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dave92
11-04-2005, 09:06 PM
Finley puts some hurt feelings behind

By ART GARCIA

Star-Telegram Staff Writer


The revelation seemed a product of the moment, soaked in emotion and frustration.

The Mavericks were done, their hearts cut out minutes earlier by Steve Nash, and Michael Finley and Dirk Nowitzki were alone.

It didn't matter who else was in that locker room May 18. After Phoenix ended the Mavs' season in the Western Conference semifinals, Finley broke down. Body and mind drained, he told Nowitzki the time had come.

"I was so hurt after the last game, not only because we lost, but because I knew that was my last game playing with him," Finley said recently, sitting comfortably in his new locker room, that of the San Antonio Spurs.

At the time, Nowitzki tried to brush off Finley's claim.

"Calm down. You're obviously frustrated," Nowitzki remembers telling Finley. "Let's let the summer come, and we'll see what happens."

Somewhere down deep, long before rumors of amnesty clauses or trades, Finley knew what was next. There was no way of knowing, but he just knew.

"I have a feeling that something is going to happen where I'm gone," Finley told Nowitzki. "Steve's gone. I know they're not going to touch you, so I know I'm gone."

Then came the amnesty talk in June. Finley's name and the $52 million left on his contract were immediately linked to the one-time waiver rule, a surprise mulligan in the new collective bargaining agreement.

The clock started ticking. The prediction was coming true.

But did it have to?

"It could have been carried out a different way," Finley said. "One, it was called the 'Allan Houston Amnesty Clause,' and he doesn't get waived. I didn't have to get waived."

The Mavs thought otherwise. Not only were the financial savings immense -- the team is paying off most of the remaining contract in deferred payments, but saves the luxury tax penalty -- the basketball angle wasn't ignored. Privately, Finley's on-court worth was being questioned. His job as a starter was in jeopardy.

The team worked vigorously to trade Finley, with one deal falling apart right before the midnight Aug. 15 waiver deadline. Finley didn't appreciate how the situation was handled, adding that owner Mark Cuban was determined to send him to the Eastern Conference.

"It could have helped me out if I was waived earlier," Finley said. "The fact they did not want to waive me but trade me to not face me, again, I felt was wrong.

"It's a business, and Mark has his way of doing things, and he wanted to get the best end of the deal. When all is said and done, he didn't want to waive me and be even. He wanted to get the upper hand."

Finley called Cuban to discuss just what was going on. Cuban told Finley and his agent, Henry Thomas, that the Mavs were trying to put together a trade.

"Mark pretty much told me he didn't want me to play in the West," Finley said. "He would prefer that I play in the East. My thing was that no matter where I play, it's not up to you to try to avoid me. It's up to your management group to put together a team out there that's good enough to beat whatever team I decide to go to."

Finley chose the defending champions, spurning Nash in Phoenix, Shaquille O'Neal in Miami and Kevin Garnett in Minnesota. It was a second chance with the Spurs.

San Antonio, Finley said, was the only other team he considered before re-signing with the Mavs in 2001 for seven years and $102 million.

"At the time I thought loyalty meant something, so I went back to Dallas thinking we had a chance to do some great things there," he said. "The situation came again, so I just felt it was meant to be for me to come here."

He called the Mavs' contract, which paid him approximately $50 million over the last four years, a "blessing and a curse."

"My contract called for me to be a superstar, and I wanted that role, but the coaching staff didn't want me in that role," Finley said. "They're paying me this money to be a superstar, but the coaching staff is holding me back, for legitimate reasons. But from the outside looking in as a fan and media, you don't see that.

"You see Finley making all this money and doing nothing. If you look at the big picture, the coaching staff was holding me back so other players could flourish. I just wanted to be a team guy. I could have easily been selfish and talked bad about everybody, but that wasn't me."

Cuban doesn't regret the deal, which wasn't out of line financially in those days.

"If it weren't for the amnesty provision, he would still be a Mav," Cuban said. "Mike earned every penny we ever paid him, and I would do the same deal in a heartbeat. The only unfortunate thing about the contract is that the media hung it over his head every day."

Finley still believes he's good enough to start, even in San Antonio, but that's no longer his focus. It's finding a niche on an established team with championship aspirations.

"It's a chance to start over with a clean slate," he said.

And a full plate. The Spurs have three titles in the last seven years, and are built around Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.

"A lot of teams that I was looking at, there were a lot of unknowns," Finley said. "Is the team going to mesh? Is the coaching staff going to be stable? Is the management going to be stable?

"But here there are no unknowns. The coaching staff is established. The core group is established. I was just coming in to help a team that's already had success."

Finley, 32, is just part of the supporting cast, joining Robert Horry and Nick Van Exel on perhaps the league's deepest bench. After playing in pain last season, he's completely healthy after off-season ankle surgery.

