On Monday, the players and coaches wrapped up for the 2013-14 season, including exit interviews for a handful of the key players. Here's what Donnie and Shawn Marion said, but in case you don't have time to read it all, here's a quick top 10 of what was said.
- When asked what it would take for Shawn to return to Dallas, he said "not much."
- On the other hand, he said winning another championship is the most important thing on his mind this offseason.
- I think the Mavericks would be happy to bring Marion back, but not for much more than the minimum. Other championship teams will be able to offer him a slightly sweeter deal, and I simply don't think it's very likely that he's suiting up with the team next September.
- Read our quoteboard with Dirk and Rick Carlisle, too!
- With the possible exception of Marion, though, Donnie Nelson made it clear that continuity is a big deal for the team this year. I except Vince and Devin to be back, for sure, and probably Blair and Sarge James.
- That's your six free agents, if you were wondering: Marion, Vince, Devin, Blair, Sarge and Dirk. One of them is a 100 percent lock to return, of course.
- The Mavericks and Devin wanted to sign a long-term deal last summer before the injury scrapped that. The feeling is still mutual. Devin said this is the first offseason he's going into fully healthy in a while, so he should be ready to go.
- And they'll need him to be ready, because with the parity in the Western Conference and there being 10 or 11 teams that would normally make the playoffs, Donnie said the first week is so important to not get off to a slow start.
- Marion said he plans on retiring and living in Dallas.
- Shawn said the media guys are awesome! Thanks for the shoutout, hombre.
Man, when the end comes, it comes quick. I'm really, really proud of these guys. I know our expectations were to go further, but the way they fought, the way they represented our franchise, I'm just really, really proud. It's an honor to share a locker room with those guys and we're going to make every effort to get those free agents that we do have back into a Maverick uniform next year.
On looking ahead to the summer
Clearly, the plan is to create a championship-caliber team. We've got some holes we need to fill. We're not a perfect team. But the heart that was poured out, which could have very easily been...you know. That's the best team in the league and we took them all the way to the end. It's a Finals-type atmosphere that we're playing in, just exceptionally proud and honored to share a locker room with those guys, and that being said, of course, we've got some different issues that we'll deal with over the course of the offseason.
On how big of a priority it is to get Dirk's deal down first
Dirk's not going anywhere. He's built this franchise, he's been with us since Day 1. Certainly, there's negotiations to take place, but he loves this city and he wants to call it his home. We certainly reciprocate those feelings, so our hope is that we'll get something done that's not only in Dirk's best interest, but also in the flexibility of the future Mavericks.
On whether they will be chasing big name free agents once again
Our priority is to look from within first, and just take care of the guys that have really taken care of us over the course of the years. With that being said, there are some free agents. At the right time, we'll take a look at those. We understand Dirk does need help. He needs a shot in the arm. Monta's been just a terrific addition, as has the rest of those guys in the locker room, but he [Dirk] can't do it alone like the old days. The middle ground is to get him the help he needs and also do the right thing by him and the career that he's had here in Dallas.
On whether there's a clear-cut plan A like the past couple of years
The free agent board isn't an exceptionally rich one. The following summer is certainly one some folks have circled. Look, the ultimate goal is to bring a championship here to Dallas as quickly as possible. We also respect those who have put us in this position. Those are the two things we've got to blend and we've got our work cut out because we've got six free agents that have given us our heart and soul, some of which are short term and some of which are long term. Mark made it public in the locker room last night that he'd like to have every single one of those guys back, but there's negotiation. There's opportunities for those guys to experience free agency and we're one of 30 teams in the NBA, so it's got to be right for both sides.
On having an early second-round draft pick
I don't know of any guys outside of the lottery that are going to be impact players, but it is a deep draft. The difference between the early 20's and the 40's -- I think most NBA guys have that kind of being the same pool of players. We're fairly well positioned with the 35th pick. It's almost like it has first round potential. Then of course, we have our later second round pick. We'll be aggressive as always, whether it's free agency or the draft, to put the best possible product on the floor next year.
