Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning New wrote a piece outlining which of the Mavs’ assets are the most tradable, and also gives a pretty hefty list of potential targets that could be on Dallas’ radar. Pure speculation? Maybe. But Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com thinks there’s more to it, and that there may be some legitimate team sentiment behind the rumors.
Dallas needs to do something. Rotation shake-ups and motivational speeches have gone just about as far as they can go. The team has some appealing assets and they have plenty of needs. There are really two questions though. First, can the Mavs even get the “right deal” done? And second, does the “right deal” do enough to get the Mavs out of the first round of the playoffs? The fan in me says yes, but the realist in me says no. To say it’s an uphill battle is underselling it.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with it, right? So without further ado, a breakdown of each of Sefko’s proposed trades:
Jerry Stackhouse and Erick Dampier to Sacramento for Brad Miller and Kenny Thomas.
Why it works: The trade turns Stack’s contract into a player that’s immediately useful in Brad Miller, and Dallas doesn’t sacrifice 2010 cap flexibility. Miller finally gives Mavs fans the scoring from the center position that they’ve always pined for, and he’s a much better passer than Dampier. When Miller is focused, his ability to facilitate the offense can really open things up for the fringe contributors on the team. Kenny Thomas also gives the Mavs another look at the second string power forward (or third string, whatever), and he’s not as bad as you probably think he is. The Kings aren’t playing him, but Thomas hasn’t been all that bad in his few appearances for Sacramento this season, and could be able to contribute to a playoff team.
Why it doesn’t: Brad Miller just so happens to occupy the same offensive space as Dirk, meaning that someone is going to be out of their comfort zone on almost every play. Miller also happens to be an inferior post defender, shot-blocker, and rebounder to Dampier. Granted that Miller is in fact a more gifted scorer than Damp, he also relies on a higher usage rate that could require taking touches away from Dirk, Josh, and JET in order to accomodate Miller’s usual production. Is that worth it? Probably not. You might be able to argue that this trade slightly favors Dallas, but even so it would be a marginal upgrade at best.
Why it works: This one is definitely the most interesting to me. The 2 guard has been a problem all season, and Antoine Wright/Gerald Green/Dwane Casey’s kid probably aren’t the answer. Wright’s passable some nights and unspectacularly awful others, and Green ranges from smile-worthy offensive explosion to migraine-inducing “rookie mistake” factory. Jax would give the Mavs a great defender, a vocal leader, and a player who can drive, shoot, and set up his teammates. Plus, this trade would give Dallas a quality wing player without giving up Josh Howard.
Why it doesn’t: The bench would be a disaster. Who plays power forward? James Singleton? Ryan Hollins? Shawne Williams? It wouldn’t be pretty on the backlines, and Dallas would be hit hard in the low post and on the boards. Or, I guess Carlisle could just play Dirk for 43 minutes a night. That would work really well. But the trouble doesn’t stop there; Stephen Jackson signed what is actually a pretty reasonable three-year, $28 million extension this season. The wittle bitty problem with that is the fact that Jackson is nearly 31 right now, and at the end of his deal (2012-2013), he would be 35 years old. Who knows how productive he’ll be by that time, and it could be a nightmare to move an aging wing scorer if things don’t work out.
Jerry Stackhouse and Brandon Bass to Chicago for Andres Nocioni.
Why it works: Noc gives the Mavs another weapon off the bench, or possibly a small forward to start alongside Howard. He can stretch the floor, he’s a physical player, and would add firepower to a team that has trouble scoring at times.
Why it doesn’t: Nocioni’s contract is entirely too long, stretching to 2012-2013 (although that last year is a team option). Some might call him an “irritant,” but I merely cite him as the primary example under the dictionary definition of “fake hustle.” He’s almost constantly overaggressive both in terms of shot attempts and fouls, and while he is a physical defender he isn’t that great at D in general. Trading Bass would open up a huge hole at the 4 (see above), and while Chicago may play Noc at the 4 for stretches, Dallas should have no business doing that. He’s 6’7”, 201, and just tends to push people in the back. Not exactly a dream come true. Plus, his better offensive days look more like an exception than a rule at this point.
Why it works: Mike Miller is a great player on the down year of all down years, somehow appearing to be one of the worst players in the Wolves’ regular rotation. And that’s saying something. I’d find it hard to believe that the Real Mike Miller isn’t buried beneath layer upon layer of Minnesota-induced psychosis, and the Mavs would hope to save Miller from himself. When he’s rolling, he’s creating for his teammates, getting to the hoop, and one of the deadliest shooters in the game. When he’s not, well, just look at his stats on the season. Not too pretty.
