Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 14, 2009 under xOther | 9 Comments to Read

  • Kevin Arnovitz dotes a bit on Ahmad Nivins: “Ahmad Nivins looks like a pro player –  long, muscular, athletic, and coordinated. The but that usually follows this profile is … lacks fundamentals, or doesn’t have a post game. With Nivins, though, that doesn’t appear to be the case. He displays good footwork, moves around the floor with purpose, and is a beast on the boards. When you ask folks here why he dropped to No. 56 in the draft, you get a lot of shrugs, followed by a soft endorsement of his skills. He’s had a nice week thus far — 14 points and 6 rebounds per game on 51.6 percent shooting from the field. The only apparent drawback is that he looks waaaay too wound up on the court, and that intensity occasionally works against him.”
  • Kurt Helin of Forum Blue and Gold has some high praise for the other star of the Mavs’ summer league team: “For those of you who were high on Rodrigue Beaubois — You were right. Much better in person than expected. Absolutely lighting quick off the dribble, can shoot the three, and most impressively made really smart decisions. Not just me saying that, I was standing next to a front office guy (not Lakers) who was saying ‘We didn’t know he could shoot like that.’”
  • Brandon Bass in his new threads.
  • What did Otis Smith have to say about matching Gortat’s offer sheet?
  • And while we’re on a Magic-centric roll here: If you’re at all interested in following Brandon Bass in the future, I’d recommend starting here.
  • Yes, I do realize that Lamar Odom is still on the market, and that Mark Cuban threw Odom’s name out there in an interview with NBA TV.  He’s an incredible talent and a personal favorite of mine, but adding Odom would give the Mavs a whole lot of…something.  I’m not sure that something could ever be combined in an optimal way without some accompanying roster moves.  The available free agents and other trade candidates lack Odom’s intrigue and versatility, but I’d have serious concerns as to where the Mavs intend to find minutes for all of their forwards.  That said, Odom is a good enough player that if available for a reasonable price, you pull the trigger and worry about everything else later.
  • John Hollinger (Insider) reflects on The Gortat Incident: “When Dallas presented the offer sheet, Smith said he wanted all seven days to make up his mind and would have taken eight if he could have. But don’t believe him. He knew exactly what he was going to do all along. Every good team does — in preparation for free agency, it runs through all the scenarios of what another team might offer its players, and if so whether it would match. The Magic almost certainly knew on July 1 whether they were matching this deal; they just didn’t let everyone else in on the secret until today…it was a brilliant stroke, because it allowed them to get a second player at a discount price…By making Dallas believe that they wouldn’t match the offer for Gortat, they were able to throw the Mavs off the scent of Bass. At the time, the Mavs were thinking letting Bass go to the Magic would eliminate any chance of losing Gortat…Psych! This is Lucy pulling the football out from Charlie Brown, folks. Orlando created the impression that it was going to let Gortat leave, the Mavs fell for it hook, line and sinker, and as a result the Magic got to sign the player they coveted at power forward (Bass), in addition to keeping Gortat like they always knew they would…And in case you get any sneaky ideas, remember that Gortat can’t be traded until Dec. 15, can’t be traded without his consent for a full year, and can’t be traded to Dallas at all until next summer. So don’t think the Magic are holding Gortat for ransom — the rules on offer sheets are set up to avert those kinds of shenanigans. This is strictly a buy-and-hold maneuver…Meanwhile, the Mavs are left high and dry by today’s news. They had planned for Gortat to start at center and let Bass, last season’s primary frontcourt backup, leave because of it. Now Dallas has to scrounge through the free-agent leftovers because the Mavs basically lost two weeks waiting for the Magic to stick it to them. Wherever the Mavs go from here, they don’t look nearly as strong on paper as they would have if they had wrested Gortat from Orlando … especially since the Magic bluffed them out of Bass along the way. All that happy news I wrote last week about them rivaling San Antonio for second-best in the West is dripping in cold water right now; they still need frontcourt help and that’s the hardest help to find.”
  • Hollinger makes some salient points, including one that brought me to a particular conclusion: This wasn’t a last-minute back stab by the Magic, and history won’t remember it that way.  If Orlando is hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy next summer, the commentary will insist that Otis Smith pulled a fast one on good ol’ Donnie Nelson.  And he did.  As much as we’d like to cry shenanigans or claim underhandedness (myself included), there was no foul play here.  There was certainly some behavior to be frowned upon, but Smith found a way to have his cake, eat it took, and then move on to the Mavs’ piece.  That’s not the kind of thing that causes a shift in karma, but it certainly is the kind of thing that hangs over the heads of the entire Mavericks’ fan base.
  • Andrew

