Tag Archives: Sports News

Ford mock: Mavs pick Croatian teen Dario Saric

Disclaimer: Never put too much stock into a mock draft, especially one more than a month away from the real thing.

PODCAST Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle gives his take on the contrasting styles of the Pacers and Knicks, Carmelo Anthony, Bulls-Heat, Tom Thibodeau, the state of the West and more.

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Having said that, there’s more interest in the NBA draft around these parts than there’s been in ages with Dallas in the lottery, so we’ll pass on who Chad Ford is projecting the Mavs to pick at No. 13 overall in his ESPN Insider mock draft.

The pick: Dario Saric, a 6-foot-10, 223-pound, 19-year-old small forward from Croatia.

Ford’s analysis:

The Mavs will have a tough call here between Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams and Saric. The Mavs want a player with big upside, and both Carter-Williams and Saric have it. But I’m hearing the Mavs, who have historically been on the cutting edge of drafting international players, feel Saric could be a star someday — especially if he has a year or two of mentoring from Dirk Nowitzki.

For what it’s worth, Ford projects the two seasoned college products I figure would be great fits for the Mavs — who would love to get an immediate contributor — to be off the board by No. 13. He has Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum going ninth to Minnesota and Oklahoma City selecting Louisville center Gorgui Dieng with the 12th overall pick, which has gone from Toronto to Houston to OKC.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4696031/ford-mock-mavs-pick-croatian-teen-dario-saric

Chris Paul watch: Make it about Cuban vs. Sterling

Which owner does Chris Paul want to trust with the prime of his career?

That simple, direct question will probably be at the center of the Mavericks’ July recruiting pitch to the NBA’s premier point guard.

PODCAST Tim MacMahon joins Fitzsimmons Durrett to discuss the possibility of Chris Paul joining the Mavericks and break down what kind of pitch Mark Cuban would have to make to the NBA’s best point guard.

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There are plenty of sensible reasons for Paul to want to stay in L.A. The Clippers can offer much more money, are coming off a 56-win season and have a young co-star locked up long term, plus CP3 would surely have the typical franchise player’s right to fire Vinny Del Negro and hand-pick his next head coach if he so desired.

That’s why the Mavs must hammer the Mark Cuban versus Donald Sterling angle. And it needs to be a vicious knockout.

Cuban couldn’t ask for a better opponent. Mudslinging is awfully easy when there’s so much truthful ammunition.

First and foremost, of course, Cuban has to sell the Mavs and himself. He has to make Paul believe that they can build a perennial contender around him, much like the Mavs’ front office did for a dozen years around Dirk Nowitzki. Cuban’s combination of deep pockets, basketball passion and brainpower ranks right above Rick Carlisle’s coaching genius among the Mavs’ top selling points for Paul.

It certainly helps that Cuban has the track record of taking over a league laughingstock and making it one of the NBA’s most respected franchises. His commitment — financially, emotionally and intellectually — was a major factor in the Mavs reeling off 11 consecutive 50-win seasons and 12 straight playoff appearances, getting to the Finals twice and winning one championship.

Few franchises can measure up to that success, but it’s especially impressive compared to Sterling’s Clippers.

While Cuban helped lead the Mavs out of laughingstock status, the Clippers spent decades among the dregs of the NBA largely because of Sterling, who is widely considered the worst owner in major professional sports.

And that’s not nearly the nastiest thing said about Sterling, as detailed in the 5,000-plus-word 2009 ESPN The Magazine story headlined, “The disastrous tenure of the Clippers owner runs much deeper than losses.” That delves into such disturbing subjects as the lawsuits stemming from Sterling’s attempts to avoid renting to black or Hispanic tenants, sexual harassment of his employees and the married man’s under-oath, unashamed admittance to having a proclivity for high-priced prostitutes.

When it comes to the Clippers, it isn’t necessarily accurate to call Sterling inept. He’s succeeded in his primary goal: Making millions of dollars in profit on a consistent basis. It’s just typically been at the expense of fielding a competitive team.

Since Paul’s arrival in L.A., the Clippers have had the first back-to-back winning seasons in franchise history. They also matched the previous franchise total of playoff series wins, advancing to the second round last season.

The first 30 years under Sterling? The Clippers had a grand total of two winning campaigns and 17 head coaches. Sterling, a billionaire who built his fortune primarily in real estate, became notorious in the NBA for his penny-pinching ways.

“I’m offering a lot of money for a poor black kid,” Sterling once allegedly said regarding a difficult negotiation with No. 1 overall pick Danny Manning, according to former general manager Elgin Baylor’s wrongful termination lawsuit.

