Monday, April 28, 2008

Dirk figures it's over

Dirk Nowitzky was quoted in this Dallas Morning News story as saying: "We just didn't have a great offensive series." Now that sounds like a man who considers this season over, but he's probably correct. In order for the Mavs to pull this Round One playoff series out, they must win three games in a row, two of them in New Orleans where they haven't won all year (and, yes, I've heard the argument that the Hornets had not won in Dallas in a decade until last night). But let's face it, the Mavericks have lost eight straight road playoff games and Hornets are simply a better team than the Mavericks.

Still, the Mavs could have, should have, looked better than they did last night and I'm still going to lay the blame at the feet of coach Avery Johnson. What was he thinking when he inserted J.J. Barea (playing for the first time in this series) and a barely mobile Jerry Stackhouse into the game in the second quarter when the Mavs were ahead by nine points. Two minutes later, the game was tied and the slide was in full tilt.

Is there anyone on this team that is "untouchable" after this disappointing season? Yes, unfortunately, Jason Kidd is because no other team is going to be foolish enough to absorb the $20 million he's due on the final year of his current contract. But right now the trade value on the rest of the players on this team, except for Dirk, has sunk so low that I don't know how we can get anything in return to bolster our hopes immediately.

So here are my suggestions. Fire Avery and get Larry Brown in here quickly. Then start trade negotiations with anyone who will listen. Tell other teams that everyone on this team is available for trades and then see what deals can be worked out for journeymen and high future draft choices. Yes, it will mean a few years of not appearing in the playoffs but it's time to get rid of these old guys and build with new young acquisitions through the draft and plan for a contender five, six years from now.

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