Heard It Through the OPENING DAY Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on October 26, 2010 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie previews the Mavs’ season, which he pegs for 52 wins (though Dwyer notes that such a mark is easily beatable by this collective): “…as much as age sets in, and as much as a lack of depth will likely keep the Mavericks away from the ranks of the championship contender, Dallas will still field a sound rotation of basketball players that will give them a chance to beat every team – every single one of them – soundly on any given night. Even if Jason Kidd won’t be able to pop jumpers all night as a threat off of a screen and roll, and if Dirk finally does decide to not act like an All-NBA player, the core is good enough to keep this team competitive, and in the race for that distant second spot behind the Los Angeles Lakers.” Also, the Brian Cardinal picture is worth a click-through alone.
  • Check out The Basketball Jones’ season preview for the Mavs, and while you’re at it, the Jones’ first full-length episode of the season. Rejoice!
  • Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com: “I suppose there is a fine line between being ‘detail-oriented’ and being a ‘dictatorial control freak.’…let’s put Rick Carlisle and the Mavs coaching staff in the former category, shall we? Remember one of Rick’s main gripes about his players in the San Antonio playoff series: Dallas didn’t win its share of the “50-50 balls,’’ that is, the loose balls on the floor that can be gathered up to gain or retain possession, that can be fast-break starters, momentum-grabbers, game winners. On Sunday, guess what the Mavs worked on? Hustle and angles and attacking, all as they relate to loose balls. A basketball version of football’s ‘fumble drills,’ basically.”
  • Von Wafer (Celtics), Mo Ager (Timberwolves), Jeremy Lin (Warriors), D.J. Mbenga (Hornets), Pops Mensah-Bonsu (Hornets), Shawne Williams (Knicks), and Malik Allen (Magic) all made opening day rosters. Jake Voskuhl, Dwayne Jones, J.R. Giddens, and Joe Crawford did not. (Thanks to Scott Schroeder of Ridiculous Upside for compiling a hell of a list.)
  • From Sports Illustrated’s “NBA Enemy Lines” feature, in which an opposing scout gives his take on a given NBA team: “Their big pickup, Tyson Chandler, is important to them because teams anticipate being able to penetrate from the top against Kidd, Terry and Barea, who all have a hard time keep anybody in front of them. So now the Mavericks should be able to bring over a big guy to meet the penetration, whether it’s Chandler or Brendan Haywood. The fundamental problem remains on the perimeter, but at least now they have some long and mobile big guys who are capable of changing shots. Haywood doesn’t excite anyone too much, but he’s serviceable as a long guy you have to shoot over. I hear people saying he’s soft, but I think that’s a bad rap. He’s effective and he has a nice right hook. Most of the time he’ll be able to turn to that shoulder and get off the shot whenever he wants.” For the record, haven’t heard much of anyone calling Haywood soft. You?
  • A handy tidbit from Jason Terry (via Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News): “We have 17 of 26 games at home to start the season, so we need to set a tone.”
  • Shawn Marion has a lot of faith in Tyson Chandler’s ability to make an impact on defense.
  • Tyson Chandler, from his official site: “To do that, we have to have strong leadership and it’s been great working with a dedicated owner like Mark Cuban. Cube, as we call him, is dope. He’s a cool-cat. He obviously loves the game and he loves to be around it. We know that we have a passionate owner and that’s always a good thing. His only motivation is to win championships…I’m so happy to get a chance to play with two of the best in the game at what they do in Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki. J-Kidd is the ultimate professional. He comes in to work every day and he sees things that I don’t even know if a coach can see. But he sees them in real time, right there on the floor, in the flow of the game. He’s an incredible passer and he’s definitely going to improve my game. Dirk has always been an incredible scorer and an assassin on the offensive end and that’s coming from me being on the other side. Now, getting to watch that daily, I see why he’s one of top players in our league. He’s almost unstoppable.”
  • Mark Followill’s scouting report on Dominique Jones for DallasBasketball.com: “Jones has the strength, tenacity and desire it would appear to defend well at this level, although he has been caught reaching a few times this preseason rather than playing solid defense by using his feet. The weakest part of his game right now is definitely the outside jump shot. Improving that doesn’t appear to be a mechanical issue, but more about spending time in the gym working on it and developing confidence.   I’ve seen some good decisions from him with the ball when he drives in terms of passing. I don’t think that makes him a point guard, but its good he can make smart decisions if he is going to be getting down into the paint with regularity.”

