Due to some creativity on the trade front, the Dallas Mavericks have an open roster spot. Their two-for-one trade of Kris Humphries and Shawne Williams to the New Jersey Nets created a spot, and then the Josh Howard-Drew Gooden-James Singleton-Quinton Ross for Caron-Butler-Brendan Haywood-DeShawn Stevenson trade gave them a total of 13 players.
This allows the Mavericks to pick a role-player or a specialist to come in and help them in an area that they're lacking in.
They filled one of those spots with swingman Von Wafer, who can score at will, but has questionable defensive skill. He also, oh, how can I pull this delicately.....might be bat-sh$t insane.
But there is still an open roster spot, and the Mavericks have some needs. Clearly, a player signed in mid-March won't be the missing piece that puts the Mavs over the Lakers (unless LeBron James is bought out soon), but there's no reason why the Mavs can't pick up a player to soak up some minutes, and fill in the gaps in the second or even third unit.
Like any team, they could use a shooter off the bench. It was that mindset that allowed them to pick up Tim Thomas this summer, and it was that mindset that put the ink on Von Wafer's 10-day contract.
They could also use a big man, because with Drew Gooden stuck in the seventh circle of hell, a.k.a. the L.A. Clippers, the Mavericks suddenly find themselves frightfully thin at center.
With Dampier recovering from an open dislocation of his finger, Brendan Haywood is the only seven-footer (not named Dirk, of course) on the roster. Dirk can't be bothered with playing center, and the Mavericks have only the 6-7 Eduardo Najera left to take up some center minutes.
While Najera's grit can be commended, he is helpless against true centers, and the Mavs figure to see those in spades come the playoffs.
The Mavs gave a workout to D-League rebounding machine Dwayne Jones (averaging 15 per game), but were not impressed enough to make an offer. The fact that they worked him out shows that the Mavs are interested in adding another big body to their lineup.
Which brings us to today, Monday, March 1. Any player who is waived, bought out or released before midnight tonight is eligible to come to a team and play in the playoffs.
Several teams have done this recently, to varying degrees of success. The Boston Celtics did it in 2008, when they picked up Sam Cassell for a stretch run that included them winning a title.
They also did it last year with Stephon Marbury, which turned out less successful, though no to any specific fault of Marbury's.
So who is available to help fill the Mavs' open roster spot, and how can they help the Mavs make it deep into the playoffs?
Let's take a look.