Mavs Finally Make A Move—Get Pure Point Guard

5 07 2013

They didn’t get Dwight. But the franchise got another foreign point guard with the first name Jose that is a fierce playmaker.

Calderon-MavsAfter attempting to bring him to town via trade last season, the Dallas Mavericks will sign Jose Calderon to a four year, $29 million contract, accoring to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Once free agents can officially be signed on July 10, there will be a clearer picture as to the structure of his contract. (Some are questioning the duration of this contract for a soon-to-be 32 year old; however, due to the new CBA’s stretch provision, it’s not as bad as it sounds.)

Other than Chris Paul, who decided to re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers, Calderon was the purest point guard available from the free agent market this offseason. The Spaniard has always been a great distributor and shooter while also being very efficient with the ball.

After being traded to the Detroit Pistons last season, Calderon put up fantastic numbers for a point guard—11.6 ppg, 6.6 apg, 52.7 FG%, 52.0 3P% and 89.3 FT%. And including his time with the Toronto Raptors, he led the League in 3-point field goal percentage (46.1%).

His most interest statistic, though, has to be his consistently high assist-to-turnover ratio. He ranked second in the NBA in 2010-11 (4.09), first in 2011-12 (4.50) and second in 2012-13 (4.11). Superstar CP3 has been the only player in the League with a better ratio the past three seasons. He may not be a flashy, high-rising, do-it-all guard that will light up the highlight reel…but he is certainly a great fit for a Mavericks’ team that had a tendency last year to allow turnovers to ruin games and turn many into blowouts. Dallas is getting a smart player that will work with Rick Carlisle to quickly learn his coaching methods and style of play.

Furthermore, this will make life much easier on Dirk Nowitzki as he now has a ball handler that won’t take long to understand who should be putting up the most shots (something last year’s squad just couldn’t figure out…yes, I’m looking at you Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo). Even though he won’t impress you with his athleticism, the guy knows how to be a floor general (see below).

Dirk works best with a guard that will take control of the offense and drive the team forward…there honestly isn’t a better free agency move for Dirk’s offense.
Calderon also gives rookie Shane Larkin a well-rounded mentor to learn the game from. They can both run the pick-and-roll with a center to be named along with the pick-and-pop with the Big German. Calderon is the first true vocal leader for the Mavs since Tyson Chandler was on the team; he will be ready to step in and work to win.

Dallas has had a good track record of bringing in point guards with high basketball IQs to run their offense. Steve Nash. Jason Kidd. He might not be as famous of a name but Calderon can be added to this list. Along with finding much more scoring (Vince Carter is currently the team’s second best offensive option), the next step for the Mavs is to get a rim protector to anchor this defense, especially with the signing of Calderon. Even though he has almost every skill you want from a point guard on the offensive end of the floor, Calderon lacks any sort of presence defensively, similar to the heavily-criticized Nash. Bringing in Andrew Bynum is a probable scenario, instead of Dwight Howard….

While being stuck in the middle of nothing and nowhere these past two seasons, Mark Cuban has played the waiting game for “big fish” to come to town as a No. 1 option for years to come. He has been working to clear enough cap space to sign a major player to a max contract to give these past few years a happy ending. Well, he missed on Deron Williams, he missed on Paul and he has now missed out on Howard. This move should remind you that Cuban is a good basketball businessman and does know how to make good signings—like making Calderon the point guard to build a team around.

I’m not excusing Cuban for swinging and whiffing on Howard after setting up a system in which he destroyed a championship team, decided to be bad (based on Mavs’ standards) and cleared space to bring a celebrity in…we can all agree it has failed. Real, alive people on a roster as assets have now shown to be much more valuable than simply cap space and more cap space…that’s a discussion for another time.

Right now, it’s time to move onward with “Plan B.” The other two Texas’ teams are clearly superior compared to anything going on in the Big D. Time to do some work, Mark.

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Michael Finley Eyes NBA Comeback

23 11 2012

And just when you thought there weren’t enough old ex-Mavs in the NBA, you will need to add another to the list.

