The Clothes Make the Man

Posted by Rob Mahoney on September 21, 2009 under News, Rumors | 5 Comments to Read

The official unveiling of the Mavs’ new alternate uniforms is later today, but the first look at the new duds may have leaked on the team’s online store:

(Image removed)
Image via the NBA Off-Season 2009 Tumblr.

Obviously this isn’t official as of yet, so stay tuned throughout the day for the official news regarding the jersey and such. But initial reaction: thumbs up.

EDIT: Mike Fisher has another possibility available, that looks strikingly similar to the Green unis. No word on which one is f’real as of yet, so stay frosty, people.

Image from Bild, via DallasBasketball.com.

EDIT, Redux: It’s been confirmed at the Mavs’ press conference, the second design is the new look.

Rumor Mongering: Bottom of the Barrel

Posted by Rob Mahoney on August 20, 2009 under Rumors | 12 Comments to Read

Doug Smith of The Star’s Raptors Blog:

According to a couple of league sources and I can’t corroborate this with any of my most trusted Toronto folks, Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo’s got another deal bubbling, one that would send guard Marcus Banks to the Dallas Mavericks for Matt Carroll…I’m warned — and therefore so are you — that the proposed transaction remains in its relative infancy and if this summer’s proven anything it’s that nothing’s done until it’s done…Banks? Well, Banks never really worked out after being obtained in the Shawn Marion trade last season. He hardly played, was mediocre when he did and then got hurt and missed about the last month of the season. He didn’t take the team’s suggestion and play in the summer league last month – although he was in Las Vegas to meet with the staff and work out – and the GM’s been trying to deal him for months.

The Mavs intentions seem purely financial, as Carroll’s deal extends two years longer (and $7.4 million over that span) than Banks’.  That I don’t mind, especially with the way Mark Cuban was willing to tack on extra payroll earlier in the summer.  I am a bit concerned by bringing in the illusion of a point guard, though; I have a history of being more confident in Banks than most, and I’ll still be the first to tell you that he isn’t worthy of a rotation spot.  He’s failed to live up to his potential at almost every turn in his career, and could muck up the point guard rotation by denying minutes to Rodrigue Beaubois.  Even if Banks is marginally better than Beaubois, the kid needs to get his reps.  I’ve got no qualms with Marcus Banks provided he doesn’t squeeze into the point guard rotation, but I’m still harboring the sneaking suspicion that he might.

Say It Ain’t So

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 10, 2009 under Rumors | 15 Comments to Read

FanHouse’s Tim Povtak with the latest logic-defying rumor from Magic land:

…Marcin Gortat has been hanging around the Orlando Pro Summer League this week, rubbing shoulders with various NBA people. And he doesn’t like what he’s been hearing. Gortat, a restricted free agent, was ecstatic earlier this week after signing an offer sheet worth $33 million over five years with the Dallas Mavericks, believing it was his ticket to both riches and a starting position in the NBA. Now he hears otherwise…”I have a feeling now they (Magic) are going to match it…That’s what I’m hearing, they will match. We’ll have to see, but I’m kind of down right now. Either way, I’ll end up on a pretty good team.” Although Gortat also could see time at power forward in Orlando — the Magic experimented last season with Gortat and Howard playing together — the signing of free agent power forward Brandon Bass on Friday would further limit his role. “I want to develop my game and become a better player,” he said. “I just don’t know if I’d be getting the same minutes to play here as in Dallas.” …Although Gortat’s contract would seem excessive for a backup, the Magic still view him as an asset, and there are plenty of teams looking for centers. They would have to wait at least 90 days before they could trade him. “I’ve said all along, I think the number (his contract) is a little high,” Smith said. “But that doesn’t change how we think. One thing (signing Bass) doesn’t have anything to do with the other (matching Gortat). I’m still working on a few other things, and until those transpire, it’s kind of premature to say what we’re going to do.”

Losing Gortat would be a huge blow to the Mavs’ busy off-season, and seems nonsensical from Orlando’s perspective.  This isn’t the biggest of markets, and investing $34 million in a back-up center after just signing another frontcourt player is ill-advised at best.  It could be a smokescreen, though I’m not really sure what the benefit would be.  That said, if Otis Smith is convinced he can get something in a trade for Gortat, he may end up having the last laugh at Dallas’ expense.

Eyes and Ears

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 8, 2009 under Roster Moves, Rumors | 5 Comments to Read

I hope everyone’s ready for some commotion, because things could be happening very fast in Mavs Land.

First, Eddie Sefko dropped a hint in his afternoon chat, even if he later claimed the Marion deal had a 50% probability of completion:

Well, I have it on good authority that the Mavericks think they are on the lip of the cup with the Marion stuff.