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 29, 2010 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 24, 2010 under xOther | 2 Comments to Read

  • Brendan Haywood on the delicate balance between aggressive defense and avoiding foul trouble in tonight’s match-up with Andrew Bynum and the Lakers (via Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News): “It’s tough matching up with Big Drew down there because he’s talented, he’s skilled, he’s athletic and he’s a load down there when they give him the ball,” Haywood said. “On the offensive end, I just try to be in constant motion, don’t let him rest. Quick duck-ins, post-ups, go to the offensive glass every play, working the baseline and trying to get open, not letting him just key on Dirk’s post-up, things of that nature. I have to be smart, but I can’t play scared. I can’t take a silly foul early on, because they’re too big for our back-ups. But at the same time, I can’t just give up layups and inside position because that’ll hurt us, as well.”
  • 48 Minutes of Hell recently started up a Spurs podcast, and I joined Graydon Gordian and Andrew McNeil on the most recent episode with to discuss the Mavs latest moves, Mavs-Spurs, how Dallas matches up with L.A., and NBA players participating in international competition.
  • This isn’t the first time that Dwayne Jones’ stay in the NBA was short-lived or over before it began, and Ridiculous Upside’s Scott Schroeder is a bit baffled as to why.
  • If somehow you haven’t heard, EA Sports is releasing a new version of NBA Jam for the Wii that will reboot the series with current players while staying true to the style of the original. I tell you this not only because it looks to be awesome (and it will be), but because EA is selecting the three-man rosters for every team through online voting. They’ve cycled through teams over the last few months, and finally come to the Mavs. So go here, and vote between Nowitzki, Kidd, Terry, Marion, Butler, and Haywood for who you’d like to see represent the Mavs in the new Jam.
  • A very happy birthday to Rodrigue Beaubois, who turns 22 today. ‘Day’ is a vestigial mode of time measurement based on solar cycles. It’s not applicable…I didn’t get you anything.
  • Looking back at Caron Butler, the Wizard, in 2009-2010.
  • Kevin Pelton’s SCHOENE projection system isn’t kind in predicting Dirk Nowitzki’s statistical production in 2010-2011 and beyond; it ranks him below Manu Ginobili, Joe Johnson, David Lee, and Rudy Gay (not to mention the obvious: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh) among the 2010 free agent class in terms of three-year production. Pelton qualifies the projections: “SCHOENE is also especially pessimistic about the group of Carlos Boozer, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce (who is fairly unlikely to opt out of the last year of his contract and become a free agent). Boozer and Nowitzki are similar in that their projections for 2010-11 are pretty solid, but things go downhill quickly from there. In these cases, I’m somewhat less inclined to believe the projections. It should be noted, though, that Nowitzki has taken a clear step back the last couple of seasons, in large part because he is no longer a contributor on the glass. As recently as three years ago, Nowitzki was grabbing 14.7 percent of all available rebounds. This year, that’s down to 11.6 percent. The gradual drop can’t entirely be blamed on the Mavericks adding Shawn Marion to compete for rebounds with Nowitzki.”
  • Via Mavs’ play-by-play man Mark Followill (@MFollowill), Dallas has only signed four players to a 10-day contract over the last decade: Charlie Bell, Mamadou N’Diaye, Kevin Willis, and now, Von Wafer.
  • Caron Butler on playing alongside Kobe Bryant in 2004-2005 (via Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News): “I say that’s the best thing that ever could have happened for me personally for my career. To play alongside a guy like that, see his preparation, see what it takes to get to that level, that’s why I was able to be so good in Washington because I took everything I learned from him under his wing.”
  • For those still keeping tabs on such things, Kris Humphries has come back down to Earth.
  • The bright side of Josh Howard’s injury? The Wizards won’t be tempted to pick up his option for next season.
  • Howard’s history certainly makes him a nice fit in the greater context of the Wizards franchise over the last season.

A Mere Formality

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under News, Roster Moves | 3 Comments to Read

The Mavs have officially signed Von Wafer to a 10-day contract, according to a team press release. HE IS EXPECTED TO START TONIGHT AGAINST THE LAKERS AND WILL PLAY AT LEAST 36 MINUTES, DRAWING THE PRIMARY DEFENSIVE ASSIGNMENT ON KOBE BRYANT AND CARRYING THE OFFENSIVE LOAD FOR THE MAVS.

Or maybe he’ll just sit on the bench in a new uniform, waiting for his first opportunity for in-game action. I wouldn’t count on it coming tonight unless there’s a decisive margin in favor of either team, but Wafer should still be valuable as a practice player.

Reboot

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under Commentary, News, Roster Moves | 3 Comments to Read

The Mavs’ big man search is back to square one. Dallas was close to signing D-League All-Star Dwayne Jones to a 10-day contract to provide depth at center, but the Mavs were apparently left unimpressed by his workout today with the team. Marc Stein notes that Jake Voskuhl could be Jones’ replacement, a move which I find to be a bit uninspired and plenty underwhelming. We know what Voskuhl can do, and we know plenty about what he can’t do. But Jones deserves a legit shot at the pro level, and I think his unassuming, low-maintenance game would have been a nice addition for Dallas off the bench.

Apparently it wasn’t meant to be. But Stein also reports that the Mavs still plan on signing Von Wafer to a 10-day and will possibly put pen to paper tomorrow.

Making the Leap

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 23, 2010 under News, Roster Moves | 2 Comments to Read


Per Marc Stein, the Mavs are bringing in the Austin Toros’ Dwayne Jones for a workout and likely a subsequent 10-day contract. The Mavs will also bring in Von Wafer for another workout, though mostly to gauge his back rather than his abilities. The Mavs have just 13 players on the roster, meaning they could sign both players to contracts (10-day or otherwise) if they so choose. Not a bad idea considering Wafer’s potential as an explosive scorer and Jones’ ability to contribute as a third big man.

If you’ll recall, we actually discussed Dwayne Jones around these parts over a month ago when the Najera-Humphries swap opened up a roster spot. Steve Weinman of D-League Digest was kind enough to point out the most logical call-up candidates given the Mavs’ position, and among them (along with Anthony Tolliver, who was since called up by the Warriors) was Jones. Here’s what Weinman had to say at the time:

Dwayne Jones (Austin): Gets pooh-poohed a bit because he doesn’t have much to speak of in the way of shot-creation skills and certainly won’t be initiating his own offense at the next level.  Doesn’t really seem to dominate games at the defensive end, though he can definitely hold his own in that realm.  All that said, we’re talking about a guy with legitimate NBA size (6-11, 250 pounds) who is posting 17 points per game on better than 60 percent shooting from the field thanks to the fact that he hammers the offensive boards (more than six per game) and does a ton on put-backs and tips.  He leads the league in per-game rebounding at more than 15 per game (and yes, it would be great if someone out there were tracking rebound rate in the D-League, though the Toros don’t play an especially fast pace – so I don’t think the figure is too misleading).  Given that you don’t call a guy up from the D-League to dominate the ball or be some kind of star, I think this may be the guy for the spot if the decision to push for a big man because he’ll be able to do much of what he already does at the next level – scrap around for rebounds and get a few garbage buckets while forcing opponents to put a body on him on the offensive glass. Plus, he has the size to guard opposing bigs.

Adding Jones would be a terrific addition for the Mavs, who could use him to fill the role of a Ryan Hollins-type big man…if Ryan Hollins could actually rebound. He’s not going to revolutionize the game or win Player of the Week honors anytime soon, but Jones is more than capable of coming in to provide solid minutes for a Mavs team lacking in big bodies.

But just as important: bringing in Jones for a workout would be the first significant interaction the Mavs have had with the D-League since the days when J.J. Barea ruled the world as a member of the now-defunct Fort Worth Flyers. These types of interactions will obviously become more regular next season when the Mavs’ new D-League affiliate in Frisco is actually open for business, but this is a positive development. It’s unlikely that Jones would be anything but a short-term replacement, but a baby step is still a step, and the closer the Mavs get to the D-League, the better the chance of mining some real, rotation-caliber talent.

EDIT: For more on Dwayne Jones, I’d urge you to check out a few more links from Weinman at D-League Digest:

  • Jones, on what he needs to do to take his game to the next level: “Just show what I can do offensively, and just continue to hustle and show what I can do. They’re not going to bring me in to score 20 points; they’re going to bring me in to hustle, rebound and defend, so I just got to keep showing that.”
  • Some very cogent analysis on why Jones’ game is perfect for translation to NBA production. Don’t expect the 16.8 points and 15.4 rebounds per game that he’s averaging in Austin (or, as Steve notes, the 17 double-doubles in 20 games), but it’s excellent to note that the things that Jones does best don’t require high usage or a ton of opportunity.

Inch by Inch

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 22, 2010 under News, Roster Moves | 2 Comments to Read

According to Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com and Art Garcia of NBA.com, the Mavs are all set to sign Von Wafer to a 10-day contract pending he passes a physical. It’s not a given, especially considering that Wafer already failed one physical this year, and 10-day prospects are on thin ice to begin with.

You’ve already heard enough about Wafer from me, so I enlisted the help of Rahat Huq of the superb Houston Rockets blog, Red 94. Wafer’s last NBA court time came with Houston last season, which makes Rahat just the man to talk to. Here are his lasting thoughts and impressions on Von Wafer:

I still feel fondly about Von Wafer because were it not for his contributions in ’09, we don’t have the surprising success that we did.

To his game: Wafer is a scorer; he’s not looking to pass. He’s at his best when slashing to the basket off the rotation of the defense. He’s not freakish, but still very athletic, and he uses this trait to feast on opponents when not given sufficient attention. He can also pull up for the jumper after taking one dribble. His handles are very poor for a guard. The extent of his 1-on-1 capabilities is a move where, if he has sufficient space against a backed up defender, he takes one hard dribble in either direction and then crosses back over to the other hand for either the pull-up or the drive. Fans often mistook this for an ability to create assuming high potential. Don’t – if guarded closely, Wafer doesn’t have a chance off the dribble.

Despite his size and athleticism, Wafer is a poor defender who often gets lost in rotations and in fighting around screens. Defense is his biggest weakness and what kept him off the floor on many occasions when his offense was desperately needed.

Finally, while it endears him to fans, Von Wafer’s emotions can sometimes destroy him. He was kicked out of a playoff game for getting into a shouting match with Adelman. If things are going poorly for him, it can spiral out of control very quickly.

Nearing Completion

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 21, 2010 under Commentary, Roster Moves, Rumors | 4 Comments to Read

As we enter buyout season, the Mavs will keep an eye to the ever-growing free agent pool. They’ll hope for Drew Gooden, bat their eyelashes at Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and entertain the idea of adding another point guard. But Z is Cleveland-bound if he’s cut loose, Gooden likely won’t find his way out of L.A., and one can’t help but wonder how effective another point guard could really be if added this late in the season.

But according to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News, the Mavs may be headed in a more traditional direction. The common platitude for playoff-bound teams is the eternal search for another shooter. Every playoff team needs a guy that can stretch the floor. You can never have enough shooting. That team really needs a player who can come in off the bench and hit a big shot. Wash, rinse, and repeat, ad nauseam.

Don’t get me wrong, shooting is nice. But most of the time what playoff caliber teams are really missing is another defender. They could use five good minutes off the bench with no purpose other than to limit an opposing scorer. Sometimes it comes in the form of a savvy, journeyman wing, and others, a young athletic center that can defend the rim with his shot-blocking.

The problem, of course, is that those players typically aren’t floating around in free agency; good defenders are usually deeply embedded in the playoff rotation of another playoff team, making them rather difficult to pry away. Plus, whereas good defense is much more difficult to quantify on paper and in workouts, good shooting is far easier to spot. For a coaching staff and management team with no time to lose at this point in the season, identifying a usable commodity quickly and easily is invaluable.