    I still say (*@$# those guys. Yeah, he pulled a fast one–yeah he was planning to all along. And you forgot that he also let the Mavs help him get something for Turkoglu. But I wonder if people won’t be as willing to trade with the Magic in the future.

  • Joe

    I think snagging Gortat was a good move on paper for Orlando, but it really makes no sense. How much trade value is Gortat really going to have come December 15th when he’s only getting about 18 minutes/game because the Magic are loaded at the 4 and 5? There simply aren’t enough minutes to go around for Gortat, Howard, Bass, Anderson, and Rashard Lewis (when he’s not playing the 3).

    And don’t forget the bad karma that Otis just brought on the Magic from the basketball gods for this move. I’m sure something terrible will happen to them at some point this year. Season-ending injury, maybe a trade that goes terribly wrong. Something will ruin their season. I don’t see a title headed their way.

    • http://www.thetwomangame.com Rob Mahoney

      @Joe: Ben Q. Rock of Third Quarter Collapse tweeted a reminder that this could actually be payback for Jameer Nelson’s injury against the Mavs this season. Just some food for thought if we’re going for the karma angle.

      @Brayden: I have no doubt the Mavs are shopping Humphries, but I have a hard time believing that anything they could get in a trade for Kris could be considered a “back-up plan.” It’d be nice to have some more guard depth, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

  • Chaz

    Sad to see Bass in that new uni.

  • Brayden

    Mark Stein just reported the following:

    “Before Orlando matched the offer sheet to Gortat, Dallas was aggressively shopping newly acquired Kris Humphries in search of another guard. And I’m told that hasn’t changed in spite of the Mavericks’ sudden need for size after losing Bass and missing out on Gortat.”

    Perhaps we still have some backup plans up our sleeves after all.

  • Max

    The bottom line is something(s) of value can be given up to obtain (now or in the future) an Okafor, a Stoudemire, a Kaman, a Brand… an Oden? You throw everything at the best player IMO.

  • benway37

    what everyone is overlooking is the fact that Orlando now has 2 players on their roster who have most definitely been rubbed the wrong way. You think Bass signs with Orlando if he knows about their plans for Gortat. And Gortat’s disappointment is well documented. So talking about the magic in the finals is a bit presumptive. Given that two of the big moves they have now made will result in disgruntled players on their front line, I would not be surprised to see them suffer this year.

    • http://www.thetwomangame.com Rob Mahoney

      @benway: That’s definitely an under-reported angle on this whole episode, but don’t discount the ability of winning to heal all wounds. If the Magic turn out to be a powerhouse (which they very well could be), some of these things could be forgiven and forgotten rather quickly. I’m sure both would still want more minutes, but if they’re getting paid and winning games, that’s something.

  • Brayden

    @Rob: By “back up plan,” I was assuming that if we are still shopping Humphries in the first place, that with our relative lack of frontcourt depth now without Gortat or Bass we would be either one of two things: a.) disturbingly unalarmed at the lack of depth we could face up front if we lost Humphries too or b.) that we were planning on making another deal or two with assets (MLE, players, etc) in addition to any Humphries deal for a guard that would help bring in at least one more player to shore up the frontcourt.

    Then again, when I made that assumption I wasn’t even thinking about Nivins. And I guess we can play small ball and move Marion to the 4. I hope that we don’t go that route though. I would like to see at least one more true big on this team (esp. if we trade Humphries). Small ball can be exciting but it never seems to have the last laugh.