MMB Roundtable: Some early Mavericks draft and free agency thoughts

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In a recent email discussion, our writers had deep thoughts and feelings about the draft, Wayne Ellington, Brandan Wright, Ricky Ledo and the Mavericks' other off-season plans.

As you may have seen us mention here in the past, in addition to writing about the Mavs here, we have some lively behind the scenes email discussions as well. Sometimes those lively email discussions are about pop culture or the cute things our animals did that day (okay, that is mostly me) or our weekend plans, and sometimes they are about the Mavericks and the NBA.

Since we don't have team in the fight anymore, naturally one of these recent email discussions turned to thoughts of summertime draft strategy and free agency. Some highlights of the emails in roundtable form are below...read on, and add your own thoughts in the comments!

Rami Michail (@RamiMichail):

I know it's very early in the draft process and Mavs haven't really struck gold for a while, but just saw Glen Robinson and Russ Smith are second rounders as of now. Could be a decent snatch for non-guaranteed guys. Mavs have two [second round] picks. One is from Boston, which is a borderline first round pick. 34th overall.

Alan Smithee (@SmitheeMMB):

Draft Express currently mocks Tjarks' boy Isaiah Austin to Dallas at 34.

At that spot I think he's definitely worth a gamble, with the tools he has. Exactly the type I'd like to see there, though I don't know if he's a Mavs-ish pick. With Larkin around I have little interest in Smith. He had a nice tourney but don't think he's all that great. Maybe if an Elfrid Payton fell.

Also pretty cool that Jordan Adams declared. I would love a shot at any of the three UCLA guys: LaVine, Anderson or Adams.

Rami:

I'm currently on Draft Express. Have Levine going a few picks before to the Spurs. Can can see the Mavs sneaking into the late first round by packaging both second rounders for one (as we saw Cleveland do with them in famous J-Flight [Jared Cunningham] trade).

Kirk Henderson (@KirkSeriousFace):

Something I'd be interested in knowing are the team's plans for Ledo. The roster looks like this before any FA/draft signings:

Monta Ellis - $8,360,000

Jose Calderon - $7,097,191

Brandan Wright - $5,000,000

Samuel Dalembert - $3,867,282

Wayne Ellington - $2,771,340

Shane Larkin - $1,606,080

Jae Crowder - $915,243

Ricky Ledo - $816,482

Gal Mekel - $816,482

Dirk - $Infinity+1

So a bunch of reasonable contracts. The only signing that really looks annoying is Mekel, mainly because he takes up a roster spot and is the 5th guard at the moment. Only reason I bring this up is, kind of like last year, it would be nice if the draft were AFTER free agency.

Alan:

They will also have the cap holds for Marion and Carter, which will add up to around $15m. I'm curious what the plan there is. On one hand, we keep hearing "continuity" as a buzzword, but keeping two ancient small forwards is a dangerous proposition, and it certainly doesn't jive with going after someone like Deng or Ariza.

Kirk:

Do cap hold exist until a player resigns OR the team renounces rights?

Alan:

Either, but a team can't renounce rights individually. It's bird rights. They renounce all or none.

Josh Bowe (@Boweman55):

I remember me and Alan both talking about how much we despised the draft happening before free agency in 2012.

If the Mavs already had their Collison and Mayo before the draft, there's no way they take Cunningham. When they drafted Cunningham, the only guards on the roster were Roddy [Beaubois] and DoJo [Dominique Jones].

I mean, they'd mess up the pick anyway, but it's still dumb.

Rami:

Is Wayne [Ellington] fully guaranteed?  Would LOVE to replace him for Meeks.

If the Mavs allow both Marion and Carter to walk they'd have to sign two capable small forwards, right? Or do you think they trust Crowder to be the full-time backup? I'd hate it but I also hated when Carlisle would roll out Blair before Wright, but he did that plenty of times (pre-Spurs).

Alan:

There seems to be a fan of his coaching the team, so it wouldn't totally surprise me to see Crowder as the full time backup next year.

Ricky Ledo is also big enough to possibly get spare minutes at both wing spots. He signed a four year deal so I think he's in the plans.

Rami:

Monta, Wayne, Ledo are the only true shooting guards on the roster who are under contract. Would you be willing to roll with Wayne and Ledo as the backup shooting guard?

Jonathan Tjarks (@JonathanTjarks):

Did anyone see Ledo play in the D-League?

Looking at his stats -- they aren't very impressive.

Bailey Rogers (@brogers789):

That's what makes my faith in him all that more impressive. It's completely based on the fact that I just really want him to be awesome.

Alan:

I can't say I expect him to be great but I think he'll get a shot. I think they'll either resign Devin or look at another combo guard. So really it's more about how many guards rather than traditional 2s.

Rami:

I agree, but the other point guards are Mekel and Larkin.

Starters -- Monta and Calderon. Backup guards -- Larkin, Mekel, Ellington, Ledo. Lots of names but are they contributors? Harris and Carter took over the backup shooting guard minutes this season. Two vets and playmakers. Possible to lose both.

Kirk:

Ledo us not unto temptation and such.

Hal Brown (@HalBrownNBA):

I'm firmly convinced that Ledo is going to be the next TMac, but it might take another year or two. If I'm being honest, the more I think about it, the more this off-season kinda feels like a disaster waiting to happen. But I could be wrong about that.

Alan:

I'm not going to put Calderon as the starter in ink just yet. I think there's a good chance they keep Devin (they wanted a multi-year deal for him initially, after all), but if they don't I think they will look for another veteran combo-guard who can initiate offense.

Is Monta, Jose, Devin, Wayne, Larkin and Ledo enough at guard (and Mekel may be in that mix too)? I think so, if that means they commit funds to small forward and center. I think it's very possible Ellington is traded, though. Wayne and Wright seem like the most obvious trade pieces, unless a team really wants Calderon.

Jonathan:

Does Ellington have any trade value? This is his fourth team in three seasons and he barely played this year, so it's not like any team that really valued him couldn't have gotten him before.

Alan:

I think he's a capable veteran. He can shoot. Most importantly he's cheap.

Rami:

He's an expiring deal and can still shoot. I'm sure teams would take a look at him.

Alan:

I don't think he's going to anchor a trade for Larry Sanders or anything, but he's a decent third tier trade piece. A pick, Brandan Wright and Wayne just might get you something. Or, at least, it should.

Rami:

He's a guy you can probably include in a sign and trade to free up cap space. Say Mavs bring in a center (Gortat, Chandler, Gasol, whoever)...would you sign and trade Wright for Patterson? Also, the Mavs are projected to have around $30m right? Which scale is that according to though? Is it if the cap stays as is? I remember seeing a report a while ago that they're expiating the cap to increase $5-6m.

Alan:

I'm a huge Kentucky fan, and I'd much rather have Wright than Patterson.

I think power forward is the deepest position in basketball. I'm only interested in trading Wright if it helps bring back a more traditional center to pair with Dalembert (or obviously a big piece if a trade coup opportunity presents itself). I can only speak for myself, but I don't see the purpose in giving up Wright for another guy who doesn't match up well against the big lineups in the West. As far as undersized bigs go, they don't get a whole lot better than Brandan Wright. The dude's rate stats are off the charts good.

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