Two-time NBA All-Star Michael Finley had decided he is going to attempt a comeback as an NBA player, according to ESPN.com sources.

Since he began playing some pickup games this past summer, the former 21st pick in the 1995 NBA Draft has been working toward getting his body back in NBA shape. (If he has gotten to that point is still to be determined.)

The 39-year-old has been working as a Dallas Mavericks front-office affiliate since last spring and was even a part of the recruitment team that sat down with Deron Williams in an attempt to bring him to Dallas.

Even with this new front-office career path, Finley never stopped training for a possible comeback. After Donnie Nelson made it public that both Finley and former Maverick Eduardo Najera were working for the organization, sources say Finley was later invited to the Mavs training camp before a calf injury got in the way.

Being fully recovered from the ankle surgery that ended his NBA career and his recent calf injury, the only retired piece of Mark Cuban’s original Big 3 is ready to follow the path of Rasheed Wallace and find a home for himself on a winning franchise. With the Memphis Grizzlies’ lack of outside shooting and veteran leadership, Tennessee could possibly be the next home for Finley with a roster spot still available on this 8-2 team.

Oh, these were the days…

It’s difficult not to root for Finley in this situation. The Mavs fifth all-time leading scorer has a reputation of being a hard-worker that only cares about winning. He became a fan favorite in many DFW households during his nine years in Dallas as he established himself as one of the most consistent shooting guards in the league, averaging 19.6 points during that time. The fact that he has battled back from such a nasty ankle injury is proof enough of his resilience and determination to place basketball once again.

He may no longer be a high-flying dunker or your go-to guy when the game is on the line or the laughing stock of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, but if a team out there gives this man a second chance to play the game he loves, they will have themselves a man with an attitude worth having on the court and in the locker room.

Good luck, Fin Dog.

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Loaded Lakers New Look

1 10 2012

Embedded image permalink

I can’t deny it, as an NBA fan that enjoys his fair share of parity, this scares me to death…

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2012 NBA Free Agency: Day 1

2 07 2012

 

This is a list of NBA contract agreements and rumors that I have put together after reading what many reputable journalists (mainly Marc Stein, Chad Ford, Chris Broussard, Adrian Wojnarowski, Marc J Spears or their sources) have reported throughout the first day of free agency. July 11 is the first day new players can actually sign contracts agreed upon for the 2012-2013 season.

 

 

 

 

Deron Williams:  Honestly, there are more “sources” and “people close to the situation” in regard to D-Will than Dwight Howard’s demands from the Magic. Here’s the thing: Deron Williams has not made a decision yet. That’s the information you can trust. Williams has shown he’s his own man, and when he says he will visit with the Dallas Mavericks and Brooklyn Nets on Monday and then make a decision, that’s what he will do. If you’re expecting to find a leak to a decision before a player makes his official statement, you’ll need to look toward another superstar who forced one of his coaches to be fired (Oh Dwight…).

 

Joe Johnson:  This one’s a little tricky. Even though it is clear that the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks are attempting to move Johnson out of Georgia, how they will exactly do this is still up in the air. Even though the six-time All-Star is obviously overpaid as he is finishing up the last year of his 6-year, $119 million contract, he still has put up 18 or more points the last seven seasons and can score in isolation. The Hawks deserve quality pieces (or simply several expiring contracts) in return. The problem? The Nets don’t have attractive players, both on the court and on the paper. Furthermore, Brooklyn is struggling to give up their one somewhat decent piece that the Hawks desire – 23-year-old MarShon Brooks. The most recent story claims the Nets have offered the Hawks Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams, DeShawn Stevenson (via sign-and-trade) and a future first-round pick just for Johnson. That would leave Brooklyn with four players on their roster – Johnson, Brooks, Gerald Wallace, and Ilkan Karaman. As is the case with most deals this off-season, this move will rely heavily on Williams’s decision he will soon be making.

