The NBA trade season is starting to heat up, and SB Nation is doing another leage-wide theme post today on the subject. Give it a read and feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments section.
Is your team a buyer, seller or both?
The 12-13 Dallas Mavericks are typically active in deadline talks and playing at a level below the one they usually tend to occupy. Based on that, you might guess they may be working the phone lines once again this year. Being below the tax threshold, and armed with plenty of expiring contracts, financially the franchise is capable of taking back quality pieces. For a team currently in 10th place and with playoff expectations they are light years from fulfilling, quality pieces would be most welcome.
Now, that being said, reports are that any trade that might happen is a ways from materializing. The reason is simple: Dirk is not back yet, and any decisions about the roster will be made with him very much in the picture.
That makes a good bit of sense. Infact, if you take him at his word, Mark Cuban sees the return of Hall of Famer Nowitzki from injury as almost like a trade in of itself, like "a german guy for nothing" trade. Looking at it through that lens, you can see why the team would be hesitant to shift things around so soon. Will that attitude change? We'll have to be patient to find out.
If buyer, what are the team needs?
Of course, as fans, patience and complacency are not traits we tend to display willingly, and the pessimistic fan might argue that the return of Dirk Nowitzki does not solve two major issues plaguing the team at the moment: efficient passing, and rebounding. The Mavs depth at both point guard and center may be even more tested in the upcoming stretch after Derek Fisher injured his knee in last night's game, and then Brandan Wright sprained his ankle(while getting increased playing time due to the strained groin of Elton Brand).
...what specific players should your team target?
I know I have beaten the Jose Calderon drum. A lot.
Since Kyle Lowry is out at least another week, I don't think anything happens immediately, but my proposal would be something along the lines of Darren Collison plus Dahntay Jones plus Roddy and Wright(maybe even DoJo too), with Chris Douglas-Roberts being brought up from the Legends and Calderon(and maybe another cheap contract as a throw-in) coming back. Toronto gets a quality backup for Lowry in Collison, a young big to try out in Wright, and they don't take on any financial commitments beyond this year.
Given that Calderon is 31, owed over $10 million this year, and that Toronto may lose him for nothing if they don't move him, I doubt the Raptors could do much better than that offer. If they can, well more power to them.
Calderon isn't perfect(he's somewhere between below-average and very bad on defense), but I think he makes the Dallas offense run so much smoother. His assist-to-turnover ratios are annually among the league's best, and he is especially good at passing out of the pick and roll, which could make him very dangerous in tandem with Dirk.
If Calderon isn't available or is too costly for a trade to be worked out, the options become limited. Obviously, I would love to be able to get a guy like Anderson Varejao, but Dallas can't trade their first round pick this year, and they don't have an excess of young, attractive talent, unless they decide they want to part with O.J. Mayo(which I doubt).
And, by most accounts, any trade involving Dallas likely won't have the Mavs taking back salary beyond this year, unless it's a superstar type player. Dallas will want to keep their options open and their books as light as possible this offseason to make a run at the best the free agent/trade the market has to offer.
Some names of expiring players who might be attractive to Dallas, other than Calderon, include former Mav Devin Harris, one of the two Utah Jazz frontcourt duo of Jefferson and Millsap, and Samuel Dalembert. That last guy, Dalembert, is probably my second choice after Calderon. He fits a need as a rebounder and rim protector, and if you believe the word out of Milwaukee he is dissatisfied with his role on the team. Wright plus Roddy plus DoJo for Dalembert works in trade machine. Does Milwaukee do it? Well, they aren't playing Dalembert too much at the moment, with all the young frontcourt players they have(Larry Sanders, John Henson, Ekpe Udoh), so it's hard to think he's in their plans, either longterm or shortterm.
What are your top three trade ideas?