The Mavericks have been waiting for almost a month now for frontcourt help in the form of veteran Jermaine O'Neal, but according to a report that dropped this morning, the Mavericks might actually be signing an additional former All-Star.
Tim MacMahon and Marc Stein are reporting that if the New York Knicks' Amar'e Stoudemire is bought out, the Mavericks will be prime candidates to snatch him up. Stoudemire made it clear in his public comments that he's not yet sure if he wants to seek a buyout from the Knicks to join a contender for the stretch run, but sources told ESPN.com that Dallas has quickly emerged as a prime landing spot if he becomes a free agent.
The Mavericks remain keen to sign Stoudemire's fellow former All-Star big man Jermaine O'Neal, sources said, and are prepared to make the needed roster room to accommodate both O'Neal and Stoudemire should they become available.
In the short term, sources said, Dallas is actively searching for a big man worthy of a 10-day contract to bolster its frontcourt while O'Neal continues to try to get himself NBA-ready via private workouts in the Dallas suburb of Southlake. ESPN.com reported last month that the Mavericks were confident they would ultimately fend off interest from the Portland Trail Blazers and other contending teams and win the race to sign O'Neal, but adding the 18-year veteran -- once he fully commits to coming back -- is now expected after the All-Star break.
Stoudemire has bad knees (and ankles, apparently) and didn't play most of January. However, he returned this week and has actually had a pretty productive season. Sure, the awful defense is still there but his offense has regained some form, averaging 12.1 points and 55.4 percent shooting from the field. He's grabbing about 7 rebounds per game and all in under 25 minutes per game. That makes for a tidy 19.5 PER.
Needless to say, Stoudemire would make for a fantastic bench addition, in the general scheme of things. He'd provide more size and rebounding than Greg Smith and Dwight Powell, along with some much needed scoring polish that both lack at the moment (although I do LOVE Powell's offensive game). Stoudemire could seamlessly play both frontcourt sports, although, any lineup with him and Dirk Nowitzki would be a disaster defensively. He could play well with Tyson, spacing the floor in some killer bench units. Stoudemire provides flexibility and scoring punch for a second unit that doesn't have much.
The report still states the Mavs intend to sign Jermaine O'Neal, although O'Neal seems to be more of a slow burn, with no progress likely till after the All-Star break. While a reunion of early 2000s All-Stars might not sound so appealing in 2015, if both are healthy, a Stoudemire-O'Neal bench lineup would fare pretty well and play off each other nicely.
As for the rest of the roster, the Mavs are currently at 14, so they can slide in O'Neal or Stoudemire without much fuss. The problem will be if the Mavs do indeed add both -- there will need to make a cut. Unfortunately the obvious candidates are Ricky Ledo and Dwight Powell, the two most promising Mavs young talents in quite sometime. Honestly, Charlie Villanueva makes the most sense, since Stoudemire can space the floor better than him and play his spot. But you know Rick Carlisle and his love for veterans. If I had to pick between the two youngsters, I think it's gotta be Ledo. He hasn't shown much development in the D-League and Powell has already proven he's an NBA player.
Another possibility? Our boss man suggested Greg Smith could see the axe. He's already lost his playing time to Powell, he probably wouldn't come back next year regardless and he would see zero minutes (barring injury) if O'Neal and Stoudemire are on board.