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 Phoenix Suns have not made the playoffs over the last three seasons. That includes last season where they had the worst record in the entire Western Conference. They’re presently a team without a star, that really doesn’t have a direction or vision on how to improve their situation. They’re a mess.
They do have two intriguing pieces in Goran Dragic and Marcin Gortat that could be of some use to the Mavs. Dragic likely appears the less realistic due to his contract. Dallas already had hesitations about him as a point guard (which I still don’t exactly understand), so I’m guessing they wouldn’t want to bring him on under the deal that Phoenix signed him to. That leaves Marcin Gortat.
Back in the summer of 2009, Marcin Gortat was on a plane ride to Dallas to sign an offer sheet that the Mavs had presented him. He had verbally agreed to sign with the Mavs as a restricted free agent. According to sources, the Mavs were willing to sign Gortat to a five-year deal worth the full mid-level exception. It was a strong offer, but Gortat had emerged as one of the league’s best backup big men as he came off the bench to replace Dwight Howard in Orlando.
It seemed like Gortat would be one his way to stay in Dallas, but Orlando decided to match the offer and keep Gortat. The move was a baffling one as it put the Magic further in the luxury tax and did so by spending money on the backup for your best player. They had already spent money on former Mav Brandon Bass. Their payroll blew up to a near $80 million and Orlando became an afterthought. We’ll never know what would have happened with Gortat that year as the Mavs ultimately made a deal with Charlotte and acquired a big man named Tyson Chandler.
Gortat was said to be “very disappointed” to stay with the Magic as he wanted the opportunity for the starting job with the Mavs. Just over a year later, Gortat was shipped away to Phoenix. Things clearly haven’t worked there for him since Steve Nash left to go to the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s been unhappy about his lack of touches and the fact that they’re not a winning team.
They already have two first round picks (5th and 30th), but maybe a third won’t necessarily be a bad thing for them. Dallas could draft a player for them at 13 and potentially offer Shawn Marion in exchange for Gortat. Phoenix would be taking on more money but they would have a former player come back who was loved in the area and have another asset in a first round pick. According to the Arizona Republic, general manager Ryan McDonough said if the right guy is available beyond the team’s original fifth overall pick, they’ll consider moving back into the first-round to take him. The pick the Mavs have at 13 could be something that could actually end up interesting the Suns.
While he’s still not your prototypical big man in the sense you throw the ball down to him on the low block and let him work, or that he’s not a defensive anchor, he can still be an asset due to his size. Gortat is a capable rebounder and still one of the best screen and roll big men in the league. If you pair him with a strong facilitator at the point guard position and have Nowitzki drawing coverage, you’re opening up a lot of angles on offense.
Gortat would also be a one-year investment with the opportunity to extend as you would have his Bird Rights as he enters the final year of his deal this coming season at $7,723,280. Whenever Phoenix has come into town and Gortat has been successful, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle will continue to state the fact that it just goes to show that they were right back during that summer when they tried to acquire him. It might not be so far-fetched that they try to acquire him again this summer. At the very least, they’re one year away from looking at him again in free agency.
Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He also attended Ball So Hard University, studying ideologies of Clark Kent. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.