Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 7, 2009 under xOther | 3 Comments to Read

  • Avery Johnson is no longer in the running to be the head coach of the Pistons.  I’m incredibly sympathetic.
  • The Avery-less Pistons also have some interest in Brandon Bass, apparently.  If Bass is looking for playing time, I’m not sure the place is behind Charlie Villanueva and Jason Maxiell.
  • Marcin Gortat, via Tim Povtak of FanHouse: “I think I’m ready to be a starting lineup guy…I’ll have to fight for that spot, but Dallas has all the pieces. Jason Kidd is a great point guard. Dirk Nowitzki is the best power forward in the game, and I just want to help them win.”  (Emphasis mine.) Oh Marcin, you shouldn’t have!
  • Tim MacMahon’s take on how Marion fits in with the Mavs.

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 4, 2009 under Previews | Read the First Comment

  • Happy fourth, everyone.  AMERICA RULZ!
  • This is why we should all wait until pen meets paper before we get too excited about Gortat.
  • Fish brings up a great point in his Mavs-centric breakdown of Turkoglu’s free agent signing: Carlos Delfino and Anthony Parker are not only expendable commodities at this point, but unwanted free agents that could end up in a bargain bin.  Both would look pretty excellent in a Mavs’ uniform right about now, but don’t be surprised if one or both of them end up heading to Europe if they don’t find a contract to their tastes.
  • Look, I love puns, but this has gone too far.
  • The other half of Third Quarter Collapse, Eddy Rivera, analyzes Gortat’s game and season: “There was a lot to like about Gortat this past year. Offensively, his percentages (58.3% true-shooting percentage, 57.5% effective field-goal percentage) and his offensive rating (121) during the regular season were excellent. The latter statistic (t-1st on the Magic) shows that Marcin is a highly-efficient individual on offense. Is Gortat the most polished (get it?) offensive player? No, of course not. Marcin gets his points off of drives to the basket on pick & rolls, post-ups, put-backs, etc. Given his age, Gortat has room for growth but don’t expect an expansive repertoire on offense from the Polish Hammer. Not yet, at least…Marcin Gortat is an excellent role player who is ready to accept more playing time and perhaps a starting role with a new team – the Dallas Mavericks. If you’re a Dallas fan, don’t be alarmed by his plus/minus stats. That’s what happens when an individual is playing behind, arguably, the best center in the league. The statistics become skewed. Given that his block rate and rebounding rate are eerily similar to Dwight, Mark Cuban and the Mavs got themselves excellent value with the Polish Hammer.”
  • A well-done photoshopped picture of what Brandon Bass might look like in an Orlando Magic jersey.  It’ll be tough to see him go, but I doubt there will be any ill wills for a guy just looking to make his name and some money in this league…while ripping down every rim in the process (via TQC).
  • It looks like Avery Johnson is going to face some internal competition for the Pistons’ head coaching job (via Natalie from Need4Sheed).
  • Former Mavs’ draft pick Nick Fazekas isn’t a punchline.
  • Jason Kidd’s decision in free agency could facilitate Steve Nash’s departure from Phoenix.  Maybe the Mavs want to re-sign Kidd just for the revenge factor.

One Team’s Back-Up Center is Another’s Great Hope

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 3, 2009 under News | 3 Comments to Read

Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel, via Third Quarter Collapse:

Gortat, according to reports, has committed to sign the Mavs’ offer sheet, with Howard’s back-up apparently commanding a mid-level contract starting at $5.6 million. Smith said he had yet to receive an offer sheet from the Mavs. But he reiterated his stance that the club — which can match any offer for Gortat because he is a restricted free agent — will not pay that steep price to keep him. “Those numbers are a little rich for a back-up center, a guy playing behind my best player (Dwight Howard),” Smith said. “If it’s 5 (million), it puts you in a situation (financially) that you don’t recover from.”

It should definitely be noted that per league rules, the Mavs are not allowed to sign Gortat to an offer sheet until July 8th.  Still, it’s looking more and more like the salary the Mavs have supposedly offered Gortat as well as the luxury tax ramnifications for the Magic have sufficiently dissuaded Orlando from surprising us in the coming weeks.  They’re not stitching the Gortat jerseys just yet, but we’re are nearly a go.

