First the two CBA factoids:
One, to clear up questions, an NBA team can trade an injured player. In the case of Caron, I might suggest that his trade value would be halved, maybe, because if his injury is long-term, he would go from being an on-court asset AND an expiring contract to just being the latter.
Two, an NBA team with an injured player can apply for a Disabled Player Exception. That would offer the Mavs a salary slot worth half of Butler's contract ($10.8 million). And, by the way, the DPE is itself a trade-able commodity.
All of this is rather cold-blooded, I know. The Mavs didn't have to go there before … but I did. Explanation forthcoming.
There is also great care being taken in the application and the evaluation of the MRI, I am told. So the wait continues ...
Now to the classy and quiet Mavs' front-office approach, and the reasons for that:
REASON 1: A Little Optimism Never Hurt Anybody.
Dallas is saying all the right things (or really, saying nothing at all publicly) about Caron and the team going forward. The Mavs, like the rest of us, await the results of the MRI on Butler's knee … and they wait with some level of optimism, because at the moment like throughout the weekend, there was nothing lost by doing so.
Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson have built a familial atmosphere here. It is sincere on their parts – and it precludes them from involving themselves in premature speculation about the future of one of their own.
That is admirable.
But eventually, this isn't about "Miss Manners'' – this is about a miss of Caron, a miss of an opportunity, a miss at a window of contention. And that's where etiquette will soon cease … and when business will commence.
REASON 2: ‘We Love Our Boys In Blue.''
Soon will be delivered the argument that Dallas is prepared to move forward with its present group.
Again, this shows wisdom. … PR wisdom and management wisdom and hopefully, basketball wisdom. Demonstrating faith in the people presently on the roster is the best way to coach great performances out of those people.
So they "Love Our Boys in Blue.''
I do know that the Mavs-with-Caron consider themselves a true contender. And I will not scoff at the position that there are pieces on the roster ready to elevate themselves. But …
If the Mavs do stand pat, and succeed? It'll be a helluva story because it'll mean somebody vaulted into a position of being a 15-points-a-game guy, like Caron is.
That's not impossible, of course.
*Roddy B can do that.
That would be the ideal option, if the timing would agree to play along. Do the math on Beaubois' foot injury. He injured it in late August. We were told "two-or-three months'' from there. Two months later he had the boot off and all logic suggests he re-injured the foot because he then put the boot back on.
He's done nothing significant since … and that "two-or-three month'' window now takes us to late January.
Yes, it is conceivable that Roddy Beaubois comes back to the club in late January and becomes a 15-points-a-game guy. That was the original plan. It can be the plan again.
Are the Mavericks willing to stake a potentially championship-level season on it?
*Shawn Marion will become the primary forward alongside Dirk (who will hopefully be ready to come back from his sprained knee, like, right now.) When The Matrix starts, he scores – and does so efficiently. (see Donuts). He's already Dallas' defensive stopper. 'Trix-as-starter leaves the bench in shaky straits, though.
*More DeShawn? I think they are milking him for all he's worth. I mentioned this to a Mavs staffer the other day, and was left with this impression: DeShawn and Kidd on the floor together, in the playoffs, are going to be hard-pressed to continue their weakside 3-point-shooting ways. By that time, somebody will have figured out how to have covered one of them.
*DoJo? I can actually make the argument that if Marion "replaces'' Caron as one of the top five guys, then Dojo might "replace'' Shawn as the seventh guy.
None of that makes you better, though.
*Joe Alexander? The D-League standout is going to get a 10-day contract from somebody. DB.com's man in Frisco, Kevin Brolan, reports that the 10-day contract trick can be used starting this week … but he also notes that Dallas would have to have a roster spot open to pull the trigger here.
And I note that in terms of trying to keep a title contender afloat, we're grasping at straws.
REASON 3: Tomorrow Is Another Day.
Coach Rick Carlisle's rather testy stated opinion on Sunday night was that the media was tiptoeing toward irresponsibility by speculation on the extent of Caron's injury. And again, with the Mavs in circle-the-wagon mode over the weekend, it was a smart position to take.
I spoke on live television after the occurrence, evaluating on the fly. Along with some other less weighty issues (I didn't really sleep with Madonna in 1983, for instance, and my Rooster Cogburn needs some work ... so for this issue, go to the 6:22 mark), I offered up my initial impressions of what we saw from Caron when he was hurt in Milwaukee. Here's the video:
An hour later – with the guidance of my partner Ro Blackman, with access to the unedited feed with sights and sounds from the Dallas locker room, with Rick's own proclamation of it being "serious'' and with those 60 minutes available to re-think my position – I wrote essentially the same thing I'd said earlier:
Something looked wrong with Caron's kneecap. Associated with that sort of injury is often a tendon problem. And it's all very serious – as evidenced by everything from Butler's screams of pain to Carlisle's ashen-faced reaction to it all.
I stand by every bit of that.
There is nothing "careless'' about reporting educated guesses and impressions based on experience. And indeed, in this case, it's the exact opposite of "careless'' It's "caring.''
The results of Caron's MRI will be released soon. Until then, there has been justifiable worry, justifiable prayer and justifiable speculation on places like DB.com Boards.
And there has been quiet from the Mavericks front office. That is appropriate. For now.