The End of the Erick Dampier Era

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 13, 2010 under News, Roster Moves | 23 Comments to Read

UPDATE: The Mavs have confirmed the trade via press release.

Here’s what Donnie Nelson had to say about the deal: “We wish Erick, Eddie and Matt nothing but the very best.  They are consummate professionals that represented the Mavericks family with class and integrity.  We could not be more excited to add Tyson Chandler.  He is one of the most versatile big men in the league today.  He gives our front line a defensive, shot-blocking, athletic punch we haven’t had here in awhile.  Alexis Ajinca is a fine young center with significant upside.”


According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Mavs have traded Erick Dampier, Matt Carroll, and Eduardo Najera to the Charlotte Bobcats for Tyson Chandler and Alexis Ajinca. The chip has been traded, and while it’s not LeBron James, or Dwyane Wade, or Joe Johnson (or Al Jefferson, or Andre Iguodala, or…), the Mavs did trade Damp to fill a bit of a positional need.

This move isn’t a particularly good one, and it’s not going to thrust the Mavs into the title discussion. However, like the Ian Mahinmi signing, it stabilizes the frontcourt rotation and gives Dallas some depth in the middle. It’s important, but definitely underwhelming. Dampier’s contract was thought to be much more valuable than this.

If the Mavs could have picked up Chandler circa ’07-’08, when he was one of the game’s elite interior defenders and a Chris Paul sidekick? This would be a definite upgrade. Yet as it stands, it’s actually very debatable whether Chandler is better than Erick Dampier at all. Even gifting Chandler the advantage, it’s entirely possible that Damp’s contract, which was supposed to add a significant, long-term piece for the Mavs, could have no direct roster impact past next season. The Mavs may choose to let Tyson walk next summer, and for all of the hullabaloo, that’s awfully anticlimactic.

Plenty more to come on the Mavs’ “big” off-season move.

  • Skoogs

    ugh. Why does this feel worse than the possibility of waiving Dampier for the savings?

  • John

    I love this trade. Tyson Chandler when healthy could really compete with Haywood for minutes, and we washed our hands of Carrolls’ garbage contract. Plus, Chandler expires at the end of the season. Am I missing something?

  • John

    Not that this was the ideal situation that we all envisioned before the offseason began, but what other options did we really have?

  • Kirk Henderson

    @John the only thing you are missing is the inclusion of a long term piece, which makes sense. Chandler has been bad for 2 years now, hampered both by injury and the lack of chris paul who made him immeasurably better.

  • Skoogs

    Chandler’s numbers last year were Diop-tastic. But on the bright side, we get another French bigman, that’s two in two days! I’m not seeing this story reported anywhere else, Wondering if it’s even true…

  • Skoogs

    Breaking: Mavs trade for Tony Parker, Gelebale, and some more french dudes. We must have all our eggs in the Roddy Beaubois basket. I hope he pans out.

  • Chris

    I want to trust the front office and whatever kind of plans they have. It is, after all, their full time JOB to do these kinds of things in the offseason. I feel like I could even do a fairly good job with FA signings and trades if I spent even HALF of the time doing it that I spend looking at these articles while im at my real job… =D They have a lot of time and minds together figuring out what to do… Anyway, This looks to be a case of “wait and see” so I guess thats exactly what im going to do.

  • wacc_attack

    guys…let’s not hit the panic button. yes, this was NOT what we all envisioned and hoped for. chandler is not the savior of our franchise. he had injury problems the past two seasons. BUT, when he played with CP3 he was a menace. a beast. he punished us, and most of us coveted a player like him. that was TWO YEARS AGO. he is only 27. he was a pathetic shadow of his former self the past few years, in large part on account of no skilled PG to best complement his finishing abilities. well guess he has Jason Kidd to feed him. it will work out.

    and if it doesn’t? he is on an expiring deal. not a 3 year, 42MM behemoth which Jefferson would drag along (who had his own share of serious injury problems). if he works out, terrific. if not, he’s out of here and we have the firepower to pursue other targets next year–this time without being dragged down by Matt Carrol’s ridic contract.

  • wacc_attack

    not to mention that at his best he is one of the best rebounders in the league, and a solid defender with a finishing ability. not bad for a backup…

  • tcat75

    This trade is not nearly as simple as Damp for Chandler.

    First of all, Chandler has an expiring contract similar to Dampier’s. All indications appear that the Mavericks were not going to make an huge blockbuster move involving Dampier this summer, and were going to hang onto him while waiting for such a deal to appear.

    Instead of hanging onto Damp, they acquire Chandler, which can be debated whether he is better or not, but certainly has much more upside to have a great season than Dampier. Chandler could be great as a backup 5, or he could disappoint. Either way, he’s a BACKUP CENTER. In the long run, backup centers don’t effect your championship chances.

    The next thing is that the terrible contract of Matt Carroll is gotten rid of. This frees up some flexibility and saves some money. Najera’s contract is also traded away, so we now are saving money as well as freeing roster spots.

    Also, we acquire a young, talented center from France who needs some deveopement, but is projected to might turn into a very good player in the future. I’ve heard LaMarcus Aldridge as his ceiling, and that’s very good.

    Lastly, we will acquire a trade exception because of the deal. Don’t ask me how, I don’t totally understand this stuff, but I’ve heard from several people I trust that one will be created, I believe because we are trading Carroll’s contract.

    The point is, this gives the Mavs front office and lot more assets to work with. Now they have a couple young centers to dangle (Mahinmi and Ajinca), a trade exception, another trading chip similar to DUST, and more money to make such a move with.

  • wacc_attack

    @tcat75 and something tells me this is definitely targeted as a pre-trade deadline move. i hope.

  • Phil

    nice to see so many people contributing!