Next, Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski, one of the best in the biz as far as I’m concerned, is reporting that a sign-and-trade involving Stack and Marion is warming in the oven.

The Dallas Mavericks are close to acquiring Shawn Marion in a sign-and-trade deal with the Toronto Raptors, league sources said Wednesday. Jerry Stackhouse will be dealt to the Raptors, who will ship his contract to another team for considerations.

Woj also notes the involvement of a third team, which I still don’t understand.  Toronto can’t take back salary because of the lack of wiggle room with Hedo Turkoglu’s contract, so that means a team with cap space or a trade exception will likely be the recipient of Stack’s contract.  What’s in it for that third team is yet to be determined, but I’m anxious to see what enticed them to give this deal legs.

The involvement of a third team could also mean that Kris Humphries and Marcus Banks are not part of the deal, which would be an interesting development.

Clearing the Red Tape

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under Commentary, Roster Moves, Rumors | Read the First Comment

The Marion-to-the-Mavs rumors clearly aren’t ready to die, but there are some considerable snags.  Before the Mavs find success at the negotiating table or on the court, there are going to have to be some changes in approach.

As you, oh intelligent reader, probably already know, the Raptors are not able to sign Hedo Turkoglu until they renounce the free agent rights of Shawn Marion. The proposed deals coming from our end are centered around Jerry Stackhouse’s unguaranteed contract, but even his deal comes with a $2 million cap hold and an equal monetary commitment.  It’s not much in NBA terms, but it would be enough to step on Toronto’s toes; The extra $2 million would inch the Raptors closer to the salary cap and prevent them from signing Hedo to his proposed contract.

So essentially, the Mavs have two options, which could conceivably be used in conjunction with one another:

  1. The Mavs and the Raps re-work the deal to include another Toronto player, and said player would need to make at least $2 million in the 2009-2010 season.
  2. The Mavs and the Raps need to get a third team in on the trade, optimally with a trade exception or cap room.

It seems like a short list, but those two factors could very well kill any dreams of Marion in Maverick blue.

First, let’s look at the players on the Raps that could reasonably be included as throw-ins in the deal, as well as their salary obligations:

  • Forward Kris Humphries, $6.4 million over two years (player option for the second year)
  • Point guard Marcus Banks, $9.4 million over two years
  • Shooting guard Anthony Parker, unrestricted free agent who could be signed-and-traded
  • Forward Joey Graham, unrestricted free agent who could be signed-and-traded (Graham would be a base year compensation player and would need to be included with another player)

Not a long list, and not a particularly appetizing one.  The Raptors apparently want to get out from under the considerable weight that is Marcus Banks’ contract, but that’s a bit of an unnecessary strain on a team that looks to have pretty good cap flexibility from here on out.  It’s also a bit more damaging to a team over the luxury tax, which the Mavs are likely to be.  Still, it’s worth noting that if the Mavs’ are willing to take on Marion’s new contract, they’re likely ditching their plans to be actors in 2010 via straight up cap space.  Any plans on the big free agent market would come through Erick Dampier’s incentive-based contract, a latent prize that David Lord broke down earlier this week.  That means that taking on Banks’ deal would really only hurt the Mavs in the wallet.

Taking back Kris Humphries wouldn’t be ideal, but it’s a lighter blow to Cuban than Marcus Banks would be.  Then again, all of these proposed deals floating around are laced with a few assumptions: For one, that Marion would be willing to accept an offer substantially less than the one Toronto gave him (maybe starting at $6.5 mil).  Also, the Mavs would almost be required to include another player to make the numbers work, and Shawne Williams seems to be the only truly expendable candidate.  That first assumption in particular could be a giant leap of faith, given Marion’s deep-seeded desire to get those dolla dolla bills, and his storied insecurities as a player.  Those insecurities can be quelled with an over-sized check, a photo-op, and some back rubbing, but it’s in the Mavs’ best interest for the long-term to commit as little as possible to an aging Marion.  Bargains are the name of the game, and inking Shawn Marion to a deal starting around the $8 million/year mark the Raps offered would be a mistake.

Joey Graham is pretty much a non-option due to base year compensation rules (even if the Raps give him a deal to balance the $2 mil for Stack’s cap hold, he’d only be valued at his former contract’s price tag for trade purposes…making a trade with him much more difficult than it has to be.), but Anthony Parker is an intriguing option.  The Raptors (and likely Colangelo, in particular) are looking to do right by Marion and his agent, Dan Fegan.  It’d also be nice to shed some of the salary guaranteed to either Banks or Humphries.  But if the Raptors are truly interested in maintaining their business relationships with important agents, they might consider doing the same for Henry Thomas.  Thomas happens to be the agent for Anthony Parker and one Chris Bosh, with whom the Raptors are hoping to nurture a long-standing relationship into an even longer-standing contract next summer.  If we’re all trying to play nice here, the Raptors could conceivably include Parker in some kind of modified deal.  It makes the numbers a bit more complicated, but the returns from the Mavs’ perspective are even more valuable.