Why it doesn’t: This trade doesn’t really seem like a possibility. All indications point to Minny demanding back more compensation that just Bass and an expiring deal, and I’m sure they have their eyes on draft picks around the league. Beyond that, Miller only makes the Mavs better at doing what they already do: shooting. He would fix the starting shooting guard problem but open up the power forward Pandora’s Box, which could actually end up being a wash. On top of that, there’s no guarantee that Miller won’t continue his reign as the Archduke of the Royal Principality of EPIC FAIL.
Jerry Stackhouse and Erick Dampier to Toronto for Jermaine O’Neal.
Why it works: It really, really doesn’t.
Why it doesn’t: Probably the worst deal on the list. Turn our prized expiring deal and a healthy starting center into a possibly-more-talented-but-definitely-more-washed-up, oft-injured center. Where do I sign up?
Why it works: Arron Afflalo is exactly the type of young point guard the Mavs want to have going forward. He’s already a good defender, shoots well, and plays the game without forcing the issue or making careless mistakes. Another quality young playerdrafted by Joe Dumars. Plus, dude has an awesome name.
Why it doesn’t: This trade could only make sense in tandem with another deal that would bring in frontcourt depth. The Mavs already have J.J. Barea, Jason Terry, and even Matt Carroll to back-up Kidd if the situation calls for it, while Brandon Bass is the only line of defense between a potential Dirk Nowitzki energy and complete Maverick apocalypse. I love Afflalo’s game and I love his potential, but this move doesn’t make sense for Dallas right now.
Jerry Stackhouse and Brandon Bass to Oklahoma City for Earl Watson.
Why it works: I’m not really sure. I guess Earl Watson would be another Kidd back-up, or possibly an insurance policy if Dallas decides to go another way this summer. Otherwise, I’m speechless.
Why it doesn’t: Earl Watson just isn’t that good. His jumper is errant, his playmaking skills are slightly above average, and his defense is unimpressive. There’s a reason that his “steady veteran presence” has made its rounds throughout the league, let’s just put it that way. Plus, giving up an expiring deal and arguably Dallas’ most promising young player for a piece that doesn’t fit on the team, isn’t a youngster, and isn’t anything better than average seems awfully silly.
Josh Howard and J.J. Barea to Charlotte for Raja Bell and Raymond Felton.
Why it works: Raymond Felton would be the Mavs’ point guard of the future and Raja Bell would be a capable starting 2 guard who still retains some of the skills of a lockdown defender. At once, this trade will fill a glaring hole for the Mavs at the 2 and procure Kidd’s protégé.
Why it doesn’t: The Mavs are giving up quite a bit for two ill-fitting pieces. Josh Howard is still a hotbed of talent, whether he can harness it or not. J.J. Barea not only holds status as a Mavericks folk hero, but penetrates well, knows when to look for his own shot, and has plenty of time to improve on a perfectly reasonable contract. Meanwhile, Raymond Felton would possibly be forced into the shooting guard slot alongside Kidd or in a back-up role, meaning that he won’t have experience running the point full-time when he takes over and/or he won’t have the added experience of playing against top-flight players. Meanwhile, Raja Bell could be an interesting addition to the Mavs roster if it still featured Howard, but in this case filling the hole at the 2 leaves an even bigger one at the 3. Devean George might actually start. I’m doing my best to keep in my enthusiasm. Beyond that, Felton isn’t a great shooter, has stalled at times in his progression, and Raja Bell is already a shade behind his former self and only getting worse.
Josh Howard and Brandon Bass to Memphis for Mike Conley and Darko Milicic.
Why it works: Mike Conley is going to be a stud. He has all the physical tools required of a great point guard, and while his play has been up and down, I see the good in him. He’s probably the best option listed here in terms of young guards, and the Grizz apparently aren’t entirely opposed to the idea of parting ways with him. If Memphis was rumored to be interested in Milwaukee’s Ramon Sessions and Joe Alexander for Conley, why wouldn’t they be interested in Howard/Bass? Darko on the other hand, despite his neverending status as a 2003 Draft punchline, is a pretty decent big man. Like Conley, he’s had good days and bad. But he’s also a legit 7-foot shot blocker with plenty of room to grow and a nice presence in the low post.
Why it doesn’t: It doesn’t help the Mavs this season. Darko would be able to play either power forward or center on any given night, but the small forward position would be awful. Conley doesn’t fill any specific short-term need,and would be a luxury I’m not sure the Mavs can afford on a roster that needs some help.