As much as all of us Mavs fans hoped, as the days go by, it seems more and more certain that Dwayne Wade and Lebron James will not be in Dallas uniforms. Although that tide may have passed, there’s still one huge move that the Mavs could make to get much better: trade for Al Jefferson.
"Sources with knowledge of the Mavericks' thinking, however, told ESPNDallas.com that Jefferson is a "down the list" target for the team who is unlikely to be pursued further until after Dallas makes a series of sign-and-trade bids for top free agents."
Well now that the Mavs are out of the running for the bigger names, it seems that the time might just be right to strike a trade for Jefferson. As of right now, the Timberwolves have a logjam at the 4/5 positions. They just signed Darko to a 4 year, $20 million deal. They've also had favorable meetings with David Lee, who also could sign there. Combine that with Kevin Love, former Mav Ryan Hollins, and Jefferson, and they’ll be looking at five guys essentially seeking starter’s minutes at two positions. Now looking at the Twolves contracts, the one that they’re tied down to the longest and would be the most logical one to move is Jefferson at $12 million per year for 4 years, and it looks like they are going to try and move him.
If the Mavs could somehow get him, Jefferson would potentially bring a low post presence that this franchise has quite frankly never had in its existence. In his first two seasons in Minnesota (before his knee injury), he averaged over 22 points and 11 rebounds, numbers that are similar to a big free agent, Amare Stoudamire, who’s about to receive an enormous contract from the Knicks. In comparison to Stoudamire, Jefferson had a similar down first year after having knee surgery. However, as Mavs Radio play by play man Chuck Cooperstein said on ESPN radio last week, the second season is when players who have those types of injuries really tend to return to their past form. In Stoudamire’s case, his game returned to its pre-injury level, as his numbers looked much better in his second season. Jefferson also should look much better in his second season back, improving on his 17 ppg and 9 rebounds. Adding the old Jefferson to the Mavs line-up would make the Mavs very formidable on the offensive end. For the first time since Finley and Nash were around, the Mavs would potentially have two legitimate offensive threats in the starting line-up (presuming Butler remains a Mav). Plus, Jefferson would instantly benefit from receiving passes from Kidd. The only problem would be along the defensive side. As stated many times by NBA experts, Jefferson is limited defensively. Furthermore, a starting lineup of Kidd, Butler, Marion, Dirk, and Jefferson would probably one of the worst in the NBA at the defensive end. But in all honesty, if the Mavs are going to get a center, who’s it going to be? Haywood? If it’s a question of giving Haywood $10 million to be the starting center and play solid defense or trading for Jefferson and living with his defensive deficiencies, its not even a question, you have to go with Jefferson. The reason we lost to the Spurs was not because of the defense. Sure, we could've stopped George Hill a couple of more times, but in terms of the games, our problem was that we could not put the ball in the basket at crunch time. Now, obviously Jefferson wouldn't solve all those problems, but he would be a massive upgrade over Dampier/Haywood on the offensive end. Now in terms of the big picture, would adding Jefferson make us better than the Lakers? No, probably not. But it makes this team a lot better than it was before.
Now the tricky part is actually setting up a trade. Amazingly, our favorite “Dust” chip and Jefferson make about the same money meaning you could theoretically do Dampier + a first rounder(s) for Jefferson, but I don’t know if the Wolves do it. So my question to everyone is, do you trade for him, and how far do you go in offering players???