According to a report being generated by ESPN, and one that isn't exactly even citing sources, the Dallas Mavericks are listening to trade offers for Wesley Matthews.
According to Mavs owner Mark Cuban, in an on-the-record visit with DallasBasketball.com, the report is baloney.
"We are not listening to any Wes trade offers,'' Cuban tells DB.com.
The NBA trade market is heating up, with the Feb. 23 trade deadline on the horizon. The rumors -- good ones and bad ones, well-intentioned ones and sloppy ones -- simply come with the territory. ... Part of our job. Part of Cuban's job.
But in Cuban's mind, he's charged with a task just as important as making the right talent acquisitions. He's got to oversee the right "culture'' acquisitions, too.
That's one of the reasons Dallas views Wesley Matthews as a keeper.
"We want Wesley and HB (Harrison Barnes) to be here to develop young players and to support our culture,'' Cuban said.
With no disrespect to ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz (who issues the report via a podcast), NBA gossip represents one level of trying to understand what Dallas is doing. But knowing the weight Cuban gives to locker-room culture -- a culture long captained by Dirk Nowitzki, at its best when it was co-captained by Jason Kidd, and now hopefully in good hands with Dirk preparing to pass the baton to Barnes and Matthews -- that's a different level.
The Mavs are not in any way on the verge of unloading Matthews, though it's always worth noting that this is a never-say-never business. Maybe Cuban decides to turn everything upside-down around here if and when it becomes obvious to him that his 11-25 basketball team either a) isn't getting better record-wise and/or b) is better off being in the high lottery than being in the lower level of eight-seed "contenders.''
I believe we are going to see some realization of all this come into play as it regards a possible Andrew Bogut trade; Bogut himself has already uttered these "dirty'' words. (Story here.) I believe Deron Williams entered this season recognizing that this is a business (see my 1-on-1 with D-Will here) and that he's a trade-deadline name to watch, too.
But Matthews? The Mavs insist see him, at age 30 and averaging 16 points per game and as a defensive stopper still, as a building block. Not just a a player to be replaced by somebody younger, but as a leader to help guide all those "somebody youngers.''