Despite the Finals ending almost a week ago, news from the NBA has been spilling out at a frantic rate. The draft, free agency, trades scenarios and plenty of rumors have flooded the news market for basketball, to the point where it's been a little hard to keep up with. I spent three days at college orientation with very limited time to stay up to date myself, so I've been getting my NBA fix for the past couple of hours. While I'm at it, here's a quick run down of all the major stuff that's happened so far, and how it relates to the Mavericks. If you haven't been following the Mavericks or the NBA religiously, this should help you get back in the swing of things, right in time for the draft tonight.
Speculation on where Deron Williams will land has circulated, recirculated, and then rerecirculated for a while more. Oh, someone saw Williams watching the TV show "Dallas"? Oh, that must be a sign. He was wearing a jacket purchased in New York? Clearly he's made up his mind! It's nothing new, but there is an absolute media frenzy. Here's a rough, chronological breakdown of all the important news pertaining to the current Brooklyn Nets PG.
Last February, the New York Nets snapped Williams up from Utah in a blockbuster trade rivaling New York's Carmelo trade. However, the slight problem with this acquisition is that the Nets still sucked.
Last summer, the Mavs decided to not offer Chandler or their other free agents multi-year contracts. For a defending champion to refrain from resigning some major parts has to indicate something bigger in mind. In this case, it meant that Mark Cuban and the Mavericks front office did not want to try to repeat with the pieces they had won with, but clear cap space in hopes of acquiring a star in the following offseason (yes, that means now).
As the 2012 season progressed, so did speculation of Deron Williams' impending free agency. It became clear that Dallas was one of the most attractive destinations for him.
Free agency talk ramped up in earnest when sources claimed that DWill had settled on either Dallas or New Jersey. There has been very little dispute with this since it was announced, so it is safe to assume that source is legitimate.
As our own Josh Bowe mentioned, rumors abound pointing both directions. Again: rumors.
Dirk wants Deron in a Mavs uniform, and isn't shy about it.
Both sides have solid arguments. Deron is already living in New York, would not have to move cities and learn a new coaching staff, can be the star of the New York media market, and has a chance to team up with Dwight Howard. New Jersey can offer him more money, which is the most important factor more oftenPicking Dallas would allow him to return to his hometown, play with MVP and future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki, and be a part of a winning attitude and tradition set in place by Cuban and Donnie Nelson. Both sides have compelling arguments, and speaking for myself, I have no earthly idea who or how Deron will pick. I want to hear the words out of his mouth
All of us here at Mavs Moneyball picked Tyler Zeller, UNC center, in the SBNation mock draft.
He has some wrinkles (who doesn't at this point in the draft?), but he's a legitimate seven-footer who rebounds, runs the floor like a gazelle and can shoot it out to 18 feet. A smart guy who played four years at a mega-program, he's as experienced and ready to play as any guy in the draft. If Dallas decides to keep fellow Tar Heel Brendan Haywood, Zeller might be a terrific platoon partner, since his strengths (good hands, soft touch) perfectly compliment Big Wood's weaknesses. My hope would be that Meyers Leonard or one of those athletic wing players would fall, but if they don't, Zeller is a fine consolation prize.
The Yahoo! Mock Draft has the Mavericks drafting Kentucky forward Terrence Jones:
While almost certainly a top-10 talent, Jones (or one of his power forward counterparts) could pay the price for how deep this draft is at his position. Six power forwards have already come off the board at this point of the mock draft. The Mavericks have other needs, but could have a difficult time passing on a player like Jones, who can do a little bit of everything on the floor and looks ready to play from Day 1.
Sports Illustrated predicts Terrence Ross, a SG from Washington.
This seems to be the floor for Ross, whom I'm told could go as high as No. 10 to New Orleans. The Mavs would be tempted to grab Marshall to help fill a potential hole at point guard (depending on what happens in free agency), but Ross -- who was among the NBA's 14 invitees to the green room on draft night -- is too talented to pass up. He has phenomenal range, size and top-tier athleticism (37½-inch vertical jump). He averaged 16.4 points and shot 45.7 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from three-point range as a sophomore.
There are obvious many more mock drafts out there, if you want more insight. This is just a brief look.
Reading a quote by Donnie Nelson, however, makes it clear that no matter which young man is picked, the first year expectations for him are small.
"I don’t think that we’re going to come out of this draft with an impact starter on this team next year, but we absolutely will come out of this draft with a player that can be a rotation player for us whether it's next year or in a year or two remains to be seen" -- Donnie Nelson, Dallas Mavericks president of basketball operations.
Houston has acquired the 12th and 18th picks in this year's draft, in addition to their 16th pick. To do this, they have given up a couple of very usuable players. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a desperate measure, but it appears to all be an aggressive attempt to trade for Dwight Howard.
This does impact the Mavericks. If Houston manages to use their new pieces to get the best center in the game, then the Dirk/Dwight/Deron in Dallas dream is done, damnit (see, I can use "d" words too)! However, Dwight in Houston means no Dwight in Brooklyn. Williams has to go somewhere, and for those thinking he will end up in Brooklyn again next year, this Houston thing is something to root for because it drastically increases the odds of him choosing Dallas. Signing him this summer and Dwight next is still the hope, but just one would be a success.
Of course, Howard is not required to resign with Houston if they do acquire him. He could join New Jersey with Deron after a season with the Rockets if he so wishes. But this is a hypothetical situation that can be discussed more if Houston GM Daryl Morey does indeed engineer a trade between the two teams.
One of the pieces Houston gave up was Samuel Dalembert, which is unfortunately enough to cease any talk of him as a trade target.
The former Portland Trailblazer is said to be training for a comeback, and the Mavericks are interested. Certainly, he is a low risk, high reward sorta player, so I sure don't see the harm.
The King has been crowned. The Chosen won. James has got his ring. Earned, not given. Pick and choose whichever one you prefer, or one of the thousand other catch phrases celebrating LeBron winning the 2012 Championship. What you might not have heard, though, is that the Miami Heat also won.
Mavericks spin: I hate not being able to say the Mavericks are the "reigning champs" anymore. Let's make sure we go ahead and win next year, so I can start saying it again.
Lamar Odom has an interesting contract able to provide salary relief, and apparently the Clippers and the Mavs have teamed up to try to find a third party with interest in a three way trade.
So, which story should I have mentioned that I didn't? Hit me up in the comments and I'll add it in somewhere. I'm about to fall asleep mid-sentence, though, so I'll save it for the morning.