It’s been that case for several years, with Shawn Marion sliding over a spot for most of the minutes when Nowitzki rested. Marion’s tenure in Dallas has almost certainly ended, but the Mavs have several players on the roster they believe are capable of playing quality minutes at power forward.
Coach Rick Carlisle, who would like to cut Nowitzki’s minutes down to 30 per game if possible (the 36-year-old played nearly 33 in 2013-14), listed Chandler Parsons, Al-Farouq Aminu, Jae Crowder and Richard Jefferson as the primary candidates. He’s also open to the idea of giving Brandan Wright more minutes at power forward, although Wright’s career has been redefined in Dallas an athletic center who thrives with floor-spacers around him.
"I don’t see us having a problem of finding a guy who can play that position effectively," Carlisle said. "It’s a matter of figuring out who plays well with who, getting the right guys on the floor together."
Parsons played some small-ball power forward for the Houston Rockets and will continue to do so for the Mavs. He presents a major matchup problem for the opposing defense when he plays that position. He has struggled defending bigger power forwards in the post, which is part of the reason he’s emphasizing strength training this summer.
However, Parsons might not necessarily play the majority of the power forward minutes when Nowitzki is off the floor, as Marion did.
Carlisle sounded especially intrigued by the idea of Aminu, an extraordinary athlete who is 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, at power forward. He sees Aminu, who agreed to a two-year deal with the Mavs for the veteran’s minimum with a player option for the second season, as someone who can mitigate some of the things the Mavs will miss absent Marion.
The Mavs believe Aminu has elite defensive potential. He has proved to be a premier rebounder, leading the league’s small forwards in rebounding percentage the past two seasons.
"He’s played mostly the 3 so far in his career, but I really feel like the 4 is a better position for him,” Carlisle said. “Those backup Dirk minutes are going to be a possibility for him to really bring a different dimension."
LAS VEGAS -- Carmelo Anthony said it was not the money, but instead his confidence in team president Phil Jackson and his belief that the New York Knicks "aren't that far away from contending for an NBA title," that made him opt to remain in New York instead of signing with the Chicago Bulls.
"I want to win. I don't care about the money," Anthony told ESPN.com. "I believe Phil will do what he has to do to take care of that.
"I don't think we're that far away," he added. "People use 'rebuilding' too loosely."
In what were believed to be Anthony's first public comments since agreeing to a five-year deal worth $124 million earlier this month, he told ESPN.com that the decision was so agonizing in the final days that he could not watch TV or go on the Internet.
"It was overwhelming," Anthony said. "It was stressful in the final days, one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make."
Anthony said, though, it ultimately came down to New York and Chicago.
"I was flip-flopping," he admitted. "It was hard. It was Chicago, but then after I met with L.A., it was L.A. But it came back to Chicago -- and was pretty much always Chicago or New York. That's a situation where I could have walked in now to an opportunity to compete for the next however many years."
But the 30-year-old Anthony said he is invigorated to work with a new team president in Phil Jackson and a new coach in Derek Fisher.
"It's a matter of me believing in the organization, believing in Phil," Anthony said. "I wanted to go somewhere where I can end my career."
The Mavs signed Nelson with the cap-room exception, giving him a salary of $2.73 million this season. Sources told ESPN's Marc Stein that Nelson signed a two-year deal with a player option to return to free agency next summer. His salary next season would be $2.86 million if Nelson opts to return to the Mavs.
"I feel like this team is really good," Nelson said Thursday on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. "I've been watching the Mavs from afar for my entire career. I admire what they've done over my 10 years and even before that. The organization, from everyone I know, is top of the line."
Nelson, 32, a one-time All-Star, spent the first 10 seasons of his career with the Orlando Magic before being waived on June 30. The Magic must pay Nelson $2 million this season, the guaranteed money from the final year in his deal with the Magic.
The 6-foot, 190-pound Nelson has career averages of 12.6 points and 5.4 assists per game. He averaged 12.1 points and 7.0 assists last season.
The Mavs plan to use Nelson as part of a three-man rotation at point guard along with Devin Harris and Raymond Felton, with those three players also seeing spot duty at shooting guard behind Monta Ellis.
Parsons, who left Houston to sign a three-year, $46 million deal with Dallas as a restricted free agent, took offense to former teammate Harden opining that Dwight Howard and Harden are the Rockets' stars and the rest of the roster is made up of role players.
"Dwight and I are the cornerstones of the Rockets," Harden said while appearing at a charity event in the Philippines, according to The Philippine Star. "The rest of the guys are role players or pieces that complete our team. We've lost some pieces and added some pieces.
"I think we'll be fine next season."
