1) AHHHH TYSON CHANDLER. Initial reactions to the move?
Josh Bowe (@Boweman55): YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES. There was a few seconds of deep sadness in losing Calderon, a player I really, really, really like. But the Mavs just acquired a top-5 center, filled their biggest position of need AND off-loaded their "worst" contract. Kind of amazing, really.
Kirk Henderson (@KirkSeriousFace): I'm really delighted. I'm reading Bob Sturm's book about the Championship season, and it's really ridiculous how important Tyson was to everything in retrospect. He and Dirk FIT, and there isn't a price you can put on that kind of connection. I have no idea if it will work, of course, but what we gave up is worth the gamble for a year.
Alan Smithee (@SmitheeMMB): I'm definitely surprised. Almost immediately after the Mavericks' season ended Stein reported that there were "whispers" Dallas was interested in bringing Chandler back. I suppose I just never thought they'd actually do it, or, more precisely, I think I assumed another team could/would offer more for Chandler, if the Knicks even genuinely wanted to trade him. To do this while also losing Jose Calderon's contract feels like something of a coup, provided Dallas can find a proper replacement.
Doyle Rader (@TheKobeBeef): Truthfully, I am not a big fan of the trade. I have nothing against Chandler and think he is a good player. I’m just not so sure that this deal isn’t based solely on nostalgia. Chandler was a force to be reckoned with when he helped the team win the championship in 2011. During his time in New York, though, injuries have resurfaced which has limited Chandler to 121 games in the previous two seasons combined. He numbers have remained steady but his flashes of dominance have been sporadic. One has to wonder if the team, like many fans, is looking at Chandler through rose-tinted glasses.
It’s a risky gamble bringing him back. It was a risky gamble letting him go in the first place. Dallas has a great training staff headed by Casey Smith but that isn’t a guarantee that Chandler’s health will hold out. Here’s hoping that it does, though. Chandler only has one year left on his contract so it will be interesting to see if the team resigns him next summer if everything works out well this season.
As for Raymond Felton, well, the Mavs had to take his contract to get the deal pulled off. Where he fits on the team is anyone’s guess. His weight issues and recent legal trouble are concerning. Honestly, I think the Mavs will look to move him this summer if they can. Of course, I know nothing about the plans of the front office. I’m just some guy who wants them to sign Josh McRoberts.
2) Losing Calderon and adding Chandler clearly improves the defense. Will the offense suffer as a result?
Bailey Rogers (@BRogers789): New priority is finding a pure shooter or two to help with the offense. Chandler Parsons anyone? The Mavs need a starter at small forward and one of the guard slots (I could see Monta starting at either the 1 or the 2). So whether the offense drops off depends on how you replace Calderon. If your starting backcourt is Devin Harris & Monta Ellis, I start to worry about spacing unless you get someone at SF who can knock down corner threes on cue.
Josh: Not as much as you might think. Remember how the Mavs had that conundrum the last few years about how the Brandan Wright-Dirk duo was killer on offense but killer on defense + the boards? They had to juggle Wright with Dalembert, who was a decent rim protector but an offensive minus. NOW THE MAVS HAVE A GREAT OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE PLAYER AT CENTER. AND WRIGHT CAN STILL THRIVE AS A BACKUP! The offense will be fine as long as Dirk and Tyson stay healthy.
Kirk: No question. The Calderon-Ellis-Carter-Dirk-Wright line up could put up a bajillion points. He's such a good shooter and solid ball handler, the offense will absolutely suffer without him. That Dallas also lost Larkin hurts the guard depth a great deal and Dallas will have to shore up that weakness immediately because Monta Ellis and Gal Mekel are IT at the moment and Gal Mekel should not be in the NBA.
Doyle: I think it could. Calderon was a great ball handler and played a large role in the Mavericks' phenomenal offense setting up teammates and working the pick and roll. When he didn't have the ball in his hands, he spaced the floor and set up behind the arc which opened up lanes for a slashing and driving Monta Ellis. Dallas needs to be active and add another guard or wing that can handle the ball well and knock down threes at a high rate. Felton just doesn't seem to be the solution.
3) What do you expect from the point guard rotation next season? Name a starter and backup.
Bailey: I'm expecting Devin Harris to be the starter with Felton as his backup. Gal continues being very pretty at the end of the bench. Dark horse is Monta at point, but it really seems like the Mavs want Devin back. If that happens, the only way you have Monta at point is if you get rid of Felton somehow, because Devin is your backup PG (or backup for both guard positions).
