Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 12, 2010 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 1, 2010 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • Regardless of whether Nowitzki wants fanfare or not, the Mavs have launched DFWDigsDirk.com for fans to show support for ze German. Nothing too special, but the Mavs’ official store is offering a 41% discount on all Dirk merch as part of Dirk’s honorary week.
  • Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News: “…I would be shocked if the Mavericks don’t hang around the hoop and try to get a rebound in the Chris Bosh situation. People have been downplaying Bosh because he may end up being a package deal with LeBron James. But Bosh met early today with Houston GM Daryl Morey and if the Rockets are making a push for Bosh on the basis of pairing him with a perhaps-healthy Yao Ming, the Mavericks can do better than that. If the package deal with LeBron falls through, the Mavericks should be in the hunt for the 6-10 hometown kid, even if he’s a little reluctant to play in his backyard and put that extra pressure on himself. Dirk would help him alleviate it.”
    Even though the Mavs may look like a better team on paper, the Rox are far and away the more likely Bosh destination. For one, Houston has a plethora of interesting assets (their own draft picks, the Knicks’ draft picks, young talent, expiring contracts) that could tempt the Raptors in a sign-and-trade, but the bigger issue is Bosh’s willingness to suit up for Houston. He’s a far more natural fit alongside Yao than he is alongside Nowitzki, and don’t think for a second that Chris doesn’t know that. Considering how set he is on playing power forward, he may be the least attainable free agent out there.
  • Even though the summer’s premier free agents give the Mavs a nice pipe dream to chase, the far more realistic option is an Al Jefferson/Andre Iguodala style trade without the red tape of free agency.
  • The Nets have signed Brian Zoubek to a make good contract, which guarantees him a spot in training camp but not a roster spot. Bummer. Devan Downey (Sacramento) and Mac Koshwal (Detroit) have also been picked up for Vegas Summer League.
  • According to ESPN Dallas’ Tim MacMahon, the Mavs were one of the teams to contact Matt Bonner. He wouldn’t be a bad get as far as bench bigs go, really.
  • Keep this page bookmarked, it will no doubt come in handy. This one, too.
  • Ken Berger of CBS Sports reported that Miami and Cleveland have legitimate interest in Brendan Haywood, which appears to be true. However, he also reported (as did Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer) that there was potential for a double sign-and-trade involving Brendan Haywood and Shaquille O’Neal, which was denied by Marc Stein. It makes sense; sources with the Cavs might indicate that a trade was in the works, because it’s likely that Cleveland would initiate such discussions. However, there would be no reason at all for the Mavs to entertain the idea of bringing in O’Neal.
  • In case you didn’t hear, Josh Howard is an unrestricted free agent. Sign-and-trade???
  • Two days later, and this is still hilarious.
  • Donnie Nelson clearly prefers veteran free agents to undrafted ones, and for obvious reasons. There are a number of intriguing veteran options to be had on the market for a chunk of the Mavs’ MLE, but I can’t help but wonder: does that also open the door for a D-Leaguer or two?
  • Caron Butler on Twitter, back on Tuesday a little before midnight: “About to check out twilight ill get back and let you’ll know what’s good holla”

It’s Been a Long, Cold, Lonely Winter

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 30, 2010 under Commentary, News | Be the First to Comment

With free agency just a few hours away the Mavs’ plan is beginning to come into focus. Team representatives are headed in a number of directions.

Donnie Nelson, who was bound for the Rhineland, will instead head to a slightly more local destination: Dirk Nowitzki’s home. Nowitzki altered the initial plans and opted to meet Nelson in Dallas rather than have Donnie come to him, which could indicate a number of things. From where I’m sitting, it doesn’t seem to be any kind of negative for the Mavs; while Dirk coming back to Dallas could actually make it easier for him to visit with reps from other teams around the league, there’s also something affirming about his homecoming.

Everything starts with Dirk. I know this, you know this, and rest assured that Donnie and Mark Cuban know this.

“If Dirk doesn’t stay, our whole world changes…There is no mix if there’s no Dirk in the mix,” [Nelson] said.

With him, Dallas is among the more intriguing free agent destinations and a viable candidate for a sign-and-trade. Without him, the Mavs are very questionable to make the playoffs at all, and could easily slip into the mid-lottery.

