Tag Archives: Dallas Mavericks

Chris Kaman participates in non-contact drills

DALLAS – Mavericks center Chris Kaman participated in non-contact drills during Monday’s practice for the first time since suffering a concussion Jan. 28.

Kaman has passed the cognitive testing required by the NBA’s concussion protocol, but he has not been cleared for contact work due to continuing to experience headaches.

“I’ve got a little bit of a headache, so it’s like three weeks in a row, but it’s not enough to where it’s slowing me down,” Kaman said after practice. “I’ve still got to be careful before I (play) again, but right now, I feel pretty good. We’ll see tomorrow. It depends on how I feel when I wake up after I’ve rested (following) a full day of practice without contact.”

Kaman said he hopes to “ramp it up a little bit more” Tuesday, perhaps including contact work during practice. He did not want to estimate when he’d be able to play in games again.

Shooting guard O.J. Mayo “tweaked” his ankle and did not finish Monday’s practice, according to coach Rick Carlisle. Mayo is expected to be able to practice Tuesday.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4694427/chris-kaman-participates-in-non-contact-drills

Dirk on Jordan: ‘Great to get respect from the greatest’

DALLAS –- It’s an understatement to call Michael Jordan’s recent comments about current players who could have been superstars back in the day an honor for Dirk Nowitzki.

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Nowitzki considered Jordan to be his hero while growing up as a basketball-loving kid in Germany, so he was beyond flattered to be mentioned among LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan as modern-day superstars who Jordan thinks could have been as successful when Jordan was dominating the league.

“For him to even know my name is crazy, to be honest,” said Nowitzki, who noted he thought several deserving players were left off of Jordan’s list. “For him to say that I could have been a good player then means a lot. It’s humbling. It’s been great. It’s been a crazy ride over 15 years. It’s great to get respect from the greatest of all time.”

It’s not just a nod to Nowitzki’s unique skill set. There has never been another 7-footer with Dirk’s ability to dominate from the perimeter, but that’s often been a knock against Nowitzki.

The “soft” stereotype got slapped on Nowitzki almost as soon as he got off the plane from Germany. It took him 13 years — and one unbelievable championship run — to get rid of it for good.

The respect from Jordan, widely considered the most ruthless competitor in NBA history, is a nod to Nowitzki’s unconventional, undeniable mental toughness, something Dirk developed during his career along with the ability to attack off the dribble and post up.

“To me, there’s obviously two types of tough,” said Nowitzki, who acknowledges that 7-footers who are solely spot-up shooters will get labeled as soft. “There is the rah-rah tough, the elbow and play physical and go in there and dunk on people. That was never my kind of tough. I was never that physical. I’m not blessed with a 40-inch vertical. So my toughness was [that] I wanted to be out there for the guys, I wanted to fight with the guys, I wanted to win, I wanted to be there for the team when the game’s on the line. I play hurt. I play sick. I always wanted to be there.

“That’s mentally tough that I developed over the years. I didn’t have that when I first got in the league, but I got better and better with experience and with a will to win a championship.”

Dirk’s game and mind frame developed so well over the years that he’s recognized by his childhood hero as a rare player who could have been great in any era.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4694429/dirk-nowitzki-on-michael-jordan-great-to-get-respect-from-the-greatest

DeMarcus Cousins’ career could take off in Dallas

DALLAS – The Kings’ two previous meetings with the Mavericks this season kind of sum of DeMarcus Cousins’ career so far.

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DeMarcus CousinsRocky Widner/NBAE/Getty ImagesDeMarcus Cousins has averaged 27.0 points on 61.3 shooting in two games against the Mavs this season.The 22-year-old big man’s phenomenal talent was on display. Cousins torched the Mavs for an average of 27.0 points on 61.3 shooting in those two games, showing off an amazing arsenal of skills for a 6-foot-11, 270-pound dude.

It’s that ability that makes the Mavs one of several teams that would love to deal for Cousins when/if he wears out his welcome with the Kings.

It’s his immaturity that could lead to Cousins’ exit sooner than later from Sacramento/Seattle, although all signs are that it won’t happen before the Feb. 21 trade deadline with team’s ownership in a state of transition.

