First, DB.com's Kammrath…
We can do into all sorts of statistical trending on Dallas' decline without Nowitzki in the lineup for these past eight games. And maybe 2-6 tells us all we need to know. (Missing Caron Butler is obviously a factor as well).
But here's what I find, in terms of trending, and it's really pretty simple:
With Dirk available and not sidelined by his sprained knee:
The Mavs averaged 99.48 points per game.
They held opponents to 93.45 points per game.
That's a plus-6.03
The Mavs are averaging 91.88 points per.
They are allowing foes to score 97.00 per – and if you want to break out the oddity game – when they held the Blazers to 81 – that average number jumps to 99.29.
That's a minus-5.12
Without Dirk the Mavs offense has been -7.6 points worse on offense and -3.55 points worse on defense.
It adds up in the records, of course, at 2-6 without and 24-5 with. But it's how they get there that matters to me. And how they get there is that the Dirk-less Mavs are failing to score and are failing to stop teams without Dirk.
Now, Fish catches up with Jason Kidd. When it comes time for Kidd to make his recommendations to the front office …
So, in summary, what will Kidd say when he is inevitably asked by Cuban and Donnie about the Mavs' need to trade?
"When we're healthy,'' he will say, "we can play with the best.''
That means patience on the part of the Mavs. Patience while awaiting Dirk's return, so those Kammrath-detailed numbers can turn around. Patience while awaiting the return, too, of Roddy Beaubois, who is part of Kidd's "we.''
Patience? That takes us, finally, to David Lord …
This is not the time. Not just because of Dallas' poor health. This is also not the time because a month-and-a-half before a trade deadline is NEVER the time.
Available "inventory" to pick from, in a trade, is going to be incredibly sparse right now. It is always so.
In another month or so, things begin to change.
But for the Mavs right now, being in a hurry gains them nothing. They need to see the club they have before they disband it, and they would be dealing from a position of weakness to do otherwise.
As observers/media/fans, we can yell for change. It is tempting to do so during this 2-6 stretch. But what we would be expecting/demanding is counter-productive to the goal.
Right now, you can quite likely swap Caron's $10.8 mil expiring to Denver for Al Harrington. You think he's the guy whose acquisition puts them over
the top? Nah, neither do I. Rushing out to get him, in a "have to make a move" mode, gets you nowhere. … and uses up the chip that will only become
more attractive to the NBA come Feb. 24.
Do you want ‘Melo now? Iggy now? Martin now, SJax now? Look at the standings and look at the calendar. Teams are jockeying for playoff contention. They're thinking they need all their guys, and they're not gonna let anyone go unless the Mavs give them even better players back in return. For Butler as a payroll reducer, plus a bit of talent and/or picks?
They're not interested. Yet.
Now add another month-and-a-half of games to the results column, and some things are gonna happen. Some of those borderline teams will get one of THEIR vital players hurt and fall back. Just by playing more games, the standings will spread out, and instead of being two or three games back, some of those teams will be six games out of eighth, with a season winding down on them.
That's why it's a deadline. The deadline isn't now.
That' why there will be desirable players to bargain for THEN. And bought-out players to bid on, too. It happens like that just about every year.
Cuban/Donnie know this. They know right now the time is wrong to replace Butler. And they have the luxury -- in fact, the necessity -- of waiting a bit.
Why are there some media leaks that appear they've let it be known that they aren't worried, that they may do something small, that they gotta see the teams' potential without Butler? All of those things are transparently true, but …
They also await someone to change course, and call them saying, "Hey, that Butler expiring, and maybe something to go with it, my guy over here that can really play that position sure would help you guys. