True, I had to wait to post this until after the game tonight, as I wanted to see how we would play on the road against a very good team. I'm happy to say I can still post this, as we absolutely trounced a very good Magic team on their home court.
I've seen a ton of posts lately clamoring for trades, whether it be a "Howard and Stack for Barnes and Shaq" deal, a Terry for whatever we can get swap, or even the preposterous "Dirk for LaMarcus Aldridge and a bag of change" idea. I have to say I've been against most if not all of these ideas. Why? Because we would be giving up a very good, very useful commodity for less in return, with the idea that we can get younger and reload with the free cap space in 2010. The problem I see with trading off guys like Josh, Jet and Dirk is that there really isn't much out there in the league that interests me as far as the two positions of need that we really have: (1) a young impact PG/SG that can score at will and take over games and (2) a young, athletic C that can score in the post consistently. And even if we were able to pull off a deal for, say, a Chris Bosh, we would only be guaranteed (sure we could try to sign him to an extension...but that's at best a 50% chance) a year and a half of Bosh's time, and we would open a gaping hole at SF. Josh is our best trade chip, because he's still relatively young, has plenty of talent, and he has a team option vs. a player option at the crucial part of his contract - 2010 - but those things are all very valuable to the Mavs as well. And he has yet to play his best basketball of the past year...something I think we will see very soon. If we're going to try to trade anybody, it's got to be Dampier and Terry, two very hard-to-trade contracts that will be for players on the downside of their career. And I just don't see that happening - and I'm fine with that, as they both do very good things for this team.
So what this team can do in the meantime is sit back and try to trade Stackhouse for whatever we can get in return or if the right team comes calling, trade Bass for a higher pick in the next two drafts or someone useful in the future that may be blocked right now, since Bass will be a free agent after the season is over. The fact is, there really aren't that many useful PGs to be had in a trade out there. Kyle Lowry and Mike Conley come to mind, but what would it take to get one of those two? And while prying Raymond Felton for Stack and Diop would've been absolutely outstanding, I have a hard time believing he's the long-term answer for us at PG to take us back to the championship. It's just a dry market out there. Any trade involving Howard is going to get us limited return in value, and I don't want to make that move.
So I guess what it all boils down to, is if you really want to stick by Mavericks basketball - both in the present and future - I think you should enjoy the fact that the season isn't over, the present hasn't passed us by, and there is still plenty of basketball to be played. This team has won 3 in a row, including two on the road against a very decent team and a very good team, and is playing with passion and precision on offense now that Kidd fully has the reigns. Even after the worst month in the last few years of this team's history, they're firmly entrenched in 7th place behind a Boozer and Kirilenko-less Utah and a reeling Suns team, and are only half a game out of 6th, a game out of 5th, two games out of 4th and three games out of 3rd. A strong finish could easily propel this team past Houston with their constant injury problems, and past Denver and Portland, two teams I have a hard time believing are better than this squad. And maybe a slow first half building towards a peak at the end of the year is just what this team needs heading into meaningful games compared to a strong year and toning it down before the playoffs.