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Old 08-29-2002, 05:07 PM   #1
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The Mavericks Report
by "Maven" Dawn Santoianni
Aug 25, 2002, 1:22pm
The calendar says late August, the heat is sweltering in Dallas, it is another full two months before the start of the NBA season and the summer doldrums are here. But the Mavericks continue to grab headlines, despite another week waiting on Rashard Lewis to end his game of chicken with the Sonics. There’s a Dream to Dallas offer, the continuation of the bizarre Wang Zhizhi saga, an old rumor that was regurgitated as breaking news, rumors of Kemp sightings, and the upcoming World Championships featuring 3 Dallas players. Not bad for a summer with so little happening in the free agent market.

The Mavericks may be seeing through Rashard’s “show me the respect” façade, and have started talks with Popeye Jones. Long-time Dallas fans fondly remember Popeye as one of the hardest working players in basketball, and for what he lacks in hops and athleticism, he makes up for in attitude and hustle. And while Popeye would be a nice addition, he is not a player that is going to transform the Mavericks into title contenders. The question is would Alonzo Mourning?

Even though the Mavericks expressed interest over a month ago in acquiring Zo from the Heat, apparently a slow news day prompted the big sports media mogul to report the stale trade talks. Of course, little investigation or thought went into the reporting, otherwise you would have heard with Zo making $20.6 million this coming year, the only way the Mavericks could make a trade work under cap rules is to package Van Exel with two other players. Tariq Abdul-Wahad, Shawn Bradley and Van Exel would work cap-wise, but while the Heat need a point guard, they are trying to cut large contracts, not carry someone else’s heavy baggage. And even if the Mavericks could lure the Heat into parting with their franchise player with an offer of LaFrentz and Van Exel plus luggage, since LaFrentz is a base year compensation player, the only way a trade works is if they included another long contract. Forget trying to make it work with Wang Zhizhi or Eduardo Najera either. Both would also be base year compensation (BYC) players in any sign and trade, causing Dallas to give up more than they are getting back. In fact, the only way it works both cap-wise and with an offer Miami would accept is to package Michael Finley and Nick Van Exel. Yeah, right. And so, you get to the meat of it: Mark Cuban inquired whether Zo could be had for Van Exel, Abdul-Wahad and Bradley, Miami says “get real”, Miami says how about Finley and Van Exel, Mark says “get real.” End of story, end of fantasy. Of course, there’s always the possibility the Mavericks could try and get a third team involved, but other than the Big 4 and Van Exel, who do the Mavs have of interest? Wang and Najera. Darn, that BYC rule again.

There is one trade with Miami that works, though. Brian Grant for Nick Van Exel straight up. Salaries are a match, the Heat get a point guard, the Mavs get a rebounding big man. Then again, Grant is coming off a bad year and posted numbers considerably lower than Kurt Thomas. The Mavs and Knicks never did pull the trigger on that deal (with New York likely ready to do it) so there is no reason to think the Mavericks are parting with Van Exel except for a big name.

The Wang Zhizhi situation continues to get weirder. After flying into Oakland to meet up with his Chinese teammates and coaches at the behest of a publicized threat by the Chinese government, Wang heads back to Los Angeles on his own. What happened during those meetings between Wang and the team are unclear, although a CBA official was present. I can only think that since Wang did not stay with the team, his involvement has not yet been secured. With the World Championships only days away, the chances of Wang’s participation are looking dimmer and dimmer. Unless Wang gets back into the good graces of his government, it is unlikely he remains a Maverick. The kid has tremendous potential, but it probably won’t be realized in Dallas. Toronto reportedly offered up the Dream and Mamadou N'Djaye to Dallas for Wang Zhizhi and filler. While some might argue that rather than letting Wang walk, Dallas should get something in return via sign-and-trade, the reality is the Mavericks don’t need to give away a roster spot to a player who will probably remain on the IR the entire season. It also seems that the Mavericks management is intent on not involving themselves in Wang’s business unless the issues with his government are resolved.

If you’re like me, you’re wondering what Shawn Kemp could possibly offer the Mavericks. He may be available, but you don’t dance with the ugly girl just because she’s standing there. Kemp might have been a dominating player once, but that was years ago, before substance abuse and weight gain turned him into a joke. I don’t care if he’s been working out. There are too many Dairy Queens in the Dallas area. Memo to Mark: JUST SAY NO.

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Old 08-30-2002, 10:56 PM   #2
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Here is something cool the mavs don't need to do anything:

BY KELLY DWYERBootlegSports.comAug. 30, 2002 2:11 p.m.

