DALLAS — Mark Cuban said no matter the situation, the Mavericks remain “opportunistic” when it comes to upgrading the roster. Losing starting small forward Caron Butler doesn’t alter those plans, the owner said.
“We do same thing regardless,” Cuban said before tonight’s game against Portland. “Our approach never changes.”
The Mavs could go the trade route, apply for a disabled player exception or, as Cuban said earlier today, ask the current players to step up.
Cuban said an immediate boost would be getting Dirk Nowitzki and Roddy Beaubois back in the lineup. Nowitzki, out with a minor sprain, should be returning soon. Cuban all but admitted that Beaubois is at least a month from coming back. The second-year guard broke his foot during the offseason and hasn’t been cleared to practice yet.
The Mavericks don’t want to rush Beaubois, who suffered a setback in October. Cuban, though, also said the setback wasn’t serious.
“Not at all,” he said. “Other teams probably had him playing already.”
As for those players on the active roster, Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said everyone has to step up. Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, J.J. Barea and DeShawn Stevenson are the most obvious choices to make up for the 15 points per game Butler provided.
“We’re a team of good individual players, but we’re a team first and so you’ve got to take up the slack as a group,” Carlisle said. “Right now the challenge for us is to get better defensively. That’s going to help trigger a lot of good things for us, and understand that that’s going to be the biggest part of being successful with where we’re at, at this moment.”
The Mavs came into the season believing they had perhaps the deepest roster in franchise history.
“We’ll find out, right? We’ve all been here before, so we’ll find out,” Cuban said. “You’ve got to play with the guys you have on the active roster. It happens to everybody.”
DALLAS — The news the Dallas Mavericks were hoping wouldn’t be delivered, but privately feared Saturday night, was confirmed today. Starting small forward Caron Butler is going to miss the rest of the season after having surgery Tuesday to repair a ruptured right patellar tendon.
NBA.com first reported the possibility of Butler suffering a patella tear after the Mavericks lost Saturday night at Milwaukee. Butler was injured in the first quarter of that game.
The Mavericks, a team with title aspirations, now begin to seriously weigh their options going forward without their third-leading scorer. They have several options. It could look internally to fill the void — Shawn Marion likely moves into the starting lineup and getting injured second-year guard Roddy Beaubois is key. Dallas recently recalled rookie guard Dominique Jones from the D-League.
“We will ask other guys to step up,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban told NBA.com.
The Mavs could also apply for a disabled player exception. The injury exception would be worth half of Butler’s salary, approximately $5.3 million, and would allow the Mavs to trade or sign a player up to that amount. Dallas would have 45 days to use the injury exception if it’s granted.
A trade to strengthen either the bench or the starting lineup could be a possibility. Butler, being on the last year of his contract, could be used in possible trade as salary cap relief.
The Mavs (25-8) are second in the Western Conference and return to action tonight against Portland (18-16) at American Airlines Center. Dallas is also without Dirk Nowitzki, who’s out for the fifth straight game with a sprained right knee.
Butler’s surgery was performed by team physician Dr. T.O. Souryal at Texas Sports Medicine in Dallas.
The Dallas Mavericks won’t know the full extent of the knee injury to Caron Butler until Monday at the earliest. The initial concern is a torn patella tendon in his right knee, but further tests to determine the injury’s severity won’t be performed until Butler meets with the team’s medical staff for an MRI exam on Monday. Butler has already flown back to Dallas.
NBA.com first reported the possibility of Butler suffering a patella tear, according to league sources, after the Mavericks lost Saturday night at Milwaukee. Dallas is at Cleveland tonight.
Asked if the team knew anything more about Butler’s injury today, Dallas general manager Donnie Nelson told NBA.com: “No, not yet.” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle also said he didn’t have any additional information. The team didn’t want to speculate on the nature of the injury before further tests are done.
Butler, averaging 15.0 points and 4.1 rebounds, was injured in the first quarter of the 99-87 loss to the Bucks. Losing the Mavs’ third-leading scorer is potentially a crippling blow for a team that began the season with championship aspirations and looked every bit the title contender through the first two months.
The Mavericks, though, have lost three in a row coinciding with Dirk Nowitzki‘s knee sprain last week. Without their MVP candidate in the lineup, the Mavs (24-8) dropped games to Toronto, San Antonio and Milwaukee. Dallas was also without Shawn Marion (bruised thigh) last night. The injuries to Nowitzki and Marion aren’t considered serious.
Butler was one the players Carlisle was counting on to pick up the slack in Nowitzki’s absence. Butler scored 30 in the Spurs loss, and is a proven scorer who averaged more than 19 points per game from 2007-09. The 30-year-old Butler is in his ninth season and on the last year of his contract.
Marion is the most likely candidate to fill Butler’s spot in the starting lineup, a move that considerably weakens Dallas’ bench. In addition to playing behind Butler, Marion is also the primary backup power forward to Nowitzki. Brian Cardinal has started the last two games in Nowitzki’s place.
