Harmless

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 5, 2012 under Commentary, Roster Moves | 10 Comments to Read

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UPDATE (4:58 PM EST): Surprise: Kidd’s negotiations with the Mavs were apparently an elaborate hoax, as Marc Stein has now reported that Kidd will join the New York Knicks on a comparable deal. Those who groaned after hearing of this non-signing can now breathe free; Kidd is a Maverick no more, a development which should open the door for an amusing array of short-term ball-handling solutions. Then again, supposing Delonte West stays in Dallas, maybe the Mavs can put the ball in his hands and look to employ stopgaps elsewhere. Oy vey — I like West quite a bit, but this is going to be a miserable season of Maverick basketball.

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1:03 EST: The Dallas Mavericks are a twice-spurned and very desperate team. So desperate, in fact, that after failing to manufacture returns on their visions of the future, they’ve reluctantly returned to the status quo. Per Jeff Caplan and Marc Stein of ESPN Dallas, Kidd and the Mavs have virtually settled on a three-year, $9 million deal that flies in the face of Dallas’ long-term vision while avoiding any real damage.

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Snake Eyes

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 3, 2012 under Commentary | 19 Comments to Read

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Successful navigation of free agency typically requires foresight, planning, and creative financing, but ultimately falls to the mercy of chance. All of the managerial savvy in the world can only make a compelling case, and in the process leave the fate of a franchise in the hands of an individual with many, complicated interests.

So it was with the Mavs’ failed pursuit of Deron Williams, which officially came to an end with Williams’ announcement of his intention to re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets. Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban avoided long-term investments and wiggled their way into the cap room necessary to lure the DFW native, but the payoff for their efforts was always a gamble at best, and it’s not exactly surprising that their little wager against the incumbent Nets didn’t pay off. That said, the outcome also doesn’t make the decision to break up a championship core any less correct than it was a year ago; tough as it was for the champs to forego their title defense before the season even began, Williams and Dwight Howard were prizes worth chasing, particularly in the face of otherwise over-investing in a fading core.

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Overflow

Posted by Rob Mahoney on December 13, 2011 under Commentary, Roster Moves | 5 Comments to Read

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One good cost-cutting move apparently deserves another.

Just days after the Mavs swept up Lamar Odom up from L.A. in order to tidy up the Lakers’ books (helpful gent, that Donnie Nelson), Dallas has agreed — per Marc Stein of ESPN.com — to send Corey Brewer and Rudy Fernandez to Denver in exchange for a future second round pick. This isn’t an equitable trade, but it allows the Mavs to liquidate some depth for the sake of immediate salary savings and an extra chunk of cap space next summer.

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Reinventing the Checkbook

Posted by Rob Mahoney on December 9, 2011 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

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Fans and analysts have done their best to read the tea leaves containing the Mavs’ off-season plans, but implicit in that process is a lot of assumption. We know that Dallas doesn’t want to sign Tyson Chandler and Caron Butler to the kinds of deals they’re able to secure elsewhere. We know that J.J. Barea was only offered a short-term, and that it wasn’t to his liking. We know that the Mavs are likely to pursue free agents on one-year contracts almost exclusively. From all of these facts — and the reports they stem from — we can try to piece together the team’s strategy, but there will always be bits of logic and nuance missing from our formulations.

Well, prepare to have the blanks filled in. On Thursday, Mark Cuban articulated Dallas’ general strategy in a must-read post by Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas:

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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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Multiple Choice

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under Commentary | 3 Comments to Read

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In yesterday’s Bullets, Henry Abbott noted the following:

If the Mavericks are really being stingy with Tyson Chandler I suppose that could be taken as a sign the new CBA is having some effect. The Mavericks are like the Knicks and Lakers in how they have spent, historically, but they are not at all like those teams in how they earn, and have lost mighty amounts of money as a result. A stiff luxury tax could, in theory, hurt Cuban more than anyone — as he’s one of the owners already feeling the most financial pain.

It’s true — Dallas has historically been a big-spending team, but without the revenue streams that make franchises like the Lakers and Knicks so insanely profitable. Mark Cuban is likely to be one of the first influenced by the new luxury tax as a result, and we may see the implications of that deterrence sooner rather than later.

But if the Mavericks fail to re-sign Tyson Chandler this summer, it will have little to do with the tax or the new collective bargaining agreement. The Mavericks will likely pay the luxury tax this season, but at a dollar-for-dollar rate with a lower overall payroll than last season (largely due to Caron Butler’s salary being off the books), Cuban would get a bit of a financial break relative to his team’s title campaign even if he and Donnie Nelson chose to keep Chandler around. The Mavs’ defensive centerpiece could be had for a sizable financial investment and only a par-for-the-course luxury tax penalty, if only Cuban willed it so.

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Appraising Birds

Posted by Rob Mahoney on December 1, 2011 under Commentary, Rumors | 3 Comments to Read

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The lockout hasn’t even reached its official end, and yet all eyes are fixed on the summer of 2012. Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and Deron Williams have dominated media outlets with their rumored gravity toward various teams and markets, and though basketball fans are likely queasy already from the trade rumor overload, the hype is legitimate. Those three superstars are hugely impactful players, and while the NBA world would be a better place without the rumor mill’s nonstop churning, to ignore teams’ awareness of next year’s free agent class would be naive. Franchises around the league are working hard to be in a position to take part in the free agent fun, and the Mavs are no exception.

In that vein, Chris Broussard and Marc Stein of ESPN.com dropped a fairly startling report yesterday:

In a surprise development on the first day that NBA teams and agents could start talking about new contracts, Tyson Chandler came away convinced that his time with the Dallas Mavericks is coming to an end.

“I really think I’m going to be on a new team come training camp,” Chandler told ESPN.com in a telephone interview Wednesday night. “I’m really taking a hard look at all of my options, trying to see what best suits me.”

…Chandler maintains that staying in Dallas has always been his first choice, but he expressed disappointment that the communication between the sides was minimal from the end of the NBA Finals in mid-June and the June 30 deadline for extensions. On Wednesday, when teams and agents were allowed to commence free-agent negotiations, NBA front office sources listed New Jersey, Golden State, Houston and Toronto as the teams chasing Chandler hardest.

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