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NBA Rumors: Players Who Meet Mark Cuban's 'Futureous' Desires

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIFebruary 12, 2013

NBA Rumors: Players Who Meet Mark Cuban's 'Futureous' Desires

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    With the Dallas Mavericks starting at 22-28, many have begun to call their postseason future into question. Even after winning nine of their last 14 games, the Mavs remain 4.5 games out of eighth in the Western Conference.

    Fortunately, the NBA trade deadline has not yet passed. 

    According to Earl K. Snead of Mavs.com, owner Mark Cuban has not closed the book on making a move come the trade deadline. The prerequisite for Cuban is that the player is "future-ous."

    In the words of Cuban himself, "the bank is open."

    Mark Cuban on any trades for the Mavs: "It's got to be a future-ous type player that we can build around that really adds a lot."

    — Earl K. Sneed (@EKS_MavsNBA) February 12, 2013

     

    Cuban added another qualification.

    Mark Cuban on what the Mavs would covet in a trade: "It's got to be a top three player (in the Mavs' rotation)."

    — Earl K. Sneed (@EKS_MavsNBA) February 12, 2013

     

    Understandable.

    The question on everyone's mind is simple: Who meets Cuban's requirements? While we can't pick Cuban's brain, we can acknowledge the players who make the most sense.

    So, who fits Cuban's ideal requirements?

Eric Bledsoe, Los Angeles Clippers

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 23

    Experience: 3rd Season

    2012-13 Season Averages

    19.34 PER, 21.9 MPG, 9.8 PPG, 3.3 APG, 3.2 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 0.9 BPG

     

    According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Los Angeles Clippers have not yet closed the book on trading Eric Bledsoe.

    This opens the door for the Dallas Mavericks to swing a deal to acquire Bledsoe. 

    As much as the Clippers dread the thought of parting with [Eric] Bledsoe before they have Paul's signature on a new deal, sources close to the situation acknowledge that the Clips know it's just as dangerous (or maybe even more so) to leave the roster as is and thus expose themselves to an early playoff exit because DeAndre Jordan's offensive limitations or free throw woes (or both) render him a playoff non-factor. Or because Lamar Odom proved too small and ground-bound to close games alongside Griffin when it mattered most.

    In other words, the Clippers need an interior presence and may be willing to part ways with Bledsoe to acquire such a player.

    Unless the Mavericks decide to deal Dirk Nowitzki, they lack such a player. For that reason, there would need to be a third team involved to get this deal done.

    Don't write that off as an impossibility.

    The Mavericks have valued trade pieces in Shawn Marion and Vince Carter. They also have a deep frontcourt with Elton Brand and Chris Kaman potentially available.

    Executing this deal would be tasking, but don't call it impossible.

    Not when the Mavericks have such deep pockets and will be a threat to the Clippers in the Chris Paul sweepstakes come free agency.

Iman Shumpert, New York Knicks

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    Position: Guard

    Age: 22

    Experience: 2nd Season

    2012-13 Season Averages

    9.51 PER, 19.1 MPG, 5.3 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.6 APG, 41.4% 3PT

     

    If Iman Shumpert actually ends up on the trading block, it would behoove the Dallas Mavericks to play their hand.

    The Knicks have seen their interior depleted by injuries to Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby. For that reason, they could be interested in the expiring contracts of Elton Brand or Chris Kaman.

    As for Shumpert, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports that the Knicks are unhappy with his attitude.

    If New York is crazy enough to make a deal involving Shumpert, the Mavericks must pursue the option of acquiring him.

    At best, he's a potential option to become the Mavericks' franchise point guard. If he fails in a facilitating role, he remains a 22-year-old that is already an elite perimeter defender.

    It's a win-win for Dallas.

Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 29

    Experience: 8th Season

    2011-12 Season Averages

    18.68 PER, 18.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.0 SPG, 38.1% 3PT

     

    By executing this trade, the Dallas Mavericks would effectively eliminate themselves from the conversation for a two superstar offseason.

    With that being said, they'd also be able to offer the following bid to a potential superstar.

    If you sign with the Mavericks, you could be joining a trio of Dirk Nowitzki, O.J. Mayo and Danny Granger. Plus, the Mavs would still have cap space to add depth.

    According to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, Indiana isn't opposed to trading Granger with the emergence of All-Star Paul George.

Al Jefferson, Utah Jazz

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    Position: Center

    Age: 28

    Experience: 9th Season

    2012-13 Season Averages

    20.97 PER, 17.4 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.2 BPG, 0.9 SPG

     

    Al Jefferson may not be Dwight Howard, but he's one of the most productive centers in the NBA.

    Jefferson is presently averaging 17.4 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.2 blocks and 0.9 steals per game. All Jefferson truly needs is the opportunity to play with elite talent.

    Sharpshooter O.J. Mayo and 2011 Finals NBA MVP Dirk Nowitzki classify as just that.

    If the Mavericks were to make a deal with Utah for Jefferson, they'd receive an elite player with an expiring contract. In other words, they could hit the reset button if they felt Jefferson wasn't their man.

    Fortunately, Utah appears inclined to move Jefferson.

    Marc Stein of ESPN reported in December that either Jefferson or Paul Millsap would be traded. With Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops confirming that notion last week, it appears as if Jefferson is available.

    Chris Kaman's expiring contract could be packaged to get this deal done and create a bright future in Dallas.

Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 27

    Experience: 9th Season

    2012-13 Season Averages

    17.28 PER, 16.9 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 4.0 APG, 2.2 BPG, 1.3 SPG

     

    If the Mavericks are looking to build a core from the future, Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks is a perfect player to start with.

    Per Basketball-Reference.com, Smith is on pace to post the 13th season in NBA history with averages of at least 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.0 steal.

    Mind you, steals and blocks weren't considered official statistics until 1973-74, but the numbers are still historically significant.

    Smith may not be the type of championship-caliber leader that Mark Cuban envisions, but he's a statistical master at both ends of the floor.

    Most importantly, he's explosive enough to move with the athletic forwards in the Western Conference.

    As for how he'd function alongside Dirk Nowitzki, coach Rick Carlisle could move the veteran to center. Smith would then step in at power forward and play the role of interior stopper.

    If not, Smith is more than capable of playing the 3.

    The question is, would Smith re-sign this offseason? If anyone has the cap space to make him an offer worth considering, it's certainly Dallas.

    For the right deal, this is a risk worth taking.

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