The Dallas Mavericks will trade for Chicago Bulls backup center Greg Smith in a salary clearing trade, presumably so that the Bulls can sign Pau Gasol to the contract that he wants.
This is the best news I've gotten all day. Seriously. This freaking rocks.
In the trade, Dallas will be receiving Smith for nothing (except cap space and probably a traded player exception), which is possible because he is on a minimum contract.
Because Smith is signed to the minimum (or something very close to it), the Mavericks aren't going to complete the trade until Monday, when the Parsons deal will likely be completed or the Mavs have scrambled together some kind of backup. That way, the deal won't meaningfully effect the team's cap space.
The Bulls are expected to trade center Greg Smith to Mavericks as early as Monday to help clear salary, sources said.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 13, 2014
In other words, the Mavs are getting a competent -- or, even, dare I say, excellent -- backup for Dirk for...nothing. This was pretty much the best case scenario.
The 23-year-old is actually a bit of a journeyman. Drafted by the Rockets in the second round on a one-year deal, he re-signed with the team in 2012, was waived for cap space in 2014 after he was plagued by injury and signed by the Bulls at the end of the 2013-2014 season.
After spending most of his rookie year with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, he kicked ass in his second season on the Rockets in 2012-13 as the primary backup to Omer Asik and, later in the season, as the starting power forward.
Smith averaged six points, five rebounds and almost two free throw attempts in 16 minutes per game that season, which translates to 14, 10 and five free throw attempts per 36 minutes. More importantly, he did so on a super-human 62.3 percent from the floor with a 16.1 PER despite low minutes and a non-existent usage rate.
Smith didn't get to capitalize on his success the following season because of injury and a lack of a defined role on the Bulls.
He's a smart cutter, an incredible finisher, and very crafty in the pick and roll. If put in the right position to score (or to get second chance points) he will do so, but should never be featured in an offense or have to focus on facilitating. He's also a solid defender.
To recap: the Mavericks basically got a less-long, less-athletic, better rebounding, stout-er Brandan Wright to play as a backup to Dirk...for the minimum.
Mark Cuban rocks.
Here's a highlight of Greg Smith scoring 21, if you want an idea of how he plays:
The Mavs were in desperate need for a backup to Dirk, and a third big man, and they filled that role better than they could have possibly done without compromising teambuilding elsewhere.
I'M SO EXCITED. LONG LIVE THE DALLAS MAVERICKS.