Haywood Handed One-Game Suspension

Yeah, the Mavs' are a "family.'' So how do I explain the suspension of Brendan Haywood, announced moments before Mavs-at-Spurs tipoff? I explain it the way Michael Corleone once did: "Don't ever take sides with anyone against the Family again. Ever.''

OK, maybe I go too far in painting Big Wood as this team's "Fredo.'' He's been an underachiever and a bit of a knucklehead, not a weasel of a brother unworthy of the Corleone name. But Haywood did cross some line … and yes, this "suspension for a violation of team rules,'' announced by coach Rick Carlisle, is almost certainly about a knuckleheaded line crossing, maybe or maybe not stemming from Haywood's supplementary role as Tyson Chandler has continued to emerge as a different-level center.

All assumed that Haywood would be given the starting center job this summer when he re-signed with the club. That was a gesture meant to mollify Haywood after his infamous "I just work here'' pronouncement in the spring, a passive-aggressive statement about his unhappiness with minutes.

Is Haywood unhappy now? Probably. But again, as he is averaging 3.7 points and five rebounds per in his 19.5 minutes (while Chandler has become the foundation of the Dallas defense and is coming off a 17-point/18-rebound effort in the win at Oklahoma City) … he's got little to bitch about.

It's been pointed out that Haywood didn't get many minutes in OKC, but that was due to a reported "thigh injury'' – one that Haywood eventually returned from after being absent for most of the middle of the game.

The Mavs are missing something without a motivated Haywood tonight against the Spurs. And while the suspension will be lifted for Saturday back home against the Heat, we don't know how cooperative or motivated Big Wood might be. But either way, he's not in the building in San Antonio tonight, and the two Frenchmen have been elevated up the ladder: Ian Mahinmi will likely be the backup center and Alexis Ajinca has been activated for the game.

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