The Dallas Mavericks have gone from hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy to getting blown out two games in a row on their home floor to start the season.
It’s ugly. Younger teams ran the Mavs into the ground and Dallas’ transition defense was nonexistant. It should get better, but it’s ugly now and next up is the Oklahoma City Thunder. Yikes.
Tyson Chandler — the anchor of the Mavericks championship defense who left for New York because they only offered him a one-year contract to stay — is not surprised at the slow start. He told the New York Post he saw it coming when he and other veteran free agents only got one-year deals.
“Honestly, I kind of saw it coming because when you put a team in a situation where you say, ‘You’re the defending champions, but we’re not necessarily trying to repeat,’ and when I say that, I’m not saying that they don’t have the pieces there, I obviously think very highly of those guys, but I say that because they offered everybody one-year deals,” he said.
“So they knew nobody was going to necessarily accept that. … And when you have veteran guys in the locker room, the type of guys they got, in this time of their career, it’s tough to face that.”
We knew it would be different, but the chemistry is going to take time in Dallas. They won a ring with a core built around Dirk Nowitzki that had been together for years and knew how to make the whole more than the sum of their parts. They moved the ball, their defensive rotations were crisp because guys knew where the others would be and trusted them after years of repetition (Chandler just fit neatly into that puzzle). This year the players are different and that trust has to be rebuilt. It will get there but it takes time.
Mark Cuban has made his gamble — he has chosen cap space and a run at free agents next summer over going for the repeat title. If he lands Dwight Howard and/or Deron Williams and others, he’s brilliant. If not, well, it may be a tough few years for Mavericks fans. And that probably wouldn’t shock Chandler, either.
The Cavaliers think they were close to trading for Paul George, a text message away from completing a three-team trade with the Pacers and Nuggets that would have sent Kevin Love to Denver.
But Cleveland could’ve ensured itself George, whom Indiana ultimately dealt to the Thunder. All the Cavs had to do was send Kyrie Irving to the Pacers.
Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe of ESPN on The Lowe Post podcast:
- Windhorst: “I know that around the draft and in the Paul George talks, the Cavs were not willing to make Kyrie Irving available for Paul George.”
- Lowe: “We can say on this podcast: The Pacers offered Paul George for Kyrie Irving. That’s a thing that happened, according to people that we’ve talked to.”
- Windhorst: “Multiple times.”
Even if the Cavaliers knew of Irving’s unhappiness – maybe they did, or at least should have – while George was still in Indiana, this would have been a bad trade for them.
Irving is locked up for two more years, and George is on an expiring contract. That simply makes Irving more valuable than George, who – like LeBron James – could have walked in a year. George is ineligible for a reasonable contract extension, and there’s so much buzz about him joining the Lakers.
Now, if the Cavs were more on top of Irving’s trade request when George were still available, maybe they would have more aggressively tried to bridge the gap. Perhaps, Indiana could have sent another player or draft pick.
But Cleveland shouldn’t be kicking itself over not dealing Irving for George straight up.
LeBron James reportedly wants to fight Kyrie Irving over the guard’s trade request.
But sometimes, people continue to work with those whom they dislike. LeBron partnered with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert again and again, after all.
Might LeBron realize keeping Irving is Cleveland’s best chance to win another title? Could LeBron put personal feelings aside in that pursuit?
Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:
Irving has asked for a trade and James is eager to see him off.
This might explain why the Cavs appear so gung-ho about moving Irving. LeBron usually gets what he wants in Cleveland, especially in a contract year.
It’s not too late for LeBron and Irving to reconcile until a trade is completed, but with LeBron welcoming Derrick Rose, they just move further from that possibility.
Damian Lillard was making the rounds on a media tour Monday, and at virtually each and every stop he was asked about Kyrie Irving and Carmelo Anthony. We told you about Lillard’s recruiting pitch to Anthony.
One of his stops was with one of my favorite radio shows, Bill Reiter’s Reiter Than You on CBS Radio. Lillard talked about what players owe teammates when they try to push their way out of town.
“You owe your teammates first because those are the guys that you spend the most time around that you have relationships with, more so than anybody else,” Lillard said. “And also the fans because they are part of your team. They’re the people that come and cheer for you and support you as much as anybody. So I think they’re the two groups of people that you owe the truth. They deserve to know the truth in where you stand and what your plans are.”
Hard to argue with that.
Of course, honesty can lead to some bad blood. If Kyrie Irving went to his teammates and the fans in Cleveland and said, “Look, LeBron James is leaving in a year, and I don’t want to be the guy holding the bag, so I’m forcing my way out while I can” how would that go over? It’s the truth — or maybe the largest part of the truth, there is never just one thing — but it would rub a lot of people the wrong way. And Irving would get roasted in the media (more than he is already).
It sounds good to be honest, and a lot of guys try, but they have talked themselves into that narrative before they sell it everywhere else. Everything is spin, to a degree.
By now we have all seen Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson brick that dunk attempt in China, right?
Here is the link to the video if you haven’t seen it.
Well, teammate Stephen Curry was also in China this week and decided to do a little mocking of Thompson’s missed dunk for the crowd.
It was all in good fun, and of course we all know about the Warriors team culture. Glad that Curry and Thompson can jab at each other like this.