Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Evaluation Time

I suppose now is as good a time as any to ponder the long summer ahead for the Dallas Mavericks. I am amused as always by the brave face of owner Mark Cuban, with his claims that he loves this team and cannot wait to begin next season, but who buys this? He says this or something close to it every single time the Mavericks end a season, and I have yet to see that man hold still in the off-season for more than 5 minutes. He messes with everything. He is never satisfied. So, Am I to believe that this team, with all of its obvious flaws (may have never stopped the pick-and-roll) will be left completely intact? Sorry, but I choose not to buy this malarkey.

This may take a while to sort through, especially given the fact that I have not even begun to consider who throughout the league will become available, but I thought the least we could do is take a look player-by-player at the current situation for each of the players presently on the roster:

Tariq Abdul Wahad: 2 more years for $15 million
Sorry to start this with a name most don’t even recognize. A waste of ink. Or whatever I am using on this blog.

Darrell Armstrong: Free Agent
I don’t really see a legitimate role for him.

Shawn Bradley: 3 more years for $14.5 million
If this team is serious about shaking the image of being soft, then they had better not allow him back in the locker-room in the fall. Nice guy, but he is the poster boy of this organization when teams mock them. Must leave.

Erick Dampier: 6 years for $65 million
Considering he has about the same deal as Raef Lafrentz, I don’t think the money is a big deal. He showed signs of being the big man in the middle, but needs to get smarter. Likely is what he is.

Marquis Daniels: 5 years for nearly $32 million
Talk about dropping off after you sign your deal. Horrible season, and a very tradable commodity based on his fine 2004. Do not be shocked if he is moved, and I would have little problem with that.

Michael Finley: 3 years left for over $51 million
Words cannot describe how poor a deal this is for the Mavericks. I will not dispute his contribution to this franchise, but c’mon. This is insane. You could not trade this unless you did for a similar millstone. At least, this team needs to explain his new role to him, which is being Josh Howard’s back-up at the small forward.

Devin Harris: 3 years for $10 million
Next season, they need to play him 35 minutes a game at the Point, and figure out if he is worth the #5 pick in the draft. I am not sure Avery is on board with him, but there is only one way to find out what he has.

Alan Henderson: Free Agent
I would have no problem offering him a chance to make the team.

Josh Howard: 2 years for 2.3 million
Undoubtedly, the most underpaid player in this city, maybe the league. I would seriously consider ways to lock him up immediately. Is the real deal.

DJ Mbenga: 1 year at 880k

Dirk Nowitzki: 4 years for $57 million
You still have to consider him the centerpiece of the franchise, especially provided that there aren’t a ton of other options at the franchise player position. Allow him to learn from this difficult setback in his career, and see if he is a champion. Too early to consider him “not good enough”.

Pavel Podkolzine: 3 years at $4 million
One of the last pieces of the Don Nelson era. I have no idea why a 1st round pick was wasted on a player that can only hope to someday develop into Shawn Bradley. To say I have no expectations for this lummox is a vast overstatement.

Jerry Stackhouse: 2 years at $17.5 million
I have no problem starting him at 2/3 and letting him play all of Finley’s 2004-05 minutes. I think that you can win a title with him as a starter. Has guts and heart, and despite his other shortcomings (shot selection) is a player to include in your plans.

Jason Terry: 1 year at 6.6 million
Think he can do a fine job as your Bobby Jackson or Vinnie Johnson. Your backup at PG and at SG is in good hands.

Keith Van Horn: 1 year at almost $16 million
If nothing else, could make a fine salary slot to trade, but there is no reason he cannot contribute off the bench.


Adam Morris, who writes a nice Rangers Blog, makes the case the Rangers are the best team in the AL West ...

Tomorrow, Liverpool plays its biggest game in 2 decades: The European Cup Final versus Milan, ESPN 2, 1:30pm Manager Rafa Benitez says the Reds are up for it ...I hope so...

Catching up with the Rangers ....

Finley claimed injury effected his play ....

Stackhouse says next year his role may be different ...

"I didn't want to make an excuse," said Finley, who expects to have surgery within the month. "I could have easily not played and not have to go through all [the criticism of his performance]. I decided to play, and you've got the face the circumstances that come with that."

Finley has been a starter since joining the Mavs midway through the 1996-97 season and was considered a franchise cornerstone when he signed a $102 million contract four years ago. He said Monday he is prepared to take on any role, including coming off the bench.

"I have no choice," Finley said. "If I want to remain here and be a part of this, and they ask me to sacrifice some parts of my game or what have you, I have no choice. Whatever it takes."

Stackhouse thrived as the team's sixth man, a role he has said could add years to his career. However, he's not shutting the door on competing for a starting job.

"I understood the situation coming in, and that was what was presented to me, and I didn't try to fight it," Stackhouse said. "Next year might be a totally different story."

Hart looks to make a deal ...


Radisav Curcic said...

Most of the changes that need to be made are self-evident, though Marquis Daniels might not be a finished product (let us bow our heads in prayer that he can improve). I still maintain that allowing the core guys to gel would do far more good than importing yet another retread in a trade.
Think there's some way to lure back Danny Fortson?