Another charming Sterling line from that lawsuit: “Look at those beautiful black bodies,” which was allegedly often uttered while repeatedly parading a posse of women young enough to be his granddaughters through the Clippers locker room while players were showering. (That story has been confirmed by players, many of whom have been subjected to socializing with Sterling and such women.)

Sterling can claim that he’s changed his basketball ways. He can point to the Clippers’ payroll, which was more than $10 million above the salary cap but still under the luxury tax this season. The post-lockout trade for Paul was the most high-profile of several expensive moves the Clippers have made over the past couple of seasons, including signing Blake Griffin to a max contract that kicks in next season.

Questions the Mavs can pose to Paul: Do you really trust Sterling to continue to spend what’s necessary to give the Clippers the best possible chance to win a championship? How could you trust a man with Sterling’s track record in and out of basketball?

Cuban has proven he’ll pay extraordinary prices to compete for titles. The Mavs have made many creative moves to upgrade personnel during his 13-year tenure, and they usually cost him millions of dollars. Nobody west of New York has paid more in luxury tax over the years.

Of course, Cuban has drawn criticism for the cost-cutting stripping down of the 2011 title team. But that strategy of favoring financial flexibility can be easily explained to Paul, whom the Mavs have coveted so long that they tried to use the expiring contracts of Josh Howard and Jerry Stackhouse as trade bait to get CP3 and whatever bad contracts New Orleans wanted to dump from tight-fisted former Hornets owner George Shinn.

Cuban valued Paul so much that he was willing to take a massive risk, particularly in the court of public opinion, just to have the chance to make the perennial All-Star point guard a Maverick.

It could all be worth it if Paul’s decision comes down to Cuban versus Sterling.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4695983/mavs-cp3-mission-make-it-cuban-vs-sterling

TrueHoop: Don’t expect Chris Paul to bolt L.A.

All indications continue to suggest that Dwight Howard is far more likely to give serious thought to leaving Hollywood than Chris Paul.

One source close to the situation said this week that there are just “too many positives” for CP3 in L.A. even in the face of a hugely disappointing Round 1 exit when it seemed that the Clips had a clear path to the Western Conference finals thanks to their 2-0 series lead over Memphis and OKC’s loss of Russell Westbrook.

Another source went so far as to predict that there’s “zero chance” of Paul giving up the fifth year and nearly $30 million extra guaranteed that he can earn only by re-signing with the Clips. The strategy there: Take the money now and worry about finding a new home via trade later if the Clips can’t build on this season’s successes to establish themselves as true title contenders.

For more, click here.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4696015/truehoop-dont-expect-chris-paul-to-bolt-l-a

How Mavs can add a max player and keep vet core

Let’s focus on the long shots and forget about the miracles for now.

In other words, stop dreaming about the Mavs signing Chris Paul and Dwight Howard this summer. That isn’t happening unless one or both of them agree to take much, much, much less than max contracts, even if the Mavs managed to strip their roster of everyone except for Dirk Nowitzki and didn’t take any salary back. Or if the luxury-tax-paying Lakers agree to a sign-and-trade that frankly wouldn’t make sense for them.

But it is realistic — not probable, but certainly possible — for the Mavs to be able to add either the NBA’s premier point guard or the league’s best big man while keeping key complementary veterans Shawn Marion and Vince Carter.

It wouldn’t necessarily be simple, however. It would likely require cooperation from Carter or Marion — both of whom are otherwise candidates to be moved in salary-dump deals despite the Dallas front office’s strong desire to keep them — and maybe a little luck.

First, some pertinent figures:

  • The salary cap for next season, which will be announced June 30, is expected to be somewhere between $58.5 million and $60 million.
  • The Mavs currently have $41,811,829 committed to next season’s salary cap: the guaranteed contracts of Nowitzki ($22,721,381), Marion ($9,316,796), Carter($3,180,000), Jared Cunningham ($1,208,400) and Jae Crowder ($788,872); a cap hold of $1,655,300 for the 13th overall pick (pending lottery results); and six $490,180 cap holds to fill the required 12 roster spots.
  • That means the Mavs would have between $16,688,171 and $18,188,171 in cap space – not including the nonguaranteed $788,872 salaries of Bernard James and Josh Akognon – without any maneuvering.
  • Howard’s first-year salary for a max contract: $20,513,178.
  • Paul’s first-year salary for a max contract: $18,668,430.

So how can the Mavs create enough cap space to sign one or the other without losing Marion or Carter?

SCENARIO 1: Move their young assets.

This could cover Paul. The Mavs would still need to do more to create room for a non-discounted Howard, who is eligible for a higher salary because max deals can be 105 percent of what the player made in the previous season.

If the salary cap is set at $60 million, the Mavs could create room for Paul simply by finding a team with cap space or a trade exception to take Cunningham off their hands. That would create an additional $718,220 in cap space, the difference between Cunningham’s salary and a cap hold.