Cousins landed a no-look punch below O.J. Mayo’s belt Dec. 10 in Dallas and drilled Vince Carter with a forearm to the head a month later in Sacramento. Cousins claimed accidental contact both times, but it’s painfully clear that his infamous temper got the best of him in both instances, leading to a one-game suspension for the Mayo hit and an overtime ejection for the Carter crack.

“He’s one of them guys that he reacts sometimes emotionally and physically when it comes to something that don’t go right for him on the court,” Mavs vet Shawn Marion said. “But get him around some older guys, he probably could get that under control.”

That’s exactly what the Mavs’ front office is thinking.

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The belief is that Cousins would benefit greatly from the leadership and consummate professionals such as Dirk Nowitzki, Carter and Marion. The Mavs also place a lot of value in their franchise’s culture and support staff, including sports psychologist Don Kalkstein, although last season’s Lamar Odom saga proved that there’s no such thing as a foolproof team culture.

And the Dallas decision-makers have a lot of confidence that coach Rick Carlisle could fully tap that immense potential of a young player who is averaging 17.3 points and 9.9 rebounds despite his issues. Cousins, who was briefly suspended by the team after butting heads with inexperienced Kings coach Keith Smart, has a clean record of non-basketball-related behavior.

Cousins, who is scheduled to be a restricted free agent in the summer of 2014 and recently switched agents to Mavs-friendly Dan Fegan, ranks among the NBA’s biggest knuckleheads at the moment. But there aren’t many more talented big men – and none his age.

You’ll never hear Carlisle comment about potential trade activity, but he makes it clear that he has a great deal of respect for Cousins’ game. Carlisle, who got into a heated exchanged with Cousins during a timeout at the AAC earlier this season, raves about the “diversity” of Cousins’ skill set.

“He’s got tremendous ball skills for a guy his size – great driver, drives under control, terrific finisher, underrated passer, shoots the ball well from outside and is a force on the inside,” Carlisle said. “There really is no part of the game that he is not adept at. He rebounds well. He just does a lot of things very, very well.”

Cousins could probably do all those things better and more consistently in Dallas. It’s a matter of the Mavs’ front office figuring out how to get him here.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4694324/demarcus-cousins-career-could-take-off-in-dallas

Dahntay Jones assists during dunk contest

A member of the Mavericks ended up participating in All-Star Weekend after all.

For some reason, Dahntay Jones was recruited out of the crowd to throw a sitting lob pass to Utah’s Jeremy Evans in the finals of the dunk contest. Evans jumped over Jones and threw down the dunk on the first try, a rare feat in this year’s contest.

There is no obvious connection between Jones and Evans, a rarely used third-year forward out of Western Kentucky. Perhaps Evans wanted to take advantage of the passing skills of Jones, who is averaging 0.6 assists per game this season, just down from his career average of 0.9.

Raptors rookie swingman Terrence Ross paid tribute to Mavs sixth man and former dunk champ Vince Carter by wearing Carter’s No. 15 Toronto jersey during his first dunk in the finals. Ross dethroned Evans, the defending champion.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4694388/dahntay-jones-reps-mavs-at-all-star-weekend

Mavs face uphill climb to reach playoffs

DALLAS — For more than a decade, Dallas Mavericks fans could take a couple of things to the bank.

Dirk Nowitzki would be an All-Star, and the Mavs would make the playoffs.

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Well, Nowitzki will spend his All-Star weekend relaxing on a beach. Realistically, it looks like his schedule in late April will be wide open, too.

Dirk can deal with his streak of 11 straight All-Star selections being snapped. It will be much tougher for him to stomach a run of a dozen consecutive playoff berths ending if the Mavs fail to pull off a miraculous rally in the final 30 games of the season.

“It is a long time, obviously,” Nowitzki said. “It’d be really disappointing to see it end, obviously. Only missed it my first two years and then always had fun. Obviously, playoffs is where I want to be.

“It starts getting warm out and that’s my time of the year. Every game is big. The adjustments, all that stuff, the atmosphere — it’s fun to be in the playoffs. It’d be tough to see that end, so we’re going to keep on pushing.”

Never mind the numbers that indicate it’s close to impossible for the Mavs to make a playoff push.

The Mavs are well aware that they sit in 11th place in the Western Conference standings, 4 games out of the final playoff seed. If they’ve crunched the numbers, they know they need to go 18-12 just to get back to .500 and shave off their beards, much less leapfrog the Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets to punch their postseason ticket.

