- The Mavericks welcomed Dirk Nowitzki back tonight in a move that should take the burden off some of the other starters, Sefko writes in a separate story. Harrison Barnes is second in the NBA in minutes played at 38.1 per game, and teammate Wesley Matthews is fourth at 36.9. The Mavs are always concerned about Matthews after the torn Achilles he suffered in 2015. “It’s not the injury history, it’s the length of the season,” Carlisle said. “There’s a cumulative effect of guys being out there too much. But there’s no substitute for a warrior like him who is the best perimeter defender we’ve got and hits big shots. His value to our team is unmistakable. I just got to find a little more rest for him, that’s all.”
- Sefko suggested the Bucks’ Khris Middleton as a potential trade target if the Mavericks are able to make a playoff push. In a question-and-answer session, the writer said Middleton would be the kind of building block Dallas needs, but added that he had no inside information to suggest that such a deal had been discussed.
- The team is hoping Harris will be back in a week to 10 days, tweets Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com. Harris hasn’t played yet this season because of a sprained right big toe and he will wear a carbon plate in his shoe for protection.
Like a handful of other NBA teams, the Mavericks got off to a very slow start this season, but have looked better as of late. The team has won 11 of its last 18 games, and remains within striking distance of a playoff spot in the West, just three games behind the eighth-seeded Nuggets.
With next Thursday’s trade deadline fast approaching, general manager Donnie Nelson and the Mavs will have to decide whether it makes more sense to sell off veteran players and focus on the future, or whether to keep those players around to assist in the push for a postseason berth.
Appearing on ESPN Dallas Radio this week, Nelson addressed that subject and a handful of others, so let’s round up a few of the highlights, courtesy of a pair of articles from the The Dallas Morning News.
On whether the Mavs will buy or sell at the deadline:
“When you’re in the position that we’re in, there’s all kinds of different possibilities. You’re looking what’s in the best interest of your franchise, short-term and also long-term. To get the right veteran type of player at a position that will give us solid minutes, obviously you have to look at those things. Dirk [Nowitzki] gets into his twilight years, you’re always looking for an injection of youth and athleticism and energy and toughness. You’re always looking to add, you never want to subtract, but unfortunately in this league there aren’t many fools and you got to give to get.”
On the trade talks the Mavs are having as the deadline nears:
“We have daily conversations with pretty much everyone in the league and you’re always talking about the possibility. That’s kind of our job. There isn’t a single person that doesn’t come up in a discussion during the course of the season. So again, you’re always weighing those and measuring those opportunities. When something comes up you have to take a peek at it and if something comes up, one thing Mark Cuban isn’t is trigger shy.”
“Oh, it was definitely Harrison. I don’t think anyone was expecting [Kevin Durant] to land in Golden State and that happened so fast … Obviously, we were all in the mix and preparing, but the thing happened so fast, literally within a probably a two-hour period it kind of came to fruition. Then to be in a position to get a starting center like Andrew Bogut, which was another because they clearly had to make room and make decisions. So that was a good two- or three-hour period for the old Mavericks.”
On why Yogi Ferrell couldn’t catch on with another NBA team before the Mavs signed him:
“That’s a great question. We currently have seven of those [undrafted] guys in our locker room, three of which are starting. You got Wes Matthews that went through the same thing. J.J. Barea, as you remember. I think it’s a couple things. First of all, the talent level is so significant and then the influx of international kids, sometimes kids get lost in the cracks. Then you always have the Division II or III guys or the low D-Is who don’t quite hit their stride. That’s the great thing obviously about the D-League is it gives these kids an opportunity to spread their wings and fly in NBA systems.”