According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the possible three-team deal that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers is now dead, and Lamar Odom — who was set to go to New Orleans as a part of the transaction — will instead be sent to Dallas in exchange for the traded player exception created by Dallas in the Tyson Chandler deal. Or, in a less convoluted way: the Mavs have turned the inevitable, gainless departure of a prized free agent into the reigning Sixth Man of the Year.
No matter how you slice or dice that transaction, you’ll arrive at the same conclusion: that’s a hell of a move.
It’s the latest bit of evidence demonstrating Donnie Nelson’s management savvy, and an epitomical example of the “opportunistic” approach Mark Cuban has endorsed over the last decade. It doesn’t give the Mavericks exactly what they need, but it brings in a high-quality player at no actual operating cost, a maneuver that even the harshest critics will have a hard time dragging down. Odom is an incredible piece to be able to add without giving up any actual assets, and he’ll make the Mavs that much deeper, that much more versatile, that much better.
Welcome to Dallas, Lamar.
UPDATE: According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, Dallas will also be sending their 2012 first rounder (and possibly second rounder) to L.A. as part of the deal. Still a mighty fine exchange, even when considering the depth of next summer’s draft.
UPDATE II: According to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News, the first rounder the Mavs will surrender in the deal is top-20 protected, but is not restricted to the 2012 draft. Sefko writes that Dallas will have the option of surrendering their first rounder for any of the next six drafts, which somehow makes this trade even better.