Earl K. Sneed reports from Day 2 of the Mavericks' training camp on Saturday, where the team looks to rally around defense despite the departures of Tyson Chandler and Dwane Casey.
DALLAS -- If the Dallas Mavericks have their way this upcoming season then not even a mass turnover of personnel is going to slow down the championship train which is coming full speed ahead to an NBA city near you.
Saturday, just before the team's second practice of the young training camp, the Mavericks announced the acquisition of guard Andy Rautins from the New York Knicks as well as a protected 2012 second-round draft pick from Washington, sending back center Tyson Chandler along with the draft rights to Ahmad Nivins and Giorgos Printezis to the Big Apple while the Wizards receive big man Ronny Turiaf, a 2013 second-round pick and cash considerations from the Knicks, which was accompanied by a 2012 second-round pick from the Mavs.
The loss of Chandler, the spark plug that Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle often credited as the "heart and soul" of last season's defensive-oriented lineup, is just the latest in a series of departures, joining the free-agent signing of forward Caron Butler with the Los Angeles Clippers, the likely loss of free-agent guard J.J. Barea and the migration of former assistant and defensive coordinator Dwane Casey -- now manning the head coaching controls for the Toronto Raptors.
But with assistant coach Monte Mathis now in charge of the defense, new addition Tony Brown joining Carlisle's staff and center Brendan Haywood prepared to fill the 7-foot void left by the loss of Chandler, the Mavs say that the train must keep on speeding forward if they are to repeat as NBA champions.
"We always say, 'Next man up.' That's what we said last year, that's what we have to do this year," Haywood said. "Next man up, somebody else isn't there, you have to step up and be prepared to step into their role."
Meanwhile, amid speculation that the Mavericks' front office is actively pursuing all possibilities -- from the signing of free agents to sign-and-trade scenarios in a blockbuster deal -- in order to fill out a full roster, Carlisle continued to work with 10 of the 11 players that are currently under contract and in camp, including new piece Brandan Wright but excluding swingman Rudy Fernandez as he continues to obtain a visa in order to leave Spain and join the team.
Still, once the roster is complete and the team is set for action when the Christmas Day season opener rolls around versus the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat, both the head coach and his players agree that the team will once again have to rely on the defensive intensity that carried the Mavericks to the apex of the basketball world in June. Yes, even without Chandler and Casey on the Mavs' sideline.
"[The defensive system] is gonna remain the same. We'll build flexibility into our defensive system based on our personnel and whatever changes or tweaks we have, but our basics are gonna remain the same for the most part," Carlisle explained.
"Well, our system is intact, and when you have your system intact, your core nucleus is intact, then you've got a good start," Mavericks guard Jason Terry added. "Us, the pieces that come in, they're just gonna have to fit in. With the guys that we do have, we're scrappy, we depend on our defense, and that's how we're gonna win ball games."
Single-game tickets are on sale and available at the American Airlines Center North Box Office, online at mavs.com, via phone by calling 214-747-MAVS or 1-800-4NBA-TIX and all Ticketmaster outlets (Fiesta Grocery Stores, Wal-Mart, Simon Mall in Garland and the Shops at Willow Bend in Plano).
Rivalry Pack: Aside from being a season ticket holder, the only way for Mavs fans to attend the home opener against the Miami Heat or either of the two Los Angeles Lakers games is through the Rivalry Pack. Tickets to the Dec. 25 game vs. the Miami Heat and the Feb.22 and March 21 games vs. the Los Angeles Lakers can be purchased as part of a three-game package that includes one (1) of the three premium games and two (2) additional regular season games.
RPL Nights: RPL Nights return for the sixth season and will feature special discounted tickets for 10 pre-selected games. Tickets normally priced $9 will be $2, $15 will be $10, $31 will be $20 and $42 will be $32.
Tickets to the Mavs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder preseason game will also be available for purchase Saturday.
The Mavericks open up regular season play Dec. 25 vs. the Miami Heat (1:30 p.m.), with the regular season finale is set for April 20 vs. the Golden State (7:30 p.m.).