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Dallas Mavericks

A Lakers fan’s guide to rooting in the 2014 playoffs

For the first time in nearly a decade, it’s late April and Lakers fans everywhere have nowhere to be. It’s a strange feeling for a fanbase that hasn’t seen a television set bereft of purple and gold more than a half dozen times in fifty years. Even as I sit and watch these incredible playoffs unfold, with titanic matchups like this spectacular Memphis Grizzlies/Oklahoma City Thunder series or the “no holds barred” battle between the Clippers and Golden State Warriors, I know there’s still a very foreign feeling of basketball emptiness in the hearts of the Lakers fans everywhere.
I feel you, brothers and sister. I really do. So what is there to root for? Is there anything to root for? Why should we care after the worst season in Los Angeles Lakers history?
Well, that’s why we’re here, kids. After a couple of weeks reconstituting myself from too many minutes of Wesley Johnson throughout the year, I finally recollected all of my hoophead passion and redirected it towards all the hate and bile in my heart. No, there are no Lakers to cheer on this spring. However, that doesn’t mean that Lakers fans don’t have anything to root for.
Going through the playoff bracket, I found ways for us to be collectively emotionally involved with hate binding us together. Is this the most positive exercise in the world? No, it’s not. This is pretty much the worst thing we can do karmically. But my friends, the hate will sustain us through the long summer. Let’s hit it: who can Lakers fans root for in these playoffs?
(Read on at Silver Screen & Roll)

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Offseason, Strike 3: Dallas Mavericks Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Jose Calderon, SG Monta Ellis, SF Shawn Marion, PF Dirk Nowitzki, C Sam Dalembert
Key Bench Players: G/F Vince Carter, G/F Wayne Ellington, F Brandan Wright
Offseason Additions: Additions: Ellis, Calderon, Dalembert, PG Shane Larkin, G Ricky Ledo
Offseason Subtractions: SG Ovinton J’Anthony Mayo, C Chris Kaman, PG Darren Collison, PF Elton Brand
FACT OR FICTION: The Mavericks are a playoff team.
FACT, barely. Honest admission? I actually wrote “Fiction” before seeing that not only the MAMBINO aggregate has Cuban’s boys in the 8-slot, but your boy BK himself slid them in at 7.
But a closer look has made me realize that the West, by virtue of various reasons, has become very top heavy this year. Unlike years past, there isn’t going to be a solid 9-seed this season. Dallas will sneak by with guile, with heart, and under the tutelage of the most underrated coach in basketball: Alvy, a one-time contributor to the MAMBINO team.… Read more...

Instant (and Not So Instant) Trade Analysis: Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon to the Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks get: PG Jose Calderon (four years, $29 million) and G Monta Ellis (three years, $25 million)
In a move that says “why play defense when you can just not play defense”, the Dallas Mavericks capped off a very disappointing two summer run trying to get another free agent to add to 2011 Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki.
The Mavs doled out their first multi-year deals in two offseasons by adding what amounts to a starting guard rotation. Calderon and Ellis look like the starters at the moment, simply judging by their annual salaries, over rookie PG Shane Larkin (who broke his ankle last night in Summer League and looks to be out until October, at least).
On the surface, this is a series of somewhat puzzling moves for the Mavericks, who seem to be spending money just because they have it. It might seem that way because it’s not terribly far from the truth. In the past two years, the Mavericks have swung and missed at free agents like Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Andre Iguodala and Deron Williams. To make matters worse, in order to do so they almost completely dismantled their 2011 title team, allowing C Tyson Chandler, G JJ Barea and G DeShawn Stevenson to all walk. Though that team was unlikely to repeat, they were essentially given no chance, as the pitiful 2011-2012 Mavericks were swept aside in the first round by the Oklahoma City Thunder.… Read more...

To rebound into a title contender, can the 2013-2014 Lakers follow the blueprint of the 2010-2011 Dallas Mavericks?