Anonymous said...

does everyone fail to remember why finley has the contract? perot was not gonna pay him and finley was walking after that 99-00 season if they didn't trade him at the deadline. cuban bought the team and to instill good faith and show they were committed to winning, he maxed finley out. it may impede things now but was the right thing to do then. there are similar contracts out there that happened for the same reason - allan houston comes to mind.

Observer said...

Don't you mean Dendon?

Edgar Prado III said...

Just package up everyone but Dirk and start over. There are so many problems that it is rediculous, you can pick up 4 rookies/free agents to put around Dirk and trade the rest of the team for a legitimate BIG MAN in the middle and you will have at least as successfull play off as you did this year.

Anonymous said...

From yesterday's Blog I saw a question about the "Popcorn Trick".....without sitting through Diner, what the heck is this trick big Mac whips Bob about all the time?

Lew said...

I give Finley alot of respect.
He can be a useful tool for the Mavs, even as a backup. Did anyone see the story on how he needs surgery to get a bone chip out of his foot?
I like Fin, and he has alot of courage and leadership. I still think the Mavs can use him, even if he is a backup.


Anonymous said...

Bob and Dan go to a movie, they sit next to each other. Bob has a box of popcorn on his lap. Bob cuts a hole in it. Bob and Dan reach into the box until it is almost empty. When Dan reaches in again, he can't find any more popcorn but he feels a sweet surprise from Bob. I think that's the popcorn trick.

Anonymous said...

The Lakers just called and said that your idea is no good.


Anonymous said...

The Mavs could keep the team intact with no changes and be fine next year. However, this team does not really have a good matchup on defense against good 4's. Perhaps this weakness can be addressed in the summer with an athletic power forward or center. Good luck with all that. The Suns throw out the ultimate Nellie ball and the Mavs didn't quite solve them. People criticized the Mavs and Damp for not being able to stop Amare. Any team is going to have that problem. Look at game 1 with the Spurs with his 41 points. The 2nd best defensive team in the league next to Detroit managed to hold the Suns to 114 points. The Suns just have some crazy offense. The Mavs don't totally suck just because the Suns beat them. I think the Spurs are going to have their hands full. However, they have killer defense and they have enough offensively to beat the Suns in seven. They shot 51% and scored 121 in game 1. This is how you beat the Suns.
But I'm pulling for "Nashty". Go Canada.

Disco Stu.

Anonymous said...

come on bob, inquiring minds want to know your review of starwars episode III. what did you think?

e b in keller

Revolver said...

What's with all the hate against Podkolzine? Seriously Bob, I have always wondered why you have written him off so easily. You say he was one of the last pieces of the Don Nelson era. That's not necessarily true. Keep in mind that it was Donnie that was the driving force behind acquiring him on draft night. You know, the guy that traded a 1st round pick (that turned out to be Shaun Marion) for a little known 3rd string point guard named Steve Nash. He also was the one that acquired a 7 foot German that many considered to be another big white European stiff. Lets also not forget about a certain Wake Forest player that was quite possibly the 5th or 6th best player in the draft, yet he was taken at the very end of the first round by the Mavs.

I'm not saying that Donnie hit the jackpot in Podko, but I don't think you have seen nearly enough to get a good feel for him. I saw Dirk in his year and I felt that he was skilled, but clearly not NBA ready. He didn't have the mental or even physical capacity to take on other NBA players. Podko may be another big white stiff but I have seen him play in the past and I see promise. He has soft hands, a surprisingly good outside shot, and is a pretty good passer that made me think a little bit of Vlade Divac. Not sure what he will turn out to be but it is just to early to tell. If you think he is such a big spare Bob, then ask Donnie point blank what he ever saw in him.

Anonymous said...

yeah, i agree with e b....us p1's like to know you guys' opinions on movies and such. and what about lord of the rings....didn't you say you were watching that?

Greatmondo said...

Love ya Bob but I think you have a serious case of knee-jerk. The whole Ticket does.

Whatever happened to gelling? What did the Bulls, Pistons, Spurs do after playoff runs? They didn't totally blow up the team after every dissapointing playoff loss. They tweaked the team a little, worked harder in the offseason and took their chances.

Everyone's screaming about getting a point guard but how many true point guards, in this day and age, are there? I think this was just an offense (Nelson) that tried to continue on as its always been. A true point without any low post presence. That's not the offense to run with this team.

I like Avery as a coach. Give him the keys and let him make his stamp on this franchise. We seem to all forget that he wasn't even a freaking rookie coach this year (rookies tend to get a whole season). These last two games had the defensive stench of a Nelson team. Did you guys seriously expect a rookie coach to beat:

1) Jeff Van Gundy
2) D'Amonti (I don't care about his spelling)
3) Pop
4) Larry Brown / The guy with Shaq

I think after Don Nelson and his lap dog Norm declared that the Mavs would WIN the championship this year, everyone went a little stupid and jumped on board.

I'd like to see this team again with 1) a healthy, older, Daniels, 2)a daily improving Howard, 3)improved Harris (remeber Nash in his early Mavs career? Putrid.), 4) a pissed off Dirk, coming off a summer working out on high tech machines like Ivan Drago, 5) the last reminants of Don Nelson totally eliminated.

Just settle down everyone. Everything will be fine.