The good feelings surrounding the Mavericks' better-than-expected start this year went up in the air—or crumbled to the ground—when Caron Butler suffered a season-ending torn patellar tendon last Saturday.
Butler had modified his game from “over-the-hill-scorer-in-decline” to “solid glue guy.” The proof is in his plus/minus numbers. According to BasketballValue.com, the Mavericks were 7.4 points better per 100 possessions when Butler was on the court than when he wasn’t.
Shawn Marion will replace Butler in the starting lineup. He, along with Jason Terry, will no doubt see more minutes and scoring chances. Barring a trade, the Mavericks will go on as a reduced version of what they’ve been.
But knowing Mark Cuban, well, that’s just not his style. Replacing Butler will be tough, because one of the Mavericks' best trade chips was Butler himself (and his expiring contract). Adding a rotation-caliber player would also probably entail parting the tantalizing Roddy Beaubois and several draft picks.
Nevertheless, those who underestimate Mark Cuban’s ability to make a splash do so at their own risk. Here are ten players the Mavericks might target in response to Butler’s injury.