Shawn Marion says he has a couple years left, wants to end career in Dallas

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I never fully trust when a player at his exit interview says, “I want to stay with Team X” because everything changes when we’re a few months removed from the season, another team expresses their love them backs it up with a big fat check.

But I tend to believe it when Shawn Marion is talking about staying in Dallas.

He is a free agent this summer and everyone knows he’s not going to make the $9.7 million he made last season, but at that reduced rate might he be interested in Miami or chasing another ring as a role player?

Maybe. But he’d rather stay in Dallas. Here is what Marion said at his exit interview, as transcribed by Bryan Gutierrez MavsOutsider.com, when asked what it would take to bring him back to Dallas next season.

“Not too much. This is a great city, the fans here are amazing, even media guys are awesome. It’s a great environment here. Mark and Donnie have built an amazing franchise here. It’s like a family here. I’m going to weigh my options out and see what it’s going to take for me to get another championship ring. I would love to add to the ring I have. I’m going to retire here, regardless. I’m going to be a Dallas local here in the coming years. I’m going to make this my home.”

He was vague when asked about Miami but was clear a ring mattered a lot more than money (something generally more true of veterans):

“Oh yeah, by far. It’s not about money right now. I’ve made a lot of money in my career. I’ve been truly been blessed. I’m not taking any of this for granted. I’ve just got to weigh my options. Of course, we’re close here, not too far. We’ve got a lot of guys here that are free agents again. It’s going to be interesting. We’re going to see what’s out there and what’s available. I’ve just got to wait it out.”

“I’m looking at maybe two, a couple of more (years in the NBA). I think I’m going to have to call it after that. I think it’ll be time. It’s not all about basketball. I have a son now. A lot of it is predicated on him.”

Dallas will bring back Dirk Nowitzki and much of this same roster — a good team that won 49 games and pushed the Spurs to seven games. But the Mavs are a couple steps away from contender status in the West and they are not likely to get what they need this summer, with this free agent class.

Which means Marion might need to give serious thought if a Miami or Oklahoma City or Clippers or someone else calls with an offer.

But I’d bet on him slipping on a Mavs jersey next year. They want him back, and it is really where he wants to be.

Tyronn Lue says he has secret plan to fix Cavaliers’ defense for playoffs

AP Photo/Phil Long
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Only one team that ranked outside the top 12 in points allowed per possession during the regular season won an NBA title. The 2000-01 Lakers, who were 21st in defensive rating, are the lone outlier.

The Cavaliers rank 22nd in defensive rating this season and have been even worse lately.

But Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue says he has a plan. He just won’t reveal it yet.

Lue, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“We’ve got to hold back. We can’t show our hand early because … these are some good teams and we don’t want them to be able to come into a series and be able to adjust to what we do. We just have to be able to play our normal defense until we get there and then we will see what happens.”

Also:

“I think the rebounding hurt us. Rebounding. But it will be different once some other things happen. … Their two-guards, their threes, they still crashed the boards. But we have something to fix that. Just not right now.”

What precisely those plans are, Lue wouldn’t tell us. And here’s the other part — he’s not exactly sure they’ll work.

“I’m not confident, but we’ve got to” get the defense fixed, Lue said. “We have to.”

The Cavs ranked just 10th in defensive rating last season, among the worst marks for an eventual champion. But they cranked up their defense in the playoffs, especially late. Cleveland held the Raptors 4.8 points per 100 possessions below their regular-season scoring rate and the Warriors 7.8 below theirs.

Lue also unleashed a 3-point-heavy attack in the playoffs last year after sitting on the strategy through the regular season.

So, I have some faith Lue will implement a better defensive gameplan when it counts. It also helps to have LeBron James, who can still play elite defense when not in the slog of a long regular season.

But the Cavaliers’ defensive deficiencies right now are glaring. This roster appears to lack defensive potential, and their many miscues keep them well below whatever that potential is.

The challenge in elevating this defense to championship-caliber will be immense, maybe even unprecedented.

Mavericks’ Salah Mejri dunks while getting shoved in the gut (video)

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The Mavericks built a 13-point lead over the Thunder with 3:30left thanks to plays like this Salah Mejri dunk on Nick Collison.

Unfortunately for Dallas, Russell Westbrook happened.

Willy Hernangomez dunks on Andre Drummond, Pistons’ playoff chances (video)

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Andre Drummond and the Pistons couldn’t slow down anything.

Not Willy Hernangomez. Not the Knicks. Not Detroit’s plummeting playoff hopes.

After a 109-95 loss to the Knicks last night, the Pistons — who’ve lost four straight and seven of eight — are 1.5 games and two teams out of playoff position.

Terrence Ross 360 dunks his way back into Raptors fans’ hearts (video)

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In his first appearance in Toronto since the Raptors traded him to the Magic, Terrence Ross did what he has done best throughout his career: Delight Toronto fans with a dunk.

And of course the fans appreciated it, because their Raptors cruised to a 131-112 win.