Burke: “Dallas was always number one”
Trey Burke has had quite the past two years or so. From being traded to the Mavericks in the Porzingis deal in 2018, followed by signing with the 76ers that offseason and then ending up back on the Mavericks this season in the bubble after being waived at the trade deadline.
Not to mention testing positive for COVID before entering the bubble.
It’s been a journey, but Burke finds himself a home in Dallas after signing a three-year deal this offseason.
“The system fits my game. I think, from personnel, to coaching, to the last person on the bench, I feel comfortable here,” Burke said of returning to Dallas.” I think the bubble experience kind of solidified that for me. When I left, I started thinking what was next for me, what type of situation I wanted to stay in or type of situation I wanted to go to and Dallas was always number one.”
Burke stepped into a huge role off the Mavs bench in the bubble and point blank earned himself a contract down in Orlando, whether that was going to be back with the Mavericks or elsewhere.
“I felt like Coach Carlisle, first and foremost, trusts in me. He believes in me and when you have a head coach that believes in you, I feel like that’s half the battle,” Burke said. “That was always comfort for me.”
With the loss of Seth Curry in the draft night trade with Philadelphia, bringing back Burke felt like a no-brainer and a huge resigning for Dallas’ rotation. Look for Burke to be a big contributor off the bench this season.
Johnson: “I didn’t see no backing down”
The consensus for the Mavericks offseason was the need to add toughness and James Johnson brings just that to Dallas.
“That’s not something you teach. That’s not something you can be coached on,” Johnson said of being tough. “That’s something you just gotta develop within yourself.”
Toughness is something Dallas lacked last season and team’s would certainly attempt to push and get aggressive with the Mavericks. For instance, in the first round against the Clippers, Marcus Morris made it is duty to harass Luka Doncic, but when watching from home, James Johnson saw no fear in the Mavericks.
“When I was watching games, I didn’t see no backing down. At all,” Johnson said of the Mavericks. “That’s what you need…if you have heart, that’s all you need.”
Following the instances with Morris and throughout the season watching Luka getting beat up and hacked, the thought of beefing up the Dallas bench definitely crossed fans minds, and obviously the team’s as well but again, Johnson doesn’t see the need to play bodyguard.
“I don’t think they needed an enforcer like me to come in and enforce stuff. Luka takes care of himself and that’s one of the things I respect about him, more than his game,” Johnson said of Doncic. “He’s able to stand up and fight for himself if needed but how the rest of the guys took that challenge on and accepted that and went to bat for Luka, that’s just part of who I am.”
But outside of being tough, Johnson is another veteran leader and voice for this Mavericks team. “From day one, he’s been very vocal. You can tell a leader is just who he is…to tell guys what they need to hear and not what they want to hear, we’re gonna need that from him all year,” Trey Burke on James Johnson.
A veteran leader and “enforcer” all in one? Like Josh Richardson, James Johnson is an joining the preseason race for fan favorite.
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