The league’s focus today was the trade deadline where quite a bit of the NBA landscape drastically changed around the Mavericks. For once, it was a quiet deadline for Dallas who is usually involved in most trade rumors or showing interest in big name players made available. That wasn’t the case this year due to the front office making salary cap space such a priority in order to make a run at still-New Jersey Net Deron Williams.
The heavily covered Dwight Howard saga ended with him agreeing to waive his early termination option, making him a member of the Orlando Magic for at least one more year. If not for signing the waiver, Howard would have likely been traded to the Nets to join forces with Williams. His decision indirectly benefited the Mavericks, as it increased the likelihood of Williams entering this summer as an unrestricted free agent.
Despite all of the trade deadline hoopla, there was an actual basketball game to play in Dallas against the Charlotte Bobcats on Thursday night. Most of the drama surrounding the game was whether or not Shawn Marion would play in spite of a balky knee, but that proved to be a non-issue.
“All that matters is I’m going to play,” Marion responded when asked if he would give it a go tonight. Marion went on to start and play 27 minutes.
What should have been a stress-free night for Dallas wasn’t so, as Charlotte shot extremely well in the first half to build a 13-point lead. The Bobcats came into tonight’s game with a 6-35 record, but Dallas’ cushy defense made their poor record irrelevant for most of the night.
If not for a red hot third quarter by Dirk Nowitzki (9 points in the frame and 25 for the night) to pull the Mavs ahead as well as a very Charlotte-esque second half by the Bobcats, another disheartening loss in a string of them after the All Star break was certainly in the cards. Thank goodness for the Mavs that Nowitzki is around to prevent such things.
Despite the win, the Mavericks didn’t escape completely unscathed as starting center Brendan Haywood left with a mild right knee sprain and will almost certainly miss some time. Sean Williams, recently sent down to the Mavericks D-League affiliate the Texas Legends, will be the logical option to fill any void left by an injured Haywood.
Still, despite the win and some good second half energy from the Mavericks, the recently passed trade deadline seemed to be a cloud hanging over the entire league for the majority of the day and night. The uncertainty over contract situations for many Mavericks has been at least partly to blame for Dallas’ recent slump. The trade deadline has come and gone, but the impending availability of Deron Williams the summer provides little relief to the doubt surrounding the roster.
The league-wide drama is over for now and the Mavericks are back on the winning track, but the defining moments of their season are just beginning.