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Mavericks reportedly refusing to shave until they get back to .500

Dirk-Nowitzki-MavericksThe Dallas Mavericks are currently 21-28 and in danger of missing the playoffs if they cannot turn things around quickly. Injuries have been an issue all year. Dirk Nowitzki missed the first 27 games of the season while recovering from a knee injury, and he is banged up once again as he battles a strained muscle in his leg.

Dallas has been one of the streakiest teams in the league this season, as it seems like they lose four straight every time they string together a few victories.The Mavs desperately need to find some consistency to have any chance at getting back on track, and it sounds like they are hoping a little facial hair will help them do just that.

We have heard of NBA players growing playoff beards, but the get-back-to-.500 beard is a new concept. Defense has been the Mavs’ biggest problem. They rank 28th in the NBA with 103 points allowed per game. Maybe some big, grizzly beards are just what the team needs to start intimidating its opponents. Anything is worth a shot.

Mark Cuban to Dirk Nowitzki: I’m not trading you, you’re going through this s*** with me

The Dallas Mavericks are off to a rough 15-23 start to the season, and at the moment they look like a team that could be destined for the playoff bubble. Two years removed from an NBA championship, Dallas has lost some key players like Jason Kidd and Jason Terry and is dealing with an aging and oft-injured Dirk Nowitzki.

Some feel that the logical thing for Mark Cuban to do would be to start rebuilding, and Dirk would be a valuable trade piece should he decide to go that route. While Cuban acknowledged that there’s close to a “one hundred percent chance” he will make a move before the trade deadline, he said there is no way he’s trading Nowitzki.

“No one’s panicking,” Cuban told the Dallas Morning News. “We’re going to be opportunistic through the trade deadline. We’re not going to trade Dirk. I told Dirk we’re not going to trade Dirk. I told Dirk if I’m going through this [expletive], you’re going through it with me. He actually appreciated it.”

Generally speaking, comments like the ones Cuban made about Dirk would mean nothing. Owners say stuff like that all the time to squash trade rumors and wind up dealing their stars anyway, but I doubt that will be the case in Dallas. Cuban and Nowitzki have always had a genuinely close relationship, and I’d be shocked if Cuban wasn’t open and honest about Dirk’s future with the team. Not to mention, he still thinks his team can contend with him.

“I’m as confident as I can be,” Cuban said. “We didn’t go into this just to be middling. If you look at every team that’s any good now, pick a team. Other than the Spurs, every single one of them had to take a huge step backward.”

With 44 games remaining, there’s no reason to believe the Mavericks can’t turn things around and charge into the postseason. And once the playoffs begin, anything can happen.

Dirk Nowitzki may want to be traded if Mavs aren’t competitive

dirk nowitzkiDirk Nowitzki is 34 years old and nearing the end of his NBA career. He has made 11 straight All-Star Games and finally won the elusive NBA title two seasons ago. But the Dallas Mavericks decided to break up their title team because of changes to the league’s collective bargaining agreement and take a gamble that they would land some big-time free agents the next summer.

The Mavericks most notably lost former Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler after the title. They let J.J. Barea, Caron Butler, and DeShawn Stevenson go, too. Former Sixth Man of the Year Jason Terry left over the summer, as did Jason Kidd. The Mavericks missed out on Dwight Howard and Deron Williams — both of whom they hoped to land — and instead ended up with guys like O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison, Elton Brand, and Chris Kaman.

The Mavs are now 13-21, their plan doesn’t seem to be working, and Dirk is questioning the franchise’s long-term plan and direction.

“It’s going to be tough now,” Nowitzki said after the team’s loss to the Hornets Sunday, per ESPN Dallas. “I always liked to think you don’t want to build your franchise on hope.

“We hoped for Deron last year. We hoped for Dwight. Why would he leave the Lakers? To me, it makes no sense. He’s in a great situation. Why would CP3 leave? (The Los Angeles Clippers are) the best team in the league probably right now. They’re probably the deepest team. So are you going to hope that we get something?

“Maybe Cuban has something up his sleeve. Maybe you have to take a chance on a bad contract to get him in here and make something happen. I mean, I don’t know. That’s something we’ll have to see this summer. We’re going to play out this season. I’m going to get better and better, hopefully from game to game, so I can actually close out some of these games. And then we’ll see what happens.”

The veteran forward even wondered aloud if the team should consider trading him.

“Either you break the whole thing up and trade me or you get a bunch of one-year deals and try to be a player next summer. That’s the decision we made, so now we’ve got to fight through it.

“The only reason I would leave — or would have left — is if we wouldn’t have won the championship and I would have been like a Karl Malone and (Gary) Payton going to join Kobe and Shaq in L.A. like they did at the end,” Nowitzki said. “But now I’ve got a ring and obviously want to finish my career here. But I also want to be competitive.”

Dirk is in the third season of a four-year, $80 million contract with the team that includes a no-trade clause. It sounds like he may be willing to waive the clause if things don’t improve in Dallas.