So rather than workout a defensive standout, the Mavs have opted to bring in Von Wafer and Rashad McCants, two shooting guards linked to Dallas in the off-season, for workouts. Here’s what I wrote about the two when I was evaluating potential free agent acquisitions for the Mavs over the summer:

Von Wafer, SG (unrestricted) – Von Wafer is a ruthless scorer.  He’d cut the throat of a kitten for a bucket, but that same drive makes him a bit of a black hole.  For what it’s worth, he also had trouble getting along with Rockets’ coach Rick Adelman, perhaps the most players’ coachy of players’ coaches.

Wafer may never tighten the screws that keep his head on his shoulders, and that’s likely the red flag that has kept the Mavs away.  If Wafer can’t learn to play nice with his coach and his teammates, he’ll never be able to thrive in the shot-in-the-arm role that best suits his game.  I don’t think Wafer has the talent or potential to pan out as a top-level scorer, but he would rock it as a punch off the bench.  The Mavs already have that covered with a cat named Jason Terry.  You may have heard of him.  But if Von has trouble finding a home and re-enters the market for bargain value, the Mavs would be stupid to pass up the depth…unless Wafer’s even more troublesome to a locker room than I give him credit for.

Rashad McCants, SG (unrestricted) – He’s young, he’s available, and he’s a scorer.  Unfortunately, he’s not much else.  McCants is a mouth with a jumpshot, but enough of both that he could inject some swagger and balance the court with his range.  As long as the deal is within reason, McCants could be the extra gun arm needed to shoot the lights out.  He also just so happened to work out with the team a few weeks back, so he’s got that on his side.

Not much has changed. Out of the two, I much prefer Wafer; he’s an excellent shooter but can score in a variety of ways. Neither is much to speak of in the way of perimeter defense, and months away from the NBA game isn’t going to help. But if the Mavs are determined to sign a back-court scorer, I’d strongly urge for Wafer over McCants, at least in terms of their on-court contributions. Wafer caused enough of a problem for Houston that he was let go for nothing, and the fact that he couldn’t drum up interest with any other team in the league is a bit worrisome. But if the Mavs are looking for another scorer in the Jamal Crawford/Flip Murray mold (albeit without Crawford’s playmaking abilities…or maybe just without the willingness to make plays), Wafer seems to be the superior option. One can only hope that his experience playing overseas has been a humbling one, and that Wafer is ready to grow up a bit on the court and off it. That, or maybe just come in and score like mad.

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on August 11, 2009 under xOther | 7 Comments to Read

  • Could Drew Gooden’s contract be more valuable (trade-wise) than we were led to believe?
  • Charles Barkley was asked once again about the playoff hullabaloo surrounding Dirk and his “praise” for the Nuggets’ defenders, and he’s still missing the boat (via Sports Radio Interviews): “If a guy was sleeping and thought he could stop me, I’d go over to his house in the middle of the night and slap the hell out of him.  If he even was dreaming about the fact that he could stop me, I would go to his house, and I’d just walk in his room and slap the hell out of him, and say, ‘Wake up.  Don’t even think you can guard me.’  That’s the mentality you have to have if you’re gonna be a superstar in this league.”  This.  Will.  Not.  Die.
  • A recount of the fateful 2004 summer that brought Steve Nash’s departure and the acquisition of Erick Dampier.  I’m not sure it’s entirely fair from the Mavs’ side of things, but the point is made: Damp is no Nash.
  • Von Wafer and Glen Davis, two recent residents in the Mavs’ rumor mill, have signed with Olympiakos and the Celtics, respectively.  For what it’s worth, Davis ended up signing for far less than the potentially gaudy contract that haunted my nightmares.  Logic prevails!

Nearing the End of the Free Agent Bazaar

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 23, 2009 under Commentary | 28 Comments to Read

It’s nearing that time, kids.  The time when regrettable mid-level deals are forged and signed with blood, when fits-like-a-glove veterans are snatched up for pennies on the dollar, and when the yearly projects (Oh, hi Gerald.) find their new temporary home in which to fail to make the jump.  Late summer is truly a magical time for basketball fans.

