Tag Archives: Sports

Elton Brand: I’ll do whatever it takes to win

Mavericks F Elton Brand touches on his role with the team, getting amnestied, Chris Kaman‘s personality and more.

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On his role and what fans should expect from him:

Veteran leadership. Locker room guy. You know that’s important. They’re talking about coming off the bench and doing whatever … you know, whatever it takes to help the team win, that’s how I feel about it.

I’m not the type of guy that would say, ‘Hey, Kaman needs to sit on the bench’ … even though, sitting behind Chris Kaman, that’s a big deal to me because that’s my son you know what I mean (laughs) … I taught him everything he knows.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4691734/elton-brand-ill-do-whatever-it-takes-to-win

Chauncey Billups assisted on O.J. Mayo signing

DALLAS — The plan to have Jason Kidd help recruit Deron Williams to Dallas didn’t quite work out for the Mavs.

But the Mavs did get an assist from an old point guard during the free-agency process. It just wasn’t one that’s ever worn a Mavs uniform.

O.J. Mayo reached out to Chauncey Billups, one of his favorite players in the league, while researching potential destinations this summer. Billups strongly recommended that Mayo play for Rick Carlisle, who played a significant role in Billups achieving his potential.

“He said (Carlisle) is a great coach for me to help expand my game,” Mayo said.

Billups, like Mayo now, was a No. 3 overall pick in his mid-20s who hadn’t lived up high-lottery expectations when he signed with the Carlisle-coached Pistons in the summer of 2002. Detroit was Billups’ fifth NBA team, and while he showed promise as a part-time starter the previous season in Minnesota, he had yet to prove he could be a premier point guard.

Carlisle gave Billups that opportunity in 2002-03, when he started for a 50-win team that advanced to the conference finals. That was the only seasons Carlisle coached Billups, but Billups gives Carlisle credit for helping him become a five-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion who is now known as Mr. Big Shot.

Mayo hasn’t bounced around the league, having spent his entire four-year career with the Memphis Grizzlies, but he has a lot of similarities to the 2002 version of Billups. Mayo is a No. 3 overall pick whose career hasn’t progressed as anticipated.

Billups’ advice to Mayo: Let Carlisle coach you.

That’s exactly what Mayo has done. He arrived in Dallas a month ago specifically so he could work with Carlisle.

Mayo usually works on one specific weakness each summer. He’s worked on whatever Carlisle wanted recently.

“My whole thing is to give my game to Coach and let him help me get better in ways I can help the team,” Mayo said.

That’s included refining something Mayo considered one of his biggest strengths: shooting the ball.

They’ve worked on keeping the ball high and staying ready to shoot, especially when Mayo gets fatigued. Carlisle used Reggie Miller and Rip Hamilton — a couple of elite shooters he’s coached — as examples and pointed out Mayo’s flaws while reviewing film of Grizzlies games.

“It was different, because I had never worked on it,” Mayo said. “It was actually a little irritating because I was comfortable with my shot, but he’s helped it a lot. Through workouts, it’s more efficient, more consistent. He’s just a great coach.”

Just like Billups told Mayo.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4691730/chauncey-billups-assisted-on-o-j-mayo-signing

O.J. Mayo amazed by Dirk Nowitzki’s work ethic

DALLAS – After arriving in Dallas a month ago to work on his game, O.J. Mayo was stunned to see a certain 7-foot German dude sweating on the American Airlines Center practice court.

Rest assured that there won’t be a repeat of a rusty, out-of-shape Dirk Nowitzki showing up at training camp.

“He was in here working out and staying in shape,” Mayo said. “It was a crazy, crazy thing to see because he’s a franchise player and he was here early like it’s his first or second year. I think that’s enough said there.”

Nowitzki’s offseason regimen was a wreck last summer and fall, when he celebrated finally winning an NBA title, unsuccessfully tried to help the German national team qualify for the Olympics again and rested in anticipation of a long lockout. Nowitzki wasn’t ready when the lockout ended and admittedly was poorly prepared for a quickie camp and compressed schedule.

The results: Nowitzki had his worst statistical year since his second season, averaging 21.6 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 45.7 percent from the floor. He needed a week-plus personal minicamp early in the season to return to something resembling Nowitzki’s norm.

Nowitzki turned 34 over the summer, but the Mavs firmly believe he has a lot of elite basketball left in him. His work this summer confirmed that a hunger still burns in Nowitzki’s belly, perhaps refreshed after last season’s struggles.

“I just think Dirk’s going to come back stronger, ready to play, ready to prove something,” owner Mark Cuban said.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4691723/o-j-mayo-amazed-by-dirk-nowitzkis-crazy-crazy-work-ethic

Mark Cuban wants newcomers to stick around

DALLAS – As much fun as Mark Cuban had at the Mavericks’ get-to-know-the-new-guys press conference Monday, he hopes there won’t be a similar event next year.

Believe it or not, Cuban claims that he hopes the Mavs’ roster won’t change much next summer.