He's also at ease.

Finley didn't always speak his mind last season. When former coach Don Nelson resigned with 18 games left in the season and was replaced by Avery Johnson, Finley didn't speak publicly for several days.

"It was nothing personal toward Nellie, nothing personal toward Avery," Finley said. "At the time I was just playing bad basketball and we suddenly had a new coach. There were a lot of things I wanted to say, as far as the ankle and how I was feeling.

"I would have had my surgery earlier. I would have spoke up on the Nellie thing when it happened. But that's in the past."

Finley hasn't talked to Johnson since signing with San Antonio.

"We were friends and teammates before he become management," Finley said. "It's disappointing not hearing from him. Just to say, 'Good luck, we're still going to beat you, but good luck anyway.' That was a difficult situation, but, oh well."

Johnson, who attended Finley's charity golf tournament in June, didn't intend there to be any slight.

"I was saddened to see him go, too," Johnson said.

Finley didn't need long to make a contribution in silver and black, scoring 11 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter Tuesday as the Spurs beat Denver in their opener. The jumper was there, but it was his work defensively that has caught coach Gregg Popovich's attention.

Don't tell Nelson.

"We expected him to be a hard worker, a jump shooter, and somebody who would exhibit a great work ethic and leadership," said Popovich, San Antonio's one-man contingent in Finley's recruitment. "But his effort on defense has been quite obvious."

Finley's effort was never questioned over his 626 games with the Mavs, dating to the 1996-97 season. He was an All-Star before Nowitzki and Nash, and neither has forgotten that.

"He taught me so much about the game of basketball and how to be a professional in this league, on and off the floor," Nowitzki said. "I owe a lot to him. On the other hand, there isn't a better situation to be in than San Antonio. I'm happy for him."

Added Nash: "He was a cornerstone. The way he carries himself, the way he prepares and competes, any team would be lucky to have that guy."

Finley returns to American Airlines Center on Saturday night, and though no special fanfare is planned, there could be a day in the future when Finley's contributions to the franchise are honored.

"If anyone deserves consideration, it's Fin," Cuban said.

Finley expects his first game against the team that put him on the map to be "unusual."

Nash went through it last season, and his advice for his old teammate is: "Just try to enjoy it."

Finley plans to.

"In a perfect world, we both could have walked away happy," Finley said. "But for me, I'm happy. I have no bitter or ill feelings toward the Dallas organization or the team. It was good to me for eight years, so I've walked away happy. I'm in a situation now where I'm happy.

"Life goes on."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Art Garcia, (817) 390-7760 agarcia@star-telegram.com

dude1394
11-04-2005, 10:08 PM
The Mavericks were done, their hearts cut out minutes earlier by Steve Nash, and Michael Finley and Dirk Nowitzki were alone.

It didn't matter who else was in that locker room May 18. After Phoenix ended the Mavs' season in the Western Conference semifinals, Finley broke down. Body and mind drained, he told Nowitzki the time had come.

"I was so hurt after the last game, not only because we lost, but because I knew that was my last game playing with him," Finley said recently, sitting comfortably in his new locker room, that of the San Antonio Spurs.

At the time, Nowitzki tried to brush off Finley's claim.

"Calm down. You're obviously frustrated," Nowitzki remembers telling Finley. "Let's let the summer come, and we'll see what happens."

How poignant. Two men who've been in the foxhole together knowing that it's over.

Murphy3
11-04-2005, 10:29 PM
If Finley talks in the forrest and no one is around to hear, does he make a sound?

MavsFanFinley
11-04-2005, 11:57 PM
Finley loving new home, ready to visit old one

By Marc Stein
ESPN.com

Michael Finley and Dirk Nowitzki sat dejectedly in the Dallas Mavericks' whirlpool, soaking in a Game 6 loss to the Phoenix Suns that ended their season, when Finley hit Nowitzki with another depressing scenario.

With no one else around, Finley told him: "I'm done."

Done as in, done with the Mavericks.

"I just had a funny feeling," Finley says today.

They had just completed a seventh close-knit season together, their bond forged by Finley's willingness to help shepherd Nowitzki from nervous, foreign-born rookie into Finley's old spot as face of the franchise.

Their unfulfilled championship dreams, furthermore, had just been shredded again, this time by their former running mate, Steve Nash. The excruciating manner of the elimination quickly convinced Finley that his career as a Maverick was over.

"I told Dirk, 'This was probably our last game together,'" Finley recalls.

"I didn't want it to be true, but I just knew it."

He didn't even know at the time that the NBA would soon be introducing an amnesty clause that would allow the Mavericks to waive Finley on Aug. 15 and thereby avoid paying nearly $52 million in luxury taxes on the three seasons left on Finley's contract.

Finley was right anyway.