As tough as a postseason-less 2013 was on the Dallas Mavericks and their fans, just three years ago, having a high-seeded playoff team didn’t feel any better.
The 2010 Mavs were the latest disappointment in what felt like an endless string of them. Dallas was just four years removed from an epic playoff collapse against the Heat in the 2006 NBA Finals, and three years away from losing as a 67-wing number 1 seed to the 8-seed Golden State Warriors. The 2009-2010 Mavericks had recently reloaded the team, bringing on former All-Stars like Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd in addition to incumbent All-Stars Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry. They took a very good 55-27 record and a 2nd seed into the playoffs, but like their predecessors, were unceremoniously dismissed; this time it was a first round loss to the 7th seeded San Antonio Spurs in 6 games. Even as solid as their regular season was, the future didn’t look terribly bright for Dallas. The ghosts of their past playoff failures seemed to haunt the team every spring, which included an aging core of Nowitzki (31), Marion (31), Brendan Haywood (30), Terry (32) and Kidd (36). Suffice to say, the Mavs weren’t getting much younger. Not all was lost–after all, Dirk was still an All-Star, the team had a very good and very underrated coach in Rick Carlisle and an excellent owner that took annual financial losses to make sure his team had everything necessary to remain competitive. However, few expected that the team was close to having the makings of a championship core. 2010-2011 was supposed to be just another year in which the Mavericks were a potent squad, but ultimately an also-ran in the race for the chip.
But after a shrewd series of moves in the summer of 2010, and then into the season, the pieces for a championship contender had quietly fallen into place:
July 13, 2010: Traded Matt Carroll, Erick Dampier, Eduardo Najera and cash to the Charlotte Bobcats for Alexis Ajinca and Tyson Chandler. Signed Ian Mahinmi as a free agent.
September 27, 2010: Signed Brian Cardinal as a free agent.
January 24, 2011: Signed Peja Stojakovic as a free agent.
At the time, none of these moves were considering even close to resembling significant transactions. Chandler was coming off an injury-filled year in Charlotte, and even worse, was traded to the Mavericks for the mere price of Erick Dampier’s expiring deal. The prevailing sentiment that summer was that Dampier’s eight-figure contract would be a key asset in claiming another star to prop up Nowitzki. Though Chandler was considered an upgrade over Dampier’s rapidly degrading corpse, he wasn’t nearly the player that made him into a Defensive Player of the Year seasons later, and thus was thought of as a rather underwhelming acquisition considering the expectations. The pair of 33 year-olds in the Immortal Brian Cardinal and Peja Stojakovic were both on their way out of the league, and few thought they could continue to contribute.
By the end of June, it was clear that these acquisitions were more important than any Decision that had gone on in the summer of 2010. Chandler was the key, quarterbacking a stout defense that ranked as the league’s 8th most efficient per 100 possessions. Shouting out instructions from the paint, Tyson, as well as Marion and DeShawn Stevenson created a deceivingly tough inside-out D that bulldozed their way to a solid 57-win season and an eventual 4-2 victory over the Miami Heat in the Finals for the franchise’s first titl… Read more...

Bad NBA Contract of the Week: Drew Gooden

(In the vein of the highly esteemed David Shoemaker, AKA The Masked Man’s Deadspin column entitled “Dead Wrestler of the Week”, we here at MAMBINO are going to parse our way through the worst contracts the NBA has to offer. Part dedication to the great men who have swindled their way to big checks, part commemoration to GMs that should have been fired and part commentary on the ills of a capitalist society gone wrong, we’ll be here every week with a look at the L’s worst deals)
Drew Gooden
Contract: 5 years, $32 million
Signed by:
Milwaukee Bucks
Salary this season: $6.8 million
2013 Slash Line: 3.4/2.1/0.4 in 15 games
Expires: 2015
Tough post defense. Solid rebounding. A bit of shot blocking sprinkled into a decent array of post moves and a soft touch around the rim.
This was the general buzz in the scouting report surrounding Kansas’ star forward Drew Gooden. Coming out of college, Drew looked like your prototypical, old-school power forward who would make his bones on crashing the boards, defending the paint and scoring anywhere between 10 and 15 points a game. For a team that would end up in the 2002 NBA Draft lottery looking for a 4, it seemed that they’d be in luck.
Turns out there were a lot of franchises with those same needs. An astounding 9 big men got taken in the first 14 picks, including All-Stars Amar’e Stoudemire (9th) and Yao Ming (1st), along with NBA vets like Nene (7th), Chris Wilcox (8th) and Jared Jeffries (11th). Gooden turned out to to be the second front court player taken at the 4 spot by Memphis, but as his career has progressed, the former Jayhawk has gotten lost in a sea of 6’10” and over guys from the 2002 Draft. Looking back on it, he may not be one of the ten most talented guys selected that year. His potential was tantalizing, but obviously there was something within Gooden’s personality and game that led him to be traded twice within his first two seasons, extremely uncommon for a top-5 pick.
Not entirely unlike a two year period between February 2008 and February 2010 when the forward was traded four times and cut once. Many NBA onlookers simply got lost in trying to keep track of Gooden, who received six paychecks from six different teams in in 24 months, though he only ended up playing for five of them. Looking at his career numbers of 11 points and 7 rebounds, it’s hard to understand why he’d have such a journeyman’s career.
But none of this previous employment history was a deterrent to the Milwaukee Bucks GM  John Hammond, who ended up offering Gooden one of the most preposterous contracts residing in the NBA today.… Read more...