The Gortat Incident seems years in the past, and while that episode may have trampled some hope for the upcoming season, there are still some serviceable free agents out there.  Most of them can be had on the relative cheap and still provide meaningful production.  Some of them can even do so in ways that would maximize a Mavs’ investment.

The biggest questions should be centered around how these potential Mavericks could change the team’s outlook towards the free agent Mavs in limbo: Ryan Hollins, Gerald Green, and James Singleton.  It’s no secret that the Mavs have some, shall we say, “issues” in the middle.  There’s Erick Dampier and a whole lot of nothing.  Will Dirk shift over?  Are any of the relative unknowns on the roster ready to body up in the paint?  Hard to say.  But the lack of “real” centers (whatever that means anymore) on the roster is a definite point of concern.  Ryan Hollins isn’t quite the remedy we had in mind when the off-season started, but locking him up for next season should be viewed as a necessity.  Brandon Bass won’t be around to log minutes at the five and muscle up on the inside, so a combination of Hollins and makeshift 5s will likely have to do the job.

That is, unless the Mavs are particularly enamored with one of the centers still swimming around in the free agent pool.

It seems like the Mavs have seen just about all they need to see from Gerald Green.  If circumstances were different, like if the Mavs were desperately trying to fill their roster rather than trim it, I could see everyone’s favorite/least favorite slammajamma prospect stick around for another year.  But there’s really no incentive to make an obligation to G-Money.  He wasn’t dynamic or even singularly effective enough last season to warrant special consideration, and given what the Mavs already have to work with, committing additional dollars and a roster spot to the Green dream seems pretty foolish.

Singleton’s place with the team is even more ambiguous.  James hustled his way into Maverick hearts last season and proved to be a rebounding machine.  It’s questionable how much floor time would be available to Singleton with Shawn Marion being worked into the mix, but James is an ideal guy to fill out a roster and bring energy off the bench.  But again, with the roster crunch the Mavs are in at the moment, it could be tough to bring Singleton back.  Doing so would likely require a trade or a waiver, which may be more trouble than a 10th man is worth, especially if another free agent option is deemed superior.

With that in mind, let’s take to the list of the remaining free agents that should interest the Mavs:

1. Lamar Odom, F (unrestricted) – Lamar is the big fish.  He’s plump from chomping on that Championship gold, and is a long shot (at best) to land with the Mavs; Even if Odom isn’t feeling the love from the Lakers, the Heat would likely one-up the Mavs in terms of both fit and personal preference.  Oh, bother.

You also may notice that Odom is about as bad of a fit as you can get given the current core.  LO can is a forward, and both of his natural positions are waist-deep in talent.  Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, and Josh Howard form one mean forward rotation, and finding room for Lamar Odom in that mix would definitely be tricky.  But Odom is unique and talented enough that those concerns come later.  If you can grab Lamar Odom as a free agent, you do it.  Period.  He’s as versatile as players get in this league and now championship-validated, which is a rather powerful thing to add to a resume.

2. Rasho Nesterovic, C (unrestricted) – I know what you’re thinking.  Yes, Rasho is big, he’s white, and he’s lumbering, but this guy is definitely better than you think he is.  I can’t think of a single facet of Rasho’s game that would warrant calling him a beast, but supposing the Mavs are truly looking to fill minutes at the 5 with free agent imports, I see them doing no better than Nesterovic.  Offensively, he won’t provide much.  Strictly a garbage buckets, open dunks and layups kinda guy.  But on the defensive end, that’s where Rasho is valuable.  Having two serviceable centers who can play D is a luxury few teams have in today’s NBA, and though Erick Dampier and Rasho Nesterovic are neither big names nor offensive juggernauts, together they could go a long way towards slowing down the league’s back-to-the-basket types.

3. Carlos Delfino, SG (restricted) -Delfino is a baller.  His game is smooth and he’s a fine shooter (.490 eFG on jumpers), but unfortunately one who is decidedly average from behind the arc (.356 for his career from three).  Delfino offers a prototypical look that would allow the Mavs to run slightly more conventional lineups from the bench.  He slashes, he hits his midrange looks, and he’s a solid defender; Carlos Delfino is a player just waiting for the right opportunity, and I feel like the Mavs could be a great fit.  Delfino would blossom with some offensive talent around him, and with all the loaded guns the Mavs are packing, he should have no problem getting open looks.  The two-way shooting guard that the Mavs have craved may be a vagabond Argentine…or at worst, he slides in as a rotation wing with a diverse game.

