In an NBA minute, just like that, we welcome my brother Mr. Nowitzki to Club 29K. And just like that, we welcome our newest Maverick, my fellow draft classmate, David Lee. Things can change just like that in this league. You have to remember, it's typically not personal, it's just the nature of the business. Trades and waives happen all the time; it is a part of the game. I understand that firsthand.
I recall when I got traded back in 2006 from Toronto to Milwaukee for T.J. Ford. At the time, I didn't like at all. I was confused and upset for the simple fact that I was blindsided by it. I didn't see it coming. Had I seen it coming or was properly notified - maybe if I'd received a call from the GM - I would have felt different about the situation. It came out of nowhere for me, and the way it went down was crazy. One of my brothers found out about it first from a mutual friend. I immediately called my agent and even he was like 'no way.' Then 10 minutes later he called me back saying, 'You've just been traded.' Huh? Say what? I was speechless. I'd just had a solid rookie season and I just got traded...just like that...why? But it happens, 'just like that' sometimes. You have to try to remain positive and not freak out. You gotta keep in mind, this also creates new opportunity and a new chapter, which, in some cases, is needed for the parties involved. And when one team doesn't want you, you better hope that another team does. You just need one team to see something that the other doesn't. The beauty of opportunity. Nonetheless, it is still a privilege and blessing to play in this league. I consider myself very much fortunate...11 years and counting. But enough about that...how about the Big Germ!
Welcome Dirk to the 29,000 points list. I can't speak enough about this man. In my two short years with the Mavericks, it feels like I've been watching Dirk up close for a lifetime. There is so much that I have learned from him, on and off the court. Even though I'm an 11-year NBA veteran and have seen a lot of things in this league, to me, Dirk goes down in history as one of the best big scorers EVER. No disrespect to some of the other big legends, but Dirk is so offensively skilled and brings finesse to his game. This past Sunday night, against Philadelphia, he slid past 29,000 career points (mind you with a classic Dirk 3-pointer, a solid pump-fake). And best of all, we got the win, which made the moment in history that much sweeter. Dirk has earned himself a spot alongside a rare list of legends: Wilt Chamberlain (31,419), Michael Jordan (32,292), Kobe Bryant (33,268), Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387). That is a phenomenal accomplishment to add to his notable career. And you can't forget winning an MVP award and an NBA championship. Dirk, I salute you my brother. Respect.
It's official! David Lee is now one of us...Dallas Mavericks.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Now, lets talk about the new Mavs. David Lee, I welcome you. David is such a great pick up for the squad, a true quality veteran player. He is a proven winner that can play both the 4 and 5 positions. At one point, he was a 2-time All-Star and All-NBA Team member, plus you can't forget his contribution to last year's NBA championship Golden State Warriors...solid resume. He will immediately be able to help us in rebounding and provide an inside presence. I'm glad to have him on our roster.
And with every bright side comes a dark side. It's great to say hello to David, but I hate to say goodbye to John Jenkins. John is a class act, a great teammate and such an efficient scorer. I'm sure it wasn't easy for upper management and the coaching staff to make that decision. That could very well have been me. Like I said, it's the nature of business. I could easily have been the one getting that call, but I'm grateful how things worked out.
I want to do everything in my power to help us win. I love this organization and I appreciate the guys on this staff that have always had my back...that includes Coach. Rick has been a very positive influence in my life. I'll never forget that. Since Day 1, this has always felt like home to me. If it all works out, I would love to retire here. I love Dallas that much. But everything happens for a reason and God knows best. I'll just continue to put in hard work and place the rest in God's hands. I want us to fight. I want us to win. I want us to get that championship ring! I must say, we're a good team, much better than our record. Like a lot of other teams, we have dealt with a few injuries here and there, and it hurts when we're not all 100%. We've also struggled to close out some key games. I believe I read somewhere that we lost three of our last four games that were decided by three points or fewer or in overtime. I know we're better than that thought. Our team is smart, deep, talented, and hungry. With this upcoming six-game, now five-game, home stand, we need to figure out ways to put away our opponents and not let the game go down to the wire. Coach is heavily emphasizing the second half of the game and closing out strong. By adding an NBA champion like David Lee, I think it will be a positive help overall.
We won the first of six home games this past Sunday, and now we play the second outing on Wednesday, hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder. And they're going to be coming in with a chip on their shoulder, especially since Oklahoma leads the season series 3-0. They will come at us tough, but we gotta protect home and win this! It makes a strong statement. We're fighting to get the best spot in the post-season. Every game counts.
I'll leave it at that. Let's all welcome Dirk and David. It's a privilege to play this game. Amen.
Thank you and sincerely,
Charlie Villanueva #believein #together
P.S. Deron Williams, Raymond Felton, Charlie Villanueva and now David Lee. It's crazy when you think about it: four of the first-round 2005 NBA Draft class picks are now all in Dallas :)