Mark Cuban is set to meet Joe Johnson in Los Angeles in what could be a rather futile endeavor. According to Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Hawks are set to offer Joe every penny they can: a full max offer for six years (one more year than any other team can because they own his Bird rights). It’s a ludicrous move for a good but hardly elite player, and it could end the Joe Johnson bidding war before it ever really began.

If Cunningham’s source is correct, the Hawks are willing to go further than any other team in the league would or could. NBA fans of every kind can only hope that Johnson’s potential max deal doesn’t act as a free agent barometer; if other players measure themselves against Joe, we could be looking at even more overpaid free agents than anticipated.

Regardless of how things turn out, Cuban is ready to jet set across the country to hit the free agent trail, but his exact destinations are somewhat unknown. I think it’s safe to say that visits or talks or communication of some kind between Cuban and both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are scheduled, but the exact timing and nature of those discussions will only be revealed in the coming weeks.

Rick Carlisle is set to be on Brendan Haywood’s doorstep when free agency begins, which is both great news and odd news. It’s terrific that the Mavs are giving Haywood the royal treatment, because while he isn’t quite as essential to the Mavs’ future as Dirk, he’s not far behind. Dallas is lost without a real center, and considering that most of the off-season gameplan revolves around shipping out Erick Dampier, it’s imperative that the Mavs have someone reliable to man the middle next season. Brendan is as good of a choice as any, and although his time in Dallas thus far has been unremarkable, he can and will do better with more experience in the Mavs’ system.

The starting job is there for Brendan if he chooses to return. Here’s the team’s stance courtesy of Donnie Nelson, via Art Garcia of NBA.com:

“That’s just a natural progression of that position,” Nelson said. “Those two guys, as a one-two punch, are a pretty formidable center tandem, but I think it would just be, like I said, just a natural progression for Haywood to step into that role.”

However, given that his relationship with Rick Carlisle has never been all that sunny, I find the choice in delegation a bit curious. Obviously Rick and Brendan maintain a sense of professionalism in their interactions, but when we’re talking about an unrestricted free agent who is going to get competitive offers from other teams and is a crucial part of Dallas’ immediate future, I’d want someone a bit more endearing to Haywood on his porch. It’s probably a non-issue, but why risk it?

Free agency officially begins at midnight tonight (EST), and there’s sure to be a flurry of reports and activity. Everyone wants to know who is going where with whom and for how much, and the pressure to report that information first will be rather incredible. Consider sources. Read everything with skepticism. Don’t misunderstand silence for disagreement, and don’t think that every hesitation is worthy of panic. If Dirk wants to take his time to consider his options, it’s his right. If LeBron James wants to sit on his choice until the start of training camp, he can. No one can accurately gauge the pace of free agency until it begins, but I think it’s safe to say that everything won’t be resolved overnight.

Get comfortable for the long haul, because even the deals that are “done” aren’t, and the moves that are “a lock” are often anything but. There’s so much yet to happen and a lifetime before it all does, so be patient, stay tuned, and hope for the best.

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 29, 2010 under xOther | Read the First Comment

  • According to Rick Bucher, the Cavs won’t be having any part of a potential sign-and-trade for LeBron. It’s understandable; no one wants to play a part in their own franchise’s demise, or be known as the guy that opened the door for LeBron on the way out.
  • NBA owners have perhaps the most underrated role in free agent recruiting. Every free agent looking to cash in this summer, be it LeBron James or Joel Anthony, would be wise to properly evaluate the role of ownership in each prospective franchise. Henry Abbott ranked the owners by their appeal to this summer’s top free agents, and it should come as little surprise that Mark Cuban came in as the second most appealing owner (behind only the Lakers’ Jerry Buss): “He has built his brand over a decade, as a loud and loyal who will do anything in his power to win, including employing his fearlessly deep pockets. Cuban says there is a cardinal rule in being the kind of owner who appeals to free agents: ‘Never quit on a season to save money … free agents who place a priority on winning don’t want to go to teams where there is a history and significant risk that if things don’t go according to plan, the owner would demand a huge salary dump that kills the current and future for the team.’ Cuban has gone to great lengths through the years to treat his players with respect. That starts with a famously classy locker room and plane, but continues to meaningful things like helping Avery Johnson transition from player to coach, being the de facto president of the Dirk Nowitzki fan club, and developing meaningful relationships with many of his past and present players.”
  • Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution seems to like the idea of getting Caron Butler in return for Joe Johnson. However, Bradley is proposing a deal of Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood for Joe Johnson, which is too steep a price considering the Mavs’ probable lack of a center rotation.
  • Our old friend Quinton Ross is on the move again: According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Q has been sent to New Jersey in exchange for Yi Jianlian.
  • TMZ talked to Mark Cuban about his approach to free agency this year: “This crop of free agents is taking a much more sophisticated approach than other years. I think that helps the Mavs.” Cuban adds, “Less BS and more business.” But Cube wasn’t joking about the jet-setting — saying, “Since we can’t talk to agents ’til [Thursday] it’s up in the air, but I have two jets fueled and ready to go if we need to.”

