Outside the Box: Setting the Pace

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on June 10, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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This week, The Two Man Game will start looking at what the Mavs could do as another pivotal summer is upon them. Mark Cuban has said there are different ways or “permutations” to ensure the Mavs won’t have a failure of a summer if they are unable to land a big fish acquisition.

Dirk Nowitzki said Cuban is “all-in” on this summer, and committed to bringing the franchise back to where it belongs. There are traditional ways to do that but there are also outside the box ways of doing that. We’ll look at five potential angles the Mavs could work that would be considered outside the box.

The Indiana Pacers continued their development with their new core this season as they took the Miami Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals. They were able to do that without the services of Danny Granger. Granger missed the first half of this season with patellar tendinosis after undergoing a second injection to treat the injury back in October. He played for a brief stint of only five games back in February, only to see the injury flare up again. He ended up having surgery on the knee and was out for the remainder of the season.

The injury certainly hurt the Pacers but it allowed Paul George to take his game to the next level as he started to burst onto the scene against the Miami Heat. It now appears the Pacers have a trio in place that they would like to keep: Roy Hibbert, Paul George and David West. West will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

In addition to West, the Pacers will need to try to re-sign George and Lance Stephenson, who are schedule to become restricted free agents in 2014. They will also need to try to improve a bench that was clearly a weakness during the series against the Heat.

This might be a situation where Dallas can swoop in. If Shawn Marion decides to exercise his early termination option, he will be leaving just over $9 million on the table to test free agency. It is highly unlike that he will do that. It is possible that he will opt out to restructure towards an extension with the Mavs. If that is the case, that might slightly delay this opportunity, but the Mavs could offer Indiana Marion and take back Granger. If he decides to stick to his current deal, the Mavs could immediately deal him away in exchange for Granger.

The Pacers would be able to save some money as Granger is due just over $14 million in the final year of his deal next season. That money would give them a little more wiggle room to sign West to a deal. It would also give them a very valuable asset in Marion. What happened in Game 7 against the Heat? Paul George fouled out of the game as he had to defend LeBron James. There aren’t many better people in the league than Shawn Marion who could go at James on defense. He showed that he could do it in 2011.

The Mavs would be giving up a valuable asset in Marion by taking a chance on Granger. As a former All-Star, Most Improved Player and 17th pick of the 2005 Draft, Granger led the Pacers in scoring each of the previous five seasons before the 2012-13 season. This is a case where the Mavs would clearly need a clean bill of health from the doctors on him and then they could trust in their medical staff to ensure they can keep him healthy during the season.

In those previous five seasons where he led the Pacers in scoring, Granger’s scoring average never dipped below 18.7 points/game and rose as high as 25.8 points/game. He has the ability to stretch the floor, as well, as he’s a career 38.4 percent shooter from 3-point range. If healthy, Granger would be a very solid complimentary piece to Dirk Nowitzki.

While it would be a risk to bank on Granger’s knees, he’s still has the ability to be a dynamic scorer and provide a player who doesn’t rock the boat in the locker. There weren’t any known instances of him showing displeasure or angst about not being able to be out there on the floor to help his teammates. He was positive and supportive to his teammates. It is a moderate risk, but it is a risk that doesn’t have a lot of financial ramifications as Granger would be in the final year of his deal. If things work, they’ll have his Bird Rights when it comes to trying to bring him back.

While Indiana will be looking for ways to cut corners and save money in order to keep their new core intact, Dallas might provide them with an avenue to be able to have their cake and eat it too. There will be options like Granger out there on the market. Situations may play out to where he might be the most obtainable and possibly the best fit in terms of scoring perimeter players available via trade.

Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He also attended Ball So Hard University, studying ideologies of Clark Kent. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.