It was nothing short of a lovefest as the Mavs said goodbye – via the media – to point guard Deron Williams, center Andrew Bogut and forward Justin Anderson.
Bogut and Anderson were traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for center Nerlens Noel on Thursday, the same day the Mavs waived Williams. The aftermath all played out like one of those moments when parents watch their kid go off to college.
“I’ve talked a lot the last 24 hours about all those guys and what they meant to us,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I’m always sad to see guys go that are good players, but you’ve got to trade good players to get good players.
I’m always sad to see guys go that are good players, but you’ve got to trade good players to get good players.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle
“With Williams and Bogut, they deserved an opportunity to go with a team that they wanted to at this point in their careers. The trade with Anderson and Noel will be a good trade for both teams, I believe.”
Forward Dirk Nowitzki spoke about the difficulties of seeing teammates he had a close-knit bond with get traded or waived.
“Obviously it’s always disappointing to see teammates go,” he said. “I thought D-Will was great for us.
“Last year he probably was our best player and this year he had some injury problems, but he battled back. You hate to see Bogut go, but in this league there are decisions made and sometimes business decisions are tough.”
While that may be true, Williams and Anderson took to social media to express their gratitude to the Mavs.
“These last two years in Dallas have meant so much,” Williams wrote on his Instagram account. “I am grateful to the organization for giving me the honor of playing for my hometown team.
“Thanks to the coaches, staff, my teammates and the fans for supporting me and making this such a great experience. On to next in God’s plan.”
Williams’ Instagram post included a photo of Dirk Nowitzki, Harrison Barnes, Wesley Matthews and Williams.
We lost some experienced guys, but we’re obviously hoping that Nerlens is a guy for the future.
Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki
Meanwhile, Anderson used his Twitter account to display his feelings about his year-and-a-half stay with the Mavs.
“To the Mavs organization and fans, thank you from the bottom of my heart for accepting me since the day you drafted me,” Anderson tweeted. “Very thankful for the opportunity and won’t forget the memories we made.
“Good luck the rest of the way.”
Noel will play tonight against the Pelicans
New Mavs center Nerlens Noel arrived in Dallas on Friday and will play in Saturday night’s home game against the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Mavs view Noel as the second coming of Tyson Chandler, a tall, aggressive and lanky center who helped guide Dallas to the 2011 NBA title.
“We lost some experienced guys, but we’re obviously hoping that Nerlens is a guy for the future,” forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “We’d love to keep him long-term and see how it goes here the next 26 [games], see how his health is.
“But he’s definitely somebody that brings the things that we need for this franchise, and is something you can build on. So we’ll wait and see how we all get along and play well together and hopefully stay healthy.”
Guard J.J. Barea returns next week from a left calf strain that has forced him to miss the last 14 games.
“I still think we have a dangerous team and a bunch of youth and athleticism around me,” Nowitzki said. “And that’s usually a good mix.”