Mavs waive guard Delonte West.
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) October 29, 2012
For the longest time, Delonte has been one of my favorite players in the league, not because of the extracurricular news that follows him around but because of the way he plays the game.
He's a guy who can legitimately shoot and handle the ball well enough that he could call his own number more often than he has in his career, but he's a legitimate team player when he's not unhappy. Beyond that, Delonte plays defense like a dog chasing a squirrel, constantly chasing, barking and never letting it out of his sight.
He's a good player to have around, but he's also a guy who you'll have to take the good with the bad. If the bad starts to outweigh the good—which is the way it seems to have worked out in Dallas—you've got to cut ties with him before he burns the team up.
There's really no dancing around this one. Dallas obviously thought Delonte was a problem. You know something's amiss when a team chooses Eddy Curry over a guy who can legitimately play basketball.
When you take a look at what Dallas has gone through over the past few months, you've got to think that the Mavericks made the correct decision.
Dallas had to take the proper strides to steady this team in the first few weeks of the season, especially with Dirk Nowitzki out after knee surgery cleaned out 14 years of basketball a few weeks back. Dirk could spend the first two weeks to the first month of the season on the bench, with the latter definitely in play with Dirk saying he won't be rushing back.
With the leader of the team not on the court, there needs to be near-complete cooperation on the court for them to stay afloat while he is gone. If not, the hole on this sinking ship could get bigger sooner rather than later.
If Dallas were to keep Delonte a part of this team, there was a definite possibility for a rift to form before Dirk comes back. Just imagining him potentially sharing a backcourt at times with O.J. Mayo, who can get a bit ball-dominant and shot-happy at times is a disaster. They're just two guys who don't fit well together.
Twice since October 15th, West has been involved in something that led to him being suspended, and even though he denies responsibility, you've got to imagine something went down in the Dallas locker room involving him that was troubling to the team's chemistry.
While West's place is definitely not in Dallas anymore, where things are too tumultuous as it is to take on a rocky player like him, there's no lack of a market for a guy like Delonte.
It may be a few weeks before he finds himself a team to join, but once we get into the middle of November, it won't be surprising to see a contending team who is over the salary cap sign West to a veteran-minimum contract and insert him into their lineup immediately.
West is a guy who can contribute to a championship team, but he's not a guy you can keep on a team that's having problems already, especially if he's in the center of the controversy.
One thing is for sure—I'll continue to be a West fan until the day comes when he's actively hurting a team on the court, and that day is still a long way off.