On making Dirk the second best player on the floor
We've taken a step in the right direction with Monta, and he's really, especially in the playoffs, really taken a step forward. But we're looking for more. To win a championship, you have to have lots in that arsenal. Certainly Mark is willing and gracious to spend as much as it takes, he's proven that over the years. The reality is that you've got a cap, and you've got to work within some confinement. Having players that could perform at a high level at decent numbers has its place.
On Monta taking "quantum leaps" like Carlisle suggested
I'll tell you, we've just seen a gradual comfort with Monta over the course of the entire year. With the exception of the last game, and look, all of us wish we would have had that one back, he has shouldered a lot of the heavy lifting alongside Dirk. ... His outside shot is the one thing that I think, and he would agree that, to get that up, take the next level -- if he can make that mid-range jump shot on a consistent basis, I don't know how you guard him. Certainly, he and Devin, the way they open things up for us in the playoffs, was a big key to our success.
On signing Devin to a long-term deal
... We look to make Devin a long-term fixture in the Mavericks organization.
On whether the roster has to get better defensively
Well, we won a championship and we didn't the best individual defenders, and I think that's a credit to our head coach. He, I think, gets the absolutely best out of players, especially in their golden years. I think if we have this same cast or crew come lace 'em up next year, I'd feel real good about our chances.
On the parity in the West, is it more encouraging or more daunting
That's a great question, because you've heard it with the experts out there, we just don't if anyone can remember the West being this tight and tough from top to bottom. No, we know next year -- and this was a subject in a lot of our exit interviews -- was that we've got to be ready to go. That first week, you don't want to fall behind the eight-ball. If you do, it could ultimately cost you. Again, that lends to bringing more familiar faces back with Rick and the system. Again, we also understand you've got to have firepower in that arsenal in order to win championships. It's going to be an action-packed summer.
On what the team was able to accomplish this season
We accomplished a lot this season. We proved all the critics wrong, because they didn't pick us to do anything this season. We took the No. 1 team in the NBA to a seven-game playoff series, which was very exciting and intense. It was fun.
On what it'll take for you to return to the Mavericks
Not too much. This is a great city, the fans here are amazing. Even the media guys are awesome. It's a great environment, Mark and Donnie have built an amazing franchise here. It's like a family here. I'm going to weigh my options out, and we'll see what it's going to take for me to get that championship ring, too. I would love to add to the ring I have. But I'm going to retire here regardless, I'm going to be a Dallas local in the coming years. I'm going to make this my home.
On whether there's been any thought of going to Miami with Battier retiring
I don't know. I've actually never really experienced free agency. I'm in my 15th year in the league, and it's a weird feeling, I guess. I don't know, man, I'm not even thinking about that. When July 1st comes, I'll look into my options and wait and see which one is best suited for me to best to add to my legacy.
On whether a chance to win a championship is the top priority
Oh yeah, by far. It's not about the money now. ... We're [Dallas is] closer, we're not too far. But we've got a lot of guys here who are free agents again. It's going to be interesting. We've just got to weigh it out.
On how many more years he's going to play
I'm looking at maybe two. A couple more. Then I'm going to have to call it after that. ... I just think it'll be time. It's not just all about basketball now. I've got a son.
On whether he would consider taking a bench role
I think I can, it's just a matter of the situation. Right now, what I've done, I've had to make sacrifices to accomplish my dreams. I wouldn't mind having to do it again if I had to. It's just a matter of adjusting and getting your mind set for it.
On whether he sees him as a defense-first guy to finish his career
I think I'm able to do a little bit of everything. I'm not just going to label myself as one player. I'm a basketball player. I'm able to go out there and play basketball, and do what I can to help my team win.
On whether he hopes to see his jersey in the rafters of the AAC
I hope so. That'd be awesome. That's not for me to decide. That said, it was great bringing a championship to a city that well deserved it, and it was fun.