Inside Report: Novak, Cardinal make 15-man roster
Both Steve Novak and Brian Cardinal have impressed the Mavericks enough to earn roster spots, writes Earl K. Sneed, after the team announced that Dee Brown and Adam Haluska were waived on Thursday to trim the roster to 15.
Perspective season ticket holders got an up-close-and-personal look at the 2010-11 Dallas Mavericks at the team's Thursday practice, getting the opportunity to sit and watch the squad prepare from the American Airlines Center stands.
The faithful supporters saw a squad that will be minus guards Dee Brown and Adam Haluska, after the two hopefuls were waived Thursday afternoon. But the fans also got a closer look at Brian Cardinal and Steve Novak, both of which earned roster spots with their play this preseason.
Though it was originally believed that the two veteran forwards were in competition with each other for the right to back up Dirk Nowitzki at the 4 spot, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said that both players proved their worth in exhibition play -- Cardinal with his tough-nosed defense and Novak with his long-range shooting.
"Right now, they both deserve to make the team based on how they played," Carlisle said with high regard for both Novak and Cardinal. "They both are a little bit different and they both are NBA players...I love both guys. They're both terrific players. They both have established themselves as having specific strengths and specific games. And they can both help us."
"Me and Brian aren't the same player," Novak echoed. "I think this preseason we've shown that we do enough for the team that's not the same and we're not a big enough overlap, so I would think there would be value in that...I think the people making the decisions definitely know what I do and what Brian does at this point."
Novak has averaged 7.2 points and 1.8 rebounds this preseason while also connecting on 41 percent from 3-point range. Cardinal has averaged 3.0 points and 2.6 rebounds, but has been a catalyst on the defensive end of the floor.
But news of making the team is just one personal goal accomplished for Novak. After spending two seasons apiece with the Houston Rockets and the L.A. Clippers, Novak entered training camp on a non-guaranteed contract. Now that he has earned a roster spot, the 6-foot-10 sharpshooter hopes to become a regular contributor to the team.
"There's no doubt that I think I fit well with the team and I think that it is a great organization. Playing with guys like Jason (Kidd), J.J. (Barea), Dirk and all those guys for me would be a perfect opportunity," Novak said.
Both Novak and Cardinal will have their opportunities to prove that the Mavericks' brass made the right decision keeping the two vets when the team wraps up the preseason at home against the Rockets on Friday night.
In the Mavericks' last exhibition test, Carlisle will be looking for his players to come out aggressively in hopes of establishing a home-court advantage before the season opener at home on Oct. 27 against the Charlotte Bobcats.
"We're looking to re-establish ourselves as a high, high level home-court team," Carlisle said. "Last year, the road was an emphasis and we were the best in the league. We've gotta continue to be great on the road, but we've gotta take care of the home court."
The Mavericks welcome the Rockets to the American Airlines Center Friday night in a matchup that will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT. The game will air locally on TXA 21. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at the American Airlines Center box office, on Mavs.com or by calling 214-747-MAVS (6287).
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