Business has begun to pick up in Mavs-Land as ESPN's Marc Stein reported that Peja Stojakovic is close to being bought out from the Toronto Raptors and that would allow him to sign anywhere he wants. The Mavericks are one of the teams that can use their remaining Mid-Level Exception to acquire the forward and they have minutes available at the position due to Caron Butler's injury. We can report now that the Raptors have followed through and officially bought out Stojakovic.
UPDATE: Marc Stein just revealed that Peja Stojakovic has given a verbal commitment to sign with Dallas.
The big league news of yesterday was a sense of closure. All signs seemed to indicate that Carmelo Anthony was eventually going to land with the New Jersey Nets. According to ESPN.com, it appears that deal is dead and the Denver Nuggets will have to regroup. That means the idea of the Dallas Mavericks acquiring Carmelo Anthony is not as far-fetched as you once thought.
The Mavericks will not jump to the front of the list as teams like the Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks will stay on the list. All indications seem to lead towards Anthony eventually landing with his preferred destination, New York. That won't stop teams from trying to land the three-time All Star forward, including the Mavericks. Prior to the LA Lakers game on Wednesday, Mark Cuban would not wouldn't comment on Anthony or any other specific player because that would be considered tampering. He would comment on the fact he would be interested in a "rental player."
So if that is the case, what does that mean for the Mavericks?
To obtain Carmelo Anthony, a package from the Mavericks would be an all-in and forget the future move. Caron Butler and DeShawn Stevenson's expiring contracts would be involved and the "Future of the Franchise" Roddy Beaubois would be in the package as well. It then becomes on how many future first round picks you send the Nuggets as well. The Mavericks would be able to send up to three future first round picks (and can lottery protect them) and send up to $3 million as well.
Cuban stated that the team, despite their tough losing stretch, is not in panic mode. He echoed the sentiments of Coach Carlisle who said that the team actually isn't that far away from being back to their winning ways. The coach believes that it is a fine line between being a struggling team shifting into a thriving team and vice versa. Prior to the Lakers game, Carlisle mentioned that the "focus and concentration" were lacking during the losing streak. Everyone feels that team can respond, especially when healthy, and it is just a matter of time. That does not mean that the team will avoid being opportunistic as the trade deadline approaches.
It is hard to dispute the fact that the Mavericks would finally have the running mate to go with Dirk Nowitzki if they acquired Carmelo Anthony. Based on their payroll and other factors, it is hard to believe they will be able to sign a big-name free agent so they would have to go through their standard trade avenues or hope to strike gold in the bottom end of the draft. It is the ultimate win-now or all-in kind of move. The new developments in the melodrama will make the next 4-5 weeks very interesting.
If they decide to avoid the drama, Stojakovic is a player that can definitely help the Mavericks out. The reason why the Mavericks would be interested in Stojakovic, he has a career percentage of 40.1 from three-point range. In limited minutes this year due to injury, Stojakovic has shot 48% from three-point range. A pessimist could see a dark horse team that could get in the Mavericks' way would be the New Orleans Hornets. His family still lives there and they have the same financial weapons as the Mavericks do in an attempt to get the former three-time All Star.
If the team wants Stojakovic, when could they get him? It is in their best interest to wait 48 hours to clear waivers. No team is foolish enough to claim him and absorb his remaining salary. Once the two days pass, any team can sign him and that is when the race beings. Stein reported that he would prefer to go back to the Western Conference and the Mavericks, Hornets and Lakers would be the top choices. As we mentioned in Rumorville Part One, the Mavericks will have a pro-rated Mid-Level Exception as well as the Bi-Annual Exception. If he truly wanted to go the Lakers, they would only have a veteran exception to work with. Basically, that is how the Miami Heat filled out the bottom end of their roster. The Mavericks and Hornets will be battling with the same amount of assets, thus New Orleans (a former team) can be a threat. It should be noted with Sasha Pavlović getting another 10-day contract, the Mavericks have a full 15-man roster. So if Stojakovic is in the mix, someone will need to be cut from the roster.
UPDATE: Per Stein, A separate deal is being worked on with Toronto to send Alexis Ajinca for draft considerations.