DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks held their annual media day extravaganza Monday afternoon at American Airlines Center as a prelude to the team's training camp. Following an off-season that saw All-Stars like Dwight Howard, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett changing teams and Chris Paul staying put in Los Angeles, the Mavs were shut out in their pursuit of the so-called 'big fish.' Again.
It is hard to imagine that is has already been three months since the NBA Finals saw the Miami Heat repeat as champions in a great series against the San Antonio Spurs. However, it feels like a different lifetime when the 2011 NBA champion Mavs were celebrating with a parade through the streets of downtown Dallas.
While the Mavs did fail to add a superstar to team with Nowitzki, they did completely makeover their roster from last season's squad that missed the playoffs for the first time since 2000. Gone from last year are Roddy Beaubois, O.J. Mayo, Elton Brand, Chris Kaman, Mike James and Darren Collison. Among the nine new faces on hand for the hoards of local press to photograph and chat up were guards Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon and center Samuel Dalembert.
The basic setup of the day has players down on the Mavs practice court beneath the Old No. 7 Club maneuvering between four different photograph stations for very media entities and the team's own curtained-off area. Each player is available for one-on-one interviews, with the exceptions being Nowitzki, Ellis and Calderon, who along with head coach Rick Carlisle, held their own press conferences upstairs in the interview room.
Topics hit during the mostly laid-back pressers included Ellis hoping to drive the basket more than he did last season with the Bucks and play what he dubbed 'Monta basketball,' Carlisle having the challenge of yet another brand new roster and Dirk being a new dad. In between there was the talk of the most important aspect of the team's success: Dirk's health.
“Going into camp, I did a lot of work. I started working out in May, probably the earliest for a long, long time. Hopefully I’ll feel good going into the season and I can stay injury-free," Nowitzki said. "But I feel now better than I have at any point last year, so I think that’s very encouraging to myself, it’s very important also from a mental standpoint and hopefully I can show it.”
The Mavs open the regular season at home against the Atlanta Hawks on Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m. The first opportunity for fans to see the Mavs will be Oct. 4 at the team's annual free fan fest, Mavstoberfest taking place at the AAC with doors opening at 4 p.m.
For further information and to purchase tickets, visit mavs.com.
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