Bones on Bones

Posted by Rob Mahoney on December 10, 2011 under Commentary, News, Roster Moves | 2 Comments to Read

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The Mavs weren’t expected to make much commotion during this year’s abridged free agency, but they’ve already made one move in anticipation of another. The Knicks’ acquisition of Tyson Chandler — originally designed to be an outright free agent signing — has officially been processed as a three-team, sign-and-trade endeavor, scoring Dallas an $11 million trade exception, a protected second round pick (via Washington), and the imminently waivable Andy Rautins. According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Mavs are already working to use that traded player exception to acquire Samuel Dalembert on a one-year deal via sign-and-trade with Sacramento.

It’s a lot of hustle and bustle (especially when coupled with Dallas’ signing of Brandan Wright, and likely acquisition on Vince Carter) for a team largely anticipated to stand pat, but it’s worth waiting for the smoke to clear before we take full stock in Dallas’ off-season haul. Trade exceptions, by nature, are transitory tools; they’re only worth what a team is able to gain with them, and we’ll have a better grasp of the yield from the Chandler sign-and-trade as soon as Dalembert makes his decision. The Mavs are hardly the only team pursuing him; Stein also noted that Houston was interested in acquiring Dalembert if the Rockets’ other options fell through, meaning the Mavs’ next play could lean on the reconstruction and upcoming review of the Chris Paul blockbuster.

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Kindly Ignore the Electric Sheep

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under Commentary, News | 17 Comments to Read

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Before we begin, let’s all take a deep breath.

From Sam Amick of SI.com:

Orlando PR man Joel Glass calls to inform that D. Howard’s agent now has permission to speak w/ Lakers, Nets, & Mavs about possible trade.

Stop. Right. There.

Stop daydreaming over the thought of Dirk Nowitzki being paired with a frontcourt partner even more productive than he is. Erase the thought that the Tyson Chandler free agent saga — while unfortunate in its own way — could ultimately give way to the greatest era of Mavericks basketball yet. Toss away the notion that the Mavs are currently in legitimate running to net another superstar, be it Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, or Deron Williams.

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Rumor Mongering: Taking Inventory

Posted by Rob Mahoney on December 6, 2011 under Commentary, Rumors | 4 Comments to Read

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Look, I don’t want to be tossing these wistful ideas around, and if you’re dawdling around these parts, odds are that you don’t much like reading them. Yet we must depart from the usual realism to discuss one specific rumor, from Marc Stein and Chris Broussard of ESPN.com:

There is also a small handful of teams that has informed the Hornets they are prepared to trade for Paul with no assurance that they can keep him beyond this season. That list, sources say, includes the Rockets, Boston Celtics and defending champion Dallas Mavericks.

Each of those teams would be gambling that Paul would be won over by his new surroundings and either elect to play out the final season of his current contract (valued at $17.8 million in 2012-13) or opt out of his contract on July 1, 2012, and sign a new deal. Paul’s 2011-12 salary is listed at $16.4 million.

How wonderful. Obviously Chris Paul would be an incredible get for the Mavs, but like so many other franchises reportedly vying to obtain him via trade, Dallas is low on assets. Just so we’re all on the same page, let’s run down the slim list of Maverick pieces that would be attractive to a team like the Hornets:

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The Butterfly Effects, Pt. II: Remaining Chains

Posted by Rob Mahoney on November 29, 2011 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

With the unofficial, metaphorical ink on the tentative CBA structure beginning to dry, we’ll take to look at how the new agreement impacts the Dallas Mavericks teams of today and tomorrow.

The NBA’s owners entered collective bargaining with several specific goals in mind. Among them: to limit the flexibility of taxpaying teams as much as possible, creating a systemic conflict between high payrolls and roster freedom. As a part of that objective, the new agreement includes a completely remodeled set of salary cap exceptions that reward teams for staying under the tax line, and restrict the free agent involvement of spend-happy clubs like the Mavericks. Dallas will likely be a luxury taxpayer again next season; so the franchise has been for the last six-plus years, and so they may be for the next several. Such is the price of keeping this particular contending core in place. Mark Cuban will be mindful of the wrath of the repeater tax, but that likely won’t stop him from keeping his team in tax territory for the first two seasons of the new collective bargaining agreement, during which he’ll only face a $1-for-$1 luxury tax penalty akin to that of the previous CBA. Cuban has shown a willingness to foot the bill on that tax, but would be understandably reluctant to pay according to the exorbitant demands of the more demanding luxury tax rules that will become active for the 2013-2014 season. But the Mavs’ taxpaying status will still affect their offseason plans on a more immediate timeline. According to a memo detailing the tentative agreement between the players and owners (via SI.com), taxpaying teams will no longer have access to the league’s mid-level exception (a salary cap exception used to sign free agents for up to around $5 million per season); instead, they’ll be forced to make do with the “taxpayer mid-level exception,” a provision that allows for the signing of a free agent to a deal up to three years in length (rather than four) starting at a mere $3 million. Read more of this article »

The Butterfly Effects, Pt. I: Tax the Street

Posted by Rob Mahoney on November 28, 2011 under Commentary | 4 Comments to Read

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With the unofficial, metaphorical ink on the tentative CBA structure beginning to dry, we’ll take to look at how the new agreement impacts the Dallas Mavericks teams of today and tomorrow.

While James Dolan’s luxury tax spending in the mid-2000s would put any other overspending owner to shame, Mark Cuban has shown an impressive tolerance for substantial tax payments so long as the Mavericks are competitive. And, in case you hadn’t heard, Dallas has been competitive for quite some time; 11-straight 50-win seasons has not only put the twinkle in Cuban’s eye, but also the dent in his wallet.

That long-term investment finally paid off with a championship this past June, but the new, more punitive luxury tax could bring hell to Cuban’s finances if he the Mavs continue on their usual spending course. Here’s an excerpt from the league’s official memo outlining the terms of the recent agreement, as release by SI.com:

Beginning in year 3, Tax rates for teams with team salary above Tax level are as follows:

Incremental Team Salary Above Tax LevelTax Rate
$0-$5M$1.50-for-$1
$5M-$10M$1.75-for-$1
$10M-$15M$2.50-for-$1
$15M-$20M$3.25-for-$1

  • Tax rates increase by $0.50 for each additional $5M above the Tax level (e.g., for team salary $20M-25M above the Tax level, the Tax rate is $3.75-for-$1).
  • Tax rates for teams that are taxpayers in at least 4 out of any 5 seasons (starting in 2011-12) increase by $1 at each increment (e.g., for team salary $5M-$10M above the Tax level, the Tax rate for a repeat taxpayer is $2.75-for-$1 instead of $1.75-for-$1).

All of this luxury tax adjustment has been made in the hopes that the variation in spending between teams will be mitigated. Cuban himself has been a proponent of just such a position in the past; as much as out-spending the competition has been one of the Mavs’ distinct advantages, Cuban himself is naturally less than enthused about shelling out extra money for luxury tax payments. A high payroll is one thing, but a high payroll that creates further financial obligations via the tax is another one entirely.

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