Fork in the Road

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on July 12, 2013 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

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With the Mavs deciding to pass on Andrew Bynum, many fans and analysts were wondering what the Mavs were ultimately doing. They were in a state of desperation in regards to the inability to finding a man in the middle.

Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com wrote about how the Mavs are now running on the mediocrity treadmill, the thing that owner Mark Cuban fears the most. Cuban is essentially trying to do the hardest thing in sports: rebuilding on the fly and doing it without hitting rock bottom.

In regards to Bynum, it does sound like a wasted opportunity in not just taking the gamble on Bynum. While it is a conservative approach, I can understand the logic in it. Yes, the Mavs were going to be taking a chance on Bynum, but they, mainly the team’s medical staff, decided that it was not in their best interest to pursue the option.

If they believed that his body and mind weren’t prepared to handle the season, why take the chance? I understand the concept of swinging for the fences and going for the potential reward. The way I look or perceive the situation, the organization didn’t feel there was any reward in the situation, thus not stepping up to the plate.

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Spanish Flavor

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on July 5, 2013 under Commentary, News | Read the First Comment

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The Mavs have made a move.

The thoughts of the NBA contracting the Dallas Mavericks based on them striking out on Dwight Howard were clearly premature. ESPN has reported that it will be a four-year deal for $29 million. This news came shortly after the news that O.J. Mayo was going to sign a three-year, $28 million deal. If you ask me for the money being equal or close to it, I’d rather have Calderon.

Calderon was ranked as the best point guard, outside of Chris Paul, on the free agent market. When it comes to shooting and protecting the ball, Calderon is about as good as it gets. The seven-year veteran has career averages of 11.3 points, 7.1 assists, .483 shooting from the field and .399 from 3-point range. His assist-to-turnover ratio is one of the best in the league, a spot where Dallas struggled tremendously at over the course of 2012-2013. He will certainly be able to direct traffic for the Mavs and space the floor with his ability to shoot the rock.

This isn’t all sunshine and daffodils for the Mavs, though. Calderon does have his warts. He struggles on the defensive end, to say the least. He has often drawn comparisons to Steve Nash due to his ability to facilitate for others, but it also rings true for his inability to stay in front of his man on defense. There is a footwork issue and that can also be seen in his lack of free throws attempted. For his career, he only has averaged 1.6 free throws per game.

That said, this was about making a move for addressing one of the weakest areas for the Mavs from last season. Calderon will take care of that issue. In addition, he will be a solid mentor for Shane Larkin and Gal Mekel as they try to find their way in the NBA.

Speaking with Holly MacKenzie (@stackmack on Twitter) covers all things hoop up in Toronto and she had nothing but high praise when it came to describing Calderon. She described him as a “true professional” and that he has “a really, really, really great presence” on the floor. She spoke of his ability to really direct traffic and put the ball in the spot that it really needs to go. It could be the makings of a Jason Kidd-like player that was at the tail end of his career, minus the defensive chops. In addition, she said that he’s “the nicest human being I’ve met in sports.” I know that doesn’t score any points, but that should count for something.

This move will likely also add years onto Dirk Nowitzki’s game on offense. It’s a given that Dirk operates better with a drive-the-bus point guard.  That is something extremely valuable for the Mavs. Making Dirk happy is always a good, good thing.

The Mavs will now need to address the shooting guard and center position. They will also need to decide what they want to do with Shawn Marion. Since free agency has been approaching, the thought was that they could trade Marion to obtain a defensive or more mobile center (like a Marcin Gortat). That still is a possibility. Either way, they’ll need to address those two positions, with center being the higher priority.

Dallas has roughly $10 million of cap space to work with. Things will clearly open up if they unload Marion for a piece or for space. Keep in mind, the years on Calderon’s deal sound a bit rich, but Mark Cuban said he would likely offer that amount of years in order to help soften the blow if they do end up using the stretch provision on players. It also shows that Cuban is sticking to his plan. If they weren’t able to get the big fish in Dwight Howard, they were going to start to bring in pieces that would help establish the new core for the Mavs.

The Mavs didn’t get Dwight, but they did address a major need. The ball is now rolling and they’ve got someone who can grab it and they know what to do with it.

Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He also attended Ball So Hard University. Bryan channels his inner-Clark Kent on a day-to-day basis. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.

Under the Microscope

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on June 30, 2013 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

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This is it. This is the moment that everyone has been waiting for. As it was apparent that the Mavs weren’t going to make the first time in over a decade, everyone circled July 1st on their calendar. They waited to see if the Mavs could really make progress on improving their team.

Some are waiting to say “I told you so” and that dismantling the championship team was a mistake. Over the weekend, I’ve looked over that roster again and the results and I still stand by my belief that that captured lightning in a bottle and Dirk Nowitzki had one of the greatest playoff runs the league has ever seen. As the Miami Heat celebrate their second championship, Dirk and those Mavs will know that they “got ‘em.”

History may or may not remember the 2011 Mavs for what they did and mainly remember what the Heat didn’t do, but there’s no way to erase the fact that Nowitzki was the baddest man on a basketball court that summer.

Last season was a disappointing one as the Mavs wandered through the wilderness of mediocrity. Nowitzki’s injury derailed the season from the get-go. Despite that, the Mavs were able to find a way to stay playoff relevant until the final week of the season. That shows that Dirk and a cast of characters can be a playoff team, but the front office must now make their move and secure more reliable weapons for their star. “We’re trying to accumulate high quality, high character, high energy, high motor, skilled players to put around Dirk Nowitzki,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said after the draft. “He’s still one of the greatest players in the game and we’ve got to enhance his ability to do what he does.

“We’ve got to enhance the opportunity to keep him playing as long as possible because he loves to play and he’s great. To do that effectively, we’ve got to get the best guys possible around him. That’s a priority and it’ll continue to be one this summer.”

