1. TIM MACMAHON ON THE RISK OF LARRY SANDERS: Is he worth it for Dallas? This is such a challenging question, because it requires looking beyond basketball potential and into character issues. Sanders possesses the basketball skills to be a solid anchor in a struggling defense for a contract that's really quite reasonable given his skill set and the lack of quality big men in the NBA. But any player who gets into bar fights (and hurts his hands in the process) in the 21st century doesn't seem like a great fit for the Mavericks. Normally, I'm all in on younger players with red flags, mainly because I think the lack of youth on the roster is going to make the fall from grace really painful one day, but in the case of Sanders I just can't do it. Why? A somewhat irrational reason: he was cited for animal cruelty for keeping his dogs tied up outside in the winter. That speaks to a basic lack of empathy and isn't someone I'd want associated with my team. That's just my opinion though.
2. HOOPSHABIT MAKES A BASIC ARGUMENT: It's time for Dallas to move on from Shawn Marion. I really hope the Matrix makes his intentions more clear as the off-season progresses, because it would really clear up any confusion the fanbase is feeling regarding Marion. On the one hand, he's a cornerstone in the championship team that will always hold an important part of our collective memory. On the other, he's been overused by Dallas to the point that he looked like a much worse player than he probably is by now. I suspect he's going to move on and that might happen quickly. It's disappointing, but understandable. Sometimes it's best to move on before things get ugly.
3. WHAT A WILD RIDE: Zach Harper tries to make sense of the wild, strange calls at the end of last night's Clippers-Thunder game. Sometime between 2009 and 2012, I made peace with my general hatred of NBA referees. They have to maintain order in a game dominated by guys doing things that don't always seem possible to the naked eye. As these playoffs have moved along, we can't seem to go two days without the referees becoming a focal point of the action. Over the course of a season the favorable and unfavorable calls seem to even out (Dallas fans may object, but we had a number of early season calls go our way, while we couldn't buy a late season call to save our lives), but when it comes to the playoffs these sorts of crazy moments leave a lasting impact on a series. I'm not sure what the answer is, but if the reffing overtakes what was an amazing game, the NBA has a problem.
4. POWER FORWARDS, ANYONE?: I found myself taking a look at the free agency list of power forwards. Finding a back up Dirk Nowitzki has to be one of the top goals for free agency this off-season. We all have our wish lists of potential finds, but plugging in Shawn Marion may no longer be an option and Dirk really needs to see his minutes per game sit under the 30 minute mark. I'd be interested in hearing who y'all think the Mavericks should try to pursue for this spot.
5. LOOKING BACK TO 2001: Gosh, this still gives me chills 13 years later. For you young folks, the Mavericks beat the Jazz in a best-of-five first round match up in 2001. They came back after losing the first two to rattle off three straight wins and a 17 point comeback. It was AMAZING.