 

Gerald Wallace:  Well, even though General Manager Billy King has to figure out how to put together the contracts of Deron Williams, Dwight Howard and possibly Joe Johnson, there’s one man that he knows he will be paying and knows will be crashing down the lane in the Northeast. The Brooklyn Nets and Wallace have agreed on a 4-years, $40 million deal for the slasher. Even though this signing needed to happen so King would not regret everything he has given up for this almost All-Star (but not), it could hurt his chances of bringing in higher level players if Williams decides to stay with his organization.

 

Omer Asik:  His first two seasons may not impress any “numbers crunchers” with 2.9 points and 4.4 rebounds; however, the restricted free agent played with a high level of energy for every single one of his 13.2 minutes he averaged on the floor. The ever-changing Houston Rockets roster might soon have the Turkish 7-footer on their squad after verbally agreeing to a three-year, $25.1 million contract. This deal is done. If the Chicago Bulls have any common sense (which they do), they will not match this extremely lucrative deal for a offensively handicapped big man.

 

Ray Allen:  He might be on the downhill of his career, but don’t let that fool you: this man with the quick release will still have a major impact on the game. His many suitors prove this. The Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets all have reached out to the all-time 3-point scoring leader to convince him to join their winning squad (or in the Nets’ case, potentially winning squad). Whichever team ends up enticing Allen the most will be getting a player that can fit in perfectly with an already established system. Expect him to be a vital contributor wherever he lands next season.

 

Roy Hibbert:  After a breakout season in becoming an All-Star for the first time in his four-year career, Hibbert established himself as one of the very few centers in the league that can legitimately hold his own offensively and defensively. Now, he will soon bring in a huge paycheck because of this ability. The Portland Trail Blazers offered the former Georgetown Hoya the maximum amount he can receive – four years, $58 million. Even though the unrestricted free agent has value with the dearth of commanding big men, the Indiana Pacers will need to think long and hard if they want to match this grand offer.

 

Eric Gordon:  The New Orleans Hornets just drafted the No. 1 overall pick (Anthony Davis) and No. 10 pick (Austin Rivers), setting themselves up with a solid two-man game; however adding the 23-year-old that was the main counterpart to the Chris Paul deal to this duo would take them to another level. Gordon was only able to play nine games last year because he aggravated a pre-existing knee injury. The previous season, though, he averaged 22.3 points in the shadow of super superstar Blake Griffin. The Hornets can match any offer sheet signed by the unrestricted free agent and the teams looking to make an offer include the Indiana Pacers, Houston Rockets, and Phoenix Suns along with the Dallas Mavericks and Charlotte Bobcats, who are at the bottom of the totem pole. This 4-year pro that has a knack for getting to the free throw line has may not be the focus of many NBA offseason storylines. Don’t let this fool you – this kid can play. He is the top shooting guard in this year’s free agency and will most likely earn every penny of his inevitable max contract.

 

Lavoy Allen:  Last year’s postseason allowed the entire nation to see the impact this one-year pro can have on the game without stuffing the stat sheets. He still hit double-digits in scoring three times and grabbed six or more rebounds four times against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. His energy is invaluable. Well, he has decided to stay with the Philadelphia 76ers on a two-year, $6 million contract extension even though the Sixers wanted a four-year commitment. Head coach Doug Collins has constantly praised Allen’s relentless attitude on the court and will be happy to have him back on his squad.

 

Josh Howard:  The man that contributed to the fallout of the Devin Harris/Avery Johnson era in Dallas might be coming back for some redemption. Along with grabbing the attention of the Dallas Mavericks, the 9-year pro might see offers from the Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics. Howard had flashes where the one-time All-Star looked to be inching closer to his former self but it never really became a consistent level of play. If he could produce anywhere close to the 15-20 points he gave the Mavs for four straight seasons, he could be a financially sound pick-up for any type of team. That possibility, though, looks to be very slim.

