Just this past week, Mark Cuban has made it known that the Mavericks probably aren't going to let this trade deadline go by silently like last season.
In fact, Cuban's made it about as clear as possible that he's wanting to make a move. He told Eddie Sefko at The Dallas Morning News that there's a "100 percent chance" that the Mavs look to pursue a trade and then told reporters the other night that the "Bank of Cuban" is open.
So what's out there? The Mavericks are already geared up to have plenty of cap room this summer so I'd assume any deal the Mavericks make isn't going to be to shed some salary. I would imagine that Cuban is looking to make a move to bring a big name in here or at least someone to help the team win this year and beyond.
Of course, Cuban could always find ways to save more money for this summer. He can deal away Shawn Marion, but such a move would create so much public backlash (it would leave Dirk as the only real player from the 2011 championship team) that I doubt he'd do it. If Cuban were to trade Marion, I'd imagine it'd be for a decent piece.
This season has been brutal for Cuban. I think the losing of the last two seasons might finally be getting to him. Last season, it was easy for Cuban to endure a wasted season. The Mavericks championship was still fresh, with Cuban doing plenty of championship promotions, commercials and the like.
It's easy to not think about your team getting gutted in the first round by the Thunder when you're doing commercials with LMFAO and putting on a championship ring. But now the sheen has finally worn off.
In Cuban's entire time owning the Mavs, he's always been building a team for the future while also winning now. The Mavs were already trending up when Cuban bought the team, he just pushed them over the hump. Since then, the Mavericks have been perennial winners. Cuban's never faced this much losing in his entire time with the franchise, it has to be eating at him like a virus.
So, with that in mind, I went to the NBA trade machine and concocted some trades that would help the Mavericks this season and beyond. Of course, take all of this for a grain of salt. It's just me playing around.
DALLAS trades Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, Dahntay Jones and Rodrigue Beaubois to MEMPHIS for Rudy Gay and Jerryd Bayless
ADJUSTMENTS: Swap Marion for Chris Kaman
Of all the "star" names out there, Gay is definitely the biggest and most likely one rumored to be dealt. For Gay though, it's all reputation rather than substance. Gay is having a career-worst season, shooting 41 percent from the field and 31 percent from three. He's simply an OK-passer and an OK-defender, which is a shame because his athleticism should allow him to be a much better defender and help-defender. Unfortunately, Gay has too many lapses on the defensive end and forces things all too often on offense. His career average is about 18 points per game, but he's also averaged over 16 shots per game for his career. He's a volume shooter that doesn't help out much anywhere else, except...
...that talent is still salivating. Rick Carlisle's magic mojo has worn off a bit this season, but you still wonder what Gay could do under Carlisle, much like what his former teammate O.J. Mayo is doing. And despite all his warts, Memphis desperately needs Gay's creativity from the perimeter when its offense stalls in the halfcourt. Gay is the Grizzlies only true penetrator other than perhaps Bayless. Almost every other Memphis player gets their offense off whatever Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol create. Gay brings the ability to create from the outside, a huge asset in close games and the playoffs.
There's also his contract, which owes him $16 million over three years. Memphis has some tough decisions to make with looming extensions for Randolph and Gasol who are clearly the pillars of this organization. It doesn't make much sense for Memphis in the long run to allow Gay (who is their fourth-best player, at-best) to hog the cap and allow Randolph and Gasol to walk.
On the Mavs, Gay would slide into the starting small-forward spot if Marion is traded and he'll give the Mavericks a bit more spacing and another outlet for Dirk Nowitzki to throw to when he gets double-teamed. Gay also brings another pick and roll player into the fold, although, as mentioned earlier, his passing isn't the greatest. If Gay turns around his three-point shooting (from 31 percent to a more respectable 36-38 percent would do) then he could be a nice "second-star" for Dirk. Unfortunately, that involves a ton of risk, hoping that Gay seemingly turns it around, even though he's been in the league for seven seasons. He's young (26) which would gives the Mavs hope of him changing his ways. If the Mavericks trade both Marion and Carter, that means Carlisle and the organization are comfortable with rookie Jae Crowder increasing his playing time as a backup wing.
For Memphis, the move is pure salary-dump. They lose their somewhat effective back-up point in Bayless (who would be a gigantic upgrade over Beaubois in that department) while also getting more shooting and still some play creation from Vince Carter. If it's Marion, then Memphis will have perhaps the most formidable defensive starting five in recent memory. Carter would help offset the Grizzlies already poor shooting while gaining some extra defense from Marion. Memphis can also flip Marion this summer to create more cap room or decline Carter's team-option, so there's still ability for Memphis to save money. If the deal includes Kaman, then the Grizzlies get a more traditional big man for back up duty. Kaman has his warts, but he would be a deadly back big off the bench, feasting on other teams mediocre-at-best reserve post players. Carter would perhaps be a little overused though in this deal, since he would slide into the starting small forward spot. Carter's been much more effective in spot minutes, which is why if Memphis did do a deal, they'd pick up Marion.