Instant Trade Analysis: Derek Fisher to the Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder get: PG Derek Fisher
On the most feeble NBA trading deadline in recent memory, the Oklahoma City Thunder shipped off reserve guard Eric Maynor to Portland in a move that couldn’t be described as anything besides cost-cutting. Even as Maynor was getting DNP-CDs on a nightly basis, the Thunder still needed to add another back-up point guard to a now thin reserve corps.
Not surprisingly, OKC went with a known quality in regards to not only adding personnel, but also keeping together the team’s locker room chemistry. Today, the Thunder signed PG Derek Fisher to a prorated veteran’s minimum deal in order to obtain his services for the rest of the regular season.… Read more...

Bad NBA Contract of the Week: Desagana Diop

(There are bad contracts in every league. There is no sports organization in the world that hasn’t  overvalued a player, had a superstar radically lose his luster or had a veteran get injured too soon. Millions upon millions get doled out every single year so that a few guys can throw a ball around to the delight of people they never met before. Just the other day, Jonah Keri of Grantland named the worst contracts in MLB, including Barry Zito’s 1 year, $26 million dollar salary, Carl Crawford’s 5 years, $100-plus million payday and Alex Rodriguez’s massive 5 year, $118 topping them all off. But the other players on the list? Jayson Werth, Ryan Howard, John Lackey, Vernon Wells, Johan Santana, Brian Roberts and Adam Dunn. All former stars.
But it just seems that in the NBA, out of every sports league, seems to have the silliest contracts given to the most marginal of players. Sure, you’ll still have Gilbert Arenas on 2 year, $43 million dollar contract for a team he’s already been cut from, as well as Rudy Gay making superstar money (2 years, $34 million) to play well below that standard. However, you’ve also got guys on the fringes of NBA rotations, making $8 million dollars a year. Hell, there are guys making that much money to not play at all.

Which brings us here, to our first installment of Bad NBA Contract of the Week. In the vein of the highly esteemed David Shoemaker, AKA The Masked Man’s Deadspin column entitled “Dead Wrestler of the Week”, we here at MAMBINO are going to parse our way through the worst contracts the NBA has to offer. Part dedication to the great men who have swindled their way to big checks, part commemoration to GMs that should have been fired and part commentary on the ills of a capitalist society gone wrong, we’ll be here every week with a look at the L’s worst deals. We begin of course, with the great Charlotte Bobcats center, Desagana Diop.)
Desagana Diop
Contract: 6 years, $32 million
Signed by:
Dallas Mavericks
Salary this season: $7.3 million
2013 Slash Line: 0.6/2.3/0.6 in 19 games
Expires: 2013…

The Dirk Nowitzki Era is Over – Dallas Mavericks Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Darren Collison, SG OJ Mayo, SF Shawn Marion, PF Dirk Nowitzki, C Chris Kaman

Key Bench Players: PG Rodrigue Beaubois, SG Delonte West, SF Vince Carter, PF Elton Brand

Notable offseason additions:
SG OJ Mayo, PG Darren Collison, PF Elton Brand C Chris Kaman

Offseason subtractions: F Lamar Odom, C Brendan Haywood, C Ian Mahinmi, PG Jason Kidd, SG Jason Terry

The Dirk Nowitzki era is over.

