No Room For Emotion in Mavs’ Rebuilding

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HANG TIME, Texas — The trade deadline is less than two weeks away and that means general managers are spending endless days on the phone and many veterans are spending sleepless nights on edge.

On one hand, athletes get to plead the case that they’re the only professional group in today’s modern age that can be swapped like heads of lettuce at a farmer’s market, having their homes and their lives relocated on short notice.

On the other, the rest of the world outside those well-paid lives usually get only a handshake and a pink slip when they’re no longer wanted or needed.

So here is 14-year-veteran Shawn Marion telling Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas that he won’t necessarily show up in a new city and play if the sinking Mavericks trade him.

“If I’m going to get traded, they’re going to tell me what’s going on and where I’m going,” the 14-year veteran said. “Because if I’m going to a (expletive) situation, I’m not going. It’s just that simple.

“At this time, I’m too old to be trying to go through and be a, you know what I’m saying, not have a chance to do anything. I’m at a point where I want to be playing for something right now.”

Certainly it is easy to understand the emotional and professional viewpoint of Marion. It was just 20 months ago that The Matrix was playing in The Finals and playing a key role on a team that would win a championship. He figures he’s paid his dues over the years, jumping from Phoenix to Miami to Toronto to find a place in Dallas where he has been comfortable and appreciated.

And all that just goes out the window because Dirk Nowitzki missed the first 27 games of the season following knee surgery, the Mavericks plummeted in the standings and now team owner Mark Cuban must start looking toward the future?

Well, yes.

Perhaps somebody could cue up the Lion King music for Marion, because this is just the circle of life. For all that he has done in Dallas over the past 3 1/2 years, the Mavs are probably hopelessly out of the race for even the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and must begin to look ahead.

Of course, things would have been radically different if Cuban would have been able to reel in star free-agent point guard Deron Williams or made a deal for center Dwight Howard.

But that is the past and it’s time for Cuban, team president Donnie Nelson and coach Rick Carlisle to build for the future. Can they somehow convince Chris Paul, the free agent next summer, to leave all that he’s built with the Clippers? Can they talk Howard into leaving money on the table with the Lakers to start fresh in Dallas?

They Mavs at least have to try and that means making tough choices, namely moving veterans such as Marion or Vince Carter in hope of getting draft picks, young prospects or just to clear out salary space. Marion will be owed $9.3 million next season, Carter nearly $3.2 million. Those elder statesmen are the most logical — and valuable — trade chips for a team that has to get much better real soon so they don’t squander what’s left of Nowitzki’s career.

Marion is hardly alone on the hot seat. Atlanta is evidently willing to talk to anyone about veteran Josh Smith. Despite all the claims to the contrary from Lakers G.M. Mitch Kupchak, Pau Gasol listened to the talk all season until getting sidelined by his foot injury.

By the way, from a historical perspective, players refusing to report to an undesirable location is hardly a modern phenomenon. As far back as 1950, Bob Cousy was the No. 3 overall pick in the draft by the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, but would not sign and was later picked up by the Celtics. Six NBA titles later, that worked out well for Cousy.

Marion, of course, can only hope that Dallas would send him to a place where he can compete for another championship come June. But if not, the Mavs owe less to him than they do to themselves and their fans.

After a decade of excellence that included annual trips to the playoffs, culminating with the 2011 championship, it is time to move on in Dallas.

The circle of life in the NBA.

38 Comments

  1. yeah.. i would rather use Thabeet than perk. because they can use him as a post threat than perk because of his SIZE and i think if given the same amount of playing time like perk. it would be hard to take a layup with him manning the paint

  2. Patrickmarc says:

    Kaman should be the man, with Carter and Marion,
    more defense..I agree.. I expect 20 points and 12 rebounds from Kaman,
    something possible everyday for this big athlete!!

  3. June says:

    Carter and Marion are ok… The PG/SG position seems locked but they’ll surely need a playmaker than a scorer on those position and a good center who can do defense… Kaman is a good center but all he does is offense… Not that I don’t like the guy but sometimes the frontlines just needs more defense than offense…

  4. John says:

    Could collision , mayo, dirk, josh smith and a serviceable centre go ok next year?

  5. MrNBA says:

    All the MAVS need are quality role players and they’ll be back in contention. STOP GOING AFTER SPOILED AND OVERRATED COACH KILLERS LIKE DERON AND DWIGHT! And stop going after ex-Laker players. Try to sign Paul and the rest should be defensive-minded players and/or 3 point shooters. That’s how the Spurs stay competitive.
    That’s why Marion has to stay. Maxiell from Detroit is a FA next year, he’ll fit in well. Also keep Brand.

  6. Dr C.Goode says:

    Dallas are really up the creek without a paddle this season, they should be tanking instead of trying to get to the playoffs. If they try and fail to make the playoffs then they’ve screwed themselves out of a better draft pick. The only way out of this for Cuban is to sign at least 1 max contract player (priority should be Howard) or two such as CP3. If Dallas fail to get at least one of these guys they have to blow it up and trade Dirk for whatever they can, I suggest to Chicago for Boozer and Hamilton.

  7. Marcus says:

    I’ve always disliked Shawn Marion from back in his Phoenix days. He is the definition of selfish. He rather be the ‘man’ on a team rather than compete for a title in Phoenix. I remember once a report asked if he rather have an allstar career or a Robert Horry type career with lots of rings and he chose the allstar career.

    He needs to play wherever he is sent and if he doesnt play than buy out your contract for $0 like Bibby did when he was sent to Houston.