Only now, as he readies to return to Dallas as a visitor for the first time in nearly a decade (just as Finley feared), it doesn't feel like such a painful premonition.

Reason being: Finley always figured he'd be dealt somewhere undesirable as part of a Mavericks overhaul, after enduring more than one February filled with trade-deadline speculation.

He never imagined an opportunity to choose his next team, sign with the mighty San Antonio Spurs and experience a validating week like Premiere Week, as the NBA calls it.

Saturday night at the American Airlines Center will undoubtedly be a strange one for Finley, but probably no more of a whirlwind than Tuesday night. That's when Finley had to hang back a bit with Nick Van Exel before the opening tip in the inspiring but awkward position of a new guy watching teammate after teammate collect a championship ring -- but not really feeling part of it.

The surreal feel didn't fade, either. Finley wound up giving the ring-winners something they didn't have by supplying an 11-point fourth quarter in a come-from-behind victory over Denver, then drove to his new home to watch Nowitzki's Mavericks rally from way back to beat Nash's Suns in double overtime ... all while knowing he'd be headed to Dallas just a few days later as the opposition in the Mavs' home opener.

Weird all around.

But...

"I also think it's a good thing," Finley said. "It's good to be able to get it out of the way early, so I can just focus on being with the Spurs and putting Dallas behind me."

Truth is, Finley appears to be moving on just fine. As entrenched as he seemed in Big D after eight-plus seasons, he quickly started making arrangements to sell his house in North Texas and buy land in San Antonio, hoping to speed the transition.

What's happening on the floor, meanwhile, is already liberating.

"It's been everything I could have imagined," Finley said, "if not more."

For all the questions about how he'll be able to accept a reserve role and slashed minutes in San Antonio, staying in Dallas actually would have been tougher. With his scoring average in decline for five straight seasons, and his salary escalating thanks to the $102 million contract he signed in the summer of 2001, Finley had become a somewhat controversial figure in spite of his stately manner. As a Mav, the 32-year-old was doomed to constant comparisons to what he was at his All-Star peak.

As a Spur, Finley is seen as an over-the-top acquisition whose arrival might help San Antonio finally win back-to-back titles for the first time. The Spurs wanted Finley for his shooting, pegging him to fill a long-standing void with some dependable punch off the bench, but also for his hunger to win a ring of his own. The numbers that sparked debate in Dallas -- a slip to 15.7 points per game last season and an average of 14 games missed through injury the past four seasons -- don't matter as much to the Spurs as the fact that Finley's 3-point shooting is getting better as he gets older.

Despite a nagging ankle problem that would ultimately require offseason surgery, plus the defection of Nash to Phoenix and the subsequent disappearance of the easy shots Nash creates, Finley shot a career-best 40.7 percent from the 3-point line in 2004-05. Playing with Tim Duncan gives Finley an opportunity to better that success rate.

He could have reunited with Nash and the team that drafted him by signing with the Suns. He also could have teamed with another good friend in Miami -- Dwyane Wade and Finley share Henry Thomas as an agent -- and might have if the Heat hadn't first acquired Antoine Walker and Jason Williams.

Finley ultimately couldn't resist the opportunity to be a Spurs specialist, especially knowing that he and Duncan have similar personalities.

Chuckling at the irony, Finley said: "When Tim and I got a chance to sit down and talk for the first time [as teammates], he said: 'You really wanted to kill us, didn't you? You never used to smile during our games.'"

Finley isn't sure how he'll react or what to expect from the crowd Saturday night, simply hoping for the warmth Nash received upon his return to Dallas at a similarly early stage last season.

"You never know what fans are thinking," Finley said. "Steve's situation was a lot different than mine, and I really didn't hear any boos the first time he came back.

"I never wanted to leave Dallas. I wanted to win a championship there and end my career there, but I didn't demand a trade or leave [by choice]."

Either way, it has been a deep start to the season already, and not necessarily because a return to the AAC will inevitably remind Finley of how low he felt the last time he was there.

Maverick memories haven't flooded Finley's mind yet because he hasn't stopped thinking about that ring ceremony.

"I kind of got emotional there," he said. "Nick and I were standing near some fans and a couple of them said, 'That's why you came here, you're going to get one, too.' I hope they're exactly right."

MavsFanFinley
11-05-2005, 12:15 AM
Finley's back, with regrets
New Spur says Mavs broke up a team that might have won a title

By DAVID MOORE / The Dallas Morning News

Emotion rarely escapes Michael Finley's public facade. But a few cracks have appeared as the former Mavericks star contemplates his return.

It hurts Finley to no longer play alongside Dirk Nowitzki, his friend and teammate of more than seven years. There is the owner who told him they were "in this together" only to let him go a few months later and the coach and former teammate who didn't lobby to keep him.