Photo credit: Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRE

Dirk Nowitzki: Mavericks aren’t as smart on the court without Jason Kidd

Dirk Nowitzki appeared in his first game of the season for the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday against the San Antonio Spurs, but the result was the same one Dallas has seen for much of the year. Nowitzki’s absence through the first 27 games of the season certainly made life more difficult for the 12-16 Mavs, but the 11-time All-Star said it is the absence of Jason Kidd that has really hurt the team.

“Our basketball IQ obviously went down a little bit with J-Kidd leaving,” Nowitzki said according to ESPNDallas.com. “I think that’s pretty obvious. We don’t make the right play on defense. I don’t think that’s selfishness. Maybe we don’t react quick enough or maybe it’s not natural enough to the guys yet, all the calls, the switching of coverages. You’ve got to pay attention; you’ve got to be smart out there. …

“Offensively, our decision-making has been brutal. We’re averaging 20 (turnovers) a night. It’s impossible to win, especially on the road.”

The Mavericks allowed a season-high 129 points to the Spurs on Sunday, meaning they were pretty much incapable of stopping everything and anything San Antonio threw their way. Dirk should certainly help alleviate some of the team’s struggles when he gets back into the swing of things, but losing a veteran point guard like Kidd is never easy. Dallas was hoping Derek Fisher would help fill the void left by the departure of Kidd, but that didn’t work out.

If the Mavericks are going to contend in the Western Conference this year, they’ll need someone to emerge as their new floor general.

Jason Terry is hoping the Mavericks will retire his jersey

Jason Terry is as good a role player as any in the NBA. For eight seasons with the Mavericks, his steady 30-plus minutes per game and clutch three-point shooting helped make Dallas a contender. Without Terry, the Mavs likely would not have won the championship in 2011, nor would they have gone to the NBA Finals in 2006. But is he worthy of having his jersey retired?

“The bow was winning the championship, but the icing on the cake will be putting that jersey up in the rafters,” Terry told the Star-Telegram on Monday. “If it happens, I’ll be grateful.”

Terry was certainly a leader in his eight seasons in Dallas, but having a player’s jersey retired from any team is pretty rare. You’d have to assume Dirk Nowitzki will eventually have his number hanging in the rafters in Dallas, so is it possible the team would retire two numbers from the same era?

“When you start talking about a jersey in the rafters and stuff like that, he took us to the Finals and was the first point guard to do it, and all those consecutive 50-game seasons,” Terry said. “And then finally winning the championship.

“The credentials are there. Now whether or not that happens, only God knows.”

Depending on Mark Cuban’s policy for retiring numbers, I’d say it’s a long shot. Terry’s importance to the team should not be underestimated, but will he be considered a Mavericks legend when people look back on it in 30 years? If not, that honor is probably just a bit out of his reach.

H/T Sports by Brooks Live

Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Mavs reportedly worried Deron Williams will re-sign with Nets

Deron Williams reportedly has finalized his list of teams he’s considering in free agency to the Nets and Mavericks, but Dallas reportedly is worried that Williams is leaning toward re-signing with his current team.

Ken Berger of CBS Sports cites four rival executives and a fifth source in his report that the Mavs are worried that Williams isn’t planning to sign with them, even though they’re hoping they have a 50-50 chance.

The new CBA does them no favors either; the Brooklyn Nets can offer Williams a 5-year $100 million deal, while the best the Mavs can do is 4 years for $74 million.

The Nets have been going all out to try and retain their All-Star point guard, even getting him a billboard for his birthday. There were also two reports in May that said he was leaning toward re-signing.

If that’s the case — and it sure seems like it is — then we anticipate Dwight Howard will soon be joining him in Brooklyn. After all, even NBA.com expected that move.

Photo credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Mark Cuban, Lamar Odom reportedly had heated halftime confrontation

Mark Cuban reportedly had a heated confrontation with Lamar Odom at halftime of the Mavericks’ game last Saturday, leading to Odom’s removal from the team’s roster.

According to ESPN Dallas, Cuban asked Odom if he was in or out with the team. Odom apparently was upset with the question and did not go to the Mavs’ bench until after the third quarter began. That exchange seems to explain why players and coaches did not want to discuss Odom, who had one rebound and no points, after the game. Odom did not play in the second half of the game.

It was announced on Monday that Odom and the Mavericks were parting ways for the rest of the season — a clear admission that the team’s acquisition of the forward did not work out well. Cuban and coach Rick Carlisle publicly supported Odom all season, and Cuban even met with Odom for pep talks. Clearly they had enough with Odom’s weak mind and lack of contributions for the team.

President of basketball operations Donnie Nelson phrased things the best, saying “We’re in our playoff time right here. We need to win games. We got to be able to look down that bench and count on folks to be consistent. Unfortunately with him in his state right now he’s just not capable of doing that.”