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 ...