Mavericks hope to be 'opportunistic' with trade deadline less than a month away

Posted Monday, Jan. 21, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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DALLAS -- With the NBA trade deadline less than a month away, expect the Dallas Mavericks to take their customary spot and be right in the thick of things.

But don't expect the Mavericks to make a trade unless an opportunity presents itself.

"I don't think we're going to rush into anything simply because the longer things go the more opportunities present themselves," owner Mark Cuban said. "We'll be opportunistic if we can, but it'll be interesting -- as some teams struggle and other teams get better -- just to see what goes on.

"We're not going to do something just to do something. Like we always are, we're going to be opportunistic."

Cuban's plan is to capitalize on teams looking to unload salaries as their playoff hopes vanish. Those, he said, are where the bargains lie.

"The higher the payroll, the longer the losing streak, the better the chance that something happens," Cuban said.

Cuban refused to identify what areas his team needs to patch up. But it's clear the Mavericks (18-24) need a rim protector, although they blocked seven shots in a 111-105 victory at the Orlando Magic to open the second half of the season Sunday.

"We're never going to limit ourselves to saying, 'We're trying to do A, B or C,'" Cuban said.

"We're just going to try to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. We'll definitely be wide open to possibilities."

The trade deadline is Feb. 21.

Center play

The center position, which has struggled numerous times this season, came up big for the Mavericks during Sunday's win over Orlando.

Chris Kaman started the game at center and finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, and was 5 of 11 from the field.

Elton Brand started the second half and finished with 14 points, six rebounds and two steals, and was 7 of 13 from the floor.

Coach Rick Carlisle played a hunch and started Brand in the second half, but also was pleased with the way Kaman responded after halftime.

"I thought he played one of his stronger segments of minutes," Carlisle said of Kaman. "It's just more proof of how important everybody is on this team, and it's got to be a tag-team deal."

Kaman and Brand are in their first season with the Mavericks, who have won five of their past six games. Plus, they've only played 15 games with Dirk Nowitzki, who missed the first 27 games after undergoing right knee surgery on Oct. 19.

"Kaman is familiar with how we do things now, so he's getting more comfortable," said Carlisle, whose team won't play again until they host San Antonio on Friday.

"Elton's showing some signs of doing some good things in the post, and his mid-range game the last three weeks has been terrific. We've got to build on all those things and stay the course and keep going."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter:@DwainPrice

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