Don Nelson, Kelenna Azubuike and Global Plate Tectonics
What happens when you don’t play Kelenna Azubuike in the playoffs?
You get swept by the Thunder and start talking about global plate tectonics.
From The Fort Worth Star Telegram…
After going 36-30 during a lockout-shortened season, the No. 7 seed Mavericks were swept by Oklahoma City in the first round of the playoffs, only the second time Dallas has been swept in the postseason.
Thunder guard James Harden’s frequent forays to the basket showed that the Mavs must improve their perimeter and interior defense.
“We need to get better — that’s my only concern,” Nowitzki said. “As the Mavericks, usually we pride ourselves over the last decade not to play for the seventh seed or the eighth seed or just to make it into the playoffs.
“Our goal was always to be obviously one of the top four in the West, get home court and make a deep run.”
Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, Delonte West, Ian Mahinmi, Brian Cardinal and Yi Jianlian become unrestricted free agents on July 1. The Mavs also hold options on Brandan Wright, Vince Carter, Kelenna Azubuike and Lamar Odom.
Thus, Shawn Marion, Brendan Haywood, Rodrigue Beaubois, Dominique Jones and Nowitzki are the only players under contract for next season. The Mavericks might use their amnesty clause on Haywood’s contract, which would give them more salary cap space.
Because of the many nuances of the new collective bargaining agreement, owner Mark Cuban said he doesn’t have an off-season plan for free agency.
“It’s like anything else in life,” Nelson said. “You’ve got to have your A, B, C, D and E and so on, but you also understand that this is a global plate tectonic.
“Things are moving and situations are fluid. You go into it with eyes wide open and hopefully you can come out of it with what you want.”
The Mavs would love to corral New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams, who also becomes a free agent on July 1. Williams is from the Dallas suburb of The Colony and has stated that he would like to play for the Mavericks.
However the off-season shakes out, Nelson wants to make one thing clear.
“We don’t plan on putting out anything less than a championship-caliber team,” he said.
If Nelson wants to put together a championship-caliber team, he better accept the option on Kelenna Azubuikes’ contract. It’s that simple.
“It’s like anything else in life. You’ve got to have your A, B, C, D and E and so on, but you also understand that this is a global plate tectonic.” – Don Nelson