ESPN's Marc Stein was on ESPN Radio in Dallas today to discuss all things Mavericks. The Dallas hosts made note of Stein's positive relationship with Dirk Nowitzki, and pressed him on the power forward's mindset six games into his return. Stein said that, amidst the team's 13-20 start, it will be hard to judge how Nowitzki feels about what has transpired in Dallas until after this offseason when, in theory, the Mavs still have the space and motivation to add a Dwight Howard should he or a player of similar stature be available. So while Dirk will play nice for now, Stein says the activity in Dallas will again be a big storyline this offseason.
Here are some additional Southwest Division notes from Stein and other writers around the league:
- Stein adds that a player like DeMarcus Cousins is an ideal target for the Mavericks, given the strength of their organization and pieces to go around him. With Chris Paul content in Los Angeles, Dwight Howard may be the only big chip in play. If the Mavs don't land Howard, Stein says they have to use their cap space by making a trade for a guy with a big contract or a "distressed asset" like Cousins. However, Dallas may not have the assets to land Cousins now, and therefore must hope he is still available come summertime.
- In the wake of Eric Gordon sitting out Wednesday night's game against Houston, John Reid of the Times-Picayune writes that Hornets fans should expect to see their team ease the shooting guard back in until he gets back into game shape. Head coach Monty Williams indicated that while Gordon is fully healthy, he has yet to display the physical shape necessary to withstand the grind of the NBA schedule.
- With the Spurs in New York, Jim Cavan of the New York Times takes a look at the season and career of Tim Duncan. Duncan sure makes an interesting contrast to the flash and dazzle of Madison Square Garden and the Knicks' big-name roster.