No moves from the Mavs(Fort-Worth Star-Telegram)Remember this team? For a while there, I think it was last February, this team was the hottest thing around. The Dallas Mavericks kind of flamed-out after that, in their own inimitable way, but they've never followed a flame-out with this before. Silence. Tasty silence. See, that made no sense — but, see, they've done this before. They were hot in March of 2000, October of 2000, February of 2001, and for a few stretches last season. They heat up, they flame out, they make big moves. Screwing the Cartel out of the Asian Oil Wells, mortgaging Southfork, it's all there. Big D. Here it roar. You've also heard a lot about the Kings, but hear this: Yhese guys could be your best chance at dethroning the champs, and they're sitting pat with what they got. Since Mark Cuban bought the team in January of 2000, handing Don Nelson job security and a large checkbook in the process, it's been non-stop moves for this team. Big moves, potential four-team deals that get shot down, Cuban at the dais talking up the Maverick flavors of the month (with glossy SLAM layouts to spare) and trading them by the end of the week. More from BootlegSports.com
Nice moves, big money, no conscience. Very entertaining. They kept it up until this summer. Nothing in the Draft, no sign-and-trade deals for veteran help and not much by the way of wars and words and everything that comes in between. Raef LaFrentz gets a contract extension, Greg Buckner goes elsewhere, I listen to Robert Palmer all night and Shaq still scares you. You could take this as a sign, and reach some absurd conclusion about how the Mavs are spent (not literally, we think), how they've matured to a point where they don't need another rash transaction to make everything all right. No new saviours to put pressure on, no new names to have to learn, and no more hungry mouths to feed. If that's the case, then this has been a pretty solid summer. The first ten is set, a stark contrast from this time last year, when the Mavs were close to having 19 players under contract heading into training camp. Eduardo Najera has yet to sign, Wang Zhi-Zhi is gone, and Mladen Sekularac won't be over any time soon. But they need Najera, they'll get him back, and Mladen is a tree-mendous draft pick. Mike Finley was an iron man for years, leading the league in minutes played and games since his Christmas arrival in Dallas back in 1996, but he dropped a bit last season, missing 13 games. Without a solid backup, the Mavs may be hurting, unless Nellie thinks Dirk Nowitzki can play shooting guard for spells. Tariq Abdul-Wahad made an initial splash after coming over from Denver, and Dallas wants Nick Van Exel and Steve Nash in the same backcourt for long stretches, but another shooter wouldn't help. This is why the Mavs should give Dell Curry a look, if for nothing more than having someone to pop a quarter-ending three-pointer or nail technical free throws. Johnny Newman was brilliant last season, but J-New's forte has always been the devilish drive, so why not spread the floor even further with a player like Dell? Up front, Dirk plays every position well, on offense at least, so they're set for those 42 minutes. Najera has a little Rodman in him, which is always good; he may be the team's best defender while Finley's hamstring smarts (not saying he's still smarting, but those USA minutes add up). Evan Eschmeyer is terrible, but he can sop up minutes when Nellie feels like going with an orthodox lineup (stop chortling) after Raef gets his requisite second first-quarter foul. Last May, Adrian Griffin went from "his career may be over" to Dallas' eighth man within a fortnight — we have no clue how his dodgy back is holding up, but he could mean quite a bit to this team in 15 minutes off the bench. The guy can guard several positions, locking people up with those long arms, and though he's only been in the league a year longer than Eduardo, Najera can learn quite a bit from Griffin's game. I just like saying "fortnight." The Mavs got Raef LaFrentz and Nick Van Exel in less than a fortnight, adding what might be the two final pieces in the championship puzzle last February. These are the cats that are going to have to make the difference. These are the two factors, full of potential and perimeter pop, that can take down the Lakers; in five games. Van Exel and LaFrentz's pick-and-pop game, spotting up and hitting the Lakers at the two positions they don't defend well (shooting point guard and shooting big center), could have the Mavericks hoisting a Lawrence O'Brien next June. Those two made life for the Lakers rough in Denver too many times to be ignored, this is truly a wrinkle that no other team can throw the El Lay's way. You aren't going to beat these Lakers by shutting their offense down — it's too fluid and they have a pretty good center — but you can out-score them. Detroit, New York and Utah had it all wrong against Phil Jackson. You have to force his hand on defense. Dallas is hiding a full house, especially if LaFrentz gets his act together. NVE, you can't be worried about. He's only dangerous when he has to lead a team, no matter if the team is good or bad; and with Nash in town, Nick's fine. If Raef develops as a player and a person, turning into an inside/outside threat while finding enough defensive patience to stay on the floor, this league doesn't have a chance. Kids, Kurt Thomas and his six fouls, they ain't helping anything. Oak or Popeye or, who's left? Otis Thorpe? A.C. Green? These things don't help. The Mavs have all they need. Now that expensive coaching staff needs to do its job and extract what we know is already in Raef, Dirk, and Van Exel. If that happens, and the Lakers hit the Mavs before they get to the Kings next spring, L.A. is going to fall on some hard times. THE DISTILLERY HEDO BIG ... Hey, who doesn't like Eric Mussleman at this point? ... And, hey! Who doesn't like Milos Vujanic at this point? ... Damon, ANGRY! ... I've read this article four times since Sunday and I still have no clue what it's about ... More thoughtful, eh, thoughts on the Worlds. NBA News · MONROE: Divac isn't scared of Team USA · USA tested, but passes in win over Germany · Gasol scores 25 as Spain upsets Yugoslavia · U.S. routs Algeria 110-60 to open World Championships · DIME SMACK: Algeria gets dream-teamed · Marbury to spend 10 days in jail for DUI · Rockets sign Francis to six-year extension · 'Franchise' stays in Houston · Clippers' Odom has cast placed on ankle More stories:· By Kelly Dwyer · About Mavericks · About Kings · About Nuggets · About NBA · About Lakers

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