    Now, I’ll go with tcat75 (and John) concerning the trade [why so pessimistic Rob?]… First, we have to acknowledge that Jefferson wasn’t available anymore (“several sources” say the Utah deal is done) leaving us with the option of committing a lot of money (including the terrible carroll deal) or “just” cutting Damp and try to resign him.

    Now, the way Damp acted in the offseason and given his recent contributions, I’m quite happy to part ways with him. Chandler however is more active, has better hands and arguably plays better help-defense. Sure, he might miss 30 games next year, but IMO he’s an upgrade to Damp.

    As tcat75 already pointed out, we are rid of carroll and got an additional health-insurance in ajinca.

    Finally, we’re deeper,more agile and financially more flexible than before! Given the circumstances this was a good trade!

    P.S.: To add to the discussion, apparently the Mavs try to sign Al Harington for the full MLE…

  • Kirk Henderson

    Mavs starting 5 and bench… Kidd, Butler, Marion, Dirk, Haywood with Roddy, Terry, Chandler and (possibly) Al Harrington coming off the bench. That’s just weird. And no, I’m not forgetting Barea, I’m willfully ignoring his contribution because he’s not a long term solution to anything.

    Not bad, just weird. And old, but that doesn’t concern me until playoff time.

    Are we stocking up assets to make a run at CP3?

  • tcat75

    I don’t think CP3 is out of the question for a trade deadline deal. I’d also keep my eye on Danny Granger. Of course, Iggy might also be available.

  • wacc_attack

    a refreshing bit of love from the mavs_h8r_4_life himself, dr. hollinger:

    As for Dallas, I thought it was a better deal than they’ve been given credit for. Look, we all want our team to hit a home run, but sometimes it’s just as important to keep hitting singles.

    And for once, the Mavericks stopped swinging for the fences and made a sensible deal that greases the skids for further ones down the road. By trading Dampier’s non-guaranteed contract, along with Carroll and Najera, to Charlotte for Chandler, the Mavs greatly improved their financial flexibility going forward, and did little harm to their prospects in the short term.

    First, however, we have to discuss the alternative: Dallas could have gone for the home run and traded Dampier, along with two first-round picks, to Minnesota for Al Jefferson. This would have been a classic Mavs move, akin to recent trades for Jason Kidd, Caron Butler and Shawn Marion, but the pieces didn’t fit. Jefferson and Dirk Nowitzki would have been terrible partners on the defensive end, and offensively Jefferson was never going to get the rock enough in the post with all the scoring-minded players around him.

    What Dallas really needs to vault itself to elite status is a first-rate perimeter player; at the moment the Mavs man those positions with several 30-something former stars but no current ones. With none available to be had with the Dampier contract, they did the next best thing.

    By adding Chandler, the Mavs retain the rights to a top defensive center. Additionally, he has a $12 million expiring contract, which gives the Mavs maximum flexibility to pursue other trades during the course of the season. No, it isn’t quite as alluring as being able to waive Dampier and cleaning the books entirely, but it’s a useful asset.

    Additionally, two other factors have been underrated. First, dumping Carroll and Najera helps the Mavs’ flexibility going forward by subtracting $6.5 million in dead weight from the 2011-12 payroll. If somehow things go off the rails this year, Dallas could very easily get itself well under the cap next summer — words that have been rarely spoken around Big D in the Mark Cuban era.

    Second, the Mavs walk away with two trade exceptions worth a combined $6.4 million — enough to land a fairly good player if the right deal comes along.

    So it’s not the Pau Gasol trade. But it’s something. The Mavs have a top-notch defensive frontcourt with Chandler and Haywood, and they’ve left open a number of options for pursuing roster upgrades during the course of the season

  • Texashnic

    @ kirk, Barea is on his way out i cant stand that little man. I agree we are goin after CP3 with this move maybe even luring Paul to us with Chandler… just think Tyson made paul look like an Allstar as well.

  • Richard

    This trade comes down an important but underrated skill in comparing the two centers:
    Catching passes

  • Kirk Henderson

    My question is who sets screens this year? Damp was damn good at them and both our centers now have a tendency for sliding thier feet and getting caused for moving screens.

  • tcat75

    So when Haywood would sub in for Dampier, we wouldn’t run the pick and roll?

    Any center who has ever started in the NBA has to ability to set a solid pick. Dampier did it better than others, but Haywood can set picks, as can Chandler. Maybe they won’t create quite as much space, or there will be a few more moving picks called, but I wouldn’t worry too much about our pick setting.

  • TCopp

    “Even gifting Chandler the advantage, it’s entirely possible that Damp’s contract, which was supposed to add a significant, long-term piece for the Mavs, could have no direct roster impact past next season. ”

    Thank goodness. Al Jefferson too costly. Al Harrington too costly. In picking up Chandler, they filled a need this year, while maintaining future flexibility. Throw in the two moderate trade exceptions and it’s hard to fault Mav’s brass for this move.

    Even sillier than fussing at this move would have been entertaining the expectation that some team was going to gift us a proven young talent, which often costs very little if they’re still bound by their rookie contract, for mere cap savings. On the eve of a new CBA, saving money isn’t as important as it was even a few years ago.

  • jeremy

    chandler can run the floor block shots rebound and finish he could also play the 4 a bit. but chandler and haywood gices you two guys who are essentially the same player that means you dont loose anything when the starter gets in foul trouble or when they play in the second unit . the main difference in their games is haywood is better in the post and chandler runs the floor better

  • JB

    After the Mavs won the championship, wonder if you'd like to do a post-mortem on some of the comments made in this article, like: “This move isn’t a particularly good one, and it’s not going to thrust the Mavs into the title discussion” and “ it’s actually very debatable whether Chandler is better than Erick Dampier at all. ”

  • Berliner

    how does it look now? haha