallas Mavericks history, and fuels the hope of a substantial upgrade this off-season. Nowitzki’s unselfishness has given Mark Cuban the liberty to chase stars, and even if he ends up grasping at the biggest and brightest with little to show for it, Dirk’s sacrifice means plenty.
Though Nowitzki can’t officially ink the deal until July 8th, the agreement between him and the Mavs signals the beginning of the next stage of Dallas’ off-season. Brendan Haywood should now become the team’s top priority, and beyond that, the proper and optimal utilization of Erick Dampier’s instantly expiring contract. There are all kind of targets and options available to Dallas, and with Nowitzki locked up until 2014, only now can they become more than mere possibilities.
Dirk is also the proud new owner of a no-trade clause, one of two such clauses to currently exist in the NBA. In actuality, it means very little; it’s extremely unlikely that Cuban and Nelson would ever trade Dirk without his consent anyway, which means that the clause is merely a literal version of an established principle. It’s just something to keep everyone sleeping a bit more soundly at night, and if that’s what Mark and Donnie afforded Dirk to compensate for his considerable financial concessions, then good on all them.
It should be a busy summer, but take a moment to celebrate: the Mavs have just agreed to the best deal of free agency thus far.
Thus far, the Mavs have done everything within their power to remove even the slightest possibility of a Dirk defection: Nelson offered to fly to him, they’ve met on Dirk’s terms, and according to a report from Marc Stein and Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas, they’ve offered Dirk the maximum contract value and length allowed. There’s no question that a Nowitzki-less Mavs team would be dead in the water, which partially explains the team’s no-nonsense approach. The implications of Dirk’s decision are rather clear-cut, meaning the Mavs have no business trying to step around the issue or get shy over dollar amounts. Re-signing Nowitzki is simply what Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban have to do to stave off the end, and there are no alternatives.
The same is essentially true of re-signing Brendan Haywood. While Haywood’s impact doesn’t even come close to Nowitzki’s nor is it as obvious, the volatility the Mavs currently have at center make him an absolute necessity. The end of days doesn’t have to be marked by predictable fire raining from above if the understated earth swallows everything whole. Dallas needs a solid 5 going into next season, and Brendan is more than that. Should they lose him however, it not only means a likely downgrade at center, but a complete compromise of all of the Mavs’ other off-season plans.
If Dallas loses Haywood to another suitor, re-signing Dampier after his inevitable trade becomes much more likely, as does using Damp’s contract to net a replacement center. Andris Biedrins and Al Jefferson are the most convenient names available, and while both are effective players, they’re not quite talented enough to justify the costs. In such a scenario, the Mavs would essentially be swapping out Haywood, Dampier, and the chance of netting a valuable player via Dampier’s contract for a stop-gap center; rather than using their available funds to shore up the house’s overall structure, they’d simply be putting an ill-fitting column in the middle of everything with the hope that it holds.
While it’s never a wise negotiating tactic to blindly meet all of the other party’s demands, the Mavs really need to work with Brendan on this one. In fact, the Nowitzki-Haywood negotiations may be a little bit backwards; while Cuban and Nelson would never want to seem ungrateful for all Dirk has done in Dallas and probably shouldn’t take unnecessary risks, they have a far greater margin for error with Nowitzki than they do with Haywood. Dirk wants to stay with the Dallas Mavericks, whereas Haywood wants to go with whoever is willing to give him his desired role and paycheck. If it’s the Mavs, fantastic. If not, he’ll simply move on.
Dallas can’t afford for him to, which is what makes the reported dissonance in negotiations a bit worrisome. It’s still quite early in the process and I wouldn’t expect both sides to be on the same page immediately, but clear progress needs to be made before one of Brendan’s suitors — be it Miami, Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, or another team yet to be named — swoops in with an overwhelming offer. Maybe that would be Miami, with a chance to play alongside Dwyane Wade while making a good chunk of change. Maybe that would be with Boston, where he’d be the starting center on a team looking to make another run at the Finals. Maybe it would be with a re-signed LeBron in Cleveland, as the undisputed man in the middle in Detroit, or on any team where the money or opportunity strikes him.
While Dallas may be the only franchise that can currently boast both an established, winning roster and a salary to Brendan’s liking, that may not be good enough. The idea of the Mavs continuing in free agency without a center secured for next year is positively frightening, and my hope is that if push comes to shove, Cuban and Nelson aren’t afraid to show him the quan. Whether Haywood ends up signing a contract for $8 million per or $10 million per isn’t nearly as important as the fact that he ends up signing it with the Mavs, and if Cuban has to go a bit overboard to get it done, I’ll have no objections. The paychecks don’t come out of my bank account, but if Dallas is committed to competing now with the current core, Haywood needs to be a part of it.