Coop in Europe: Time to see what Mavericks have

ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Chuck Cooperstein, aka "The Voice of the Mavericks", is with the Dallas Mavericks on their first European excursion and will blog on the team's events daily for ESPNDallas.com.

Yes, the Mavericks' trip to Berlin is all about the celebration of Dirk Nowitzki, but somewhere in there, there’s a basketball game to be played.

The Mavericks will take the floor for their preseason opener against Alba Berlin, not only with Dirk as their lynchpin, but also with an almost entirely new cast of characters. And it will happen not in some non-descript circumstance, but rather as part of an NBA showcase event.

Chris Kaman was a member of the Clippers when they went to Russia and lost to CSKA Moscow, so there is the matter of pride. There is also the matter of finding out exactly what you have.

"We need to face that. You're going to see back-to backs," Elton Brand said. "You're going to see playoff games. You're going to see rowdy atmospheres. So it's good to get that early as a group and see how we respond to it."

And so they will, in front of a sellout house of better than 17,000 at the O2 World Arena in Berlin.

Notes: Kaman (back) said he went though the entire morning practice without incident, however coach Rick Carlisle again wouldn’t commit to playing him in the game. Said Carlisle: "If Kaman is OK, he starts. If he's not, (Elton) Brand will start.". ... Today is Brandon Wright's 25th birthday. He and Deon Thompson of Alba Berlin were teammates at North Carolina in 2007, when the Tar Heels were both ACC regular-season and tournament champions and reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.