By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
"Look, I wasn't backing it up at all, and [Nellie] challenged me," Finley told the TNT analysts following that Suns game. "I took it personal, and now I'm trying to lead this team in the right direction. I wanna do whatever it takes for this team to be a winner."
He is, among many things, a class act, and it's good for you and the Mavericks that he is. Because, despite the condemnation of his recent play, there is no doubt that Dallas will need him come playoff time, need his leadership and his experience and, yes, even his jump shot. They'll need him to forget about how a lot of people around here wanted to toss him out with the morning garbage. They'll need him to do what he's always done--be a team player and give a strong effort. They'll need him to be a pro.
Players get older and their skills erode, that's true. And it may also be true that Finley's days in Dallas are numbered, because if they're willing to call him out in public, then they'd be willing to ship him off to Portland or Atlanta or wherever else if the price is right.
For now, though, for this season, Dallas could do a lot worse. For now, the Mavs and the fans and the media should remember that. Because Finley is valuable--which is exactly what Cuban said. Sorta.