Heard It Through the Weekend Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 27, 2010 under xOther | 2 Comments to Read

  • The Mavs were able to sell their second round pick to the Raptors because of Toronto’s interest in Solomon Alabi. Interestingly, he may only have slipped to No. 50 because of a health concern, a rather serious one in fact: Hepatitis B.
  • Another player out of the running for the Mavs’ summer league team: Charles Garcia, who will be suiting up (supposing that wearing a practice jersey really qualifies as “suiting up”) for the Knicks.
  • Donnie Nelson with a dose of realism on Dominique Jones (via Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas): “”How many rookies are going to be impact guys? Not many. The rookies that make an impact generally are on bad teams, right? So, for us to expect him to walk into significant minutes, it’s not fair to him and he’s got a bunch of really good players playing in front of him. But, I think what it does is it gives us a foundation in the backcourt for a future. You’ve got Roddy and you’ve got some building blocks that you can get excited about internally.”
  • SMU’s Mouhammad Faye, Oklahoma’s Tony Crocker, and North Texas’ Eric Tramiel will be among those brought in for the Mavs’ pre-Summer League mini-camp.
  • LeBron James is set to meet with representatives from six teams to determine his future: the Cavs, Knicks, Nets, Clippers, Bulls, and Heat. Notice any teams missing in there?


Heard It Through the Post-Draft Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 25, 2010 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • Apparently the Mavs were offered a lottery pick for Rodrigue Beaubois last night, but didn’t even flirt with the idea. Good move; even though I think this draft class is pretty deep with contributing talent, there really aren’t many prospects with star potential. Beaubois has that, and do give that up this early in Beaubois’ career for some mid-summer excitement would be a shame.
  • Dominique Jones described his game to the Dallas media after being drafted (via Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas): “Just getting in the lane, strong body, getting contact, and-1s. And, I feel like the D-Wade style, which is transition, getting out in transition, one-on-one transition, you know, basically being unguardable.” (Emphasis mine.)
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie graded the Mavs with a C, but does concede that Jones could become an immediate factor: “Jones seems like a weird fit, because doesn’t Rodrique Beaubois already provide the same services? And that’s assuming Jones’ best case scenario comes through. Even if he is a bit superfluous, Dallas can use all the depth it can get at this point, so cheers to them for paying the cash to pull in a possible rotation contributor.”
  • Who knew Mark Cuban and Michael Heisley were best buds?
  • Greg Auman of the St. Petersberg Times: “Jones, a 6-foot-5 guard who led the Big East in scoring as a junior, became the Bulls’ first NBA first-round pick, taken by the Grizzlies at No. 25. Barely 20 minutes later, word had spread that the Grizzlies had drafted Jones on behalf of the Mavericks. And Dallas is where his NBA career will begin. ‘The emotions come out because you’ve got your foot in the door. This is just my beginning,’ said Jones, who walked through a crowd of supporters and laid his head on the hood of his Chevy Tahoe, overcome by a dream come true. Jones could have spent draft night in New York, where picks dressed in new suits smile for ESPN cameras, but he chose to stay in Lake Wales, proud of his roots in this small town in Polk County.”
  • A report that David Wesley will be a coach for the Texas Legends.
  • Jones again, this time responding to the Mavs paying $3 million just to pick him (via Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas): “That must mean they have some high expectations, and I don’t like letting people down.”
  • According to the tremendous @mavstats, Dominique was the only player in the country to average 21 points, six rebounds and three assists last season.
  • Don’t get too attached to that 2013 second rounder the Mavs acquired in exchange for the draft rights for Solomon Alabi. Donnie Nelson thinks it could make for a nice topping for an off-season trade. I certainly hope so, because Alabi seems like the kind of project the Mavs could have used. Then again, maybe Toronto was where he was supposed to be all along.
  • Mary Buckhelt has a cool feature on ESPN.com about the various LeBron anthems being written this off-season, including “The Bron Bron Song (C’mon LeBron)” by ESPN Radio’s own Ben Rogers (he of the Ben & Skin Show). In the extremely slim chance that you haven’t heard it yet, check out Ben’s ditty at LeBrontotheMavs.com.
  • Per Kevin Pelton’s similarity scores at Basketball Prospectus, the player most similar to Dominique Jones (in terms of production) at his age was Chris Douglas-Roberts. Not too bad.
  • Video proof that Rick Carlisle wears shorts. Oh, and a nice walk-and-talk with Donnie Nelson.