Now is the time. Let’s look at everything under the free agency microscope.

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Rank Them: Point Guards

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on June 24, 2013 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

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With seven days until free agency begins, it’s time to officially start naming names as ideal targets for free agency. This week, The Two Man Game will go through each position and determine who appears to be ideal fits for the Mavs.

Money is always an issue, but the Mavs will have their share of cap space to work with. Chris Paul and Dwight Howard will not be mentioned on these lists because it’s blatantly obvious that they would be on the top of their respective lists, but they’re still long shots to come to Dallas.

 Meshing all the pieces together is just as important of a part of deciding on the pieces. The number one option at shooting guard might not be an ideal match with the number one option at small forward. These rankings will be solely on my own projections. A quick blurb from Editor-in-Chief Rob Mahoney’s free agency primer on the SI.com’s Point Forward will be mentioned for each player.

It’s apparent that the point guard position is the most important position the Mavs will need to take care of this summer. There were countless amounts of times over the year where they looked disorganized on offense and couldn’t execute the simple task of getting Dirk Nowitzki the ball. Getting a point guard who can handle the offense is an extreme priority this summer.

Let’s look at the free agent options at the point guard option.

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Trade Takes

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on June 20, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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With the draft one week away, the news and rumors will be flying around at a rapid rate. The first real bit of information in terms of speculation has popped up.

During his weekly chat on Wednesday, ESPN NBA Insider Chad Ford was asked a question by a Mavs fan in Houston (man, that must be tough) in regards to what the Mavs might be thinking.

Jo Jo was the questioner. I wonder if they have a friend named K-Ci.

Anyway, Jo Jo asked: Who’s is in play for the Mavs pick (what are you hearing)? Pistons, Cavs, others? What is it going to cost besides taking on Marion?

Chad Ford replied: I’ve also heard the Knicks, Thunder and Cavs. Cost is either a 2014 first rounder or taking back Marion into room. By the way, some teams think that the Mavs may already have a deal as the trade talk has silenced in Dallas the past few days. The Mavs can’t officially announce anything until after they make their draft selection.

Let’s start breaking that bit of information down like a fraction.

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Floptastic

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on June 19, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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Flopping has been a major source of conversation during these playoffs. There have been multiple instances, so much to the point that the league has had to invoke a new ant-flopping policy. The purpose of the policy was designed to put an end to the flopping. It certainly hasn’t worked as we saw Heat forward Chris Bosh get fined $5,000 for violating the policy in Game 4 of the Finals against the San Antonio Spurs.

Mark Cuban has stepped up, as he usually does, and is willing to take a chance on trying to provide more information to help the cause. The Cuban-owned company Radical Hoops Ltd. awarded a grant of more than $100,000 to fund the 18-month research study at SMU, Dallas. “The physics just don’t support the way we call things,” Cuban said while speaking to KTCK-AM earlier this week.

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Kidding Around

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on June 4, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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It’s time to answer some more questions in regards to the Mavs. This week, we’ll be covering different angles of the offseason for the Mavs, via the questions and answers format. Again, questions can be sent via the comments section and on Twitter.

We start this batch of questions with a specific theme and that will be Jason Kidd. This week, the point guard of the championship roster of 2011 decided to call it a career after 19 seasons of NBA duty.

Dirk Nowitzki took to Twitter @swish41 to react to the news of Kidd’s retirement.

Kidd certainly means a lot of Nowitzki as the acquisition of the veteran point guard back in 2008 was instrumental in building the championship squad that won the title in improbable fashion over the Miami Heat.

With his career now over and the clock starting with his announcement as a Hall of Famer likely to be announced in five years, let’s look at five questions and answers in regards to J-Kidd.

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California Dreaming

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on May 31, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported late Thursday evening that Chris Paul is ‘angry’ for being cast as the villain in the firing of Vinny Del Negro as coach.

How much of an impact this will have on Paul’s decision to re-sign with the Clippers as a free agent is not clear, but the source conceded that Paul’s anger could lead him to look elsewhere.

“He’s angry right now and his anger is directed toward the Clippers organization,” the source said. “Chris is a man of principle and if he feels like you’ve gone against his principles, it will affect how he feels about you. He’s very agitated that his name has been put out there as the reason for Vinny’s firing. He had nothing to do with it.”

- ESPN

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Radio Gold

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on May 29, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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After making an appearance on KESN-FM over the weekend, Mavs owner Mark Cuban once again took to the airwaves as he appeared on KRLD-FM on Tuesday afternoon. If you missed his initial appearance over the week, you can listen to it here. In his latest radio appearance (which can be heard here), Cuban further explained the team’s two-year plan, more of a behind-the-curtain look at their sales pitch to prospective free agents, what the heck is going to happen to Roddy Beaubois, and how this summer is different than last summer.

There was plenty of gold in Cuban’s comments. When there’s plenty of gold, there is only one way to tackle it.

Here is the quoteboard for Cuban’s appearance on the Ben and Skin show.

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Risk Aversion

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on May 28, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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A safe way to go through life is avoiding risks. You can’t lose when you don’t take a chance. But you can’t win much either.

That’s a way of life that many people go through as some can’t take losing or the realities of losing. Many fans were heartbroken last summer after going through the drama with Deron Williams only to find out that he was going to stay with the Brooklyn Nets, spurning the Mavs and the opportunity to play with Dirk Nowitzki. A new year of free agency is upon us and the Mavs will once again try to swing for the fences as they pursue Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.

Many fans start wincing at the idea of the Mavs trying to pursue these big fish, remembering the feelings they endured through the entire process last year. (First off, you probably should avoid getting on the roller coaster in the first place.)

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