    He’s making 7.7 million dollars per year. I dont care where I play if I could be making that money.

    Btw, there arent too many WORST situations than the Mavericks. They are 100% lottery bound with a pick no higher than 10th. They have little young talent, an aging star who’s met father time HARD, and a bunch of old veterans like Brand, Kaman, Carter.

    • specialfriedrice says:

      you do realise that the PHO teams you are talking about…the ones that Marion was the 3rd-4th choice offensively…behind…Amare, Nash, then came Johnson and Marion…Marion certainly was’nt ‘the man’ in PHO he played efficently and effectivly to get his sucsess…just like those Pho teams did year after year…

  8. Mattymo says:

    When the players is young and in his prime fans say “Don’t got anywhere else, show some loyalty to your team.” When the player gets old and starts to decline, fans say “Trade him.”

  9. John says:

    Dallas need to Akers up their mind. Either clean the roster right out or just keep topping up with mid range talent. Dirk matrix Vincent brand an kaman are all very old. Unfortunately they would get much for them (dirk excluded) if they are going to be better in the future all need to go…..dirk included. If they don’t make the playoffs they will get a first round pick. They might get another one and a decent player for dirk and a couple of 2nd rounders for the others. With the money left in the cap they could make a run at Dwight or josh smith. Big decisions in front of Cuban. One thing for sure is that he won’t stand for losing for too long

  10. Karlo Garcia says:

    LOL big cat r u serious. Marion & roddy buckets to the jazz for al jefferson. NO WAY IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

  11. Phamie says:

    Gasol ain’t goin’ nowhere, he will stay in L.A.

  12. Trade Option says:

    Now that the ‘Bank of Cuban’ is now open, why not trade Marion for Iggy?

    • Rocket33 says:

      Because the Nuggets would have to agree to the trade as well. No way I’d give up Iggy for Marion.

  13. Breaking up is hard to do! says:

    The Mavericks broke up a championship team. If they would have kept that core together, no one would be talking about this!! Rebuilding time now!!

  14. cedric says:

    Who ever is Game 6 shut up

  15. big cat says:

    marion and roddy buckets to the jazz for al jefferson

  16. Mino says:

    samuel dalembert, anyone, we just need a center other than kaman. he’s absolutely terrible

  17. Xi'an says:

    if the mavs had to trade somebody it had better be vince.. they can maybe get a back up center cuz all of there other positons are straight

  18. Jermaine says:

    Even though it would be nice for us to try to go after a big free agent in the summer, at some point we have to start looking further down the road, which means getting (and keeping) draft picks. The Mavs have a lot of older players on the team because they usually trade away their picks, except for our three picks last year. I’m such a huge fan of Dirk Nowitzki but at some point we have to start getting younger talent for the future to build around as well. If we have to give up Matrix or VC to get more picks and younger players, then that’s what should be done.

  19. jake s says:

    Marion and Gasol will be traded to nobody teams to boost morale. It’s sad but it will happen.

  20. Dallas Fan says:

    The Mavs need to trade for role players and a better bench. They don’t have a good defensive team with chandler out, not a lot of depth with their bench. I would try and get a good PG and C and grab some more experienced players to play on the bench.

  21. Chris says:

    Jeremy Lamb for Marion, straight up. OKC could use a vet that can play multiple positions on defense against Miami in the finals. 9.3 mil would be tough for Prestie to swallow, but it would be just for one year. It would add a lot of versatility against Miami who beat us last year with a small line-up. Add to that the addition of a Ray Allen 3 point threat this year and we will need all the more to be able to switch on the pic/screen and rolls and keep up with the smaller faster line up Miami will surely use. If they decide not to run small ball, Perk will be right there on the bench waiting for them. Serge, Durant, Marion, Tabo, Westbrook…. hah, thats what I call defensive dream team!

  22. qwertyuiop says:

    trade marion for josh smith

  23. Jim says:

    Although that would be interesting what would Boston give up for Marion?The one player that most teams are going to be after is Josh Smith who’s obviously looking for a change in scenery

  24. what if? says:

    Not that it is going to happen, but what if Mr. Marion went to Boston? I think it would be fun to have Avery Bradley, Shawn Marion, and Kevin Garnett all playing defense at the same time. Start Marion at the 4 and see what happens.

  25. Roy says:

    Marion would probly be a good pick up to be a sixth man or starter for an up and coming team. I’m really curious to see all that’s going to pan out when the trade deadline hits.

  26. cedric says:

    I am so tired of these NBA player saying what they dont want to do.I dont want to get up everyday and go to work and only making $20.00 dollars a hour. But Mr.Marion goes and plays basketball for work and makes 9 million a year. I wish that he could go with me to work for one week and see the real world. These guys really dont now have good they have it.

    • game 6 says:

      sport and your work is different.

    • DD24 says:

      You’ve got it pretty good yourself if you make that much money in this economy. I have two bachelors degrees and still don’t make that amount.

    • Tj says:

      quit hatin

    • Hm says:

      Your job likely also doesn’t force you to move thousands of miles and “start over” (plus all the other differences), so really, your perspective is quite narrow.

    • Champ says:

      Exactly, this is their job, this is what they want to do so shut your mouth marion and move on if asked or retire. I would travel anywhere for 9 mill! absolutley anywhere! These players dont realise how good they have it to do something they love and earn a fortune while i struggle to live week to week… annoys me to no end!

  27. Croatian_sensation says:

    Dallas should keep both Vince and Matrix, take Gasol and go for one last hunt for the championship.