What Could Have Been

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 8, 2013 under Rumors | 2 Comments to Read

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Mark Cuban spoke on ESPN Dallas Radio 103.3 FM the day after the trade deadline. Of the numerous things he discussed, he mentioned that the Mavericks were close to landing a superstar. “It was crazy,” Cuban said the day after the deadline on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. “We thought we had a bunch of things done, literally a bunch of things done. We had teams get cold feet at the last minute. … Things that would have used cap room next year, would have had money next year, that were high-dollar guys, difference-maker guys.” Many people (sarcastic people) suggested that the players initials were BS (think about it and you’ll get it).

Reports today now suggest Cuban wasn’t fibbing. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported on Friday that the Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics were on the verge of a blockbuster deal at the trade deadline.

In a three-way deal that would’ve secured Josh Smith and surrendered Paul Pierce to Dallas, Atlanta wanted Boston’s first-round draft pick, too.

The Celtics were in talks to send Paul Pierce to Dallas at the trade deadline.

Dallas had constructed a package that included Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright and Dahntay Jones to Atlanta, with the Mavericks and Hawks exchanging positions in the 2013 NBA draft.

Nevertheless, Boston wouldn’t relent on the pick and the deal died on meeting-room grease boards in three cities.

Well, that’s something, isn’t it? Atlanta would have gotten the pieces they needed for a rebuilding project. Boston would have gotten a new superstar. The pieces on Dallas’ end don’t exactly match up in terms of finances, so other pieces would likely need to be involved in that suggested offer. It likely wouldn’t be pieces of a major consequence. Clearly Dallas and Atlanta were on board, but Boston was the team that put things to a halt. What would acquiring Paul Pierce mean to the Mavericks?

Acquiring Pierce is Mav-y move if there ever was one. For those who don’t remember, Dirk Nowitzki was selected 9th overall in the 1998 NBA Draft. Pierce was selected 10th overall. Vince Carter was the 5th overall pick in that draft. Man, that trio would be incredibly…old.

Over the years, Mark Cuban has consistently said that the team would be opportunistic when it comes to trades or any kind of acquisition. Pierce is due $15.3 million next year, the final year of his deal, but there was a condition to the final year of his deal. The number likely drops down to $5 million based on incentives, but it drops to that number if Pierce were cut before June 30.

Pierce would be a “have their cake and have it too” kind of acquisition. If it appears that the Mavericks were going to strike out on a free agent during the summer, Pierce could stay on board and easily be a top 3 player within the Mavericks’ rotation, health permitting. If they were able to acquire a superstar, they could dump Pierce before June 30 or find a trade partner that wanted to take advantage of those savings and kept Dallas’ plan in place.

An outside the box theory is stretching their window of cap space to its maximum time, the summer of 2014. Yes, the Mavericks will be under the cap again this coming summer but their books still have Dirk Nowitzki counting just under $23 million against their cap. In today’s new CBA world, having that much money count on your final number for just one player is a killer. Extending the window one more year and having a player of Pierce’s stature on the roster would keep the team relevant and poised to strike the following summer.

The “What If” game always leads to fun discussion. At 18.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game, it’s not like Pierce’s game has met father time just yet. It just goes to show that Cuban and company are incredibly creative and find ways to pull things out of thin air. The Mavericks stay quiet during the deadline because they feel it’ll hinder their chances to make a deal. Silence can be deafening for fans, but this just goes to show they were committed to trying to improve the team, and they were committed to taking on salary (even if had a creative out). Paul Pierce as a Maverick? That would have been something.

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.

  • Robbie Park

    Do we think that unrealized acquisition leads to continued basketball in late April or early May for Dallas?

    • http://twitter.com/josevsantos Jose Santos

      Possibly, but if you read the whole article it was about more than that. Mavs would’ve had an expensive roster for next season if Pierce stayed on board for Dirk’s swan song, or they would’ve been able to deal that creative option to another team to start the rebuilding this summer, as we are currently positioned to.