Elton Brand feels like he has a lot of unfinished business after his only season in Dallas.
“I’d like to be back,” Brand said. “Like I said, .500 for this organization is definitely a failure. I don’t want to be a part of that and leave a bad taste. I definitely want to be here on a winning team and try to rectify what happened this season, if possible.”
Brand held up his end of the bargain as a $2.1 million amnesty waiver claim. His numbers were career lows, but Brand was a consummate professional who accepted a part-time role, provided a physical presence and an excellent influence in the locker room.
It’d certainly be understandable if Brand decided to chase a championship ring with a contender that could use a quality backup big, but he says his preference is to return to the Mavs.
The Dallas decision-makers have tremendous respect for Brand, but the Mavs’ level of interest in him could depend on several other factors. For instance, if they re-sign Brandan Wright and acquire a starting center, the Mavs might be better off utilizing their remaining cap space/exceptions to address other areas.
Mavericks Rewind: The Decadent Dozen
2012-13 stats: Averaged 7.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.0 assists while shooting 47.3 percent from the floor in 21.2 minutes per game.
Kendrick Perkins – Averaged 4.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 1.4 assists while shooting 45.7 percent from the floor in 25.1 minutes per game. Signed five-year, $40.25 million deal in 2011.
Jason Maxiell – Averaged 6.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 0.8 assists while shooting 44.6 percent from the floor in 24.8 minutes per game. Four-year, $20 million deal expires this offseason.
Samuel Dalembert – Averaged 6.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 0.4 assists while shooting 54.2 percent from the floor in 16.3 minutes per game. Two-year, $13.7 million deal expires this offseason.
Jermaine O’Neal – Averaged 8.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 0.8 assists while shooting 48.2 percent from the floor in 18.7 minutes per game. Signed one-year deal for veteran’s minimum of $1.35 million in 2012.
Zaza Pachulia – Averaged 5.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, 0.2 blocks and 1.5 assists while shooting 47.3 percent from the floor in 21.8 minutes per game. Four-year, $19 million deal expires this offseason.
Estimated contract: Brand has made more than $145 million during his career, so it’s not as if he needs to go to the highest bidder. For a contender, he could be a fit for the taxpayer midlevel exception ($3.18 million salary next season). Maybe the Mavs could convince him to accept the bi-annual exception ($2.016 million).
The Dallas Mavericks aren’t going to the playoffs. They won’t finish with a winning record. So what do they need to do to get the franchise headed back in the right direction?
Dirk Nowitzki has shown he still has what it takes to one of the best players in the league on any given night, but he could use some help. As ESPN Dallas’ Jean Jacques-Taylor writes:
To make the most of Dirk’s golden years, the Mavs must get him some legitimate help instead of relying on this silly notion that he can be an elite player for another two or three seasons. They must make Dirk the second-best player on this team, which was the plan going into last season.
You can read the rest of his take on Dirk here.
So what would you do if you were the Mavs’ shoes? Realistically, who would you like to see them bring in?
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: This was classic late-career Kidd. He didn’t post a spectacular line (eight points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals in 35 minutes), but he was a significant force during closing time in the Knicks’ win over Boston.
All three of his steals came in the final five minutes. On the first steal, the 40-year-old Kidd deflected a pass and outhustled 26-year-old Jeff Green by diving for a loose ball to spark a fast break. With 2:20 remaining and New York up five, Kidd diagnosed a play that’s a Celtics staple and helped from the weak side to strip Green under the basket. Kidd’s strip of Kevin Garnett on a mismatched post-up in the final minute essentially sealed the win.
“He beats everyone with his brain,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said at his postgame press conference. “If you think quicker than a guy can move, you’re still quicker. That’s why he’s there first, because he thought what the guy was going to do before he did it. He’s just a valuable player to have on a basketball team.”
Tyson Chandler: The fiery big man was a nonfactor in Game 1 against the Celtics after missing 16 of the Knicks’ final 20 regular-season games due to a neck injury. He had five rebounds and one steal in 20 scoreless minutes, and the Knicks opted to play Kenyon Martin at center instead of Chandler in crunch time.
“I knew I would be rusty. I knew I would be a little winded. I knew at some point my legs would get the best of me,” Chandler said, according to ESPNNewYork.com. “I just wanted to be out there with my team.”
Chandler said his neck didn’t bother him. He acknowledged that conditioning was a factor.
“I should obviously be much better in Game 2,” he said.
Jason Terry: For the first time in his career, Terry failed to score a point in a playoff game.
JET was 0-of-5 from the floor in 20 minutes. His only contributions to the Celtics were three rebounds and one steal. Meanwhile, Boston’s bench was outscored by a 33-4 margin.
“You don’t get too high or down too low,” Terry said, according to ESPNBoston.com. “It’s a long series. If I bet on myself, I know how this is going to end up. I’m going to keep grinding, do the things necessary to win.”
Corey Brewer: Brewer scored 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting in 21 minutes during Denver’s Game 1 win over the Warriors. He didn’t have any rebounds, assists, steals or blocks.
Caron Butler: Butler, who was sidelined by a serious knee injury during the Mavs’ title run, had a terrific Game 1 to help the Clippers blow out the Grizzlies. Butler scored 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting, grabbed seven rebounds and had a block and a steal in 24 minutes.
“Yeah, I’d like to be back here,” Mayo told reporters after Wednesday’s final shootaround of the season.
Mayo, however, said he has yet to consider whether he will exercise the player option for the second season in the contract he signed with the Mavericks last season. Mayo can opt to make a $4.2 million salary from the Mavs next season, or he can decide to test the free agency market for the second consecutive summer, perhaps signing a long-term deal with Dallas.
“I haven’t really sat down and talked to Cuban about it or my agent,” said Mayo, who has averaged 15.4 points and 4.4 assists while playing a team-high 35.6 minutes per game this season. “I think I’ll probably take a week or so off after this season and get together and meet.”
Midway through the season, it appeared that it’d be an easy decision for Mayo to test the market again. He averaged 17.9 points per game while shooting career-best percentages before the All-Star break.
But Mayo’s production has dipped drastically in the second half of the season. He’s averaging only 9.0 points per game on 38.9 percent shooting in eight April games.
Carlisle, who has made Mayo somewhat of a pet project since last summer, sounded like a disappointed parent when he called out Mayo for failing to compete in Monday’s loss. Carlisle called a timeout midway through the fourth quarter specifically to bench Mayo, who had two points and four turnovers in the loss.
Mayo claimed Wednesday that he hadn’t heard about Carlisle’s postgame criticism, which dominated the media discussion about the Mavs over the last 36 hours.
“Well, I don’t blame him,” Mayo said when informed of Carlisle’s comments.
Carlisle kept his comments about Mayo brief after the final shootaround of the season: “He’s ready to go. He’s ready to go.”