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Mavs see Chandler Parsons, Al-Farouq Aminu replacing Shawn Marion’s perimeter defense

As one of only two remaining members of the Dallas Mavericks’ 2011 NBA championship team during the ’13-14 campaign, versatile forward Shawn Marion took on plenty of responsibilities last season.

Teaming with 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, Marion helped lead the Mavericks back to the playoffs following a 49-33 run through the 82-game schedule. Marion then saw the Mavs challenge the eventual champion San Antonio Spurs for seven games in their first-round playoff series, setting the stage for the four-time All-Star and defensive spark plug to be in demand when he entered free agency following five seasons in Dallas.

Despite turning 36 years old on May 7, the aging Marion showed that he still has plenty left in the tank during his 15th season, averaging 10.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 steals in his 76 appearances. However, after Marion’s migration to the Cleveland Cavaliers this offseason, the Mavs will now try to replace what the 6-foot-7 veteran provided at the defensive end on a nightly basis.

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Tyson Chandler reflects on Mavs’ championship season

It’s was like waking up on Christmas morning for Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler when he received word on June 25 that he would be returning to the city where he helped bring an NBA title to during the 2010-11 season.

As the centerpiece in a six-player trade between the Mavericks and the New York Knicks on the eve of June’s NBA Draft, Chandler couldn’t wait to return to Dallas to take care of some unfinished business. And after an injured-riddled 2013-14 campaign with the Knicks, Chandler didn’t attempt to contain his excitement for the upcoming season during a recent radio interview while reminiscing over his lone season with the Mavs.

Last season, Chandler played in just 55 games and averaged 8.7 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks as the Knicks missed out on the playoffs. However, after tasting the ultimate success with the Mavericks, Chandler admits he’s eager spit out the sour taste of last season and get back on the court while trying to lift the Dallas franchise back to prominence.

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Mavs embrace brewing in-state rivalries with Spurs, Rockets

After seeing his team push the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs to the brink of elimination in the first round of last season’s playoffs, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban found himself in the unfavorable position of rooting for the in-state rivals in the NBA Finals.

Giving the Spurs their toughest test en route to the title, the Mavericks scratched and clawed against the eventual champions before falling in seven games. Cuban was then forced to choose between cheering on a Southwest Division foe or a team the Mavs have faced off against twice in the Finals in franchise history, the Miami Heat.

Squaring off against the Spurs in San Antonio for the season opener on Oct. 28, Cuban and the new-look Mavericks won’t have to wait long to see how they now measure up against the reigning titleholders. However, that Opening Night matchup is just the first of eight heavily-anticipated matchups the Mavs have scheduled with in-state foes this upcoming season as their budding rivalry with the Houston Rockets figures to be rekindled following the summer signing of 25-year-old small forward Chandler Parsons.

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Monta Ellis’ attacking style should benefit from addition of Tyson Chandler

Perhaps no one, not even Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban or coach Rick Carlisle, saw Monta Ellis having as great an impact as he ultimately did following his addition to the team last season.

Emerging as the Mavericks’ second-leading scorer, Ellis played in all 82 games for the second straight season. Ellis also averaged 19 points per game for the seventh straight season in his career, giving the Mavs a second go-to scorer to assist 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki on the offensive end.

But, after averaging 3.2 turnovers a game last season, Ellis figures to benefit from one of the Mavericks’ roster upgrades this summer.

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Rick Carlisle could be Mavs’ greatest asset this season

Engineering his team back into the playoffs from the sidelines and pushing the eventual champion San Antonio Spurs to the brink of elimination, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle once again showed why he’s so valuable to the organization last season.

Looking to spit the unsavory taste of a 41-41 record out of his mouth following the 2012-13 season, Carlisle went back to the drawing board to see what more he could do to lead the Mavericks back to the promise land. The outcome was a 49-33 season, setting up a first-round playoff matchup against the top-seeded Spurs.

Still, despite pushing the Spurs to seven games during their first-round playoff series, Carlisle took little satisfaction out of last season as he continues working towards helping the Mavs rekindle the championship form they displayed during the ’10-11 campaign.

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Mavs set their eyes once again on being 50-win team

Struggling through an up-and-down 41-41 campaign during the 2012-13 season while missing the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, the Dallas Mavericks began last season with two clear-cut goals: get 50 wins and return to the postseason.

Entering the final game of the ’13-14 schedule, the Mavericks had a chance to accomplish both goals after already clinching a playoff berth. However, after suffering a 106-105 overtime defeat on the road at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies on April 16, the Mavs finished just shy of that 50-win plateau while falling to the eighth seed to set up a first-round playoff matchup against the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs.

Now, despite pushing the Spurs to seven games before falling to the eventual champions, the Mavericks set their sights on unfinished business while striving to once again be a 50-win team.

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Who will emerge as Mavs’ sixth man after Vince Carter’s departure?

For each of the past seven NBA seasons, the Dallas Mavericks didn’t have to worry about who would assume the role of sixth man.

After starting for most of his first three seasons in Dallas, former Maverick Jason Terry slid to the bench during the 2007-08 schedule. The following season Terry won the league’s Sixth Man of the Year Award, averaging 19.6 points per game and supplying the Mavs with instant offense off the bench during the ’08-09 campaign.

When Terry migrated to Boston in free agency during the summer of 2012, eight-time All-Star Vince Carter quickly assumed the sixth-man responsibilities after previously accepting a bench role the season prior. Now, with Carter also departing Dallas in free agency during the summer to join the Southwest Division rival Memphis Grizzlies, the Mavs will again look for someone to step up in the second unit this upcoming season.

But who is ready for that responsibility?

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Bernard James’ strong play this summer led to his re-signing

Since entering the league as the 33rd overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Dallas Mavericks center Bernard James has had to fight for his spot on the roster.

As a second-round pick, James wasn’t assured a place on the team or playing time his rookie season. In Year 2, James was unfortunately waived before eventually being re-signed after the Mavericks didn’t pick up a team option in his contract. James then entered free agency this summer unsure where he would land before re-signing with the Mavs on Wednesday to a reported one-year, fully-guaranteed deal worth the veteran’s minimum.

It’s nothing new to James, who admits that he learned the art of survival to keep his NBA dream alive after serving six years in the Air Force and three tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar.

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Ivan Johnson hopes to resurrect his NBA career in Dallas

With two years of NBA experience already on his resume, big man Ivan Johnson will enter the Dallas Mavericks’ training camp later this month with no guarantees and a chip on his broad shoulders.

Known for his tenacious presence in the interior, Johnson will try to earn a spot on the regular-season roster by impressing the Mavericks’ brass in camp after signing a reported non-guaranteed contract with the team this summer. The 6-foot-8, 255-pounder will also attempt to show that he can expand his game after working tirelessly with Mavs coach Rick Carlisle to stretch his shooting range to behind the three-point arc.

But, even while trying to expand his offensive game, Johnson admits that if he does in fact make the team then it will be due to his defensive prowess. And with defense as his calling card, Johnson can already envision himself in a Mavericks uniform.

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