These are issues Finley must sort through tonight when San Antonio plays the Mavericks at American Airlines Center. But above all, the founding father of the Big Three can't help but wonder what might have been if the Mavericks had kept their nucleus intact.

"You look back a couple of years ago, the year we won 60 games, we thought that was the team that was going to ultimately take Dallas over the top," Finley said. "Management thought otherwise.

"Their plans for the future were very different from the players' in the locker room at the time. From their standpoint, they made decisions that bettered the organization. But from a player's standpoint, I don't think so.

"We will never know how good that team would have been."

Steve Nash was allowed to walk in free agency. Owner Mark Cuban used an amnesty clause to release Finley and erase the financial penalties that would have been assessed on top of the player's $51.79 million contract, which he still receives.

Nowitzki is the only player left from a Mavericks team that battled the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals 29 months ago. Like Finley, Nowitzki believes that team was special and has daydreamed about what could have been. Avery Johnson, who was part of that group and now coaches the Mavericks, acknowledged that none of the players wanted to break up that team.

"As far as not breaking up the WCF [Western Conference Finals] team," Cuban said by e-mail, "I'm sure that's what the T-Wolves thought last year as well."

Minnesota followed its appearance in the conference finals by failing to make the playoffs.

The Mavericks continue to make the playoffs but are 7-11 and have not gotten past the second round since falling two wins shy of The Finals in the spring of 2003.

Finley concedes he will be "a little bit emotional" during tonight's game. He bordered on despondent the last time he played at the AAC.

More than two hours had passed that May evening after Phoenix eliminated the Mavericks, and Finley still couldn't bring himself to return to his locker. Part of the time was spent talking to Nowitzki. Part of it was spent listening to Cuban.

"I told Dirk the loss hurt so much because I thought it would be the last time I had the opportunity to play with him," Finley said. "I just had a gut feeling that something had to happen. Then Mark came in and said we were in this together, and I believed him."

Nowitzki dismissed Finley's remarks as frustration. Cuban assured Finley they would "stick it out together," but several weeks later the owner learned of a one-time amnesty clause in the collective bargaining agreement. The moment Cuban mentioned that provision to Finley and his agent, the guard knew he was gone.

Finley isn't bitter but still doesn't like how his exit was handled. He believes the club should have traded him or released him earlier.

"I don't know how we could have handled it any differently," Cuban said by e-mail. "I kept Mike in the loop every step of the way. There were no surprises for either of us.

"That said, I think we helped each other a lot over the years to both of our benefit."

The contract was a major factor in Finley's departure. But it wasn't the only one.

Finley was the team's captain and a quiet leader. After the Mavericks beat the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center to even their first-round series at 2, Finley disrupted the postgame buzz by walking to the center of the locker room and declaring that they hadn't done anything worthy of celebration. All they had done, Finley reminded, was climb out of an 0-2 hole they shouldn't have dug in the first place.

The Mavericks won the second game of their series with the Suns because Finley had 31 points, six rebounds, five assists and a solid second-half defensive effort against Amare Stoudemire. But Finley followed with a total of 34 points, six rebounds and five assists over the final four games of the series. He scored just seven points and was 2-of-10 from the field the night the Mavericks were eliminated.

Mavericks officials felt they owned a big edge over Phoenix after guard Joe Johnson went down, only to watch Finley be outplayed by veteran Jim Jackson. Finley had also struggled the previous year in the playoffs against Sacramento.

Avery Johnson was never critical of Finley in public. But he did make comments about how shooting guards in today's NBA must be able to break down their defender off the dribble and facilitate ball movement. Neither is considered a Finley strength.

Finley knows where he stood with Johnson by what wasn't said. The two haven't spoken since Finley signed with San Antonio.

"We've been friends all this time," Johnson said. "I've become management now, but I still consider myself a friend. I want to get an invitation to his golf tournament. I don't know what's changed."

What's changed is that the player who led the league in minutes played three times, the All-Star who started 605 consecutive games for the Mavericks when healthy, now comes off the bench for the Spurs. Tuesday's opener against Denver was his first game he hadn't started since Feb. 15, 1997, against Utah.

It didn't take Finley long to make his presence felt. He was the first player off Gregg Popovich's bench and scored 11 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter.

Finley said he is happy in San Antonio even though his role has diminished. He calls his teammates a great group of guys and praises the organization for having the best interest of the players at heart.

And how does he characterize his relationship with Cuban?

"At first he was my owner," Finley said. "Now he's just the opponent.

"For him to let me go, so what? I'm still playing this game. I look at it as a blessing. If he hadn't let me go, I'd never be in this great situation I'm in now. I should thank him the next time I see him."

He will have that chance tonight.

dude1394
11-05-2005, 10:28 AM
"You look back a couple of years ago, the year we won 60 games, we thought that was the team that was going to ultimately take Dallas over the top," Finley said. "Management thought otherwise.

