Say Hello, Say Goodbye

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on February 21, 2013 under Commentary, Roster Moves | 2 Comments to Read

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The Mavericks were expected to be quiet as the deadline came. Despite that theory, it appeared that things might work out to where the Mavericks acquired Beno Udrih if a deal with Josh Smith and the Atlanta Hawks fell through. The Smith deal never panned out, but Udrih ended up being dealt as part of a six-player deal between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic. As the deadline was winding down, the Mavericks ended up striking a deal with the Atlanta Hawks. The Mavericks swapped veteran wing player Dahntay Jones in exchange for Anthony Morrow. “We want to thank Dahntay for what he brought to us,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.

After the deal was announced, Carlisle commented on his new player. “He’s one of the best shooters in the game and you can never too many shooters,” Carlisle said. Morrow, 27, averaged 5.2 points and 1.1 rebounds in 12.5 minutes per game in 24 appearances for the Hawks this season. He has had to miss a chunk of this season with a hip injury. For those who haven’t tracked Morrow, he was acquired by Atlanta from Brooklyn as part of a package for Joe Johnson. The Mavericks are interested in Morrow as he’s in the final year of his deal that pays him $4 million.

According to TV play-by-play voice of the Mavericks Mark Followill, the only rookie in NBA history to lead the league in 3-point shooting percentage is Morrow at .467 in 2008-09. Morrow’s career .425 3-point percentage is the 9th highest in league history (minimum 250 3-pointers made).

Morrow is a career .425 percent shooter from 3-point range. He fell out of favor in the Hawks’ rotation as Kyle Korver and John Jenkins provided Atlanta with strong perimeter shooting. “He was not playing much in Atlanta,” Carlisle continued. “Dahntay had not been playing much here lately. Maybe both guys will benefit from this trade and both teams will too. We’ll see. We’re happy to get him.”

Here were some tweetings from the Mavs universe:

President of basketball operations Donnie Nelson jokingly noted that he got an advanced scouting report on Morrow from his father, Don Nelson, who coached Morrow for two seasons in Golden State. What did Don tell his son? “He can shoot,” Nelson said. Nelson did get a little ambitious and made a comment that might have come out of his father’s playbook. Nelson called Anthony Morrow “one of the top stretch shooters maybe in the history of the league.” Though Morrow is a gifted shooter, it remains to be seen if he’s on the nose with that comment (the “maybe” does give him an out).

One thing that is a big plus for the Mavericks is the fact that Morrow has legit size as a scoring wing. At 6’5”, he fit nicely beside Mayo as a shooter with size. “I think he’s a wing player,” Carlisle said of Morrow. “It’s good to have another shooter behind Mayo that can give us some minutes there.” In a league where you need the ability to stretch the floor, you can never have too many shooters. There may be a concern about Morrow as his field goal percent and 3-point percentage declined each of his first four years in the league. That is where you expect Rick Carlisle’s influence to come into play. If the player has legitimate and consistent talent, Carlisle finds a way to restore a player’s game. It could be a scary situation for the opposition if you saw Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter and Anthony Morrow on the floor together at the same time.

Dahntay Jones was a solid backup player for the Mavericks. There were a variety of roles that he had to fill during his stint with the Mavericks. To his credit, he did everything that was asked of him as a player. After finding out about the news after a team meeting, Carlisle told reporters that he shook Dahntay’s hand, gave him a hug and thanked him. He had nothing but praise for Jones’ brief stint with the Mavericks. “We’ve enjoyed having him here. He left a very favorable impression on our franchise,” Carlisle said. “He’ll do well.”

It was apparent that Jones left a positive impression on his now former coach. “He’s a pro,” Carlisle continued on Jones. “He’s going to be successful wherever he goes. Atlanta’s got a good player, and we’ve got a guy we feel that can help us stretch the defense even more.”

It’s possible that the Mavericks made this move with an eye towards the future, but the fine print suggests that it will be difficult to keep Morrow in the mix. The Mavericks will have his Bird rights, but Morrow will count $7.6 million on the books this summer as a cap hold. That means that the Mavericks will likely want to renounce his rights in order to free up the most cap space heading into the summer. That means the advantage they would have if they wanted to retain him would immediately disappear.

The Mavericks essentially are giving Morrow a test drive for the remaining 29 games of the season. It’s a low risk, high reward kind of move. There was a fairly deep backcourt in Atlanta. While the Mavericks rely heavily on Mayo and Carter, they’ll want to ensure they don’t overwork someone like Carter, allowing Morrow to get time on the floor. This was a move that allowed the Mavericks to have their cake and eat it too. It appears they’re committed to trying to make the most of this run for the 8th seed. There’s 29 games to go and the Mavericks will have one new face joining the ranks as they try to make their push. One thing is certain, Morrow will be ready to shoot.

Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.