For the loyal fans in North Texas, this isn’t just a tough pill to swallow – it’s like you’re cramming the entire water bottle down your throat. This past summer, Mavs owner Mark Cuban took a big giant Josh Hamilton swing for the fences, and completely whiffed on what seemed like a fastball down the pike. Dallas emptied their coffers and committed themselves for a mere shot to sign Dwight Howard, Deron Williams, or potentially both superstars in the 2012 offseason. For just an opportunity to do so with zero guarantee of success, Cuban purposely dismantled his 2011 NBA title team, allowing a reluctant Tyson Chandler to move on to the New York Knicks, Seth Green lookalike JJ Barea to depart for the Minnesota Timberwolves, and more recently Jason Terrry to the Boston Celtics. Dallas even went so far as to eat the remaining $21 million left on center Brendan Haywood’s contract, saving the money via the league’s amnesty provision, but ultimately having to let a serviceable NBA big man go for nothing. Haywood was just another casualty of Cuban’s big gamble.

Somehow, Joe Johnson, Billy King and a James Bond villain were able to keep Deron Williams in Brooklyn, while Dwight Howard unknowingly set into action a chain of events that would eventually lock him into a 2012-2013 contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. It seemed that the Dallas Mavericks had deconstructed another potential title team for nothing.

However, GM Donnie Nelson and Cuban picked up the pieces as best they could. With their remaining cap room, the Mavericks signed Chris Kaman, Elton Brand (an amnesty provision victim of Philadelphia) and OJ Mayo to one year, make-good deals in which the players could re-establish market value after poor 2011-2012 years. They also traded for reliable role players like Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones to fill out a roster that had lost Jason Kidd, Lamar Odom and Ian Mahinmi in the offseason. The most fascinating part of all these moves is that none of them prohibit the Mavericks from taking another high-risk, high-reward at-bat next summer, when Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, James Harden and Andrew Bynum will become free agents. The carrot here is that supposedly these prospective new Mavericks will come to Mark Cuban’s toyland to play under a fantastic ownership, a rabid and loyal fanbase, as well as with Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki. But I’m afraid that the last bullet point is a far oversold point.

Dirk Nowitzki is 34 years old, and will be 35 shortly before the NBA Finals conclude next June. He’s still an All-League player and arguably the most talented power forward in the NBA, still. However, Dirk is slowly creeping towards the end of his prime. He hasn’t missed many games the past two seasons, but it’s obvious that he’s becoming more and more limited by injury. 7-footers certainly age more gracefully than smaller players that are reliant on their athleticism, but other than Steve Nash and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, there have been few players more than halfway to senior citizenship that have still been considered NBA superstars capable of leadi… Read more...

Instant Trade Analysis: Jason Terry to the Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics get: G Jason Terry, 3 years, $15 million

The already ancient Boston Celtics just got even older, but that might not even be a bad thing.

As the Boston media likes to say, the Celtics are approaching year six of a three-year plan. When a 31 year-old Kevin Garnett and a 32 year-old Ray Allen were traded to Boston in that week-long stretch in 2007, writers and talking heads alike proclaimed no more than  two or three year window for the new “Big Three” to win a title in New England. Here we are, not in 2009 or 2010, but rather in 2012 asking ourselves how much longer can they keep the panes of opportunity from closing shut.

Miraculously, the Celtics have remained relevant amidst massive changes in the East, from the Knicks resurgence to the formation of the eventual 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat and the upstart Bulls from Chicago. At the ages of 36, 37 and 34 respectively, KG, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, the Celtics forced themselves to a Game 7 with LeBron, Wade and Bosh, narrowly missing another chance to play for their second title. While Rajon Rondo is undoubtedly the most talented of anyone in Beantown these days, there’s no doubt that it’s Garnett’s leadership and intensity, Piece’s four quarter bravado and Ray’s steadiness that keeps this team competing for titles.

Strangely, one of the oldest rosters in the league wasn’t slayed by the younger Sixers, Hawks or Heat with athleticism or toughness. To be frank, the Celtics just didn’t have enough bodies. Doc Rivers’ squad managed to lose rotation players G Avery Bradley, F Jeff Green, F Chris Wilcox and C Jermaine O’Neal to injury before the deciding Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. More importantly, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were both playing with injuries that would have kept them on the sidelines if it weren’t the postseason. Even when equipped with personnel whose myriad of disabilities became comical, the C’s still played their trademark defense and managed to put up enough points on the board behind Garnett’s resurgent play and Rondo’s otherwordly productiveness.
With Ray Allen possibly going to the Clippers, Thunder or Heat in free agency, the Celtics needed someone with three different qualifications: long-range shooting, health and offensive production. Since the beginning of free agency, the C’s had coveted ex-Memphis guard OJ Mayo. He’d be able to provide all of the above criteria, and as a bonus, the former 2nd overall draft pick was a full decade younger than his prospective teammates. However, his asking price was over what the capped-out Celtics had to offer. Enter Jason Terry.