"Their plans for the future were very different from the players' in the locker room at the time. From their standpoint, they made decisions that bettered the organization. But from a player's standpoint, I don't think so.

"We will never know how good that team would have been."

So now it's pretty much been admitted to by all parties. The warrior team of 02-03 was ready to battle it out again the cubes pissed it all away. Or Donnie or Nelson or whoever the ****, I don't care.

Not to mention that cubes has basically destroyed any relationships he has with all of them. NVE, Fin, Nash, Raef... Damn what an idiot. I know it's monday-morning quarterbacking but it just tears me up.

MavKikiNYC
11-05-2005, 11:06 AM
The warrior team of 02-03 was ready to battle it out again the cubes pissed it all away.

Ready only in their own minds. That team had grossly overachieved and was going nowhere but down. Whether they knew it or not, Cuban apparently did.

Do you really think they'd have challenged the last couple of years with LaFretntz, Mantis, NVE, Nash, Finley? I mean, even after looking at what those players' productivity has been since then? Really?

There might be all kinds of reasons to bash your head against a wall, but breaking up that team shouldn't be one of them.

dude1394
11-05-2005, 11:20 AM
Do you really think they'd have challenged the last couple of years with LaFretntz, Mantis, NVE, Nash, Finley? I mean, even after looking at what those players' productivity has been since then? Really?

Yes...Another backup center maybe. No doubt.

dude1394
11-05-2005, 11:29 AM
"As far as not breaking up the WCF [Western Conference Finals] team," Cuban said by e-mail, "I'm sure that's what the T-Wolves thought last year as well."

SHUT UP CUBES. You sound like a child who can't take any criticism at all even when it may be spot on. I seen no similarity to the T-Wolves except possibly NVE. All the rest of the guys that you shipped off from that team seem to still be doing decently 3 years later. Dirk-First Team, Nash-M!V!P!, Raef-Starting on Celtics, Finley-Not starting ONLY because he went to Spurs, NVE-Still getting it done of the bench.

SHUT UP!

MavKikiNYC
11-05-2005, 12:17 PM
Originally posted by: dude1394

Do you really think they'd have challenged the last couple of years with LaFretntz, Mantis, NVE, Nash, Finley? I mean, even after looking at what those players' productivity has been since then? Really?

Yes...Another backup center maybe. No doubt.

LaFrentz, injured. NVE, injured. Finely, injured. Nash, ....ticking.

dude1394
11-05-2005, 12:23 PM
Kiki...it's going to be an unanswerable argument between us. You feel it was wise to blow the team up, I do not, at all. There will not be a definitive answer between us, certainly I feel strongly that EVEN though injuries may have occurred that was not the reason the team was blown up and it seems like a week argument to say that it was the wise decision BECAUSE injuries occurred.

Heck I can't even figure it out to be honest. Other than to take cubes at his words that all he thought he had to do was just to keep trading for more and more talent and that would do it.

Well there is only one thing that HAS been proven, cubes was absolutely wrong in that we haven't been close to competiting for the WCF since. We did come pretty close with 58 games last year but the team never looked like a championship team in the playoffs. This year will be the tie-breaker on that one I imagine. I'm not seeing it yet, but tonight will be a decent gauge.

MavKikiNYC
11-05-2005, 12:53 PM
Kiki...it's going to be an unanswerable argument between us. You feel it was wise to blow the team up, I do not, at all. There will not be a definitive answer between us, certainly I feel strongly that EVEN though injuries may have occurred that was not the reason the team was blown up and it seems like a week argument to say that it was the wise decision BECAUSE injuries occurred.

I don't think I came anywhere close to saying that the moves were made BECAUSE the injuries occured (which, of course, they hadn't at that point). With or without the injuries, I think it was the correct move. That was a flawed team from the get-go, and it was NEVER going to seriously, effectively challenge teams like LA (with Shaq) or San Antonio (with Duncan/Robinson), and it was always more vulnerable to getting punked by a teamful of phyiscal punks like Portland. But who knew LA was gonna let Shaq go? In any case, Raef was never gonna get it done against that team.

I can live with the argument going unanswered. But I do think there's a lot more evidience to suggest that that roster would NOT have held up well if it had been kept together, regardless of whether someone thinks that kind of team could've competed (which, as you know, I don't.)

dude1394
11-05-2005, 12:55 PM
I guess my issues with saying it would NEVER challenge San Antonio, is that it DID challenge San Antonio. And the San Antonio series that year was for the NBA championship. So I really do not understand the logic behind saying they couldn't.

MavKikiNYC
11-05-2005, 01:07 PM
I guess my issues with saying it would NEVER challenge San Antonio, is that it DID challenge San Antonio.

I never thought they had a chance to take SA in a 7-game series, with or without Dirk.