I think Memphis can get a much better deal for Gay, and this trade also only goes down if Cuban is willing to give up on chasing any big names this summer. It'd be interesting for sure.
DALLAS trades Shawn Marion, Chris Kaman, Rodrigue Beaubois and Brandan Wright to SACRAMENTO for DeMarcus Cousins, Marcus Thornton and Chuck Hayes
ADJUSTMENT: Add Dahntay Jones and John Salmons to the trade
Let's make one thing perfectly clear: Sacramento would be absolutely nuts to trade Cousins. Despite his character issues, Cousins is one of the most exciting, young and dominant big men in the game right now. He brings the total package for a big man in today's NBA. Also, the Kings would be pretty nuts to accept any trade from the Mavs that doesn't include O.J. Mayo.
For greed purposes (this is a Mavericks site, after all) I opted to not include Mayo in any of the proposed deals. Let's also make something perfectly clear: the only thing the Kings gain from this is massive salary relief. It doesn't make the team any better in the short-term or really, the long-term. It would set the franchise back a few more years and make the Kings more hopeful for lottery ping-pong balls to land another franchise player. So yeah, don't see this happening.
These trades also nullify the Dallas cap space for the foreseeable future. Salmons ($8 million over three years) and Thornton ($7.5 million over three years) have ludicrous contracts for players that are posting a combined PER of 26.9. But, if you want a stud like Cousins, that's a price you have to pay. The Kings would also love to dump Hayes' contract ($5.4 million over three years) since the veteran big has fallen out of the Sacramento rotation. In return, Kaman and Marion would help stabilize the Kings for this season, allowing the team to be as competitive as they are now, while also giving them intriguing, youthful talents in Beaubois and Brandan Wright to try out and see if they are keepers for the Kings. Not to mention how much salary is being shed for Sacramento.
For Dallas, it's pretty obvious: The Mavericks get a franchise player for when Dirk fades off and to pair with right now to create a devastating front court. Cousins defense isn't the best past the free throw line, but he does a decent job clogging the paint and is a monster rebounder. The biggest key would be his maturity issues. but the Mavericks are a great organization for players to turn it around, with a great staff from the coaches to the front office. Cousins would have every opportunity to put his past behind him and start fresh with a championship coach and franchise.
Salmons would most likely replace Marion in the starting lineup with Carter assuming his normal role off the bench and closing games. Thornton would add some nice bench scoring from the perimeter and help keep Mayo's minutes in check. Hayes would add some nice depth to the front court and help the Mavs dreadful rebounding (if he cracked the rotation. Playing Hayes and Brand at the same time would be...uhm...interesting.)
Again: there's no chance in hell Sacramento does this deal, unless they want to start completely fresh and get rid of those two awful contracts in Salmons and Thornton.
DALLAS trades Shawn Marion, Chris Kaman and Jae Crowder to INDIANA for Danny Granger, Tyler Hansbrough and Gerald Green
Two strains of thought
1. Indiana is in first-place in the central division, third in the East backed by the league's best defense and the emerging star that is Paul George. George has thrived playing at the three and Lance Stephenson has emerged as the starting two guard and putting in quality minutes as a creator, allowing George Hill to spot up more. Indiana is trending upward without Granger and his rather unsavory contract.
2. Indiana is in first place in the central division, third in the East backed by the league's best defense and the emerging star that is Paul George. But their offense is absolutely brutal and one of the league's worst. At some point, the Pacers elite defense will regress (slightly) back to the mean and they'll need the offensive firepower from Granger to keep them afloat when they hit a rough patch. George is growing but he won't be able to close games out in the playoffs, something Granger can do.
So, you can see why trading Granger isn't exactly an easy decision for Indiana. Granger's shot-selection is poor (43.8 percent shooter from the floor for his career, shoots a lot of long-twos) but he's still a great three point shooter (38.4 percent for his career) and an underrated defender. It'll be interesting what Indiana does with him when he comes back.
Unfortunately for willing suitors, Granger probably won't be back before the trade deadline and even if he does, it won't be with enough time to evaluate how he fits back in with the Pacers. That means there's almost a 100 percent chance he stays.
But this deal makes some sense for both teams. The Pacers save some money from Granger's deal and get rid of Gerald Green's dumb contract ($3.5 million over three years for a player with a 7.9 PER.) Marion makes an elite defense even stronger and allows Indiana to match up with New York and Miami's small ball by playing George at the three and Marion at the four and David West at the five (of course, Indiana can do that when Granger comes back as well.) Indiana has committed to Roy Hibbert and even with his ghastly season so far, I doubt the Pacers will want to limit his time on the floor. That means the Pacers would have to most likely start George and Marion at the two and the three which will be an absolute wild card. The defense should remain elite, but it'll be interesting (and perhaps horrific) to see how George and Marion would work on the offensive end, while taking away minutes from Stephenson, who has been a solid pick and roll player. Kaman gives Indiana some more scoring up front and Crowder is a nice, young piece to help out.
