Dallas Mavericks: Talkin' Trades

Alex McVeighSenior Analyst IJuly 22, 2008

While Dallas hasn't joined in the Nuggets/Warriors/Clippers/76ers level of making big off-season moves, things are starting to heat up.

Josh Howard seems to be the best trade chip Dallas has to offer right now. His athleticism, as well as his good jumper and penetration ability seems to make for a good fit with a number of teams.

His downside is: his inconsistency could serve to make him a project. At 27, Jo-Ho is a little too old to be taught how to play again.

Ron Artest seems to have a spotlight on him, but the Mavs and Kings are having difficulty deciding what he's worth.

The Mavs offered Brandon Bass and the Stack-attack for Artest. While I hate to lose someone like Bass, I would definitely be on board with this trade.

Artest gives the Mavs some toughness, both emotionally and defensively, which would be a good thing. The Mavs have been missing a lock-down defender who can take the Ginobilis, McGradys, Kobes, and others.

Plus he can score, which was starting to be a problem in the last days of Avery's administration. There were times that the half-court offense just looked plain uncomfortable.

With Jason Kidd on your team, a stagnant offense shouldn't be an issue.

As much as I like Bass, he plays Dirk's position, and if you move him to center, he's too small.  He also plays Jo-Ho's position, so he can't go to the three. But he's almost too good to be Dirk's backup, so I would be willing to trade him for a better fit like Artest.

Then Sacramento countered with a Josh Howard for Ron Artest trade. That's over the line though. As many problems as Josh Howard has had, I don't see any reason that he can't return to All-Star form this year. Especially when he's not running only isos.

I don't think that Artest is worth losing Jo-Ho. With the problems the Mavs have had of late, chemistry is the last thing that needs to be messed with.

So the question becomes, who would you trade Josh Howard for, if at all?

The Dallas Morning News' MavsBlog talks about a Josh-for-Josh trade with the Hawks' Josh Smith.

An intriguing possibility. J-Smoove is younger, an athletic freak, and apparently doesn't want to stay a hawk.

But, with the signing of Gerald Green, we've already got a great athlete. Though it would be interesting to see a lineup of Diop/Dampier, Dirk, Josh Smith, Gerald Green and Jason Kidd.

That lineup has two monster athletes who can penetrate at SG and SF, a lights-out shooter who has been known to break an ankle or two at the PF, and the game's best passer at the point.

Given that Green and Smith are both only 22, suddenly a Dallas team that got a lot older with the Kidd trade becomes younger again.

Add that to the cap space created by Kidd's expiring deal next year, and that could put the Mavs in position to go higher as teams like the Spurs inevitably slow down.

But what kind of commitment can Smith offer defensively? The problem with phenomenal athletes like Green and Smith is that they can often seem content with their gifts, and not commit to playing the hard-nosed D that wins titles.

But Smith averages about three blocks per game, as well as a steal and a half. If Carlisle can beat some defense into Gerald Green, and with the addition of Diop, all of a sudden the Mavs are no slouches on interior defense.

The only weakness they would have is the same one that plagued them in the Hornets series. A young, quick point guard can beat J-Kidd off the dribble, which can cause the defense to compensate leading to open looks for other players.

Teams like the Hornets, Spurs, Suns, Celtics, and now the Clippers can be dangerous if you allow this to happen.

Bottom line: would I trade Jo-Ho for J-Smoove?

Yes.

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