The deceptive thing is that the Mavericks lost Dirk, Fin played his heart out, SA let up a little bit, and Dallas took a game from the Spurs that they probably shouldn't have. All the wanna-belivers extrapolate from that to say that: 1) the Mavs would've won with Dirk; and that 2) they would've been a serious contender the following year with that personnel intact. Mavericks (and Fin, in particular) get credit for a gutty performance in my book, but no more.

Bottom line: you think they seriously challenged the Spurs in that series; I don't.

But discussing this at this point is like eating popcorn you find under the chair in front of you at MSG--stale.

dude1394
11-05-2005, 01:42 PM
Even if you don't think they had a chance to take SA in a 7-game series, it was the NBA finals game, they were easily arguably, demonstrably the best two teams in basketball at that time, ie scoreboard. What more do you really want? We just don't know what would have happened, nor do we know what would have happened the next year.

The mavs lost dirk and mike, nash, nve stepped up in his absence, it really happens all of the time. In game 6 they were a 4-4 Steve Kerr host steak from getting to game 7. That was fact. Your take however is that coming that close but not winning necessitated blowing it all up without giving those warriors another chance at it. What exactly was the thinking there anyway? The blowing up of the team didn't even make any sense the year after, there were no plans at all.

At least this year, there seems to be some strategic plan (defense...san antonio north, etc.) but that year was a complete blow it up with nothing more than fantasy bball thoughts. What exactly was the point that couldn't just as easily done a year later. Minnesota has re-tooled just like the mavs could have, they had a bad year, but they still have Garnett and we still have Dirk... I don't see it.

chumdawg
11-05-2005, 03:24 PM
It's amazing how as time passes the history gets revised. That poorly built Mavs team in '03 beat what may have been the best team in the league that year (the Kings) in a thrilling seven-game series, then came off that exhausting seventh game to take one from the Spurs on the road. A week or so later, they took a 13-point lead to the fourth quarter in an effort to send that conference finals series to seven--without their best player.

I guess if you think they were never in it, you waited until the clock ran out on Game Six to come to that conclusion.

These articles pretty well tear me up, too. It almost reads like a Greek tragedy, Cuban's empire crumbling around him thanks to his hubris. Oh, you may not think it's crumbling right now. But it's coming, that's for sure.

Good for Mike, that he finally gets to speak his mind. It must have been tough on him to not be able to say anything, while management was tarnishing his reputation left and right.

You gotta love Cuban's logic with that Timberwolves thing. I bet I could find some counterexamples of teams that stayed together and then went on to win the title. Gimme a break.

Thespiralgoeson
11-05-2005, 03:29 PM
Originally posted by: chumdawg
It's amazing how as time passes the history gets revised. That poorly built Mavs team in '03 beat what may have been the best team in the league that year (the Kings) in a thrilling seven-game series, then came off that exhausting seventh game to take one from the Spurs on the road. A week or so later, they took a 13-point lead to the fourth quarter in an effort to send that conference finals series to seven--without their best player.

Chum, you yourself just revised history... You were quick to point out that the Mavs "made an effort" to send the Spurs series to seven games--without their best player. But you completely omitted the fact that the Kings DID send their series to seven games (and you're right about the fact that it was thrilling) without THEIR best player... i/expressions/anim_roller.gif And Chum, for the love of god, please don't tell me you're reasoning for that not being a factor was that C-Webb played in that game 2 blowout, because before that near career-ending injury, he averaged something like 25, 10, and 6 against the Mavs (not looking it up)

Arne
11-05-2005, 03:33 PM
Originally posted by: chumdawg
It's amazing how as time passes the history gets revised. That poorly built Mavs team in '03 beat what may have been the best team in the league that year (the Kings) in a thrilling seven-game series, then came off that exhausting seventh game to take one from the Spurs on the road. A week or so later, they took a 13-point lead to the fourth quarter in an effort to send that conference finals series to seven--without their best player.

I guess if you think they were never in it, you waited until the clock ran out on Game Six to come to that conclusion.

These articles pretty well tear me up, too. It almost reads like a Greek tragedy, Cuban's empire crumbling around him thanks to his hubris. Oh, you may not think it's crumbling right now. But it's coming, that's for sure.

"What may have been the best team in the league that year"? Only because of Webber getting injured. The only thing I could say about something like that: It's amazing how, as time passes, the history gets revised...

So you really think that team didn't overachieve?

I can tell you what would have happened if had kept all those guys:

We'd lost LaFrentz the next year due to his injury and Nick Van Exel surely wouldn't have played another series like the one against Sacramento. We would have played a poor regular season without LaFrentz, because Nellie wouldn't have had that much material to play small ball with.