JET, now 35, may be exactly what Boston GM Danny Ainge is looking for. Terry is coming of a eight-year stint with the Mavericks that involved two NBA Finals and one championship.  He amazingly ranks fourth on the all-time three-point buckets made, shooting no worse than 36% in any of his seasons in Dallas. Terry has been reliably averaged over 16 points per season as a Maverick, mostly off the bench, winning the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2009. Perhaps most importantly, Jason Terry has missed 28 games…in his career. Unbelievable. JET has been the paragon of good health, which is incredibly important for a team that’s had a rash of injuries the past few years, and isn’t getting any easier with the progressing seasons under their belts and on their knees.

There’s not really a much more perfect match for the Celtics – he’

Instant Trade Analysis: Odom Comes Home

Utah Jazz get: Mo Williams, draft rights to Shan Foster

YOUR Los Angeles Clippers get: Lamar Odom

Houston Rockets get: draft rights to Furkan Aldemir

Dallas Mavericks get: draft rights to Tadija Dragicevic, cash from Houston, and a relief from the pain and suffering brought by The Kardashian Curse

Odom’s 2.4 million dollar salary would have become a hefty 8.2 by tomorrow if Dallas couldn’t pull off a miracle. Enter the Utah Jazz and their Mormon kindness, willing to take disgruntled backup combo guard Mo Williams from the Clippers, to facilitate a four-way deal.

By unleashing the much-maligned but uber-talented Odom, Dallas puts the finishing touches on what has to go down as one of the most abysmal title defenses in recent history. Mark Cuban, in only one calendar year, did the following:

  • Lowballed Tyson Chandler, the man who allowed Dirk Nowitzki to hide on defense, which allowed Chandler to leave for New York
  • Signed Half-Man, Half-Woman Vince Carter
  • Traded Corey Brewer and Rudy Fernandez to Denver for a future second-round pick (!)
  • Traded a first-round pick and an 8.9 million dollar trade exception for to the Lakers for Lamar Odom and a second-round pick
Now, of the four, the Odom deal was universally described as brilliant. Odom was fresh off becoming an unsuspecting victim of David Stern’s “basketball reasons” veto, and couldn’t muster the testicles to play for a franchise that didn’t want him. (Of course, “didn’t want him” = “we were on the verge of getting Chris bleeping Paul, you idiot.”) We laughed at Los Angeles, as Dallas seemed to luckily pounce on Showtime’s misfortune.
But Odom endured the worst year of his personal and professional life. While basketball Twitter was focused on the rumblings of the lockout, Odom spent his summer in pain over two deaths. One was the murder of his cousin, the other was a teenage pedestrian killed when a car, in which Odom was a passenger, collided with a motorcycle. As a result, the former University of Rhode Island standout arrived in Big D looking as doughy as ever, his conditioning probably suffering from having to eat Khloe’s leftovers whenever the behemoth felt pressured by her breathtakingly beautiful sisters (meaning, everyday). Okay, his conditioning actually suffered from not playing any basketball at all during the offseason, as opposed to the previous year, where he made a valuable contribution to the Kevin Durant-led Team USA that won the World Championships in Turkey.
But everything was supposed to be water on the bridge once the first jumpball was thrown up. After all, this was the reigning Sixth Man of the Year (although I guess the award has lost some luster in the past few weeks. You know who you are.). This was the guy who was versatile enough to play all three frontcourt positions, handle the ball, create, pass, and shoot. This was the guy who was traded to a team that was coming off a Larry O’Brien trophy, dismantling the team that made the trade, via sweep.
Not so fast, my friends. Odom sauntered through the 2011-2012 NBA season, producing career per game lows in minutes played (20.5), points (6.6), rebounds (4.1), and shot a frightening 35% from the floor. He spent some time away from the team to figure his ish out, and even had a short stint in the D-League (although he did not play an actual game there).
Even yours truly was guilty of poking fun at Lamar Odom. But with today’s news, Odom has an opportunity to reclaim his place as a contributing member o