Read more about the Mavs at the break here.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4694367/mavs-face-uphill-climb-to-reach-playoffs

Howard still not ready to commit to Lakers


HOUSTON — Different All-Star city, same mixed messages from Dwight Howard regarding his future.

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Dwight HowardJack Arent/NBAE via Getty ImagesDwight Howard was a popular subject at All-Star media availability Friday with most reporters wanting to know what his future plans are.For a second straight season, Howard’s commitment to his team has come under intense scrutiny during All-Star Weekend. And much like in last year’s midseason showcase in Orlando, Fla., when he was still with the Magic, Howard shuffled between conflicting statements and left no indication whether he wanted to remain with the Lakers.

Howard confirmed Friday he has received assurances from Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak that he wouldn’t be dealt by next week’s trade deadline despite his unwillingness to commit to an extension or a new contract after the season.

Asked during Friday’s All-Star media session if he’d be shocked if the Lakers traded him in the coming days, Howard said: “Well, they told me they weren’t going to trade me. So, yeah, I would be surprised.”

Howard spent much of his 30-minute session with reporters trying to deflect questions about his future. But ultimately, he said he wouldn’t be pressured by anyone into making a decision about his future before the end of the season.

“The only thing that matters is the present, and right now,” Howard said. “There’s no need to talk about what’s going to happen at the end of the season. No reason to go back and forth about it. I just feel like at the end of the year, I should have my opportunity to make my own decision. I shouldn’t be criticized for waiting for the end of the year.”

Without some kind of indication from Howard, the Lakers could risk losing the league’s best center in free agency this summer without getting key assets in return. Orlando faced the same dilemma this time last season, but ultimately got Howard to waive an early termination contract clause that would have allowed him to enter free agency last summer.

But Howard’s relationship with the Magic hit another snag during the season’s stretch run and he opted for season-ending back surgery. After the season, Orlando fired coach Stan Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith, then traded Howard to the Lakers with a year left on his deal.

The Lakers, who have struggled through injuries and style clashes on the court, are now facing the same uncertainty. But just as Howard suggested he didn’t want to talk about his future, he then said he didn’t believe it was fair for teammates, front-office staff, media or fans to criticize his decision to hold off on any commitment until July.

“It’s not [difficult] for me,” Howard said. “Everybody else wants me to talk about the future. But for me, the only thing I’m concerned with right now is to have fun at All-Star Weekend, and continue to train so I can come back and have a pretty good second half. I’m not going to deal with it. I had to deal with it all last year. I’m not going to do it again. There’s no need to talk about it. I want to have fun.”

Very little about playing for the Lakers has been fun, Howard said. Considering he entered the season recovering from back surgery, the early-season coaching change from Mike Brown to Mike D’Antoni, the struggles to adjust to a new playing style, the torn shoulder labrum he’s playing through right now and the losses, it has been a challenge.

The numbers reflect that burden. Howard is averaging 16.3 points, the fewest since his third season in the league. He leads the league in rebounding, but the 11.8 boards are his fewest since his rookie season. Howard is also fouling, on average, at the highest rate of his career.

“I didn’t expect it to go this sour,” Howard said with the Lakers at 25-29 and four games out of the final playoff spot in the West. “There’s always room for improvement. We had to battle a lot of things this year. A lot of injuries, guys being new here. We’ve had to deal with a lot.”

Still, Howard said he’s convinced the Lakers can go on a run in the second half of the season to get into the playoffs.

“I’m not going to get up here and tell you, ‘No, we’re not,'” Howard said. “I still have faith in my team. We have to figure out a way to do it, and do it fast.”

But Howard stopped short of suggesting that a strong finish from the Lakers would factor into his decision to stay or leave. He laughed when a reporter from Dallas reminded him that Mavericks owner Mark Cuban really wants him. Howard also dodged questions from New York-area reporters who asked if he was still interested in Brooklyn.

There was also a moment when Howard denied that he ever said he was uncertain about his future. Moments later, he reiterated he hasn’t reached a decision either way.

“Our job is to come out and play hard every night, and we have to live in the moment,” Howard said. “Nobody can control what happens at the end of the year.”

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4694376/despite-vow-from-lakers-howard-still-not-ready-to-commit