What pisses me off is people who are talking about that year as if it was a year in which we were the best team and only had bad luck. We were lucky to even survive Sacramento.

dude1394
11-05-2005, 03:44 PM
Even IF Raef LaFrenz was injured it makes no sense to bust up that team.. You are somehow saying that because Raef got injured then it was wise to bust up that team, that's ridiculous.

If you want to argue that that team was not as good as the team the year after okay,then do it, but saying that because an injury occurred we should have busted it up is illogical at best. Nor do you know what NVE would/would not have done, it's just unknowable.

So it gets back to ....why destroy the best team they have ever had and a bunch of guys who had sniffed the top..For Antoine Walker and Antone Jamison?? You've got to be kidding me. Folks can say that that team would/would not have won a championship, but nothing done since then except for hiring AJ made any sense.

And possibly that team over-achieved, okay. But even at that...Although I'm not saying it shold happen the team if no changes were made would be.

Nash, Finley, Josh, Dirk, Raef....Marquis, RajaBell, NVE off the bench... WHAT is wrong with that team?

Damp>Raef...puh-leeze.
Terry>Nash...puh-leeze.
Josh=Josh
Dirk=Dirk
Christie>Fin...puh-leeze.
Stack>NVE....Yup..
Marquis=Marquis.

I just don't see it to be honest...

Thespiralgoeson
11-05-2005, 03:53 PM
Originally posted by: dude1394
So it gets back to ....why destroy the best team they have ever had and a bunch of guys who had sniffed the top..For Antoine Walker and Antone Jamison?? You've got to be kidding me. Folks can say that that team would/would not have won a championship, but nothing done since then except for hiring AJ made any sense.

Dude, if you want to begrudge Cuban for breaking up the "core" because he didn't resign Nash and waived Fin, then do so... Butdon't whine about "destroying the best team they have ever had" when talking about losing Nick Van Exel and Raef f*cking La Frentz... Nick may have had another good year in him... I personally doubt it. But the fact is we needed a 3 almost as much as we needed a 5, even if it didn't work out as planned, you can hardly question the logic... A 27 year old all-star calibur forward with inside-oustide game and rebounding skills for an aging backup point? And Raef? Please...

Thespiralgoeson
11-05-2005, 03:55 PM
Originally posted by: dude1394
Damp>Raef...puh-leeze.


You bet your sweet ass Damp is better than Raef!!! For the love of god, I can't believe we're even having this discussion... I liked Raef, but honestly, he was maybe the worst defensive 5 in the league.

Now...

Nash/Devin/DA
Fin/Quis
Howard/Bell
Dirk/KVH
Damp/Diop

Now THERE'S a lineup that I would pick to win it all... unfortunately it just wasn't meant to be...

chumdawg
11-05-2005, 04:37 PM
Spiral, I don't know whether it would have changed things if Webber hadn't been hurt. But I don't think it diminishes the Mavs' victory in that series, any more than I think it diminishes the Spurs' victory over the Mavs. I mentioned the part about Dirk being out just to show that the '03 Mavs weren't a one-deep team. And neither were the Kings. Both were very deep, very well constructed teams.

But hey, I hope you didn't miss the part where I said the Kings were probably the best team in the league that year. I wasn't trying to take anything away from that team. The Mavericks were probably third-best that year. But that's still really damn good.

I also don't get the idea that if the Mavs hadn't broken that team up it would look exactly the same these days. I seriously doubt that would the case. Though it's true that the roster had stabilized for a while at that time, the Mavs clearly were interested in improving it. I don't fault them for that, certainly. I fault them for the bumfucked way they went about doing it.

MavKikiNYC
11-05-2005, 05:16 PM
But the fact is we needed a 3 almost as much as we needed a 5, even if it didn't work out as planned, you can hardly question the logic... A 27 year old all-star calibur forward with inside-oustide game and rebounding skills for an aging backup point?

Interesting you allude to Jamison--watched him last night in the NYKs' home opener, and for a minute found myself thinking about how he should have been a much better complement to Dirk than he turned out to be. Offensively, he would have been the inside-oriented 3 that would have allowed Dirk to be the outside-oriented 4 that some people like to see. (Nelson insisting on having Walker on the court sure mucked that up.) Had me thinking (for a second) about whether Jamison for Stack/Harris had worked out to a net gain or not.

But watching Jamison not play defense reminded me that a Dirk/Jamison pairing would have been a hopelessly bad defensive pairing. Whatever J-Ho's defensive shortcomings may be, they pale in comparison to Jamison's, and I still believe the Mavericks' best chance to compete for a championship is to become a strong enough defensive team to be able to match up with San Antonio and Houston.

As for historical revisionism, I agree that it's kind of silly and usually transparent to try to revise what actually happened. But it's sillier and even more transparent to try to take a past hypothetical and make it into fact.

