Editor's Note: Front-paged for a continuation of this series
In continuing our evaluation of where our players may be next season and what they contribute, we take a look at both Brendan Haywood and Shawn Marion. For Jason Terry, Click here. For Jason Kidd, Click here.
The reason that I am writing them together instead of separately is because their future with the Mavs are in the exact same boat.
The Matrix, as most of you are aware, is under contract next season for almost $8.65m. His contract expires after the 2013-2014 season. Haywood's contract is for a little less next season, $8.35m, but he is signed through the 2015-2016 season, though not fully guaranteed in the last year. There has been speculation that one or both may be moved to create cap space either by amnesty or trade. We will likely move one of these players this summer, preferably through trade to save our amnesty, and it is believed that the Mavs brass would prefer to choose to keep Marion and move Haywood if they make that decision. Let's break down the why.
The Matrix was our most consistent player in the past season. He is our warrior. He attempted to fill the defensive leadership void left by Tyson, and did a great job. Our defense was actually improved this year; it was our offense that let us down. The reason our defense stayed strong is because Marion consistently shut down the other team's top scorer whether it was a guard or forward. I could go into why he should have at the minimum been second team all-NBA defense, but you guys are Mavs fans so you should know the argument by heart. Just look at Kevin Durant these playoffs. He struggled against us except for Game 3. He has toasted everyone else (Spurs/Lakers), and that is because of Shawn Marion. Kevin Durant was not a problem for the Mavs, we lost because of Westbrook making pull-up free-throw jumpers, and not stopping Harden from getting in the paint, neither scenario was Marion's fault. Marion is aging, and he could lose a step between this season and next, but I don't think it will be significant. Usually it is a gradual decay of defensive ability, and I have yet to see a slippage in his ability to defend, so it shouldn't suddenly appear next season. He may lose half a step, but with a good system behind him, he can still remain a premier defender in this league.
Offensively, the Matrix is also going to remain who he is. His offense is dependent upon smart timely cuts, and exploiting holes in the defense. His post-up game won't fade, and his shooting is what it is. All told, he will remain the same guy offensively that he is today.
Haywood also is not likely to change. He has trouble catching the ball and can't shoot free throws. Expect nothing on offense and you won't be disappointed. Defensively, he is still an excellent post-defender, but he does struggle in hedging on the pick and roll, and stepping up and challenging the guard's shot coming off the screen. Still all things considered, he is an average to above average defender. The problem is his inconsistency and intensity. He is only an average rebounder, and drifts during games. Marion on the other hand always plays hard and is an excellent rebounder, leading the team as a SF. This is why we keep Marion over Haywood.
With that concluded, Haywood is gone if we sign Deron. If we don't, they may keep him this year, and unload him next summer, or the summer after. The point is, when we need the cap space, he will be either amnestied or traded. Marion's situation is similar; if we need the cap space, he will be gone. He is just the second person to move, rather than the first. With that said, I believe we have a good chance of signing Deron, and I believe we attempt to trade one or both of these guys on draft night, for another impact type player without adding cap space. We then may dump the other, or amnesty if we get to that point. All told, Marion has a good chance to stay, but still has a decent chance of leaving if the right trade presents itself. Haywood will likely be gone.
One other interesting tidbit picked up over the past few days. According to rumor (ESPN Insider), the Raptors may move their pick for a veteran swingman. They are supposedly targeting Iggy or Gay, but is it worth a shot to try Marion plus Roddy for #8 pick? Or wright? Or maybe Marion plus #17 for #8? There are a lot of different scenarios that could possibly work for both teams. If we could get the 8th pick for Marion and Wright, retain the 17th pick, then amnesty Haywood, we could then trade Roddy, the number 8 and 17 picks for Dwight. It's better than what we can offer now at least. Or we could draft Lamb/Ross with one pick, and Zeller/Leonard with the other, and finally have some potential to develop.
And to end with the ultimate scenario, Vince Carter gets traded back home to Toronto as part of this package. Vince Carter is to Toronto as Lebron is to Cleveland, except he was not near as good as Lebron. It won't happen, but it's so funny just to think about.