Cuban: I Feel Worse For Vince Than Dirk

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – The Dallas Mavericks attempted to get younger this season, attempted to put pieces in place for the future. But, after 81 games, they’re oldies have been their goodies and any roster continuity for next season is as uncertain today as it was 12 months ago.

Dirk Nowitzki, 34, Vince Carter, 36, and Shawn Marion, 34, have been Dallas’ best players by a long shot. Not that this fact needs validating, but it was never more evident than in the past two games, with the Mavs eliminated from the postseason for the first time in 13 seasons and nothing on the line except overgrown beards and swelling pride.

The veteran trio played their hearts out. The others served mostly as bystanders. Tonight, Dallas closes out its most disappointing season since the dark days of the 1990s by trying to salvage a .500 record against New Orleans. And so Nowitzki will miss the playoffs for the first time since his first two baby-faced seasons. Marion’s out for the first time in five years after Phoenix traded him to Miami for Shaquille O’Neal.

And Carter, who has played in one conference final (2010 with Orlando) in just seven postseason appearances during his 15 seasons, is out for the fourth time in the last six seasons. Since Feb. 1, Carter has averaged nearly 15 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 2.5 apg while shooting better than 43 percent from beyond the arc, where he’ll fall just short of his career best.

On a more competitive team, Carter would have been a dark horse Sixth Man of the Year candidate.

“I feel bad for Vince. Let me just say that right off,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban said. “Vince is a warrior. All these things I’ve heard in the past about him being soft and not playing hard, [bleep] that. That dude comes out to deliver every [bleeping] night. Even when a game got out of hand, he was busting people for not doing what they were supposed to do. He was cheerleading on the bench. I feel worse for Vince than I do for Dirk.”

Carter joined the Mavs prior to the 2011-12 season expecting to help defend the championship and vie for his first. But that was a watered-down version of the title team and was summarily swept in the first round by Oklahoma City. This season’s club, beyond Dirk and Marion, bared no resemblance to the team that celebrated on the Heat’s home court.

The Mavs’ veteran trio, all of whom are signed through next season at a combined $35.2 million, came through with big games after being eliminated. Sunday in New Orleans, Nowitzki became just the ninth player in NBA history to record 25,000 career points and 9,000 career rebounds. Marion had 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Carter put up 16, seven and five.

On Monday, in Game No. 81 against Memphis, with the goal of finally eclipsing .500 for the first time since Dec. 10 in Game No. 22, Carter put up 22 points, five rebounds and four assists. Along the way he passed Clyde Drexler for 27th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list and waved to the cheering crowd.

The achievement might have gained more traction afterward if not for O.J. Mayo‘s disastrous two-point, four-turnover game that got him benched and led to coach Rick Carlisle’s highly uncharacteristic dressing down.

Mayo, after initial excitement, has faltered for months. He can opt out after the season, but his return to Dallas is now highly questionable. Backcourt mate Darren Collison never achieved solid footing in Dallas and was twice replaced as the starter by old-timers off the street, first by short-timer Derek Fisher and then by Mike James. Collison will be a restricted free agent this summer.

“I’m proud of the effort,” Cuban said of his club that fought back to .500 after falling to 13-23 on Jan. 9. “I’m just not always proud of the basketball IQ. When you see dumb plays, sometimes they look like lack of effort plays when they’re just dumb.”

That was a direct shot at the club’s young, first-year backcourt that replaced future Hall-of-Famer Jason Kidd, who ditched Dallas at the last minute for New York, and Mr. Clutch, Jason Terry.

“We expected a different roster here and Dirk to be healthy,” Cuban said. “We thought we had young guns to put around old guys. Our backcourt roster wasn’t what we planned it to be, but that’s just the way it goes.”

Dallas’ three old-timers can now only wait to see which new young guns are on the way.

29 Comments

  1. theking0522 says:

    Vince Carter to Miami!!!! Take less money, like Ray Allen, and win a championship. If you want a ring, you have to sacrifice some millions, like Battier also…The King will do the rest. Come to Miami!!!

  2. Patrickmarc says:

    I hope Carter in good shape next season,
    and I hope Dallas will find the right alchemy between Collison and Mayo
    Kaman should take more shots.
    They need a player like Vucevic, a big presence.
    Kaman is a little bit too soft, he can do much better,
    he is not fast enough on his legs. He should work on it, because he has got everything to be a super player.

  3. HEAT 4EVER says:

    VC should go to MIAMI HEAT..bench will be stron with allen,birdman,cole,battier,anthony,james jones,miller and varnado with CARTER:) or i think VC can go to HOUSSTON ROCKETS with LIN,HARDEN and ASIK:)

  4. lakersfan4ever says:

    It wouldn’t be a bad move for the lakers and Vince Carter, better chance with Lakers than Dallas, no disrespect to the Mavs.

  5. Zeus Fury says:

    VC is should go to a contender team if not he’ll be a martyr ,he should earn a ring he’s 36 he needs it,he has acoomplish the things that he needs to accomplish individually,the fame ,everything he needs being called half man half amazing,what else A RING! OF COURSE,help rebuild the LAKERS VINCE,kobe’s out gotta fill in he’s shoes 4 the meantime if i were u.

  6. blakskorpion says:

    at this rate, vinsanity is likely to be relegated to the list of illustrious greats who changed the game but never earned any jewelry for it. not a bad list to be on when you think of his company… think charles barkley, for example. still one of the first jerseys i ever bought, one of my favorite players of all time. no matter what happens.

  7. aaa says:

    wouldn’t be surprised if VC ended up with the Lakers.

  8. Erien says:

    Vince Carter to the Heat next year … that is … if he wants a ring. He needs to play with the soon to be greatest of all time in order to get a ring now … no one is going to beat the Heat this year or the next three. 5 peat.

  9. cPLSDJK says:

    i hope they dont trade these 3 guys next year because they have experience and are great leaders especially vince who was amazing this year of the bench

  10. ko0kiE says:

    yeah, but like mavs wouldn’t have come out of the first round anyways…

  11. Jay says:

    cuban has to sign Monta Ellis or CP3 or D12, but I think Ellis is the only one willing to go to Dallas and that would be the best move for them,sign a big defensive guy and you have a championship contender next year in Dallas

  12. deJavu says:

    carter to bobcats next season….har har har..

  13. gerald29 says:

    hope you all the best …..greatest dunker off all time …halfman half amazing..

  14. caloyski says:

    YOUR AN INTELLIGENT PERSON MARK; I AM CONFIDENT THAT YOU WILL FORM A TEAM THAT IS A LOT STRONGER FOR THE 2014 SEASON– ALL THE BEST FOR 2014!

  15. asdasd says:

    i just hope VC can go to a title contender next season. I want to see that man win a ring. He’s playing pretty good right now.

    • joffre says:

      as torontonian and a real fan of the game, i hope he carter deserves a ring even if does not happen, man he put toronto on the map, hmh, u clear dont know nothing about basket if u still holding grudges against him, leaving toronto was the best thing he did.
      go carter.

  16. HMH says:

    As a Torontonian and Toronto Raptor fan, I don’t feel sorry for Vince Carter especially for the way he left our team.

  17. MARK CUBAN YOU NEED TO GET SOMETHING DONE THIS NEXT SEASON . YOU DID A REALLY POOR JOB THIS SEASON, AND YOU KNOW IT ALL STARTS AT THE TOP !!!!!!!