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Has The Dwight Howard Trade Changed Anything For the Mavericks?

As everyone knows, I've never been a fan of Plan Powder, as Mike Fisher is calling it. As everyone also knows, I and everybody else have to admit, as our own Alan Smithee put it last night, that if the Mavericks do land that elusive superstar it will be ONLY because of their patience, and and their financially smart approach.

I'll talk about all that at more length, at another time, but let's hear from you guys here. The situation is basically this:

The Mavericks plan, which has among other things stripped them of all assets to trade for anybody for the sake of having the money to sign somebody, requires free agents.

Unfortunately for the Mavericks, if a marquee soon-to-be free agent hints that he isn't planning to stick around, he will get traded so that team doesn't end up with nothing. He will probably get traded to a team that feels it has a chance to keep him (or a team that doesn't mind taking that risk, losing, and starting over), because only those teams will offer anything worthwhile. You can point out that Deron Williams hinted he would leave, but he also hinted he would stay and, you'll recall, he did.

Fortunately for the Mavericks, the new CBA will more or less force every potential marquee FA to become an FA because, while it is unfortunate for the Mavericks that the team which currently employs a player can offer that player an extra year and an extra year's worth of cash, it is fortunate for the Mavericks that those teams CANNOT do so IF that player simply signs an extension.

So, to sum up: Even though it seems like a foregone conclusion that Dwight will want to stay with the Lakers, for more money and more years, Chris Paul will want to stay with Blake Griffin for more money and more years, and it's not clear that Andrew Bynum cares enough about winning to care where he is for more money and more years, there is no doubt that all three of them will STILL be free agents next summer, however briefly. And while there, they will certainly do themselves the favor of being petted, adored and sucked up to by a couple of other teams, just to see what it's like. On some level, what the Mavs brass has to say to itself is that, regardless of anything else, Dwight, Bynum and Paul will still be FAs next year.

The question then is whether anything has really changed. It wasn't ever realistic to hope that Dwight Howard wouldn't be traded to a team that was a pretty good match for him, as no one else would give up the pieces the Magic coveted (although it seems like they didn't), and few, giving those up, could still have a team that would entice Dwight. Yes, Dwight may not want to shackle himself to the collectively 104 year old Kobe Pau Nash Gasol Bryant. But that's not exactly an argument that plays in the Mavericks favor, unless they make honest men out of Mayo and Collison, which they probably can't do and still have space for Dwight.

What I'm saying is, I think it was a long shot yesterday and I don't think it's a much longer shot today, but it's also still possible. And I want to know what you think about it.