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under xOther | Read the First Comment

  • Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman, via TrueHoop: “On the day Gerald Green was given a blank page to write the next chapter of his career, he took one of sports most used idioms to a new level in describing his eagerness to prove he belongs in the NBA. ‘I’m so hungry I could eat this phone,’ Green said during a telephone interview Wednesday, the day he became an unrestricted free agent…’It’s been a roller-coaster,’ said Green about the start to his career. ‘It’s gone up and down and in circles. But I don’t ever give up.’ It’s low-risk, high-reward players like Green that Thunder general manager Sam Presti has become known for targeting. Green turned only 23 in January and figures to be four years from entering into the prime of his career. For now, he’s seemingly a cost-effective option that potentially could provide Oklahoma City with another perimeter shooter and rangy defender on the wing…Gym rats like Dirk Nowitzki and Yao Ming, Green said, taught him the value of hard work. And with the help of former Mavs assistant coach Mario Elie, now with Sacramento, Green said he’s blossoming into more than just an athlete and has developed a better understanding of fundamentals and basketball concepts. Elie has worked on Green’s footwork and got him studying more film during his free time. When asked what areas of his game he’s seeking to improve this summer, Green responded, ‘Everything, but really I want to be that defender that I know I can be.’ It’s a desire that could raise some eyebrows in the defensive-minded Thunder’s front office.”  “Rangy defender” is definitely one way to put it.
  • Ben Q. Rock of Third Quarter Collapse reviews Marcin Gortat’s season, and give some pretty heavy praise.
  • Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, via Ball Don’t Lie: “Looking to address the Charlotte Bobcats’ need for a backup power forward, general manager Rod Higgins has contacted agents for Antonio McDyess and Brandon Bass…Higgins said both discussions were preliminary, but he made it clear either one could fill a hole on the depth chart. ‘You look at our roster, and he makes a lot of sense,’ Higgins said of 6-foot-8 Bass, who played a total of four NBA seasons with the Hornets and Mavericks. ‘But he’s going to have options, too.’”
  • A case against re-signing Jason Kidd, but one that essentially boils down to “OMG 2010!”  I don’t see the cap numbers being there, Kidd or no Kidd, for the Mavs to make a run at a max contract free agent.  Regardless, any cap space the Mavs have or don’t have will likely hinge on Josh Howard’s team option for that season.  It’s also worth noting that letting Kidd bolt this summer would likely turn into a disastrous campaign, which puts another feather in the cap of the Nets.  The Nets have the Mavs’ draft pick in the 2010 draft, and a regular season failure only makes the Kidd-Harris trade look that much more foolish.
  • Kidd ranked as the 19th highest-paid American athlete, while Dirk ranked 16th among his international peers. (via TrueHoop)
  • Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni’s thoughts on Jason Kidd, via Alan Hahn of The Knicks Fix: “There’ll always be that talk. I thought he had a great year this year. I though he played well. I think he was shooting better than he ever has. So there are a lot of parts of his game that are getting better . . . I think he’s got another two or three years left in him at the highest level…At least. Stockton went until his was 40-something. Athletes today, there’s a little bit of change and they can contribute in a lot of ways another four, five years. I don’t think you ever know and at some point it’s going to catch up with you, but he’ll always be important for what he does with a team for a few more years to come, for sure…I was always asked the same thing when we got Steve Nash at 32, does he have anything left? They have it left. They keep themselves in shape. Life has changed a little. And it’s up here (points to his head). If you have it up here, you can go. He’s still excited and hopefully a new challenge will help him to achieve more. Hopefully.”

Home Is Where Gortat Is

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 2, 2009 under Commentary, Roster Moves | 8 Comments to Read

Frankly, I viewed the Mavs’ wooing of restricted free agent center Marcin Gortat as a bit of a lost cause.  It’s not as if Gortat is a gem that shimmers and gleams in the national spotlight or a once-a-generation talent that’s nigh irreplaceable, but Gortat’s an intriguing enough player to pique the interest of more than a few teams…several of which have brighter futures than our fair Mavericks.

Then, through a series of happenings that no doubt involved Yao Ming’s fall from grace and some wicked courting by Mavs’ coach Rick Carlisle, something delightful happened.  Gortat reportedly has come to a verbal agreement with the Mavs for the full midlevel exception.  Chivalry is not dead, ladies and gents; Carlisle must have pulled out all the stops in Orlando.  I’m talking horse-drawn carriage, new cologne, and roses upon roses.  As something of a sweetheart and a sentimentalist himself, how could Marcin resist?

It’s not all fairytale endings just yet, though.  The Mavs can’t officially sign Gortat to an offer sheet for another week (free agency officially opens on July 8th), and once the ink is dry the Magic will have another week to match the offer.  Oh, the perils of restricted free agency.

