Caron Butler of the Dallas Mavericks underwent surgery yesterday to repair his ruptured right patella tendon. Unfortunately for Caron and the Mavs, he'll be out for at least the remainder of the season.
This team has already been hit pretty hard by injuries and losing Butler for the whole year creates a hole that needs to be filled.
The Mavericks have depth at the center and both guard positions, but they're relatively thin at both forward spots (especially after this injury to Butler).
They need to go after a versatile player that can at least play small forward, and possibly even play both forward positions.
The Mavericks could also use someone who can provide some consistent offense. It has become painfully obvious since Dirk Nowitzki went down that the Mavericks need at least one more scorer. That hole is gaping even more now, following the loss of Butler.
One guy who could help the Mavs land the kind of player they need is Brendan Haywood. He doesn't seem to be living up to the contract he signed this past summer, but his size and experience is still something that a lot of teams may be interested in. Plus, it looks as though the young Alexis Ajinca may be ready to assume the role of backup center soon.
The Mavericks also have four trade exceptions totaling over $11 million. They may be able to bring in a high-salary veteran player that can help them stay in contention this year.
Here are some possibilities...
Tayshaun Prince's talents have been wasting away in Detroit for the last few years. He was a perfect fit on the squad that won the Finals in 2004, but the formula for that team ran its course shortly after that.
As the Pistons' winning attitude has crumbled all around him, Prince has remained productive. He plays solid defense on the perimeter and is averaging almost 15 points per game for the slow-playing Pistons. He's shooting 50 percent from the field and 44 percent from three-point range.
The Mavericks would likely have to give up a draft pick in addition to Brendan Haywood in order to acquire Prince. The trade exceptions Dallas has would also come into play since Prince's contract is worth a few million dollars more than Haywood's.
Antawn Jamison is similar to Tayshaun Prince in the sense that he can play both forward positions. However, in terms of style and skillset, they're quite different.
Jamison played in Dallas before, but that was a much different Mavericks team. All they cared about then was offense, so Jamison fit in perfectly. These days, Dallas's biggest strength is its team defense.
If Jamison returned to Dallas, he'd impact the offense instantly, but he'd have to work quite a bit to integrate himself into the defense.
Even at 34, Jamison can still be an impact player. He was inexplicably kept out of the starting lineup at the start of this season for Cleveland, but since he's been restored to his old role, he's been very solid.
Hamilton doesn't fit the bill as well as Prince or Jamison, as he's naturally a shooting guard. However, he can still play small forward.
His mid-range game would compliment the offense nicely and he could step right in and contribute to the Mavs' already solid defense.
This is a lot more of a long shot than it would have been a couple months ago.
A lot of people were expecting Iguodala to be traded in order to make room for rookie Evan Turner. It's clear now that Turner will not be ready to assume Iguodala's role in Philadelphia for a while. However, a deal may still be possible.
He's not as strong of a natural scorer as Butler, but he's a better passer and rebounder and his on-ball defense is pretty solid.
The 76ers would probably ask for a draft pick in addition to any players Dallas may send for Iguodala.
Denver's signing of Al Harrington didn't make much sense to me in the offseason. Now it appears management isn't so sure about the deal anymore either, as he's reportedly on the trading block.
Harrington would fill roughly the same role that Jamison could if they acquired him (though Harrington doesn't rebound as well as Jamison).
He can play both forward positions and stretches the floor well with his solid perimeter shooting.
In addition to Brendan Haywood, Denver might be able to coax a second-round pick out of Dallas in exchange for Harrington.
Shane Battier would be an absolutely perfect fit at small forward for the Dallas Mavericks.
He would improve an already strong defense and he could stretch opposing defenses with his sharp outside shooting. On the year, Battier is hitting 39 percent of his threes.
With his leadership, effort and hard-working attitude, he also brings great intangibles to the court.
A straight-up swap for Brendan Haywood makes sense for the Rockets too. They have a lot of young wing players and could use a consistent center after losing Yao for yet another season.
One of those young wings on Houston's roster is Chase Budinger. He's very athletic and shoots fairly well from the outside.
He only plays around 20 minutes per game in Houston. With more playing time on a team with less wings like Dallas, he could easily be a 15-point-per-game guy.
As I said in the Battier slide, Houston could use a center. However, due to Budinger's youth and potential, Dallas would likely have to give up more than Haywood to get him.
One possibility: Brendan Haywood and a draft pick for Chase Budinger and Jared Jeffries (thrown in to make the salaries match, thereby satisfying league rules).
Corey Brewer helped lead the Florida Gators to back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007. The Minnesota Timberwolves used the seventh overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft to select Brewer, banking on his athleticism and potential.
Now, nearly four years later, there are few, if any, people who feel he's lived up to his potential.
He's shooting 36 percent this year and averaging just 8.4 points per game.
What is impressive about Brewer's game is his defense. He would be a more than adequate replacement for Caron Butler on that end of the floor.
As for his offense, you would think he'd play better in Dallas where he'd enjoy a lot more open looks that would come from playing with Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki.
Some people (particularly T-Wolves fans) are insisting that the Darko Milicic experiment is finally coming together. Even if that is the case, they could use some more stability at the center position and Haywood could bring that to Minnesota.
Andrei Kirilenko's massive contract would eat up all the wiggle room Dallas has with trade exceptions, but he is on an expiring deal. All that money would come off the books this offseason.
What he would bring to the games would be a lot of what Dallas needs. He can play both forward positions, is an extremely versatile defender and he's shooting 37 percent from three-point range.
He doesn't bring a whole lot of offensive firepower, but he would certainly be a decent, versatile replacement for Butler.
The Jazz could use Brendan Haywood as well. Mehmet Okur is having a hard time returning from injury and the Jazz could definitely use some more size to compete with the likes of the Lakers and Mavericks.
This is a long shot, but the possibility just happened to pop into my head while I was putting this slideshow together.
Tracy McGrady has not been anywhere near the player he was for three or four years now. However, I feel like a veteran, contending team like Dallas could be exactly the kind of environment T-Mac may need for a career revival.
The added bonus of acquiring McGrady is that Dallas probably wouldn't have to give up Brendan Haywood to get him. The Pistons may even consider Steve Novak and a draft pick.
This is the dream pick up for Mavs fans. And I do mean dream. I think it's possible, but it is definitely a very long shot.
Melo has reportedly said he won't sign an extension with anyone other than New York, but I wouldn't be surprised if a few months around Dallas' organization could sway him a bit.
Here is a more detailed explanation of how I think the Mavericks can acquire Carmelo Anthony.
Is there anyone else you think may be a good replacement for Butler? Were any of my picks way out there? Share your thoughts in the comments section.