Expect sixth man Jason Terry, the Mavs’ second-leading scorer who’s been mired in a shooting slump, to take on more responsibility. Dallas also hopes to get a boost from rookie guard Dominique Jones, who was recalled from the D-League today after averaging 18.7 points in 10 games for the Texas Legends. The Mavs are also waiting on second-year guard Roddy Beaubois, a dynamic scorer who’s currently rehabbing from a broken foot suffered this past offseason.
The Mavs could apply for a disabled-player exception worth approximately $5.3 million, which is half of Butler’s $10.6 million salary, if it’s determined that Butler is lost for the season. Dallas could sign or trade for a player to fit into that salary spot without giving up anything in return.
DALLAS — Dirk Nowitzki said after tonight’s one-point loss to Memphis that Roddy Beaubois probably won’t be ready to play until December. That’s not based on any official team timetable and Nowitzki doesn’t have a medical license.
It’s just more of an educated guess. And considering Beaubois, the dynamic second-year guard who’s expected to take on a significant role in Dallas’ offense is still in a walking boot, it’s probably a good guess.
“Obviously, we’re all waiting on Roddy,” Nowitzki said. “It doesn’t look like he’s going to play until December the way he looks, so we just have fight through it.”
Beaubois wasn’t aware of Nowitzki’s rehab schedule. The 6-foot-2 native of Guadeloupe, dealing with a stress fracture in his left foot, recently had a minor setback when he tried to return to practice. Beaubois suffered the injury in August and had surgery.
“I don’t know. I can’t give you a date,” Beaubois said. “It’s week to week.”
He then added: “This time I’m going to take my time.”
Nowitzki predicted that Jason Terry would move back into his customary sixth-man role once Beaubois does returns, though Dallas coach Rick Carlisle is the one who’s going to make that decision.
“It’s not going to be any time soon,” Nowitzki continued. “[Beaubois is] still in a damn boot, so it’s still going to be a while. I still think we’re going to be all right. We have a deep team when Roddy comes back and enough options to win games.”
Nowitzki also went on to say that’s Beaubois’ scoring talents, especially his unpredictability, is a positive for a team that’s often too predictable.
“He might put up a 3 from 25 feet, and next time he drives it and one. He’s a great finisher in there,” Nowitzki said. “He just brings that step, that pep in our game we need sometimes.”
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS –Tyreke Evans already has the Rookie of the Year hardware in his trophy case. And the honor was well deserved for a rookie season for the ages, statistically speaking, of course.
But we had a different rookie favorite around here last season. The one rookie we couldn’t stop raving about around the hideout last season was Dallas Mavericks wunderkind Roddy “Buckets” Beaubois. And we chose Roddy B. for his game as much as what else he brings — as you can see here, the kid’s a star in training.
He’s also the point guard in training for the Mavs, Jason Kidd won’t play forever. (In the meantime, he and Kidd on the floor together isn’t such a bad idea either):
Even with a standout crop of rookie guards like Evans, Brandon Jennings, Stephen Curry, Ty Lawson and Darren Collison, Roddy B. carved out some of the spotlight for himself.
Like several of the other standout guards in his draft class, Beaubois isn’t necessarily a traditional, pass-first point guard. And that may be where some of the confusion came from early on in his rookie season. But he’s such a lethal scoring threat that he’ll be able to create opportunities for others at times just by generating his own offense.
The Mavericks could have used more of him, much more, in their playoff loss to San Antonio.
And we’re guessing Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle will have a more prominent role reserved for Roddy B. this season. He’s already leading the pack for the HT Sophomore of the Year award.
LAS VEGAS — Ian Mahinmi didn’t exactly get the South Beach treatment this summer, but the 7-foot Frenchman had someone working on the inside before signing with Dallas.
One of Mahinmi’s better friends is Mavericks second-year guard Roddy Beaubois. Both are members of the French national team. They worked out together in Dallas plenty this offseason. They’re now sharing starting roles on the Mavs’ Summer League entry.
“We’re looking forward to playing together,” said Mahinmi, who’s behind Brendan Haywood and Tyson Chandler in the center rotation. “It’s very exciting. It’s a new chapter in my life. It’s always great when you move to another team and you have someone that you’re really good friends with.”
Both downplayed the role Beaubois had in Mahinmi moving from San Antonio to North Texas.
“He knew that Dallas was a good team and was very interested,” Beaubois said. “I just told him that it can be a good fit.”
Even if Beaubois wasn’t exactly Dwyane Wade in this recruitment, Mahinmi channeled LeBron James when asked about his decision.
“I had three great years with San Antonio, great system, great coaching, great organization and I feel very blessed to have those three years there,” Mahinmi said. “But now I feel like it’s a new chapter in my life and I want to really bring my talents to Dallas and do everything I can to make that team even more successful.”
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – If these playoff have provided us nothing, they’ve put many of the league’s best point guards on display for all the world to see.
They come in all shapes and sizes, young and old and they can play basically any style the game demands.
Celtics All-Star Rajon Rondo put on a show in his team’s win over Cleveland Monday night and then Suns All-Star Steve Nash went out and tried to top him in his team’s win over the Spurs.
We’ll get a look at Magic floor general Jameer Nelson tonight as well as Jazz All-Star Deron Williams, HT’s pick for the best PG in the game today.