4. Von Wafer, SG (unrestricted) – Von Wafer is a ruthless scorer.  He’d cut the throat of a kitten for a bucket, but that same drive makes him a bit of a black hole.  For what it’s worth, he also had trouble getting along with Rockets’ coach Rick Adelman, perhaps the most players’ coachy of players’ coaches.

Wafer may never tighten the screws that keep his head on his shoulders, and that’s likely the red flag that has kept the Mavs away.  If Wafer can’t learn to play nice with his coach and his teammates, he’ll never be able to thrive in the shot-in-the-arm role that best suits his game.  I don’t think Wafer has the talent or potential to pan out as a top-level scorer, but he would rock it as a punch off the bench.  The Mavs already have that covered with a cat named Jason Terry.  You may have heard of him.  But if Von has trouble finding a home and re-enters the market for bargain value, the Mavs would be stupid to pass up the depth…unless Wafer’s even more troublesome to a locker room than I give him credit for.

5. Ike Diogu, PF (unrestricted) – Diogu may not seem like a fit at first glance, but he could be incredibly useful as a post threat on the second unit.  Ike would slide into Brandon Bass’ role as an undersized PF/C, though his game is more drop steps and less money jumpers.

Diogu’s counting stats won’t wow you, but he’s never really had an ample opportunity to strut his stuff.  His career high in minutes is just a shade under 15, and as such his career averages are decidedly pedestrian.  But when you scope out Diogu’s efficiency numbers and per-minute numbers, they’re truly stellar.  Behold, Ike’s stats per 36 (via Basketball-Reference.com.  Click here to see a larger version.):

That’s typically not the level of production you pick up late in free agency.  And more often than not, you don’t find these players pining away on the wrong end of a rotation for the first four years of their career.

6. Leon Powe, PF (unrestricted) – Leon Powe could turn out to be a great investment, but the returns will be delayed.  He’s currently rehabbing from a torn ACL, which is injury-speak for no bueno.  Logic and precedent tell you not to offer a guaranteed contract to a man with jelly knees, but logic and precedent aren’t staring down a short frontcourt rotation that could use a quality big.  Sheesh, the nerve of those two.

Hinging the frontcourt rotation on Powe’s knee could be a gamble, but if the Mavs aren’t satisfied with what they’ve got (Ahmad Nivins included.  He looked like a player in summer league, but you never know what to expect from a team with a full roster.), then they could opt for a low-salary, option-based deal with Powe.

7. Rashad McCants, SG (unrestricted) – He’s young, he’s available, and he’s a scorer.  Unfortunately, he’s not much else.  McCants is a mouth with a jumpshot, but enough of both that he could inject some swagger and balance the court with his range.  As long as the deal is within reason, McCants could be the extra gun arm needed to shoot the lights out.  He also just so happened to work out with the team a few weeks back, so he’s got that on his side.

8. Keith Bogans, SG (unrestricted) – Bogans is one of those defensive-stopper types who grabbed the label through lack of alternatives.  Bogans doesn’t have much going for him offensively, but he’s a good option as a spot-up shooter on the perimeter.  Luckily for the Mavs, that’s pretty much what they’re looking for in a shooting guard.  With the offensive talent the Mavs have, sometimes optimizing the offensive flow is as simple as spacing the floor and going to work.  When the double teams come, shooters are in position, and if they don’t, you’re looking at a high-quality shot for one of the Mavs’ offensive weapons.  It’s hard to say exactly where such a player would fit in minutes-wise, but if the Mavs are looking for back-up plans in case playing Howard at the 2 goes South, they could do worse than Bogans.  Itty bitty problems: Bogans is no spring chicken, so what you see is pretty much what you get, and there are definite redundancies in the games of Keith Bogans and the newly-signed Quinton Ross.