Rather that talk about whether the 02-03 would've been a contender, why not look at how long to go with Terry as the PG? Or when to start giving Terry's minutes to Harris? Or when to move Terry to a bench role, package Harris and find a real playmaking, DEFENDING point guard? Or whether Daniels is anywhere near making Stackhouse expendable? What PG would be available that would take the Mavericks furthest in the direction they appear to be headed?

FilthyFinMavs
11-05-2005, 05:25 PM
The Kings without Webber in '03 were a tougher opponent than they were with Webber. Without Webber they can play an even more fast paced game and the fact we went 7 games backed that up. You can't compare the Kings loss of Webber to the Mavs loss of Dirk that year. Its fact that the Mavs are a better team with Dirk than without him. Especially when the opponent is the Spurs.

dude1394
11-05-2005, 06:07 PM
Originally posted by: Thespiralgoeson

Originally posted by: dude1394
Damp>Raef...puh-leeze.


You bet your sweet ass Damp is better than Raef!!! For the love of god, I can't believe we're even having this discussion... I liked Raef, but honestly, he was maybe the worst defensive 5 in the league.

Now...

Nash/Devin/DA
Fin/Quis
Howard/Bell
Dirk/KVH
Damp/Diop

Now THERE'S a lineup that I would pick to win it all... unfortunately it just wasn't meant to be...


And our "defensive" 5 can't get on the damn court. He can't hit a 12 footer. We WILL see pretty soon how limiting that is. If he could hit a ft shot like David Robinson or even Nesterovich then the offense would be completely different with dirk in the post.

I've NEVER bought into the fact that the 5 "only has to block shots". If's bs man. If he can't score then it's 5 on 4. Even now with damp, the only way he scores is if he's thrown it in the block but he doesn't pass out worth a damn, so what's the point. Now dirk is in the block and where is damp???? Trying to hide on the weakside, he's not even a threat.

chumdawg
11-05-2005, 07:35 PM
Rather that talk about whether the 02-03 would've been a contender, why not look at how long to go with Terry as the PG? Or when to start giving Terry's minutes to Harris? Or when to move Terry to a bench role, package Harris and find a real playmaking, DEFENDING point guard? Or whether Daniels is anywhere near making Stackhouse expendable? What PG would be available that would take the Mavericks furthest in the direction they appear to be headed? Good questions, Keke. I hadn't even started thinking about trades, because it seemed clear that the Mavs were committed to start the season with this bunch. But they certainly do have some ammo to make a deadline deal. And I also hadn't thought about considering a "DEFENSIVE" point guard, but you're right. That just might be the final piece to Avery's system.

Then Terry can do his Bobby Jackson/Vinnie Johnson impersonation off the bench and also be a reliable backup one when need be. That does make a lot of sense. But as you say, who's it gonna be?

Arne
11-06-2005, 11:16 AM
Originally posted by: FilthyFinMavs
The Kings without Webber in '03 were a tougher opponent than they were with Webber. Without Webber they can play an even more fast paced game and the fact we went 7 games backed that up. You can't compare the Kings loss of Webber to the Mavs loss of Dirk that year. Its fact that the Mavs are a better team with Dirk than without him. Especially when the opponent is the Spurs.

That's plein out false. The year afterwards when we had Walker and Jamison it would have been true but that year they surely missed Webber. But saying that they were better without a 23 PPG on 46%-FG shooting, 10.5 rebounds grabbing, 5.4 Assists dishing, 1.58 Steals getting Power Forward is just talking out of your ass.

FilthyFinMavs
11-06-2005, 12:19 PM
Originally posted by: Arne

Originally posted by: FilthyFinMavs
The Kings without Webber in '03 were a tougher opponent than they were with Webber. Without Webber they can play an even more fast paced game and the fact we went 7 games backed that up. You can't compare the Kings loss of Webber to the Mavs loss of Dirk that year. Its fact that the Mavs are a better team with Dirk than without him. Especially when the opponent is the Spurs.

That's plein out false. The year afterwards when we had Walker and Jamison it would have been true but that year they surely missed Webber. But saying that they were better without a 23 PPG on 46%-FG shooting, 10.5 rebounds grabbing, 5.4 Assists dishing, 1.58 Steals getting Power Forward is just talking out of your ass.


No its not talking out of my ass. The Kings were already a run and gun team with Webber but he slowed things down a bit. He was great if the Kings were willing to play a half court game but that's not what the Kings did with him. You're assuming that when Webber went out that no one would step their games up and the complete opposite has occurred. Peja and Bibby looked like co-MVP's when Webber would be injured.

Arne
11-06-2005, 01:29 PM
23/10.5/5.4/1.5

They surely missed the rebounding and his assists, there's no way you can talk about him as if he was a player who wouldn't be missed by his team...

And remember, there was no Brad Miller in Sacramento that year, they surely missed another big man to play alongside Divac.