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 4, 2010 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • Draft profiles will begin next week, all for players that the Mavs may have a shot at taking with the 50th overall pick. As was announced earlier in the week, the 57th pick, which technically belonged to the Mavs, will be sent to the Indiana Pacers as an aftereffect of the Eddie Jones-Shawne Williams trade. Isn’t it just grand when Dallas doesn’t have a first rounder? Still, there are some interesting prospects that could fall, and there will be plenty of content here next week about the ones that could make sense for the Mavs.
  • Jason Terry, expressing his Finals preference on the Colin Cowherd Show: “I had my green-and-white Boston Celtics shorts on last night. Wore them to bed. You know I’m superstitious. … I like Boston.” He also made a mini-pitch for LeBron, and wouldn’t mind having an Andrew Bynum around.
  • In Kelly Dwyer’s epitaph of the Phoenix Suns’ season, he spells out a handfull of reasons why Dirk won’t be riding into Arizona atop a white horse. It’s nothing that hasn’t already been explored, but Dwyer makes everything crystal clear for the few who still think of Phoenix as a possible landing point for Nowitzki.
  • Count Seth Pollack of Bright Side of the Sun among the few, although he argues more that it’s possible that Phoenix could create the space required to land Dirk rather than it being likely. If the Suns can shed Barbosa’s contract for picks, they could use the combination of space and a trade exception to put together some kind of sign-and-trade package for Nowitzki. I agree with Seth in that’s it’s possible, but stand by my original point that it’s a virtual impossibility. Even if Phoenix gains the flexibility needed, I just don’t see Dirk bolting or Mark Cuban letting Dirk bolt.
  • Danny Ferry is resigning as the GM of the Cavaliers; does he know something we don’t about LeBron’s future (or lack thereof) in Cleveland?
  • Mark Cuban on whether there’s any question he won’t answer, in light of his $100,000 fine for his “tampering” comments on LeBron (from 790 The Ticket in Miami, via Sports Radio Interviews): “As long as it doesn’t get me fined by the NBA, I’m usually pretty cool about it. There is no reason to repeat the same mistakes. If you ask me about players prior to July 1, I’m not going to answer. And when I did get fined, that was one of the few times that I didn’t get fined on purpose. They caught me on a weak moment. It was the last question in an hour long interview on technology and business that went into detail. My guard was down. I tried to talk around it, but I didn’t do a good job.”
  • It’s less concerning the Mavs and more concerning professional athletes in general, but Dan Devine’s piece on the mental and physiological effects of pressure situations on athletes is a great read.

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 2, 2010 under xOther | Read the First Comment