For Dallas, it's simple: Granger brings the ability of a "second-star" to take the scoring load off Dirk's shoulders. Granger has always, to me at least, looked like a second or third option. The less Granger has to create, the better. Just let him sit outside the three point line and spot up as Dirk's double teams free him up. Granger is a fantastic spot-up shooter and the defensive drop off from Marion to Granger isn't as steep as you may think. The Mavericks would have to take on Green's salary and give up some youth in Crowder to make Indiana even consider picking up the phone.
Again, Indiana is in a great position. With Granger likely not back until February, I'd imagine the Pacers will see how Granger fits in and roll with it for this season. Indiana needs offense in the worst way...getting Granger back will almost feel like a trade in itself.
DALLAS trades Shawn Marion, Rodrigue Beaubois and Brandan Wright to MINNESOTA for Derrick Williams and Luke Ridnour
This would be an interesting deal for a few reasons:
- Minnesota has made it known that they aren't in love with Williams moving forward. Numbers and lineup data are constantly confirming the obvious from watching any Timberwolves game in the last two years: Williams is a much better fit at the 4 then the 3. As a 3, Williams lacks the necessary shooting, ball-handling and perimeter defense to play outside the three-point line. As a stretch-4, Williams can be a monster, sliding out to 15-feet for a short jumper, cutting to the rim and playing closer to the basket in general. His face-up game would also greatly improve if he's taking slower-footed power forwards off the dribble. With Love in the mix, Williams will only get to shine in that role off the bench, which seems a bit weird for the second-overall pick of the 2011 draft on a team that's looking to get to the next level. Ridnour is also an expendable piece, with Rubio's health coming back and the team already committed to J.J. Barea as a back up point. Marion would help with Love's absence, can play the four and has shown he can come off the bench before (Dallas did so when they had a healthy Caron Butler in 2010-2011.)
- For Dallas, this gives the Mavs a more suitable back up for Dirk and offer a bit more youth on the wing. Of course, the same problems for Williams in Minnesota translate here: his playing time is blocked by an all-star power forward. Dirk is on the twilight of his career, however, and could Dirk decide to retire after his contract ends, Williams would be a nice replacement to help the transition. Again, Williams would first fit in on this team as a three, which really isn't fixing his problem in Minnesota.
Minnesota could probably get more for Williams from a team that would want to start him right away. But Ridnour would be a nice back up point for the Mavs and the Wolves can try out Brandan Wright while Love is injured. A funky trade for sure and one that doesn't have much of a shot as well.
DALLAS trades Chris Kaman, Rodrigue Beaubois and Brandan Wright to TORONTO for Jose Calderon
Obviously, Toronto could get more for Calderon, a nice point guard on an expiring contract. This deal made more sense for Dallas in December when Derek Fisher was starting over a completely-at-rock-bottom-and-confidence-shook Darren Collison. Things are a bit better now and Collison has turned his game around in the last three weeks.
But make no mistake, Calderon is the better guard to run an offense. He's a good pick and roll point that would make a smooth transition into the Dallas offense and Dirk. This would probably send Collison to the bench to become a rich-man's J.J. Barea. The Raptors get three expiring contracts, a veteran big to help the team right now and two youthful and talented players that could see more playing time for a Toronto team that is clearly not in the playoff picture.
The Raptors would probably want more back in this deal, however, or ask the Mavericks to take on a more lush contract.
DALLAS trades Chris Kaman, Rodrigue Beaubois and Brandan Wright to MILWAUKEE for Samuel Dalembert and Beno Udrih
I love this trade. Love, love, love it. It doesn't make that much sense for the Bucks, but I still love it. The Mavericks get a good defensive and good rebounding center in Dalembert that replaces Kaman (while still being a 1-year deal) and Udrih to be the back-up point (which would be light years better than Beaubois.)
Again, there isn't much sense for why the Bucks would do it, unless they are enamored with the potential of Beaubois and Wright. The Bucks have some decisions to make soon, with Brandon Jennings a free agent this summer and Monte Ellis a free agent in 2014. Perhaps the Bucks decide they want to keep Ellis rather than Jennings and Beaubois would help soften the blow? Brandan Wright is going to be a good player for SOMEBODY in this league, as soon as he gets minutes. Although he might seem like a John Henson clone, Wright is a much better offensive player right now. And seeing a Brandan Wright-Larry Sanders front court would make me lose my shit. That'd be an extremely fun front court that compliments each other well (Wright makes up for Sanders offense, Sanders makes up for Wright's defense.)
Rarely in the NBA do you see teams exchange expiring contracts. Mainly because expiring contracts are pretty valuable to a team wanting to shed cap space. I feel the Bucks can get a bit more bang for their buck (SEE WHAT I DID THERE) but that doesn't make me want this deal to happen any less.
That's it. What do you guys think? Go to the NBA trade machine and post in the comments your ideal trade for the Mavericks this season.