Amar'e Stoudemire is reportedly set to join the Dallas Mavericks, but that won't stop Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban from looking to make another move or two. The starting lineup set with Rajon Rondo (assuming he doesn't need surgery), Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki, and Tyson Chandler, so the focus should be to continue improving the bench.
The bench has been inconsistent and, at times, far too underwhelming. From the lead catalyst, Devin Harris, to the next player up, the bench hasn't lived up to expectations. Seasons past we've been spoiled by the likes of Nick Van Exel, Antawn Jamison, Jerry Stackhouse, Jason Terry, and Vince Carter. Harris was penciled in to be the Mavs super-sub this season, but, like many of his peers, his play has been erratic. After a strong postseason -- averaging 11.4 points and shooting 44 percent from three -- Harris is just averaging 8 points and shooting 31 percent from three since losing his pick-and-roll partner, Brandan Wright, in the Rondo trade.
But Harris isn't the only culprit for the Mavs poor bench play. Since the Rondo trade, the bench, as a whole, is averaging just 32.4 points; the lowest dating all the way back to the 2007-2008 Mavs, who averaged just 30.7 points. Last season's bench averaged a mere 35.4 points on the season, but with a healthy Carter, Wright, and Harris, the bench would explode for 39 points a game and 38.3 in the playoffs.
Safe to say, the Mavericks bench would like to add some punch -- but how? Without major assets, we know any Mavericks activity is likely a long shot scenario. However, Dallas could, in theory, be players for teams looking to shed longer contracts because most of their players have one-year contracts. Their most logical targets are players with longer deals, and/or who have falling out of favor in their current situations, and preferably on teams that are looking to shed deals and acquire a second round pick or two.
With Stoudemire and perhaps Bernard James in place, the focus will be on guard and wing scoring off the bench. Don't hold your breathe that any of these trades happen, but there's a good chance Donnie and Cuban have discussed these a couple of times.
Note 1: Many players involved can easily be replaced with another Mavs' player. The purpose of the trade isn't exactly the player in the deal but their short term contract. So, please no "Why would a team want Felton, Jefferson, and so on?" Also wouldn't be surprising to see the Mavs trying to create an extra roster spot in a trade, so they can try to bring in multiple free agents.
Note 2: The starters, Aminu, Harris, and Barea have been omitted from the deals, which again, diminishes the Mavs chances of making a big splash by the trade deadline.
Like Thomas, Martin would be one of the bigger names the Mavs could try to luck into. We've seen the rebuilding Wolves trade Kevin Love this offseason and move the likes of Corey Brewer, Mo Williams, and Troy Daniels already. Martin has always been injury plagued, but is a known scorer and shotmaker. With three years left on his deal, would the Mavs be willing to cut into their future cap to bring in a declining scorer?
The Grizzlies already made their big move this season when they brought Jeff Green in after making Vince Carter their prized offseason acquisition. Carter hasn't lived up to expectations after offseason surgery. With two-years remaining after this season and at 38-years of age, the Grizzlies could look to simply dump Carter to get out of his deal.
Despite his poor play, the Mavs could hope that familiarity and their training staff could help Carter regain some of last season's form.
If Carter's name wasn't bad enough, mentioning Evan Turner is evidence enough of how poorly the bench has been. Over the season's we've seen the Celtics bring on Marcus Thornton, Tayshaun Prince, Gerald Wallace, and other vets, so Felton's two-year deal shouldn't scare them off.
Turner can play multiple spots. After the Pacers' collapse last season, adding Turner to a contender is a scary thought. But Mavs leadership and Rick Carlisle may be enough to take a chance on Turner.
With Lance Stephenson and P.J. Hairston on the roster, Gerald Henderson could be the odd man out. Henderson isn't the sought after shooter the Mavs need off the bench, but he is athletic, can make plays, and isn't a bad defender. The Hornets could use some extra shooting, so Jefferson could interest them as a back of the rotation guy.
With their grasp on the eighth seed loosening, the Phoenix Suns are reportedly looking to shed one of their guards. While Goran Dragic is the hot name, Isaiah Thomas and his undervalued four-year deal is the first option to be moved. While he won't shore up the depth behind Parsons, his shot making and pick-n-roll play would be a deadly weapon off of the Mavs' bench.
If the Suns are eager to move Thomas to keep Dragic, and the Mavs are willing to eat up the remaining years on his deal, the Mavs contracts and possible inclusion of second round picks could be enough to bring in the super-sub, barring another team comes in with a better offer. Which, sadly, wouldn't be too hard.
This is the longest of long shots, though. For the sake of Suns fans everywhere, this trade really shouldn't happen.
A few other better known names and long shots the Mavs could look at and fit in their salary limitations are Wilson Chandler, Jarrett Jack, Nick Young, Gerald Green, and Jeremy Lamb.
More likely options consist of Randy Foye, Jason Richardson, Alonzo Gee, Jarrett Jack, Steve Novak, Andrew Nicholson, Ben Gordon, Nick Young, Wesley Johnson, Omri Casspi, Caron Butler, and Gary Neal.
The Mavs will need plenty of luck and timing to improve their bench via trade. Hoping to land a free agent or buyout candidate is a more realistic expectation. Jordan Crawford, Michael Beasley, Earl Clark, Andray Blatche, and Will Bynum have returned with Bernard James from China and are looking for NBA teams as well. Ray Allen and maybe even Emeka Okafor are somewhere out there looking for a team.
Whatever the method, the Mavs' time to improve their bench is dwindling. We'll see if they stand pat.