A similar salary dump of Crowder would create $298,692 in cap space.

The Mavs also could create $1,165,120 in cap space by moving their first-round pick for no immediate return.

The sum of all three moves would be $2,182,032, so even if the cap is set at $58.5 million, it’s feasible for the Mavs to carve out enough room to sign Paul to a max contract without making any moves involving their veteran core.

Of course, the Mavs would much rather not give up all of their young assets, particularly a lottery pick and Crowder, a rotation player as a rookie.

SCENARIO 2: Stretch and re-sign Carter.

With contracts signed under the new collective bargaining agreement, teams can waive players under the “stretch provision,” spreading the cap hit paying the remaining guaranteed money on the deal over twice the number of years left on the contract plus one.

In this case, with Carter entering the final year of his contract, that would be a three-year period ($1,060,000 per year).

Add the cap hold, and stretching Carter would create $1,629,820 in cap space. Depending on where the cap falls, that could be enough to give Paul a max offer. Carter also could be stretched in addition to moves made to dump young assets to clear enough space to sign Paul or possibly Howard.

Renowned CBA expert Larry Coon confirmed that Carter would be eligible to return to Dallas if he cleared waivers. Theoretically, if Carter signed for the vet minimum, he’d essentially get a $1.4 million raise.

The decision to stretch Carter can be made at any time, so the Mavs could wait until they had a commitment from Paul or Howard.

The risk: Any team with enough cap space or a large enough trade exception could claim Carter, whose salary has been a bargain the past two seasons. He also could explore other options in free agency. (Think the Thunder would be interested in Carter as a much cheaper replacement for Kevin Martin?)

SCENARIO 3: Marion exercises his early termination option and re-signs for a reduced salary.

Call this the “Richard Jefferson scenario,” as he set the precedent by opting out and re-signing a four-year deal with the Spurs in 2010.

This could be the simplest way to create enough cap space to sign Howard to a max deal. It’s convenient that agent Dan Fegan represents Howard and Marion.

Marion’s ETO deadline is believed to be June 30, which would mean this decision must be made before the Mavs could meet with either of the superstar free agents. The Mavs also wouldn’t be able to agree to an extension with Marion at that point, although there could be expressions of a mutual interest in his return with an, ahem, unspoken understanding of what that might entail.

Say the cap is set at $58.5 million. Marion could sign a three-year deal worth $16.77 million, starting with a $5.35 million salary, to create enough cap space to give Howard a max deal.

That’d be a win-win situation. The Mavs would get their cap space, and Marion would nearly double his guaranteed money and get the comfort of knowing he’d likely finish his career in Dallas.

“There are a thousand different ways,” Mark Cuban said in April when asked about carving out enough cap space to sign one of the max-caliber players on the market.

But there aren’t that many that would allow the Mavs to keep their veteran core together, which directly affects how attractive a destination Dallas might be for a superstar this summer.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4696005/how-mavs-can-add-a-max-player-and-keep-vet-core

Title Mavs tracker: Jason Kidd’s drought continues

The Mavericks aren’t in the playoffs for the first time since 2000, so we have to find something to fill the time this spring. Might as well keep up with the players from the Mavs’ title team who are scattered throughout the postseason. We’ll have daily updates as long as Mavs championship alums are still alive in the playoffs.

Jason Kidd: The Knicks didn’t sign Jason Kidd for his scoring, but it’d sure help New York’s cause if the 40-year-old point guard put the ball in the basket every once in a while.

Kidd went scoreless for the fifth consecutive game in the Knicks’ Game 1 loss to the Indiana Pacers. He was 0-of-1 from the floor in 17 minutes, grabbing two rebounds, dishing out one assist and committing one turnover.

Kidd’s last points came on a 3-pointer in the first quarter of the Knicks’ Game 2 win over the Boston Celtics in the first round. He has played 137 minutes and missed 11 shots since then.

Tyson Chandler: ESPNNewYork.com described Chandler as “practically invisible” in Game 1.

Chandler’s line in the loss to the Pacers: four points, three rebounds, two blocks, two turnovers and one steal before fouling out after 28 minutes. Round 1 of the heavyweight battle between Chandler and Roy Hibbert (14 points, 6-9 FG, eight rebounds, five blocks, four assists) was a knockout.

Ian Mahinmi: Maybe the most stunning stat of the Pacers-Knicks series opener was that Mahinmi didn’t commit a foul in his nine minutes.

He didn’t do much else, either: no points, no shots, one rebound, one block and one turnover. The Pacers did outscore the Knicks by eight with Mahinmi on the floor, though.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4695986/title-mavs-tracker-jason-kidds-scoreless-drought-continues

Mavs’ CP3 mission: Make it Cuban vs. Sterling

Which owner does Chris Paul want to trust with the prime of his career?

