Before any alarm bells start going off, the Dallas Mavericks insist The Franchise is physically fit.
After Wednesday’s 93-85 loss to the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre, coach Rick Carlisle said there’s nothing physically wrong with forward Dirk Nowitzki. Carlisle added that the Mavs simply decided not to dress the 11-time All-Star so his 35-year-old body could have a rest.
The Mavericks had played 12 games in the first 20 days of the new year and felt things were getting too taxing for Nowitzki. In order to get ahead of the curve and protect their biggest investment, they held him out Wednesday.
“It’s a good thing for him,” Carlisle said. “A good thing to do for him, for the organization. And he needed a day to rest.”
With no Nowitzki, the Mavericks built a 34-13 lead late in the first quarter. But with no Nowitzki, getting in position for key baskets down the stretch became a problem as Toronto outscored Dallas 20-7 over the final 7:44.
“You miss a guy who teams pay so much attention to and obviously is a guy who can score big for you,” guard Devin Harris said. “But it’s no excuse for us. Obviously we had a chance to win the game, obviously we had the potential to win the game, obviously we didn’t play well enough to win the game.”
Carlisle agreed, saying: “We got off to a big lead without him, so that’s not an excuse.”
As the Mavs conclude their three-game road trip Friday night in Brooklyn, Carlisle said Nowitzki would be back in the lineup.
Forbes magazine released its annual findings and stated that the Mavericks are the eighth-most valuable team in the NBA, valued at $765 million. It’s a figure owner Mark Cuban said is “way too low. Way too low. I think we’re worth way over a billion dollars.”
Cuban said he received a call from Forbes before the article was printed asking him about his team’s value.
“Yeah, they called me, but I say I’m not going to say anything because it doesn’t really matter, it’s not for sale,” Cuban said. “I mean everything’s for sale, but it’s going to take $1 trillion.”
Cuban, who bought the Mavericks from Ross Perot Jr. on Jan. 4, 2000 for $285 million, hopes to keep the franchise in his family forever. Cuban, who has two young children, said: “I always tell the kids it’s their empire to [mess] up.”
Mavs recall Ledo
The Mavericks recalled rookie guard Ricky Ledo from the Texas Legends of the D-League.
Rick Carlisle said the move was done because the Mavericks didn’t know the status of center Samuel Dalembert, who injured his left shoulder in Monday in Cleveland. Since X-rays revealed that Dalembert only has a bruise — he played Wednesday in Toronto — Carlisle hasn’t decided what to do with Ledo.
“We hope that we can stay intact from a health standpoint, and if we do we may send him back [to the D-League],” Carlisle said. “But it’s been good having him around because he’s really become a worker and a professional.”