“Our goal is to have these guys in Mavericks uniforms for a long, long time,” Cuban said, referring to new additions Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman, Elton Brand and Dahntay Jones.

Of course, that desire isn’t reflected in the Dallas newcomers’ deals at this point. They are all essentially on one-year contracts, although Mayo has a player option for next season and Collison will be a restricted free agent.

That flexibility could allow the Mavs to be aggressive the free-agency market again. However, it remains to be seen whether any of the big fish, such as the Lakers’ Dwight Howard, Clippers’ Chris Paul and Thunder’s James Harden, make it anything more than a formality to re-sign with their respective teams.

Nevertheless, Cuban insists that his plan is to try to keep Dallas’ new core intact and give it a chance to develop.

“It’s always an audition, but we want to find reasons to keep guys,” Cuban said. “We want this team to play well and perform and these guys to be here forever. Why would we want it any other way?

“You want to have a team you can keep around for a long time. You don’t want to have to go through this every summer.”

Putting the dollars aside, it isn’t difficult to envision Mayo and Collison as the Mavs’ backcourt of the future.

Mayo is a 24-year-old former third overall pick whose career didn’t progress as anticipated in Memphis. The Mavs believe they can tap his potential in Dallas.

Collison, 25, has been a starter for playoff teams in Indiana. He’s certainly not as savvy as Jason Kidd, the future Hall of Famer whose shoes he’s filling, but Collison’s speed and quickness will provide a different dimension to the Dallas offense.

Collison has already been traded twice. Mayo didn’t get the lucrative, long-term offer he was seeking in free agency, settling for a one-year, $4 million deal (with a player option that is basically a safety net if this season doesn’t go as planned).

The young guards, who have logged a lot of pickup minutes together in Los Angeles, get that nothing in their futures is guaranteed. But they also know they’ve found a place they’d like to be for a long time.

“The way I look at it is that we have a lot of young guys who can play here for a long time and we have an opportunity to prove that this year,” Collison said. “Me and O.J., we were talking yesterday about how much we have a chip on our shoulder. I think that alone is going to give us an extended time here. This is a city and an organization where we want to be.”

Added Mayo: “We have a full understanding about the business aspect of the NBA as well as on the court. We’re just going to really come here and treat it business-like and really understand that handing our business will make everybody happy.”

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4691694/mark-cuban-wants-newcomers-to-be-mavs-for-a-long-long-time

Rick Carlisle has experience with turnover

Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle knows something about dealing with a roster full of different players. The five new free agents — Elton Brand, Chris Kaman, O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones — were introduced Monday at American Airlines Center.

And of the 15 players on the roster, eight of them are new.

That’s what Carlisle faced his second season while coaching the Detroit Pistons during the 2002-03 season. Carlisle said he had to figure out how to make eight new players jell and work together that season. They won 50 games and lost in the Conference Finals in four games to the New Jersey Nets.

“That was a different time and a different conference and a lot of different stuff,” Carlisle said. “I think the point is that it’s possible to take a lot of new guys and get them together and play well, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Carlisle said the key to doing that as quickly as possible is getting as full an understanding as you can about the new players. Carlisle knows some of their games just from playing against them. But he said watching film will be important in knowing how each can help the club in a variety of situations.

“You have to watch film to try to get the best feel you can for what they can do,” Carlisle said. “You evaluate how they can fit in with your present personnel and then just go forward. Communication is big. We’ve got to talk to these guys. We’ve got to listen and get them comfortable with what we’re doing offensively.

“Then defensively, our system is not vastly different from most teams in the NBA. Most of these guys know the terminology. It’s going to start at the defensive end and, offensively, that’s where you get into the nuance stuff. You’ve got to spend the time and study it and talk to them.”

Of course it also makes the preseason even more important. Carlisle will begin the integration right away with the hopes of finding out exactly what he’s got and how each player can help the club.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4691717/rick-carlisle-has-experience-with-turnover

Sources: D.J. Mbenga to join Mavs training camp

The Dallas Mavericks have a full 15 guaranteed contracts, but they’re bringing veteran center D.J. Mbenga to training camp, according to team sources.

Despite the Mavericks’ current lack of roster room, they are interested in adding one more center for depth even after the offseason acquisitions of Chris Kaman and Elton Brand.

The Mavericks have also been linked with Brazilian center Rafael Hettsheimeir, who plays in Spain, but they know Mbenga well after finding him in Belgium and bringing the 7-footer to the NBA during the 2004-05 season.

RTBF in Belgium reported that Mbenga turned down contract offers in China and Greece for the opportunity to try to convince the Mavs to shed one of their guaranteed contracts to make room for him.

Mbenga, 32, last played in the NBA with New Orleans in 2010-11 and was part of two championship teams with the Los Angeles Lakers after leaving Dallas.

If Mbenga fails to make the Mavs’ roster, his D-League rights will be held by the Texas Legends and make him eligible to play for former teammate Eduardo Najera, who was named last month as the Legends’ new coach.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4691707/sources-d-j-mbenga-to-join-mavs-training-camp