Naturally, that assumes that Parker actually wants to come to Dallas, which hasn’t even been rumored.  It also assumes that Parker would not be able to get a chunk of someone’s midlevel exception, a fact which we won’t know and can’t know until late in the summer.  The Raptors clearly need to get this deal done in a jiffy in order to finalize things with Hedo Turkoglu, and waiting for Parker and his Henry Thomas to get a read on the market would not be the way to facilitate that.  So while the incentives may be there for both teams to get Parker involved, it seems like a near impossibility.

If the Mavs and Raptors remain the only teams involved, it’s going to take a concession.  Either Cuban will have to bite the bullet and take Banks’ contract on the books, or the Raptors will need to take a back-seat in trade talks and make the deal for Marion’s sake.  Considering that their only real motivations for getting this deal done (sans shedding Marcus Banks) are professional courtesy, I’m not sure how willing the Raptors will be to play ball.  I guess we’ll find out in the next few days.

But that brings up another point that’s been bugging me: The much touted answer to the stalls in trade talks has been the proposed inclusion of a third team.  The Raptors clearly have some vested interest in getting Marion where he wants to go, but what incentive would a third party have in this equation?  The easiest solution to the numbers game is to get a third team involved, but what reason could the Mavs give them to stay on the phone?

Trade exceptions and cap space are both valuable commodities in the NBA, and it would take quite a few favors for another GM to forfeit that commodity for nothing.  If a third team took on a contract or two in the deal, what would they get in exchange?  Stack’s virtually expiring contract, which is $2 million more than they would have been paying otherwise?  A few second round picks, which could either bite the Mavs in the future or pan out as practically nothing?  The Mavs and Raptors would essentially be asking a third team to take on salary with little or nothing to show for it, while possibly sending something to the Raptors to make it worth their while.  For a GM, that’s somewhere between fiscally irresponsible and just plain dumb.  Just to make matters worse, four of the eight holders of trade exceptions are Western Conference rivals (Houston, L.A., Portland, Denver).  And as for the teams with cap space, I think it’s safe to say that Portland would be out of the equation, both for their vested interest in the Mavs staying right where they are and what could be some bitterness about Turkoglu’s bolt in the night.  Without those teams’ involvement, the potential for finding a third team willing to cooperate declines substantially.  The motivation isn’t there for a third team to get involved, so don’t expect a savior to come rushing in at the 25th hour to fly Marion to Dallas.  The logic just isn’t there without a major restructuring of this deal.

Stay frosty for an analysis of where Marion might fit on this team if he does find a way to Dallas.

Rumor Mongering: Red Pill or Blue Pill?

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 7, 2009 under Rumors | 10 Comments to Read

ESPN’s Marc Stein:

The Dallas Mavericks, after striking verbal agreements over the past few days to retain Jason Kidd and sign restricted free agent Marcin Gortat to an offer sheet, have identified their next target: Shawn Marion. The Mavericks and Toronto Raptors, according to NBA front-office sources, are in advanced discussions on a sign-and-trade deal that would bring Marion to Dallas. No trade appeared imminent Monday night, largely because this will be a difficult deal to complete without a third team to help make the salary-cap math work. But Dallas has emerged as the most determined suitor and perhaps the best option for Marion…If the Mavericks and Raptors can find a third team to help facilitate the trade, sources say that former All-Star guard Jerry Stackhouse will almost certainly be headed to the Raptors in the exchange. Stackhouse is scheduled to earn $7 million next season at age 34, but only $2 million of his salary is guaranteed as long as he is waived by Aug. 10. “For sure,” one source close to the process said of Stackhouse’s involvement. One big issue, though, is that even buying Stackhouse out for $2 million would force Toronto to shed $2 million somewhere else from its payroll to finance its Turkoglu signing.

Emphasis mine.  More to come.

Rumor Mongering: You Do the Math

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 4, 2009 under Rumors | 2 Comments to Read

Gary Tanguay of Comcast Sportsnet (via Celtics Blog):

Dallas has become the 5th team interested in Glen “Big Baby” Davis, along with Memphis, New York, San Antonio and Detroit. He wants to stay in Boston but the money may be to good to turn down.