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on May 27, 2010 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • Mark Cuban isn’t the only owner to be fined for his comments regarding LeBron James, even if the price of Cubes’ CNN Money spot remains the most substantial. The Hawks’ Michael Gearon Jr. was fined $25,000 by the league for tampering, and according to Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, it was due to this remark made by Gearon to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “If somebody came to us tomorrow and said you can have LeBron for max money and it puts you in the luxury tax, I’d do it in a a heartbeat. But am I going to do that for Ilgauskas? Am I going to do it for Jermaine O’Neal? I don’t think so…”
  • Question of the day: should it be considered tampering if Dwyane Wade, a free agent himself, discredits an entire franchise that just so happens to be a player this summer? How about if he sits down to have a discussion with other free agents? The NBA isn’t exactly the thought police, even if they’d like to be, and it’s always going to be an impossible task to control what players do in their spare time. That said, which has a bigger impact: Cuban’s comments on the record with CNN, or Wade having a heart-to-heart with LeBron and Joe Johnson?
  • If so, is this tampering?
  • I’m way late on linking this fantastic write up by Kelly Dwyer on Dwane Casey, but give it a read if you haven’t already. It’s not always easy to determine the value of a specific assistant coach, unless that coach has an outrageously public or specific role (think Boston’s Tom Thibodeau). That said, if you think the Mavs losing Casey to the Hawks wouldn’t be a loss, you’re sadly mistaken. This is a coach that’s well-deserving of a head gig somewhere, and Dallas has the luxury of having him as an assistant. That’s going to change at some point and it could be this summer. Casey deserves a team of his own, and while all Mavs fans should be happy for him should he finally get such a team this summer, it’d also be a notable off-season loss.
  • Kris Humphries on Mark Cuban, to Paul Allen (no, not that one) of 1130 AM in Minneapolis: “(Mark Cuban) is so into it and so on the refs. It’s human nature, if a ref doesn’t like you, you’re not going to get calls. One thing that was funny to me is one time during the game, Mark’s riding the ref. He sits literally right on the baseline by the bench. He’s riding the refs and Dirk turns over to him and he’s like in a few choice words basically, ‘Be quiet because they’re just going to screw us more.’”
  • A third baseman for Oklahoma said that his team “doesn’t want to be the Dallas Mavericks.” Ouch.
  • Kiki Vandeweghe went the way of Del Harris in New Jersey, in similarly abrupt fashion.
  • Slipped through the cracks here, probably because it was a given: DeShawn Stevenson picked up his $4.15 million player option for next season.

Heard It Through the Weekend Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on May 23, 2010 under xOther | 3 Comments to Read

  • Those six players the Mavs worked out? Not only will they not be invites for training camp filler, they won’t even be asked to compete on the Mavs’ summer league team.
  • In the same update, Eddie Sefko also notes that Nick Calathes, one of the Mavs’ second rounders last year, will play professionally in Greece again next season and thus is not allowed to compete with Dallas in summer league.
  • Kelly Dwyer assembled a list of the top playoff performers this season, with Dirk getting his due at #6: “Had the Mavericks played a little longer, with Dirk no doubt approximating his averages of 26.7 points per game on 55 percent shooting, 8.2 rebounds and just 1.7 turnovers a contest, Nowitzki would probably be duking it out with Pau and Rondo at the top. As it is, the Mavs were out in the first round, and though Dirk had some chances to aid his Mavericks down the stretch of a few of their losses to San Antonio, the biggest reason they were in those losses to begin with was because of Nowitzki’s superb play.”
  • Tom Ziller and Bethlehem Shoals compiled a number of free agency outcomes, most of which involve Dirk staying a Mav, but two that involve Nowitzki signing with the Knicks (one alongside LeBron, the other alongside Joe Johnson). It’s more exploratory than predictive, but one line should stick out to Mavs fans: “LeBron’s not coming Dallas, no matter how catchy its Autotune-d siren song; it’s Dirk and little else.” The last phrase is something that most MFFLs have noted following Dallas’ loss in the first round of the playoffs, but the argument is somehow flipped when the topic of free agency comes up. I agree that Dallas has the most complete team for a star that wants to contend immediately (supposing they retain both Dirk and Brendan Haywood, of course), but the logical shift is still very interesting. Even LeBron wouldn’t solve all of the Mavs problems.
  • Steve Nash’s top 10 career assists, with #10 coming while he was in a Maverick uniform. Plenty of gems in the bunch, but disappointingly unrepresentative of Steve’s entire career. It’s not just a Mavs thing, either; Nash’s first few years with the Suns seem a tad neglected as well. Then again, all of the assists chosen are awesome, so what’s the use in complaining? (Link via Ball Don’t Lie)
  • LeBron James apparently doesn’t care about the ability to select his own coach. That’s a win for the Mavs…I guess? Rick Carlisle isn’t going anywhere, so I guess that means teams with coaching vacancies (or soon-to-be vacancies) wouldn’t have an edge on the Mavs in the LeBron sweepstakes on the basis of coaching flexibility. Hooray?
  • Avery Johnson is killing his chance to coach either the Hornets or the Hawks by insisting on a managerial role as well. No one is all that surprised.