During an appearance on the "Jay Mohr Sports" show on Fox Sports Radio, Parsons reacted strongly when told what Harden reportedly said.
"That's a pretty ridiculous statement if he meant that," Parsons said. "That's part of the reason I wanted to go to Dallas, because I'm ready for that next step. I'm ready for a bigger role, and I'm ready for more leadership.
"If anybody should understand that, it's James, because he was in the same situation in Oklahoma City and then he got his chance to come to Houston and shine. I'm not real sure what that means."
Parsons, 25, averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game to help Houston win 54 games last season.
In Harden's third NBA season, he averaged 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists as Oklahoma City's third option behind Kevin Durant
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban posted a video to Instagram of him taking his first steps a day after having his right hip replaced.
24 hours after a total hip replacement taking my first steps. Why did I wait so long to do it !... http://t.co/ao9yOsW1qU
- Mark Cuban (@mcuban) July 24, 2014
This is the second total hip replacement that Cuban, 55, has undergone. He had his left hip replaced in 2007, months before participating in the ABC show "Dancing With the Stars."
Cuban suffers from osteoarthritis, a painful disease that affects millions. Osteoarthritis causes protective cartilage on the ends of bones to wear down over time. Cuban exercises on a regular basis, routinely conducting interviews from the StairMaster in the Mavericks' weight room before home games.
The Mavs could only offer Aminu, the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft, the veteran's minimum.
The 6-foot-9, 215-pound Aminu, 23, has averaged 6.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in four seasons for the Los Angeles Clippers and New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans. He averaged 7.2 points and 6.2 rebounds for New Orleans last season, when he was primarily a starter.
That comes straight from owner Mark Cuban, who offered an emphatic “no” when asked whether the Mavs would look to move Felton, who was acquired along with center Tyson Chandler in last month’s six-player trade with the New York Knicks.
“We like him and think he will have a great year,” Cuban told ESPNDallas.com via the Cyber Dust messaging app. “Do quote me on that.”
The Mavs envision Nelson, Felton and Devin Harris all getting significant playing time at point guard and some minutes at shooting guard behind Monta Ellis, as well.
Nobody, least of all Felton, denies that the nine-year veteran point guard is coming off a dreadful season in New York. Felton averaged a career-low 9.7 points and a near-career-low 5.6 assists for a disappointing Knicks team that failed to make the playoffs in the weak Eastern Conference.
Felton, who has averaged 13.1 points and 6.5 assists during his career, dealt with injury issues (a groin strain) and off-court problems (a divorce and arrest on gun charges) last season. He’s healthy now and hungry to prove himself again.
“Just to show everybody that I’ve still got it, I still can play,” Felton said on a recent conference call with Dallas reporters. “I still can play the game at this level. I still play as an elite point guard at this level. That’s just all.
“When you come off a season like I had last year, there’s always a point where you’ve got to prove yourself coming back the next season. And trust me, I look forward to it.”
So do the Mavs, Cuban insists.
The Mavs are on the verge of signing former Orlando Magic point guard Jameer Nelson using the $2.7 million cap-room exception, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports, giving Dallas three veteran point guards on the roster. (UPDATE: Nelson signed on Thursday.)
That style of play fits the Mavs' personnel, particularly with Ellis and prized free-agent addition Chandler Parsons manning the wings. Ellis and Parsons both ranked among the league’s top 20 in fast-break points last season, according to Synergy Sports stats. The Mavs have two big men in Tyson Chandler and Brandan Wright who can run and finish in transition. Power forward Dirk Nowitzki, 36, has never been known for his blazing speed, but he’s a lethal 3-point threat as a trailer in transition.
Nelson, who averaged 12.6 points and 5.4 assists during his decade in Orlando, provides an element Dallas’ other point guards lack with his perimeter shooting. That was a major need for the Mavs after they gave up Jose Calderon in the Tyson Chandler trade.
Nelson’s 3-point accuracy dipped under 35 percent in each of the past two seasons for the rebuilding Magic, but it should trend significantly upward with the Mavs, considering the quality of his looks should be much better with the attention defenses give to the Nowitzki-Ellis-Parsons trio. Nelson is a career 37.4 percent 3-point shooter and has shot better than 40 percent from long range in four seasons, the last coming in 2010-11, when the Orlando offense revolved around Dwight Howard.
It’d be far too optimistic to expect Nelson, 32, to put up the kind of numbers he posted during his lone All-Star season six years ago. But, in a complementary role as part of a point guard rotation, the Mavs can rightfully anticipate very good return on the limited investment they intend to make in the veteran point guard.
Sources told ESPN.com that Nelson and the Mavericks, barring an unforeseen snag, are on track to formalize a contract Thursday, when Nelson visits Dallas.