“I honestly cannot remember a time when there were more talented point guards in the league at the same time,” a longtime Eastern Conference scout told me via text while Nash was carving up the Spurs. “You can go up and down the line, from the rookies to the old guys like Nash, Jason Kidd, Chauncey Billups and those guys. There are just quality [point guards] everywhere you look.”
Just think about all the elite (soon to be elite or used to be elite) point guards we’ve seen in the playoffs, or better yet, just the ones that have already headed for the fishing hole for the summer.
Bucks rookie Brandon Jennings, Bulls All-Star Derrick Rose, Thunder star Russell Westbrook, Mavericks rookie (budding star and HT’s favorite rookie) Roddy “Buckets” Beaubois, Nuggets rookie Ty Lawson, Billups and Kidd, Hawks veteran Mike Bibby, Bobcats stud Raymond Felton, Lakers old horse Derek Fisher, Trail Blazers veteran Andre Miller and even my main man Luke Ridnour (you didn’t really think I’d leave Rid out did you?) all had shining moments during the first round of the playoffs.
If there is a stronger position group in the entire league right now someone needs to show us. Because right now, it’s a point guard party.
And don’t forget that the guy that has the strongest argument for being the best of the very best (Hornets All-Star Chris Paul) wasn’t even healthy this season and two of the best up and comers — Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans and runner-up Steph Curry — played on teams that didn’t sniff the playoffs.
Again, find a stronger position group in the league and let us know about it …
We apologize for offending those of you who seem to think you can only be aligned with one of the three Rookie of the Year campaign camps (Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings and Steph Curry).
As you know by now, we tend to veer off the yellow brick road around here and pick our teams based on intuition (the Hang Time Grizzlies?). We do the same for the players, and Roddy Buckets is our guy.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t have love for the other guys.
Steph Curry has been a sight to see this season. He confirmed much of what we thought of him heading into the draft.
And his Top 10 is as entertaining as any we’ve seen this year:
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Mavericks rookie Roddy Beaubois is just the latest member of what is easily the NBA’s best rookie class since LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade to show off his goods.
Roddy “Buckets” went for a wicked 40 last night on fellow rookie standout Stephen Curry and the Warriors.
My main man Earl K. Sneed of Mavericks.com has been singing his praises all year. And I’ve been watching and listening and he makes a good argument for Beaubois being the best rookie scorer of the bunch.
Sure, Brandon Jennings can always show off that 55-point outburst from early in the season. Curry can go off for 30 at any time. And no rookie has been as consistent as Tyreke Evans.
Beaubois, however, has shown a propensity for scoring outbursts that wouldn’t seem possible for a player whose minutes are as unpredictable. Since his team will play deeper into the season than any of those others mentioned, we will likely see much more of Roddy Buckets, provided he gets the minutes.
But I wonder what the Rookie of the Year race would look like if Beaubois was in a situation where he played as much as some of his rookie contemporaries …
“Sometimes, you just shoot and feel like you can’t miss,” Beaubois said. “It was my best game ever, for sure.”
Beaubois finished with 40 points. His previous high this season was 24. He was 9-of-11 from 3-point range. J.R. Smith has the NBA season high with 10 3-pointers in a game (on 17 attempts).
His total just missed the Mavs’ rookie scoring record, which is 42 by Mark Aguirre in 1981.
For good measure, Beaubois added eight rebounds, three blocks and three assists.
Beaubois was remarkable in hitting nine of his first 10 shots, including five 3-pointers, in the first half. He outscored rookie-of-the-year candidate Stephen Curry, 26-0, in the half.
So the natural question is how coach Rick Carlisle figures to get Beaubois, who played a grand total of 48 seconds in Portland on Thursday, more time on the court.
“He’s doing all his damage at two (shooting guard),” Carlisle said. “We’ll look at it. He’s earning minutes. I said all along he’s earning minutes that he’s gotten. This game was against a smaller team and it suited him. I love what he’s doing. It puts us in a very strong position as a team.
“I’m the one who’s going to have to make the decisions on who plays. And I’ll live with those decisions. This is a hot topic, a hot debate, and I’m one of the creators of it because I believe in the kid. I put him out there a lot. Make no mistake, if there are opportunities to play him where I feel he can help our team, he’ll be out there.”
Similarly, if there are games when Beaubois has two turnovers and two fouls in two minutes, playing time won’t be handed over.
At the very least, Saturday was a tasty appetizer of what might be to come in what could be a long, prosperous career for Beaubois.
“He’s impressed me ever since training camp,” said Dirk Nowitzki, who had a light night with only 30 minutes, 13 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. “When he’s on that, he’s a tough matchup for anybody and it’s fun to watch.”
Asked if he thought Beaubois is earning his stripes in terms of future playing time, Nowitzki said: “I think so, but sometimes, it’s tough. He’s such a scoring guard, sometimes I think coach believes more in J.J. running the team. But the way he’s playing, you got to give him some room at the two. It’s not easy, but it’s a problem you want to have. If you want to be deep, it’s definitely a problem you want to have on a good team.”
Oh, and we couldn’t leave you without a quick look back at Saturday night’s action: