The Mavs are in a funny place. They’ve got a boat full of third wheels and mouths to feed, but the stone bird in the hand place isn’t worth two roster spots in the bush. Don’t argue, just nod.
Sixteen players, fifteen roster spots. Waiving Greg Buckner moved the Mavs one step closer to roster equilibrium, but that was the easy part. Parting ways with Buck was a no-brainer considering the savings involved, but unless the Mavs can find a trade partner willing to do a 2-for-1 swap, they’ll be paying a player’s full player salary for naught. No prospect, no practice squad filler, no D-League assignment, and no donut runner.
Most of the players are safe. The Dirks, JETs, and Kidds of the world hardly have to worry about being cut before training camp, and even the Tim Thomases and Matt Carrolls can sleep easy knowing their roster spots are likely safe. But if the league-imposed guillotine comes down to enforce the roster limit, there are three guys in particular that may want to consider alternative arrangements:
- Shawne Williams – one year, $2.4 million: Williams has long been out of the Mavs’ plans. Brought in as a gamble and a project for Rick Carlisle, Williams never cracked the playing rotation and only turned in a few solid efforts. Shawne has been held at arm’s length for some time with no clear indication of exactly when things went sour between him and the Mavs. But “personal reasons” is the new “back spasms” is the new “plantar fascitis” (I kid), and the team’s apparent lack of interest in Williams could never be more pertinent. If Carlisle, Nelson, and Cuban are convinced that they’ve seen all they need to from Williams (and that outcome seems likely), Shawne could be on his way out.
- Kris Humphries – two years, $6.1 million: Kris Humphries is one of the new kids, but his role on the team is certainly ambiguous. The Mavs have already filled their high-energy undersized big slot with a familiar face in James Singleton, and Drew Gooden and Shawn Marion would seemingly make all of Humphries’ skills redundant. Can Humphries defend centers? 82games.com seems to answer that question with a conclusive “Meh.” Humphries’ substantial price tag may be enough to keep him a Maverick (though only from some bizarre logic that keeping him forces validation, regardless of the fact the price is paid regardless)
- Nathan Jawai – one year, $736,420: Nathan Jawai is still a man of mystery, and Mark Cuban himself admitted in his chat with the Dallas Morning News that even he hasn’t had a chance to see Jawai and evaluate him properly. I can’t claim to be any more knowledgeable, as I admit that most of my insight into the Jawaibberwocky is based off of second-hand judgments and footage of limited game action. But his contract is slim and there’s no built-in obligation, making him easy to sever ties with.