Kirk: Let's table the concept of point guard and shooting guards. Monta will be the lead ball handler and that's that. As to who else gets to handle the rock in the starting line up, I'd like to see them take a run at Keith Langford, who's never played in the NBA but has the chops. He played his high school ball at North Crowley, for those old like me. For the back up spot Devin Harris immediately has a bit more leverage, should be want to put the screws to Dallas. I wouldn't mind them putting out offers to Shawn Livingston or Luke Ridour. You know, I really think the front office has their work cut out for them no matter what here.
Ian: The likeliest scenario is Harris gets elevated to starter and Felton takes over as the backup. I have some concern about that, given Harris' injury history, and Felton's...Felton-ness. Dallas is apparently not that interested in Kyle Lowry, and won't have a shot at Eric Bledsoe, so my suggestion is Kirk Hinrich. He'll be a lot cheaper than Lowry or Bledsoe. He's a better shooter than Devin Harris, and even at age 33 probably the better defender. I think he makes a lot of sense next to Monta, who he can cross-match with defensively. Then Harris gets to stay in the bench sparkplug role he performed well in last season. And Felton is your injury insurance third point guard. The only problem is Hinrich seems very comfy in Chicago, so prying him away might take more than money.
Tim Cato (@tim_cato): I've got Devin Harris as the starter, and I'm fine with that. However, if you give Harris that role, just know that it's very likely he'll miss some games with injury, making his backup much more important. While Felton could manage 18 minutes a night if he gets back in shape and has a bounce back year, it's hurting me to imagine him running the offense with Harris on the sidelines for a few weeks. Oh Lord, Gal Mekel would become his backup. This is clearly a situation that is not good. Let's stay away from Felton as the primary backup.
Problem is, there's not much out there. Any backup available has flaws. Kirk Hinrich is a deteriorating offensive player. Shaun Livingston can't shoot 3-pointers (he's made 10 his entire career of 466 games). Greivis Vasquez and Ramon Sessions aren't great defenders, nor do they have reliable jump shots. I don't know who the backup point guard is going to be, but I think the Mavericks realize they have to bring in someone other than Felton if Devin Harris is their main guy.
4) Are you okay with the Mavericks giving up the assets they did? Any parting words for Shane Larkin?
Bailey: I would've liked to have kept Larkin and Ellington, but mostly I'm fine with the assets given up. I could whine and moan about the draft picks, but let's be honest, the Mavs weren't going to pick up actual basketball players with either of those picks. I'm really only sad about Larkin, and I realize I was much higher on him than most. Larkin will now follow the Kidd-Harris model of talented point guards being drafted by the Mavericks only to go make an all-star team elsewhere. I wish him nothing but the best in New York, and he may very well need all the luck he can get there, especially after Derek Fisher retires from coaching mid-season to be closer to his kids.
Josh: Absolutely. As long as Dirk is still a top 15-20 player in the NBA, the goal should be surrounding him with as many complementary pieces as possible. The draft is great, but the Mavs suck at it, in addition to the draft picks being second rounders. Sure, this draft is loaded and the 34th pick could be good. But it probably won't be legit good for another 2-3 years and even then it could still turn out to be a bust.
The Mavs got a top-5 center, filled their biggest weakness (a two-way player great on defense) and still have PLENTY of cap room to fill out the rest of the roster. That's a win, considering there was no way a Calderon-Ellis backcourt could thrive, as the Spurs series showed.
Losing Shane Larkin hurts, but he wasn't going to play much on this team anyway. I still feel Larkin projects nothing more as a more-than-solid backup on a good team, which isn't something anyone should lose their lunch over, especially when you get TYSON CHANDLER back. In the end, Larkin was good value for the Mavs, even if that value won't be felt be him directly.
Ian: Yes. I do think this is a good draft, but the Mavericks recent track record of drafting guys is not strong, and neither is Rick Carlisle's track record of actually playing said drafted guys. That might sound like odd justification, but in the end Chandler does more for the remaining years of the Dirk-era than any number of second round draft picks were likely to. And Calderon was a terrible fit with Monta, so as much as I like him, I'm more than fine to see him go. I wouldn't have thought so six months ago, but the player I'm most disheartened to see go is Dalembert, who could have been a very solid backup for Chandler. Shane Larkin: good luck in New York.
Doyle: I'm totally fine with what they gave up. I like Calderon and he is going to be missed but I felt that he should be moved into a bench role if he remained on the team because of the pourous defense that he and Ellis played in the backcourt. As for the draft picks, LOL! The Mavs don't care about the draft AT ALL! Who cares if they gave up two second round picks? They probably just would have wasted them anyway.
Hopefully, New Yorkers have fun Making it Wayne.
It will be sad seeing Shane go, though. His smile lit up the locker room. Oh, and he has some style. He was always looking sharp. I'm going to miss that. Oh, and Brandan Wright will probably miss him too. Now, he is all alone in the corner of the locker room.