Posts Tagged ‘Delonte West’

Elton Brand Looking To Get His Minutes Back Up, Shot To Go Down

DALLAS — As if the ignominy of being an amnesty casualty out of Philly wasn’t hurtful enough, Elton Brand‘s new coach in Dallas dealt him the injustice of benching him during crunch time at Charlotte while the five Mavericks on the floor keystone-copped their way out of a certain victory.

Two nights later at home against the injury-depleted Minnesota Timberwolves, Brand played just 17 minutes total and not one measly tick of the fourth quarter of an ugly 90-82 loss, the Mavs’ third in a row. After the game, Brand was visibly miffed by Rick Carlisle‘s rotation choice to stick with Troy Murphy instead, but Brand played it cool.

The next day at the end of practice, Brand was running end-to-end sprints with the low-minute guys, a ritual most vets, saying nothing of one with an All-Star pedigree, would avoid like jock itch.

“It’s been crazy, it’s been different,” Brand said of his first nine games in Dallas. “Like I say, coach is still evaluating. We’re still learning about each other. Coach is still learning about us.”

So it hasn’t been a seamless transition for Brand and the Mavs, who are paying just $2.1 million of his $18 million salary thanks to the CBA-instituted amnesty program.

But, really how could it have been?

Brand came to a team with initially eight new players. Before training camp ended, Delonte West had been suspended twice and waived, Dirk Nowitzki went under the knife, former Clippers teammate Chris Kaman dealt with a back injury and was nursing a calf injury into the regular season, Eddy Curry became the ninth new player before he was cut to make way for a 10th newbie in Murphy, who, for at least those two games, took over Brand’s position in the fourth quarter.

And during it all, Brand’s wife was in the final stages of pregnancy and delivered their second child, a daughter, between a Wednesday game in Dallas that he missed to fly home, and a Friday night game at New York against the Knicks, which he played.

None of the above is an excuse or necessarily even a reason as to why the 33-year-old power forward is struggling to hone his shooting range. Brand’s 36.8 field-goal percentage is well off his 50 percent career average, and although the career 18.2-point-a-game scorer has seen his scoring average dip in each of the last five seasons, he’s averaging a remarkably low 7.0 points.

His mid-range shooting has gone haywire, down to 32 percent, according to with his hallmark free-throw line jumper more often spinning out than splashing down. And from inside the lane, it gets worse. Brand is 4-for-14 (29 percent) in the paint.

“I feel good, body feels good, still learning the offense,” said Brand, who quickly learned that Carlisle isn’t afraid to yank anyone not producing. “Like I said, I think I can produce whenever I get the minutes. You get three or four shots in 16 minutes you can’t do much — at all.”

So maybe Wednesday’s breathless victory over Washington, a game Dallas nearly blew a 22-point third-quarter lead, is the start of better things for Brand, who has been a bit breathless himself, granted permission by Carlisle to sneak a quick trip back home on the East Coast to visit wife and baby before the homestand.

Brand responded with his first double-double of the season (11 points, 12 rebounds) in 30 minutes, his high minute mark since the season opener. He was just 4-of-10 from the floor, but grabbed four offensive rebounds in more then eight minutes of crucial fourth-quarter time.

“I’m just glad coach had the confidence to have me out there late in the game,” Brand said. “I didn’t get to play at the end of that Charlotte game and only 17 minutes last game, so I wanted to be out there and help the team win, do whatever I could.”

Former All-Star Josh Howard Stays Positive As He Waits For Work

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — Two former Dallas Mavericks, Josh Howard and Delonte West, are among a notable group of players that are out of a job as the 2012-13 season begins, but hope they’re not out of luck.

Howard, a one-time All-Star in Dallas and once thought to be the rising star that would play alongside Dirk Nowitzki for years to come, is residing in Dallas, healthy, working out and waiting for the phone to ring. At 32, Howard refuses to believe that his career will end prematurely.

“I’m just waiting for the opportunity to get on a team,” Howard, a 6-foot-7 small forward with nine seasons under his belt, told on Tuesday. “My agent has been staying in contact with teams and continues to communicate with those teams. It’s a waiting game.”

For now, 15-man rosters are set. Until an injury creates a need or a team waives a player, Howard, who had interest from a handful of teams over the summer and made several visits with no offers forthcoming, waits, even as former Mavs teammate Jerry Stackhouse, 37, owns a roster spot with the Brooklyn Nets despite playing in just 37 games the last two seasons.

“I look at it as motivating,” Howard said of not being signed. “It’s never a disappointment. I look at my career and if it were to end today I can say honestly that I was one of the best players in the league for a while. I made it to the Finals, but you know my goal is to win the Finals and I want another opportunity. That’s my drive in me still and my competitiveness. I’m not ready to stop playing. I’m staying aggressive and hoping a team picks me up.”

Unlike newly unemployed combo guard West, Howard is taking the traditional approach to job hunting, allowing his agent to converse with league general managers. West, 29, had a job on a veteran minimum deal with the Mavs at the start of training camp, but Dallas waived him on Monday after twice suspending the quirky guard for behavioral issues deemed detrimental to the team.

On Wednesday, West put his search on his fingertips and began a campaign on Twitter (@CharleeRedz13) — in his unique 140-character stylings — to find work with a fifth franchise in what would be his ninth NBA season. Since his unfortunate 2009 arrest when he was stopped for speeding on his motorcycle and carrying firearms, West, who suffers from bipolar disorder, has been relegated to a string of one-year contracts and unable, he believes, to shed the perception that he’s a malcontent. His eviction from the Mavs didn’t help his cause.


Mavs’ Curry To Get Shot As Starter Against Howard, Lakers

DALLASEddy Curry was all smiles Monday after the Dallas Mavericks mercifully put a wrap on their final preseason practice before Tuesday’s opener against Dwight Howard and the Los Angeles Lakers.

And why shouldn’t the slimmed-down Curry be smiling? After playing just 24 games over the last four seasons — that’s 24 total games, not an average per season — suddenly Curry will almost assuredly start at center opposite Howard at Staples Center just days after being waived by the Spurs and then signed by the desperate, injury depleted Mavs.

“That’s awesome, man,” Curry said of facing Howard in his L.A. debut. “Couldn’t ask for a better matchup, I think, just to really test me and see where I am.”

Curry’s personal good fortune, however, underscores just how miserably things have gone for Dallas this preseason. An adjustment period was coming anyway with a radically different roster from the one that claimed the franchise’s only NBA championship just 16 months ago, and even from the semi-dismantled one that feebly attempted to defend the title.

Yet, no one could have predicted that when the Mavs take the floor Tuesday night, forward Shawn Marion would be the lone starter from either of those two teams. It’s been one mess of a preseason, with injury and atypical turmoil producing one gut punch after another.

The big blow was Dirk Nowitzki’s bothersome right knee requiring arthroscopic surgery that will sideline him for at least another two to four weeks. Chris Kaman, the 7-foot and chronically injured center the Mavs crossed their fingers would start in the opener, can’t stay healthy. He wrenched his back during the very first practice and is now into his second week of a calf stain. The baffling Delonte West, the Mavs’ best option at backup point guard, was waived Monday after twice being suspended for conduct detrimental to the team.


Storms Brewing In Dallas?

The good news first.

That O.J. Mayo acquisition is looking pretty good so far for the Dallas Mavericks. The dynamic Mayo (above) is showing off the talent and skills that made him a difference-maker the past three seasons in Memphis. If you don’t believe it, just take a good look at the work he put in against the Rockets last night.

Now that we’ve gotten the good stuff out of the way, we need to turn our attention to a few issues the Mavericks are dealing with, the first of which involving the face of the franchise, Dirk Nowitzki.