That simple, direct question will probably be at the center of the Mavericks’ July recruiting pitch to the NBA’s premier point guard.

There are plenty of sensible reasons for Paul to want to stay in L.A. The Clippers can offer much more money, are coming off a 56-win season and have a young co-star locked up long term, plus CP3 would surely have the typical franchise player’s right to fire Vinny Del Negro and hand-pick his next head coach if he so desired.

That’s why the Mavs must hammer the Mark Cuban vs. Donald Sterling angle. And it needs to be a vicious knockout.

Cuban couldn’t ask for a better opponent. Mudslinging is awfully easy when there’s so much truthful ammunition.

First and foremost, of course, Cuban has to sell the Mavs and himself. He has to make Paul believe that they can build a perennial contender around him, much like the Mavs’ front office did for a dozen years around Dirk Nowitzki. Cuban’s combination of deep pockets, basketball passion and brainpower ranks right above Rick Carlisle’s coaching genius among the Mavs’ top selling points for Paul.

It certainly helps that Cuban has the track record of taking over a league laughingstocks and making it one of the NBA’s most respected franchises. His commitment – financially, emotionally and intellectually – was a major factor in the Mavs reeling off 11 consecutive 50-win seasons and 12 straight playoff appearances, getting to the Finals twice and winning one championship.

Few franchises can measure up to that success, but it’s especially impressive compared to Sterling’s Clippers.

While Cuban helped lead the Mavs out of laughingstock status, the Clippers spent decades among the dregs of the NBA largely because of Sterling, who is widely considered the worst owner in major professional sports.

And that’s not nearly the nastiest thing said about Sterling, as detailed in the 5,000-plus-word 2009 ESPN The Magazine story headlined, “The disastrous tenure of the Clippers owner runs much deeper than losses”. That delves into such disturbing subjects as the lawsuits stemming from Sterling’s attempts to avoid renting to black or Hispanic tenants, sexual harassment of his employees and the married man’s under-oath, unashamed admittance to having a proclivity for high-priced prostitutes.

When it comes to the Clippers, it isn’t necessarily accurate to call Sterling inept. He’s succeeded in his primary goal: Making millions of dollars in profit on a consistent basis. It’s just typically been at the expense of fielding a competitive team.

Since Paul’s arrival in L.A., the Clippers have had the first back-to-back winning seasons in franchise history. They also matched the previous franchise total of playoff series wins, advancing to the second round last season.

The first 30 years under Sterling? The Clippers had a grand total of two winning campaigns and 17 head coaches. Sterling, a billionaire who built his fortune primarily in real estate, became notorious in the NBA for his penny-pinching ways.

“I’m offering a lot of money for a poor black kid,” Sterling once allegedly said regarding a difficult negotiation with No. 1 overall pick Danny Manning, according to former general manager Elgin Baylor’s wrongful termination lawsuit.

Another charming Sterling line from that lawsuit: “Look at those beautiful black bodies,” which was allegedly often uttered while repeatedly parading a posse of women young enough to be his granddaughters through the Clippers locker room while players were showering. (That story has been confirmed by players, many of whom have been subjected to socializing with Sterling and such women.)

Sterling can claim that he’s changed his basketball ways. He can point to the Clippers’ payroll, which was more than $10 million above the salary cap but still under the luxury tax this season. The post-lockout trade for Paul was the most high-profile of several expensive moves the Clippers have made over the last couple of years, including signing Blake Griffin to a max contract that kicks in next season.

Questions the Mavs can pose to Paul: Do you really trust Sterling to continue to spend what’s necessary to give the Clippers the best possible chance to win a championship? How could you trust a man with Sterling’s track record in and out of basketball?

Cuban has proven he’ll pay extraordinary prices to compete for titles. The Mavs have made many creative moves to upgrade personnel during his 13-year tenure, and they usually cost him millions of dollars. Nobody west of New York has paid more in luxury tax over the years.

Of course, Cuban has drawn criticism for the cost-cutting stripping down of the 2011 title team. But that strategy of favoring financial flexibility can be easily explained to Paul, whom the Mavs have coveted so long that they tried to use the expiring contracts of Josh Howard and Jerry Stackhouse as trade bait to get CP3 and whatever bad contracts New Orleans wanted to dump from tight-fisted former Hornets owner George Shinn.

Cuban valued Paul so much that he was willing to take a massive risk, particularly in the court of public opinion, just to have the chance to make the perennial All-Star point guard a Maverick.

It could all be worth it if Paul’s decision comes down to Cuban vs. Sterling.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4695983/mavs-cp3-mission-make-it-cuban-vs-sterling