Chat with Tim MacMahon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, Dallas Mavericks reporter Tim MacMahon stops by to chat about the team.
MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com. He joined ESPN in September 2009.
Send your questions now and join MacMahon Tuesday at noon CT!
How do you think Josh Howard and Shawn Marion will fit together?
Tim MacMahon (1:04 PM)
First, thanks for joining me for the first Mavericks chat on ESPNDallas.com. We'd like to make this a weekly event.As far as the Howard/Marion fit goes, we probably won't know for sure until about a month into the regular season, since they're both dealing with injuries right now. There's a good chance they won't play together until the Oct. 27 opener against the Wizards.The Mavs are excited about the wing duo because of the former All-Stars' athleticism, length and versatility. They're two big, active wing defenders (at least when Howard wants to be) who can switch up or down. That ought to make the Mavs much better defensively.Offensively, it'll be a work in progress early. Expect the Mavs to continue to run the offense through Howard (second in the league in first quarter ppg last season) early in games. He'll still create his own shot on occasion, but they're likely to post him up much more often, especially when he's matched up on smaller shooting guards.The beauty of Marion as an offensive player is he can be productive without running many plays for him. He gets a ton of easy baskets on fast breaks, putbacks and by cutting to the hole. That should help make the transition with Howard go smoothly.
would the mavs move dirk
Tim MacMahon (1:07 PM)
As long as Mark Cuban owns the team, Dirk will not be available on the trade market.As Cuban told a German reporter, Dirk will say (whatever the German word for good-bye is) to Cuban at some point, not the other way around.Dirk has a chance to opt out of his contract at the end of the season, and there's a possibility that will happen for a variety of reasons, including cap flexibility. But he's made it clear repeatedly that he'd like to finish his NBA career in Dallas, and the moves the Mavs made this offseason eliminated any doubt that Dirk wanted to be here for the long haul.
Matt Riccardi (Plano, Texas)
Can you help us with understand Dampier's contract better? What are the specific incentive based parameters that will get him paid for the last year of the contract? I understand it has to with paying time but not sure the specifics. Thanks
Tim MacMahon (1:11 PM)
I don't have the fine print of the contract handy, and really, there's no reason to get bogged down in those details. The incentives are virtually unreachable at this point, so it's essentially a lock that Dampier's contract won't be guaranteed next year, the final season of the deal. That gives the Mavs a huge chip to play in the trade market. They'll likely get a lot of calls this season about Dampier, who still has a significant role with the Mavs. His value will be highest next summer, when the Mavs can use him in a sign-and-trade to create room to sign a player to a max contract. (Think somebody like Joe Johnson, not LeBron James.) The team that trades for Dampier can immediately clear his salary off the books.
Jason Kidd hasn't been anything special since the Mavs traded Devin Harris and two first-round picks for him? Why give an old point guard whose best days are gone a three-year deal?
Tim MacMahon (1:14 PM)
Kidd is no longer an elite point guard. He isn't in the class of the West's best, young guns like Chris Paul, Tony Parker and The Colony's Deron Williams. But Kidd is much better than any point guard the Mavs could have acquired this summer to replace him. Mark Cuban can show you all kinds of confusing math-geek stats that indicate Kidd still has an extremely high value to the Mavs. For a team in win-now mode, a three-year, $25 million deal with a Hall of Fame point guard nearing the twilight of his career made sense.
DC (Eagleville, MO)
The Spurs have been given the 2 seed in the West by just about everyone. What makes their offseason changes so much better than the Mavs'?
Tim MacMahon (1:19 PM)
That's an excellent question. It essentially comes down to this: Would you rather have Richard Jefferson or Shawn Marion?The Spurs needed another guy who could create his own shot, so Jefferson made sense for them. The Mavs needed a defensive stopper who could score, so Marion made sense for them. Drew Gooden didn't fit in San Antonio after his late-season arrival. Perhaps Antonio McDyess will be a better fit for the Spurs, but the Mavs are excited about the offensive punch Gooden can provide from the center spot, both in transition and as a midrange threat.DeJuan Blair was a steal for the Spurs in the second round. The Mavs sniffed around about trading up to get Blair, a wide-bodied glass-eater who will probably make a bigger contribution this season than Dallas first-round guard Rodrigue Beaubois.You could also consider Manu Ginobili an offseason addition for the Spurs, since he didn't play in the playoff series loss to the Mavs. However, I don't see San Antonio as a team that is vastly superior to the Mavs. They're both on the second tier in the West behind the Lakers.
What happened to Dirk's 3-point stroke? That used to be what he was known for. Now he hardly shoots them.
