With December 15, or the day free agents who signed contracts can be traded (exception for those who haven't had a 90-day clearance) the trade doors were opened fairly quickly. The Houston Rockets, New Jersey Nets, and Los Angeles Lakers commited the first trade of December: with Terrence Williams heading to the Rockets, Joe Smith to the Lakers, and Sasha Vujacic to the Nets. The Lakers sent a 2011 1st round pick (1-18 protection) and the Rockets sent a 2012 1st round pick(lottery protected for five years, then free of protections). The other main trade of December involved Vince Carter, Micheal Pietrus, and Marcin Gortat to the Phoenix Suns, and Earl Clark, Jason Richardson, and Hedo Turkoglu going to the Magic. The Magic also swapped the horrendous contract of Rashard Lewis for the equally horrendus contract of Gilbert Arenas.
Rumors being discussed at this moment involve our beloved Dallas Mavericks, with Brendan Haywood + expiring going to the Rockets for Kevin Martin. Another rumor is trading Caron Butler, other expiring contracts, and possibly picks for Carmelo Anthony. And who can forget Mavs Moneyball favorite Matt Caroll, along with Mavs Moneyball hated DeSanga Diop and D.J Augustin heading off to the Los Angeles Clippers for Baron Davis+ Willie Warren.
As the trade analysis author (I hope) of Mavs Moneyball, I will discuss these trades and rumors, and how can they affect the Mavs.
The trade involving the Lakers, Rockets, and Nets was a salary dump for the Lakers, plain and simple. While Houston had 15 people on its' roster prior to the trade, they dumped Jermaine Taylor onto the Kings. Their objective of this trade as to gain lottery type talent, while giving a pick which could be worth less over time. They went higher into the luxury tax for that. The Lakers took on a minimum salary contract, and took off about $8 million from their payroll including the luxury tax. With the Lakers, Dallas isn't affected at all. No possible trade was going to occur with them and the Mavs. With New Jersey, the Mavs lost a place to dump Alexis Ajinca or any other bench warmer. The Nets went above the cap, just by $40K, to complete this trade. With the Rockets, the Mavs may be able to take on more salary, or give them a first rounder to entice them to trade Kevin Martin to the Mavs, Money talks, and so do picks. Getting a league share of revenue convinces many teams to do such trades. However, with Martin having the highest career numbers he's ever had, it is unlikely the Rockets let him go, even paying the tax and a gaping hole at their center.
The Magic were seeing that the roster thy had prior to the trade was not going to work out to win it all, aka the NBA Championship. The Orlando rumors started in the morning, but by mid day, the trades were being finished. The Magic gained more offensive minded players who do not mind passing the ball. The Suns gained the liberation from Hedo's toxic payments, and a center ho can rebound, something they sorely lacked when Stoudamire left for the Knicks. The Wizards got a bad contract that is one year shorter, and the PG position is now open for John Wall to start. The Magic do not affect the Mavs unless they meet in the Finals. The Suns affect the Mavs since they are now in the luxury tax, and a trade for talent can occur. However, no news has come out on this front. The Wizards affect the Mavs because they are now an ideal place to salary dump players like Alexis Ajinca.
The rumors involving the Mavs and Carmelo Anthony are what makes us salivate, unless you're LJ Rotter. With Denver in the luxury tax, they would like to dump players to get under the tax if they do deal Anthony. The main pieces being discuss involve Anthony, Caron Butler, and picks heading opposite directions. One thing that does help is that the Mavs now have trade exceptions they can use to take on players without sending out any. However, with the Nets trade mentioned above, they Nets now are a serious candidate to gain Melo, with 5 first rounders in the next two years. They also have expiring contracts in Troy Murphy and Sasha Vujacic. The Knicks is the team Melo wants to o to, but don't have that much to offer. With Dallas in a 3 way race for Melo, and without a lot of substance to offer, this may just remain a rumor.
The other rumor involves Kevin Martin for Brendan Haywood. However, this trade by itself isn't possible, since Martin is earning $10 million and Haywood is earning $6.9 Million. People have mentioned adding DeShawn Stevenson, but the point is to reduce their luxury tax to none. Seeing they're up by about $4.6 million, the Dallas GM needs to find a way to lessen their tax, or convince a third team to join, Coupled with the fact that Martin is playing extremely well, this will remain a rumor.
The ex-Mav rumor involves Charlotte and the Clippers. Presently, this rumor looks bad. The Mavs may enter as a third party, but since they don't seem to indicate that they want to take on long term salary, unless it is a star players, they most likely will stay away.
More trades are bound to occur, and I will be suprised to see Dallas not doing one. We may be suprised later, or not, but at least with our present core, we are doing extremely well.