He’s got a sore knee that could very well require surgery, which would cause the Mavericks’ 11-time All-Star to miss the start of the regular season. He’s already had the knee drained twice in the past month. Without any improvement, surgery is an option (per The Associated Press):

“I guess that it’s obvious that I don’t want (surgery) done,” Nowitzki said. “If it’s going to keep swelling up on me, that’s not a way to go through an 82-game season and hopefully a long playoff run.”


Mavs welcome camp on the fly

DALLAS — The Mavericks won’t be having your average training camp. Not with an international trip to Berlin and Barcelona mixed right in the middle.

Yet it is still far preferable to coach Rick Carlisle than last season when the Mavs had to defend their 2011 championship practically on the run in the wake of the labor lockout.

“Well, it’s a big advantage over last year,” Carlisle said. “Let’s make that clear. Last year we were integrating three guys who were going to be rotation guys. When we acquired (Lamar) Odom the trade didn’t happen until the day camp started, or the night before. He was behind anyway; then it was (Vince) Carter and (Delonte) West. But those guys were experienced pros and adapted well.

“Here we’ve got a lot more time. It’s going to be a completely different deal from last year, which is good.

“This is not going to be normal. But the trip is well-planned in terms of scheduling. I like the way it’s laid out. It’ll give us a chance to spend some time together as a team, which I think is good. It extends our training camp with a bunch of new guys, which helps.”

A year ago it was all about a lack of time with just a two-week mini-camp to try to pull a team together before the season opener on Christmas Day. Even team leader Dirk Nowitzki wasn’t in shape and had to be pulled from the lineup for four games in January and the Mavs never developed a rhythm.

Greene Grinding His Way Back

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Orien Greene lights up when talking about his high school and college glory days. He battled Miami Heat star Udonis Haslem while starring at Gainesville High and then joined forces with Haslem and fellow NBA stars David Lee and Matt Bonner during his first two college seasons playing for the hometown Florida Gators, all of them destined for long and fruitful careers on basketball’s biggest stage.

But unlike his former teammates, Greene’s path to the league has been littered with detours that he never imagined would be a part of his experience. And both Haslem and Bonner had scrap and claw their way into the league before becoming mainstays for contenders, Bonner in San Antonio.

So when Greene tells you he’s cherishing every minute of his latest attempt to make it back to the NBA, you know it’s coming from the right place.

“It’s definitely gone by in a blur. I can remember playing against Udonis in high school like it was yesterday,” Greene, 30, said of the hoops odyssey he’s been on for the better part of the last decade. “The time goes by just like that.”

Greene has had his taste of the league. The Boston Celtics selected him with the 53rd overall pick in the 2005 Draft, he finished his college career at Louisiana Lafayette, and spent his first season in the NBA as a backup point guard to Delonte West. But poor decision-making off the court cost him his spot on a young Celtics team, one that would be broken up later by the assembly of the famed Big 3 of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.


Mavs Could Still Look To West

HANG TIME, Texas — They were not able to reel in their No. 1 free agent target Deron Williams and they watched future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd escape to New York.

But the Mavericks, with spaces to fill on their roster, are still hoping to fill one of them with guard Delonte West.

Despite a finger injury that forced him to miss one-third of the 66-game post-lockout schedule and that bizarre delivering of a “wet willie” to Utah’s Gordon Hayward back in April, West was a far more solid addition to the Dallas lineup last season than, say, Lamar Odom and could help while Darren Collison and rookie Jared Cunningham learn the offense.

“We’ve got 15 spots and 13 players are under contract,’’ general manager Donnie Nelson told on Monday. “We’ve got a little work to do yet, hopefully Delonte will slide into one of those spots.

“If that’s the case that’ll be great.’’

And if that’s not the case?

“There’s also an argument for keeping that last roster spot open, because sometimes you get lucky towards the end of the summer,’’ Nelson said. “That’s probably how we’ll play it up, unless something really good presents itself.