Tim MacMahon (1:23 PM)
Part of the reason is that Dirk's game has evolved to the point where he's at his best scoring from other areas, such as when he catches the ball just above the free throw line and creates. He also made a commitment not to shoot "bad 3s" the last few seasons. But that doesn't explain why his percentage the last two years (.359) is so far below his career percentage. He hasn't gotten many good looks from 3-point range because the Mavs didn't have the shooters to space the floor for him. The Mavs commitment to run should help in that regard, particularly with Marion and Gooden drawing transition defenders to the rim. Dirk loves shooting 3s as the trailer on the break, because he feels like he's in a rhythm when he gets to step into the shot.
Are the Mavs headed for another season of being the 5th seed, and then out in round 2 of the playoffs?
Tim MacMahon (1:25 PM)
That's a possibility -- and most national experts seem to think that's the case -- but I see this as a top-four team in the West that has as good a chance as anybody to meet LA in the conference finals. The Mavs won 50 games last season despite a 2-7 start and Josh Howard limping (or sitting) all season. Howard should be completely healthy soon, they've upgraded depth and they've added an impact player in Shawn Marion without giving up anybody from the core. This team should be better than last season.
How much do you think these early season injuries are going to drag down the Mavs? And do they have the potential to linger longer than everybody thinks?
Tim MacMahon (1:28 PM)
I wouldn't worry about Josh Howard. This is part of the rehab process after minor reconstructive surgery on his left ankle. Once that's over, he'll be healthier than he's been in years. While Shawn Marion's calf strain isn't considered serious, I do have some concern about his durability. He's 31 years old and has missed double-digit games in each of the last two seasons due to back, groin and foot injuries. He hasn't lost a step or any springs, but you have to wonder whether his body is beginning to break down after more than a decade of NBA wear and tear. But, with the Mavs' depth, they can afford to manage Marion's minutes if need be.
Mike Swenson (Plano)
What was the real reason Drew Gooden is not with the Spurs and how the Mav's will benefit from his play?
Tim MacMahon (1:32 PM)
I can't speak to why Gooden wasn't a good fit with the Spurs. I will point out that he didn't arrive in San Antonio until late in the season, so he had to pick up a complex system on the fly. As far as Gooden's fit with the Mavs, he gives them a completely different dimension at center. He's a good scorer from midrange, which will help create room for Howard and Marion to exploit size mismatches with smaller wings inside. He's also effective as a pick-and-pop guy, while teams could always help off Erick Dampier on pick-and-rolls. And he's a gazelle for a 6-10, 250-pound guy, which gives Jason Kidd another fast break finisher. Plus, Gooden is athletic enough to guard the new-age face-up big men who give Damp fits.
Is Mark Cuban losing money on the Mavs? It just doesn't seem like he's running the team very efficiently.
Tim MacMahon (1:34 PM)
Cuban loses money on the Mavs every season, but his Nellie-influenced days of wild spending (see: Raef LaFrentz contract) are over. Cuban is still willing to take a financial bath, but only on deals that will make the Mavs significantly better. The Mavs are much more of a passion than a business for Cuban, which is something that MFFLs should really appreciate. He's focused on putting the best possible team on the floor, not necessarily turning a profit, although he'd prefer to do both.
In a lot of poles people have the Mavs finishing at the fourth seed in the west. I think were better than Denver who is supposed to finish above us in the third seed. How do you see us matching up with them with the AMAZING moves we made this offseason?
Tim MacMahon (1:38 PM)
The Nuggets were a matchup nightmare for the Mavs last season. That shouldn't be the case after this summer. Carmelo Anthony and Nene were the two Nuggets' starters the Mavs couldn't handle. Shawn Marion is much more suited to defend Melo than Antoine Wright, and one of the reasons the Mavs liked Quentin Ross so much is that he's had success guarding Melo over the years, particularly when the Clippers knocked the Nuggets from the playoffs a few years back. Drew Gooden and Kris Humphries give the Mavs a couple of big men with the agility to match up with Nene. Denver's bench also killed the Mavs in last season's playoffs. The Mavs upgraded their depth by signing Gooden, Humphries, Ross and Tim Thomas.
DC (Eagleville, MO)
Who was the better pickup this offseason, Roddy or Humphries?
Tim MacMahon (1:41 PM)
That depends on how you look at it. Humphries is likely to make a bigger impact this season. He has five seasons of NBA experience and understands how to fill a role, especially on defense. Beaubois might earn occasional minutes about a rookie, but it's all about upside with the kid from a French island. The Mavs love his quickness, leaping ability, shooting stroke and range, length, etc. Now they have to teach him how to play the game. The fact that Jason Kidd is a willing mentor is a huge bonus.
Tim MacMahon (1:42 PM)
All right, I'm going to wrap it up. Really appreciate all the questions. Look forward to doing this again next week.