We are quite likely seeing the Dallas Mavericks of the present…and come the February trade-deadline, the future, too. “There’s nothing really temping us,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban says. “No (trade) conversations.”
Now, the “conversations” part will change in the next two weeks; Cuban and GM Donnie Nelson are obliged here. But the “temptations” part? It takes two to forge temptation…and there isn’t evidence of potential pairing up. So the Mavs you saw on last night – Dallas with a 91-78 victory over the hapless Suns at American Airlines Center – are likely your 2015-16 Mavs. Or, because Dirk didn’t play due to rest, maybe it would be more accurate to say that tonight’s Mavs, the ones who play at Atlanta, are your rest-of-the-season Mavs.
Coach Rick Carlisle suggests that we won’t see much of 37-year-old Dirk in back-to-back games, and that’s a coping philosophy that bows to the realities of this team. It is not blessed with highly-tradeable commodities, as some of the guys who have value (Chandler Parsons, Deron Williams and Zaza Pachulia) are in the final years of their contracts, are central to anything the Mavericks hope to do this year, and are desired back as part of this franchise going forward.
Otherwise, this is a roster populate with kids, reclamation projects and Dirk. So unless somebody wants to give up a shooter for Raymond Felton, or unless some post-trade-deadline buyout guys become available (Kevin Martin?) these Mavs are your Mavs.
That’s not a bad thing. No, a bad thing would to be the Suns, where old friend Tyson Chandler signed on and is frankly part of the reason for their struggles, and head coach Jeff Hornacek was fired sometime after last night’s game according to Yahoo! Sports.
The Mavs are 28-22 heading into tonight’s game at Atlanta. They finished their January gauntlet with a 9-9 record. They are being granted opportunities in the West, not from the truly elite teams such as Golden State and San Antonio, but certainly by the other clubs – many of them being richer than Dallas in talent but also overwhelmed by injuries, bad luck or knuckleheadedness.
The Mavs hope they’ve already weathered their injury storm. They are making their own luck by ranking among the NBA’s most clutch squads. And the construction of this roster under coach Rick Carlisle leaves little room for knuckleheads. But with the trade deadline approaching, it seems there is little room for anything more at all.