The Dallas Mavericks involved in trade speculation this time of year? Crazy thought. Okay, not quite.
Dallas couldn't look more impressive, winning with defense and against top-notch competition.
For a moment, it seemed this Mavericks group should remain intact. The chemistry was amazing.
However, fortune would take a turn for the worse. Dirk Nowitzki left the Thunder game on Dec. 27 and has missed nine straight contests.
Three games later, the Mavericks watched Caron Butler go down in Milwaukee with a torn patella tendon. After a successful surgery, his season was ruled over.
Dallas already had been patiently awaiting the return of second-year combo guard Roddy Beaubois. Beaubois broke his foot practicing with the French national team this past summer.
Suddenly, Mark Cuban and his Mavericks organization realize help might be needed once again via trade with several key pieces out, most importantly Butler for the year.
Cuban consistently insists that the Mavs will be "opportunistic" in the trade market.
One name stands out in terms of potential targets. Stephen Jackson from the Charlotte Bobcats.
The Mavericks and Bobcats have a history when it comes to trades. In fact, the two teams have worked out two transactions in the past three years.
Most recently, Cuban and Bobcats' owner Michael Jordan completed a five-player trade which brought Tyson Chandler to north Texas.
Dallas should play the position of power in any Stephen Jackson trade. However, Charlotte needs to find the potential offer attractive.
Would a package of Butler's expiring $10.8 million contract and Dallas' 2011 first round for Jackson be enough?
If savings are a top priority for the 'Cats, the Butler-Jackson swap saves them nearly $20 million while receiving an additional draft selection this summer.
Dallas instantly plugs Jackson in at small forward and keeps Marion part of the excellent bench depth.
Jackson provides the Mavericks with another skilled veteran wing, one who plays hard on both ends of the court.
It's been an extended period since Captain Jack played for a winning organization. The Dallas Mavericks appear to be near perfect landing spot for Jackson.
If Jackson becomes available for the price Cuban likes, go ahead and hold your breath for him to pull the trigger.
Stephen Jackson, the newest Dallas Maverick.
UPDATE: Ric Bucher of ESPN weighs in on Dallas' interest in Stephen Jackson and what it would mean for the Mavericks.