Would Iggy As Replacement Be Too Expensive?

The Mavs have engaged in-house discussions regarding Andre Iguodala as a replacement for the injured Caron Butler, sources tell DallasBasketball.com, but are grappling with the Usual Suspects of obstacles and two more wildcards: Caron's value halved, and the coming labor dispute. The inside scoop:

A year ago, before pulling the trigger on the Josh Howard trade that brought Caron Butler to Dallas from Washington, the Mavs sniffed around Iggy and the Sixers. One of the obstacles at the time: Philly wanted suitors to also take Elton Brand off their hands.

We are told that is still the case – and that is more problematic than ever for Dallas.

Yes, the Mavs have a relative hole to fill with Butler now out, probably for the year after undergoing knee surgery on Tuesday. (Though seemingly in good spirits while at the hospital today!)

Much of this thinking is of the just-in-case variety depending on Butler's health. But some of it also applied to Dallas' mindset before Caron hurt his knee Saturday in Milwaukee ...

How well would Iggy fill any vacancy?

Iguodala is a wing player - specifically a 6-6 shooting guard - and a talented one. He has a reputation as an excellent defensive player, and he was a big plus for the US National Team this summer. He fills up a box score with career per-game averages of about 16 points (on 46-percent shooting), six rebounds, and five assists (to the extent that the Cleveland paper recently referred to him as "LeBron Lite") – all that and he's not yet 27.

The Mavs have long needed a two-way, full sized, talented shooting guard. Is this the guy? What's not to like?

In some ways, he makes a lot of sense. He plays the wing, is a bit better as a small forward (where Butler's loss just opened up playing time) but can also play shooting guard quite well. Unfortunately, he's not a highly skilled shooter, so how he would fit the Mavs' glaring need for more offense makes him less than an ideal fit.

Is he an upgrade? Yes. An upgrade worth the price – especially if the Mavs are dealing from a position of weakness?

The Mavs, all things considered, don't think so.

There is Dallas' sincere belief that the small forward spot isn't a real problem; "We had depth there before and with Shawn Marion we have quality there now,'' says one source. (This is worthy of future study and debate). More, there is the issue of finance.

Iggy's deal (three years after this one with $44 million remaining) is hefty enough. But in tandem with Brand? The big forward isn't the player he once was, but his 15.5 points and 8.5 rebounds would actually be helpful … if they didn't come at a cost of two years more years (after this one) and $35 million.

A year ago, Brand's contract was an obstacle. Now, with the labor dispute on the horizon, even the Mavs need to be budget-conscious. What if the new CBA punishes a team by precluding it to escape a contract like that? What if Dallas is stuck paying the salary and the tax on what is essentially a throw-in player?

We're told that the Sixers have informed teams (including the Mavs, in general conversations before Butler's injury) that they'd prefer to keep Iggy; Philly is in playoff contention as presently constructed. This is valid enough if we are to believe that the Sixers recently turned down a chance to acquire from Portland a Batum/Pryzbilla combo. … But of course, "turning down deals'' means other teams know Philly is answering the phone.

What works for the Mavs in such a deal is Butler's expiring contract of $10.8 million – but it doesn't work as it might have before the injury. Butler's expiring was going to be a key piece in any trade talks, from Carmelo Anthony-related on down. One of the attractions to Caron before, though, was that he would serve his new team as both an on-court asset and as a front-office chip come summer.

"That's cut in half now,'' an NBA insider tells us, based on the assumption that Butler's injury is a severe one.

And then there is the assumption that Roddy Beaubois will be asked for in a swap like that. Our understanding is that if there are ever ‘Melo-level talks again (a likely possibility) that the presently-injured Roddy B is a lure there – but that Dallas will refuse to include him for a second-level star … largely because the Mavs believe Beaubois himself has the potential to achieve that level.

There are other wrinkles involving the Mavs and Butler that haven't yet been determined. Will Dallas be granted a Disabled Player Exception for him? Might that asset help if thrown into a deal?

But the wrinkles involving Iggy-to-Dallas are being addressed … and the wrinkles aren't being flattened out. Dallas has made Iguodala a subject of conversation. But the fit is imperfect and the price is too high … especially with the unknown quality of the coming labor dispute.

DallasBasketball.com's David Lord also contributed to this story.

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