[Dallas Mavericks - (Midlevel Exception) + $73 million in guaranteed contracts + commitments to a star power forward and two centers] < a suitable location for a rotation player likely looking for more money than he’s worth.

EDIT: Cuban personally gave this rumor the smack-down on Twitter: “contrary to reports, the Mavs are not pursuing Glenn Davis. Great player, but we like our guys”

Rumor Mongering: Start Spreading the News

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 3, 2009 under Rumors | 8 Comments to Read

Eric Pincus of HoopsWorld:

An informed source has told HOOPSWORLD that Jason Kidd intends to return to the Dallas Mavericks for a three-year, $24 million contract. Kidd has indicated to the Mavericks and New York Knicks that he’ll mull over their respective offers over the weekend.  The Knicks are said to be offering Jason a guaranteed three years at the Mid-Level Exception (MLE) which works out to be approximately $18.1 million. Barring a surprising change of events, Kidd is expected to notify the Dallas on Monday that he’ll take their offer which would start at approximately $7.25 million for the upcoming season…Expect the decision to be announced after the July 4th weekend.

This is a rumor.  That much should be known by the title of this post, and by the language that Pincus uses.  There may be some truth to it, and there may not.  But hey, it’s something, right?

Knockin’ on Brandon’s Door

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 1, 2009 under Rumors | Be the First to Comment

Brian Schmitz, of the Orlando Sentinel’s Magic Basketblog:

The Magic have expressed interest in signing free agent Brandon Bass, who is seen as a young, rising power forward. Bass’ agent, Tony Dutt, said Wednesday he did speak with the Magic. “Yes, I did speak to (Magic General Manager) Otis Smith and they did show interest in Brandon,” Dutt said…Perhaps the Magic might have an edge over other suitors for Bass. They took care of another Dutt client two summers ago, signing Rashard Lewis to a six-year, $118-million contract.

They Smell Like the Future: Terrence Williams

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 25, 2009 under Commentary, Rumors | Read the First Comment

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images.

Louisville Senior
6′6”, 213 lbs. (Combine measurements)
Almost 22 years old
Shooting guard/small forward/point guard
Projection: Late lottery-late first round

Terrence Williams is the mad note.  I’ve raved and raved about this guy over the last few weeks, or practically ever since his draft stock began to fall.  He’s now, unfortunately, on the up and up, meaning the Mavs likely won’t even sniff him with the 24th pick.

You’ve likely already read many of the reasons why I think Williams should be the guy if he does happen to slip in the draft tonight, but I still have a bag full of superlatives.  Above all else, I think Williams is a supremely valuable player because his ability to impact the game without scoring is just about unparalleled in this draft.  He’s likely to be the best defender at his position, is certainly one of the best ball handlers and distributors at his position, and his rebounding and toughness are top notch.  Terrence Williams is an athlete, and he just so happens to be one that fills a prominent Mavs’ need.

Naturally, he’s not without flaws.  Williams is not a good shooter.  He’s not ideal from that standpoint because he won’t be able to spot-up in the corner or even pull-up in midrange.  His jumpshot is a work in progress, but it’s far from being NBA ready at this point.  To some, that might make him a liability on the floor.  But for a team that has fared well on offense with Antoine Wright and Erick Dampier playing significant minutes, Williams has to be considered a slight offensive upgrade.  Antoine Wright tries, and he tries damn hard every night.  I don’t mean to pick on the guy.  But his mediocre (putting it kindly) shooting stroke and inability to get to the basket consistently makes him a liability on offense.  Williams, on the other hand, is already a better defender than Wright, and supplements those skills with ball-handling and passing on the offensive end.

Terrence Williams is exactly what the Mavs need at this stage in the game: someone who can contribute immediately, and have a clear defensive impact.

Pro-Level Projections:

I’ve asked Jon Nichols of Basketball-Statistics.com to use his Box Score Prediction System (BSPS) to project career numbers for Williams.  The values given are career averages per 36 minutes, considering that per minute statistics at least partially eliminate variables such as abnormal playing time, lack of opportunity, etc.  The projections are based on Williams’ four-year career at Louisville.  For comparison’s sake, I’ve dug up some other players who have averaged similar numbers over their careers (click here for an enlarged chart):

(Note: the years indicated in the chart refer to the last year of the season played.  For examples, the 2004-2005 season will be marked 05.)

These comparisons make very little sense, given Williams’ position and size.  The closest comparisons turned out to be point guards with good rebounding numbers, which is a bit misleading given that Williams’ will likely play the 2 in the NBA.  Rondo is included for some slight similarities, but ultimately because the pickings were so slim.  This guy is a unique player.