Reported by Dallasbasketball.com.
The Buck Shot Stops Here. Oh and press Single Page.
Mavs Need One More Move, And We Name Names: Redd, Raja, Azuibuike, J-Rich And Miller Might Fit The Bill
By David Lord -- DB.com
Logic dictates that the next big Mavs move will not be about a free agent, but instead about a trade. Consider the guaranteed contracts, the excess in some areas, the probable need in one specific area ... and with Shawn Marion and Drew Gooden having been added as front-of-the-rotation pieces, it’s time to play Amateur GM.
Specifically, let’s re-evaluate the roster and then speculate about the eventual utilization of "The Buck Shot'' and about the sort of guys -- specifically five names -- that could fit the bill:
Michael Redd, Raja Bell, Kelenna Azuibuike, Jason Richardson and Mike Miller.
A COUPLE OF ISSUES IN LIMBO
First, let’s address the remaining Mavs property in limbo. Will the Drew Gooden move force the Mavs to lose Hollins and/or Singleton? Not necessarily. The Mavs still have the right of first refusal on both players, and I don't think either player will get an offer so big that the Mavs can't match. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the Qualifying Offer each got from Dallas (just over the minimum) is the biggest offer they'll get. But as we say that, let's also recognize that this addition of another frontcourt player may make the Mavs decide they now don't have a need for one or the other.
For the Mavs' benefit, if either is retained, I hope the Mavs sign them to at least a one-year deal with a team option for a second year. A pure one-year (including signing the QO) would give the player the right to refuse a trade, ceding too much control (see George, D.). With a team (not player) option for Year Two, the Mavs could simply add on a second year if needed for making a trade possible.
With Gooden they now have 15 guaranteed contracts, and bringing back RFAs Hollins and Singleton would make 17. Add it up: The Mavs simply aren't going to sign several more free agents and toss existing contracts in the trash by the bucketload - no team does that - so they almost certainly will be looking for ways to bundle their excess and turn it into needed value.
TIME TO BUNDLE UP
So how to bundle? And for what?
Various packages with players like Buckner, Humphries, Carroll, Williams, Jawai, and maybe Sign-and-Trades of Green, Hollins or Singleton can offer a variety of expendable, money-saving, cheap, and/or attractive assets to a team that may be looking for something in those areas.
Or maybe they can bundle a whole pile of them for one fairly decent but a bit overpaid player – maybe a 2? -- who can make them better. For example:
LET’S NAME NAMES
Michael Redd: If Redd was healthy, I suspect his horrendous two-year, $35-million contract would make him a feasible target for a package of money-savers in the same way the Bucks got rid of Jefferson; alas, who knows if or when he might again be truly healthy? Some players never come back to being any good again after an injury like he had. But perhaps Redd will get healthy … the Mavs are admirers of him – but only at the right price and at the right health level.
Mike Miller: At the very least, they should be able to package The Buck Shot with Williams' and Jawai's expirings and offer a nice 3-for-1 money-saver to some team for some moderately-priced-yet-desirable player. For example if they added one Sign-and-Trade in a created-expiring fashion, would Washington let go of ex-Wolf Mike Miller for an instant payroll cut of about $5 million?
Kelenna Azuibuike: Would Golden State like some savings for one of the way-too-many 2’s on that lopsidedly bloated roster? (I know; somebody besides Mark, Donnie and Nellie would probably have to initiate that phone call!)
Raja Bell: Think of all the teams that might be willing – no, needing – to move some payroll. New Orleans is on that list. No matter what they say in Utah, the Jazz simply must be on that list. The Bucks are on that list, and if it’s not with Redd, it can be with someone else. And then there is Charlotte and Bell. Raja is an old Mavs friend, a guy who when he was here was a defensive specialist but since then has turned himself into a two-way threat.
Jason Richardson: The Mavs' thoughts on him run hot and cold. Is is a knucklehead? Yeah. Is his knuckleheadedness malicious in any way? Nah. Does he fit the profile of what Dallas is looking for in terms of explosiveness and athleticism? Yes, and he always has. Oh, and who is his agent again?
Anyway, there should be lots of trade partners open to an instant payroll reduction, with the trick being to find a player who fits the Mavs needs while matching those trade assets. The five names we mention here are just the beginning of possibilities that can reveal themselves after Sept. 9, when The Buck Shot can be loaded and fired.
A BUNDLE NOT BUNDLED
Before the Gooden signing, I would have been interested in a three-way with Utah and Milwaukee offering Buckner, Williams, and a S-and-T (Hollins, Singleton, or Green) for Kurt Thomas and CJ Miles, presenting money-saving options to both teams for players that don't seem to fit their respective teams’ long-term plans. In September, the same concept would also work with just Buckner and Williams, or Buck-Williams-Jawai. I think that general deal still appeals to me, although I'm hoping the Mavs front office can get something even better with such juicy assets.
A FRONT-OFFICE ROSTER PROGRESS UPDATE
A front-office progress update? If you're keeping tabs on this team's talent level, here's the offseason scoreboard so far:
ADDED: Gooden, Marion, Humphries, Ross, Beaubois, Jawai, Buckner
GONE: Bass, (Singleton), George, Wright, Green, (Hollins), Stackhouse
a. Gooden instead of Bass at backup center/PF? Medium upgrade based on added size.
b. Marion instead of Singleton at the wing? Major upgrade, and Singleton may still be kept.
c.Humphries instead of George at the backup forwards? Probable upgrade since George was worthless.
d. Ross instead of Wright at the wing defender? I'm a big Ross fan (see him as potentially Bowen-like) so I'm expecting this to be no worse than break-even and perhaps a huge upgrade.
e. Beaubois instead of Green at backup guard? Upgrade, maybe a huge one eventually.
f. Jawai instead of Hollins as the project center? Probable downgrade, but Hollins may still be kept.
g. Buckner instead of Stackhouse as the featured trade chip? To be determined.
Those are positive moves individually, but in total they still don't add up to much more than "Marion plus better backups" so far. Signing Hollins and/or Singleton might help slightly. But as I said above, in some ways there is excess in some areas and a couple of needs that still exist.
During the summer, the Mavs can have as many as 20 players under contract, and that number shrinks to 15 when the season begins. We've charted below where the Mavs roster sits right now (there are already 15 players with guaranteed contracts), and we've also included RFAs Hollins and Singleton.
C - Dampier, Jawai (Hollins)
PF - Nowitzki, Gooden, Humphries, (Singleton)
SF - Marion, Howard, Williams
SG - Terry, Ross, Carroll, Buckner
PG - Kidd, Barea, Beaubois
Better that before. Sure. Good enough? Well …
SO THE MAVS ROSTER IS BETTER. BUT. …
This needed to be their summer to make something big happen. They had the assets, with an MLE and The Stack Chip, to get a strong influx of talent. And it's not too late -- the window of opportunity is still open for The Buck Shot to be packaged for something pretty talented at either C or SG; and we see that as a crucial step in this team's future.
So close, but yet. … Dallas is one additional starter-quality talent addition away from having the talent of the big boys, and we believe they have the assets that should make that obtainable. Can they make it happen?