“We’re still in negotiations with his agent and we’re hopeful that we can work something out,’’ Nelson said. “Obviously he’s got options and he’s got to sort through those.

“Some of those are timing issues there. We’ve just got to continue to negotiate and talk and see if there’s a fit there.’’ (more…)

Report: Kidd Spurns Mavs For Knicks

On Wednesday night, most everyone believed that Mavericks free agent Jason Kidd would be coming back to Dallas next season for what league sources believed would be a three-year, $9.5 million deal. But on Thursday, according to a source, Kidd changed his mind and accepted a similar deal to play with the Knicks next season, leaving Dallas in the lurch for a starting point guard for next season.

Kidd, second on the NBA’s all-time list in assists and steals, will bring veteran poise and leadership to the Knicks next season, whether he is starting or coming off the bench. New York struggled to find consistent, quality point guard play for most of the season, other than when Jeremy Lin captivated the nation in February with a sterling stretch of play. The Knicks are likely to match any offer for Lin, a restricted free agent who met with the Rockets Wednesday, and who Knicks coach Mike Woodson called his unequivocal starter for next season.

Kidd only averaged 6.2 points and 5.5 assists for Dallas last season, the lowest averages of his career in those stats, and he is not the defensive force he was when he starred with the New Jersey Nets. But he’s still an outstanding passer, a much improved perimeter shooter compared to earlier in his career and a proven leader.

A full season of a Lin-Kidd tandem at the point, along with a return to health of guard Iman Shumpert–who tore knee ligaments during the Knicks’ first-round loss to Miami–could make New York a formidable challenger in the east next season.

The 39-year-old Kidd may have been influenced by Dallas’ inability to secure the services of free agents despite clearing significant cap room last season by not bringing back key components of the team that won the NBA title in 2011. The Mavericks let starting center Tyson Chandler go to New York, and didn’t make substantial offers for guard J.J. Barea, who signed with Minnesota. Instead, the Mavericks hoped they’d be able to convince free agent Deron Williams to come.


Mavericks’ West Will Play In Game 1

OKLAHOMA CITY — Whatever it was that forced Mavericks guard Delonte West to get extra familiar with the restroom at the team hotel her overnight will not keep West from playing in tonight’s series opener against the Thunder.

West, who said oysters consumed before Thursday’s game in Atlanta might have been what caused the stomach issues that made him sick all day Friday and forced him to miss the Mavericks’ morning shootaround, said he wasn’t sure what his energy level would be. But he made it clear that he intended to give it whatever he could as the primary defender for Thunder All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook.

“When that tip ball comes I’m going to give it 100 percent, whatever I’ve got,” West said as he was putting his socks on to head to the floor for some pregame shooting work. He spent “I’m prepared and ready to go. Not sure what my energy level is going to be like yet. I’ll know better after I get out here and shoot around a little bit.”

West admitted he wasn’t quiet that optimistic Friday evening and into the night. He needed fluids pumped back into his body to help him recover. Still, he said he never seriously considered the possibility of having to miss the game. Well, almost …

“Of course, when I was lying on the bathroom floor I was thinking that,” he said. “But, no … I [am] not missing a playoff game. You’re going to have to drag me off the floor.”

That works for Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle. “We need him, we need his minutes,” Carlisle said. “So him being out there is good.”

Rosen’s Report: Thunder at Celtics


Along with most NBA watchers, the Oklahoma City Thunder are convinced that their sprightly legs and extraordinary team-wide talent will enable them to trump the difficulties of the shortened season and eventually run their way to the championship.  As if the Thunder need any further motivation, beating the Celtics in Boston would provide immediate evidence that elderly tortoises are no match for young hares.

Conversely, the Celtics understand that this is the last go-round for their rapidly aging core of KG, PP and Ray-Ray.  Here is a golden-age opportunity to demonstrate that they’re not quite ready for the glue factory.