$5.5 million or so seems a paltry sum for a starting-caliber center, but Gortat means far more to the Mavs than he does to the Magic.  I’ve heard grumblings of some genetically-engineered super soldier center with an adamantium skeleton that lives in the Orlando area.  Meanwhile, in Dallas, we have a lumbering grizzly bear that never quite figured out how to use his mitts, a big fish in a small role and a short body, and an Erector Set creation that scrapes the sky with its spring-loaded legs, but lacks anything beyond a bare-bones frame.  It makes for quite the sitcom at times, but such lovable, flawed types typically aren’t of championship mettle.  I don’t mean to over-glorify Gortat, who still has plenty to learn and even more to accomplish, but Marcin remains the Mavs’ most realistic chance of netting a capable, high-quality center to complement the already existing core.  His price tag is but a fraction of what Dampier’s was when he came to the Mavs.  A potential deal with Gortat is even more reasonable considering the Mavs can ink him without poking holes in the rest of the rotation via trade, a damn near invaluable privilege for a team looking to vault back into contending status.

Signing Gortat isn’t a home run, but it should give Mavs’ fans plenty of reason for optimism this summer.  Donnie, Mark, and Rick are working hard to get the roster into tip-top shape, and thus far have added a point guard of the future, a rebounding big man with rotation potential, and made serious head-way in potentially acquiring a new starting center.  Not too shabby for a few weeks’ worth of work, especially when considering that the off-season is still young, and the best may be yet to come.

Heard It Through the Bare Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under xOther | Be the First to Comment

More to come in some separate posts, but here’s a little bit of link food for the junkies out there.

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 1, 2009 under xOther | 5 Comments to Read

  • The Mavs have been in contact with all of their free agents (yes, that means  you, Gerald Green), as well as Marcin Gortat and Quinton Ross.  Gortat was to be expected; the Mavs need help in the middle and they need it bad.  Ross, on the other hand, is a bit of a wild card.  He bears a pretty close resemblance to Antoine Wright on the court, which isn’t that bad I guess.  He also serves as evidence that the Mavs are looking to assemble the entire cast of role players from the 2005 Clippers (Wilcox and VladRad, ahoy!).
  • According to Woj at Yahoo! Sports, Gortat’s agent is spreading word that he’s already received one offer for the full midlevel (speculated to be from the Houston Rockets).  The gauntlet has been thrown.
  • Marc Stein, ESPN: “There’s no question that the idea of signing with New York holds some real appeal for J-Kidd. He loves the city and is equally fond of Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni, who is said to covet Kidd badly and apparently believes the Knicks have a legit shot at luring him out of Dallas. Plugged-in sources insist, however, that Kidd has no interest in one-year offers, especially since a one-year offer from New York would start at only the $5.6 million midlevel. Offering more than one year, however, would slice into the cap space the Knicks have set aside for the 2010 free-agent bonanza … unless they’re sure that they can shed the contracts of Eddy Curry and/or Jared Jeffries. ‘The Knicks can’t give Jason more than one year,’ said one rival executive, ‘unless they think that signing him gets them LeBron.’”
  • Though I’ve done my fair share of supporting Jason Kidd, I tend to agree with Kelly Dwyer: Kidd has no place on the New York Knicks.  If Kidd is the selling point for LeBron to come to NYC, there’s been a bit of a miscalculation.  Kidd’s not long for this league, and regardless of what LeBron or Bosh or Wade thinks of him, he won’t be around to build a new empire.  Portland makes a tad more sense (Steve Blake is no Kidd), but the situations that make the most sense for Kidd remain Dallas (we need him for fear of slipping further into irrelevancy), Cleveland (LeBron and Shaq, why not another great player?), and Los Angeles (though the dollars don’t make sense).
  • Dave ponders the possibility of Kidd on the Blazers.
  • A little ditty about the ethics of free agency.
  • Chris Sheridan, ESPN: “During a casual conversation with reporters during Team USA’s camp in Las Vegas in the summer of 2007, the discussion was about the new NBA trend toward fiscal responsibility. [Kobe Bryant noted,] ‘Damp ruined it for everybody, eh?’”
  • Word is that Ron Artest wants to stick around in Houston.  This is why you don’t try to anticipate Ron; his combination of pride, talent, self-worth, and outright zaniness should have us expecting the unexpected by now.  After hearing the news that Yao Ming may never play professional basketball again, Artest seems as fiercely loyal as ever.