ESPN.com reported Tuesday that the Mavericks had arranged to fly Nelson into town for a face-to-face visit Thursday in the hopes of finalizing a deal via use of their $2.7 million room exception.
Dallas has been in the market for another veteran floor leader all summer to help fill the void created by Jose Calderon's exit in June. The Mavericks had to part with Calderon to reacquire center Tyson Chandler in a trade with the New York Knicks.
Dallas doesn’t have a backup for Dirk Nowitzki.Shawn Marion to power forward when the face of the franchise rested. The odds of Marion returning to Dallas are awfully slim at this point, but Chandler Parsons will play some power forward. Mavs officials have also mentioned that Brandan Wright will play more power forward than he has in the past few years.
Still, it’d be ideal to have a power forward with perimeter-shooting ability on the bench, giving the Mavs a backup for Nowitzki who wouldn’t force fundamental changes to the offense when he’s on the floor. That’s why a healthy Lewis would have been a good fit for the veteran’s minimum.
Some potential minimum-priced free agents who might be able to fill that role:
Charlie Villanueva: He was a disaster in Detroit after signing a five-year, $38 million contract, playing only 20 games in the final year of the deal last season. Maybe he’d benefit from a change of scenery. He’s 6-foot-11, 232 pounds, turns 30 next month and has career averages of 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. He shot a career-best 38.7 percent from 3-point range in 2010-11, his last relatively productive season.
Earl Clark: The 6-foot-10, 225-pound Clark has played for five teams since the Phoenix Suns selected him with the 14th overall pick in the 2009 draft. His best season came as a part-time starter for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012-13, when he averaged 7.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in 23.1 minutes per game. His career shooting percentages (40.4 from the floor, 33.1 from 3-point range) aren’t exactly appealing.
Antawn Jamison: It’s been more than a decade since Jamison’s one-season stint in Dallas, when he earned the Sixth Man of the Year award. At 38, Jamison might not have any gas left in the tank. He averaged only 3.8 points and 2.5 rebounds in 22 games last season for the Los Angeles Clippers before being traded to the Atlanta Hawks before the deadline. The Hawks waived him and Jamison didn’t get a job the rest of the season.
Al Harrington: At 34, the 6-foot-9 Harrington might be ready to make the transition to coaching after 16 seasons in the league. A career 35.2 percent 3-point shooter, Harrington averaged 6.6 points and 2.4 rebounds in 15 minutes per game for the Washington Wizards last season, playing in only 34 games.
"It came to our attention during Rashard Lewis' physical that he is in need of a medical procedure on his right knee," Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said in a statement released by the team. "We wish him all the best for a speedy recovery and continued success in his remarkable career."
Lewis signed a one-year contract for the veteran's minimum with the Mavs last week.
Agent Tony Dutt said they aren't certain yet about the severity of the injury or how long Lewis will be sidelined.
The Mavs signed the 34-year-old Lewis, a 16-year veteran, to back up Dirk Nowitzki at power forward. The two-time All-Star averaged 4.5 points and 1.8 rebounds in 16.2 minutes per game for the Miami Heat last season, primarily coming off the bench.
Felton pleaded guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a firearm. He admitted he knowingly had a large-capacity ammunition magazine and a semi-automatic pistol without a license.
"Are those charges true?" Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Larry Stephen asked.
"Yes, sir," Felton said, later adding in a soft voice: "I apologize. I realize what I did was wrong."
He was immediately sentenced to 500 hours of community service and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Rebold said Felton will be allowed to do the service outside New York.
If he complies, the case will be closed without jail time or probation.
"At this point, Raymond is looking forward to starting the next chapter of his life and focusing on success in Dallas," his lawyer, James Walden, said after court.
The Dallas Mavericks will host free agent Jameer Nelson on a recruiting visit Thursday, as part of ongoing negotiations with the former Orlando Magic point guard, according to sources close to the situation.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Mavericks are bringing Nelson to town in hopes of finally closing a deal with him, as Dallas continues to pursue a veteran point guard to help fill the void created by Jose Calderon's exit in June.
The Mavericks had to part with Calderon to reacquire center Tyson Chandler in a trade with the New York Knicks. Since then, they have been chasing Nelson and fellow veteran Mo Williams to give coach Rick Carlisle another trusted ballhandler.
Longtime Maverick Devin Harris is the projected starter at the point, after he landed a new, four-year deal worth more than $16 million this month. Newly acquired point guard Raymond Felton and second-year point guard Gal Mekel are also on Dallas' roster, but the Mavericks have made the signing of another point guard their priority, if they are to spend the $2.7 million room exception they still have at their disposal.