 

Steve Nash:  Staying in Phoenix doesn’t seem likely for the 16-year pro. Even though he has a lot of miles on his career, he is coming off an efficient season in which he shot 53.2 percent from the field – the best percentage of any point guard that year by far – while still averaging a double-double (12.5 points, 10.7 assists). Even though the Toronto Raptors, New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, and Dallas Mavericks have all shown interest, the Raptors are the only one with a concrete offer. They put a three-year, $36 million contract on the table. However, the Knicks are also planning to offer a sign-and-trade that includes Landry Fields in order to bring the passing wizard to Madison Square Garden. Nash knows the Mavs’ main concern revolves solely around Deron Williams and will wait to see how that situation pans out before making a decision. Since Magic Johnson retired, no player has made his teammates better like Nash has throughout his career. Yes, he might be 38, but he can still have this paramount impact.

 

Jose Calderon:  If the Los Angeles Lakers find a way to hold onto Pau Gasol, which might be easier than it seems since they have attempted and failed to trade him away more than the Suns attempted to get rid A’mare Stoudemire, Jose Calderon could be coming to Hollywood land if the Toronto Raptors amnesty his contract to create salary-cap space for Nash. Being in Toronto for his entire seven-year career, Calderon has not received much national attention. Yet, he has put together a solid career so far by averaging at least 10 points and eight assists three of the past five seasons. Also, you can always count on a man that has shot 87.5 percent from the line for his career. If he does in fact go to L.A., as long as expectations don’t rise too high, he will be effective at the point and much more dependable than Ramon Sessions.

 

Brandon Roy:  Retired one day, unrestricted free agent the next. After calling it quits at the end of the 2010-2011 season due to serious knee problems, Roy has decided to give the NBA another shot after receiving the same procedure as Kobe, who has continually discussed how amazing this operation has made his knees feel. Roy has reported that he will only be joining the Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves or Golden State Warriors. With the low financial cost that will go right along with Roy, the risk to sign him is extremely low. If this knee surgery turns out to have turned a corner for Roy, one contending team will have a back-up point guard able to hold his own with any other starting guards. If he fails to completely come back and can’t find his touch, his new team can let him go once his short contract ends.

 

Marcus Camby:  He’s 38 and still attracting NBA teams his way. Why? The ever-so-talked-about “intangibles” comes in a Camby man package everywhere he goes. Why else would six teams be interested in a veteran that averaged career lows in points (3.8)? The unrestricted free agent has made a list consisting of the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets. Since the Knicks and Rockets are included in this group, it is difficult to figure out what Camby is looking for in a team. No matter his factors, he will be an excellent veteran presence on and off the court.

 

Kyle Lowry:  The Houston Rockets don’t envision this point guard being a part of the new future that will soon begin for this franchise and Lowry knows it. He has asked the Rockets to remove him from the team as long as unrestricted free agent Goran Dragic remains on the team – which they most likely will. They have already begun talking with the Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic as possible takers. However, don’t be surprised if the Rockets suddenly change their tune if Dragic ends up going elsewhere. Lowry averaged 14.3 points, 6.6 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.6 steals during last season, and as these numbers show, he brought superior diversity to his Houston team. Even though he only stands six feet off the ground, he makes up for it with his pure strength and quickness – a deadly combination. He will take his game to another level next season.

 

Jamal Crawford:  Even though he may be shooter-happy, this man knows how to put the ball in the basket. A lot. The Los Angeles ClippersBoston CelticsMinnesota TimberwolvesPhoenix SunsPhiladelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers quickly became interested in the one-dimensional swingman right when free agency began. The Clippers look to be closest to finalizing a contract. Even though he has a tendency to play even better in crunch time, it’s always risky bringing in Crawford since his style of basketball (little passing, little rebounding, little defense, too much shooting) will only fit in with certain coaches and certain teams.

 

Andre Miller:  After becoming a pure sixth man for the first time in his career last season, Miller has decided to keep this role. He has agreed to re-sign with the Denver Nuggets and will most likely continue to mentor budding point guard Ty Lawson. Miller might not the most athletic, most savvy, most fast-paced guard you can find out there, but this veteran certainly brings an attitude and grit every winning team needs that he has possessed his for 13 years in the NBA.

 

Jason Terry:  It seems as though the JET has to be playing in the Big D or else things just don’t seem right; however, as is the case with every Mav not named Dirk Nowitzki, there is no guarantee Dallas will offer him a contract worth agreeing upon. Along with the Dallas Mavericks, he has already sparked the interest of the Boston Celtics (he might be Ray Allen’s replacement), Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Clippers, and Phoenix Suns. Yes, he might have had his worst season in eight years, but that is still an average of 15.1 points and plenty of clutch, 4th quarter buckets. Don’t sleep on this unrestricted free agent because he will still take the crucial shot on any stage in any city.

 

 

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Fight to the Finish

24 04 2012

These two teams may not be serious contenders for the 2012 NBA Championship, but a playoff bid could make the difference for each team’s future.

The Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz will face off Tuesday at 9:30 on TNT. This matchup has huge implications on the line for the final playoff spot in the West.

If the Jazz (34-30) beat the Suns (33-31), they are in. It’s that simple.

If the Suns beat the Jazz, they will need to also beat the West-leading San Antonio Spurs or need the Jazz to lose to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Why does this eighth seed matter when they’ll inevitably lose to the Spurs in the first round?

Both of these teams need the playoffs this year. Falling just short could send each team into a big hole.

The Jazz came out of the gate with a quick 9-4 start as Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap dominated the paint against all their opponents. Analysts started to jump on this team’s bandwagon after they beat the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers in consecutive games.

Even though Jefferson and Millsap continued to play great big-man basketball, their record slumped all the way to 17-19. Devin Harris stood out as one of the main problems, having one of his most inefficient seasons as the starting point guard.

Most people decided to scratch this team off up to this point, seeing them as a young squad like the Blazers that couldn’t remain successful for an entire season.

However, with a late season surge including their current three-game winning streak, these Jazz have jumped right back into playoff race.

This team has a budding coach in Tyrone Corbin and a young squad that has an overabundance of youth and potential. Moving forward, they could grow into a team that competes in the Western Conference playoffs.

If they want that to happen in the future, though, it starts right here and right now.

Take the Oklahoma City Thunder, for example. Two seasons ago, they squeezed into the playoffs as the eighth seed and got taken down by the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers. Even though they didn’t expect to defeat the reigning champs, this gave them the invaluable experience they needed against a top-tier opponent that helped them make the Western Conference Finals the next year.

A playoff spot for the Jazz could be an important step in the right direction for this growing group.

 

For the majority of this season, the Suns never seemed to be in serious contention to make the playoffs this year. In fact, they went the first four months of the season without making it above .500.

However, with a win against the Sacramento Kings on April 3, they held a record of 27-26 and became a topic of discussion once again.

Marcin Gortat has emerged as a dominant center, averaging 15.7 points and 10 rebounds on the season. Even though Nash increases the points statistics of every player that wears the same jersey, Gortat has shown potential to be a staple center in a league with a dearth of true big men.

The Suns need this even more than the Jazz. Of the seven Suns players that will be testing the free agent market this summer, only one matters.

Steve Nash.

The two-time MVP has become the face of this franchise and has remained committed to the town up to this point. Nash has the Suns management in his lap and has even been given the opportunity to be traded if he so desired. However, Nash plays his role as a basketball player and nothing else. (Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony don’t understand what I’m talking about.)

Without the playoffs this year, that gives Nash one more reason to go elsewhere in an attempt to obtain that ring he has never gotten. That gives Nash one more reason to go to South Beach and finally give the Big Three the point guard that could make that team unstoppable. With the playoffs, Nash might find enough loyalty inside to push through with the city that has fallen in love with him.

The mini-playoff match starts soon. These two teams will give every ounce of effort in their body into this match and leave it all on the line on that hardwood court.

Get ready.

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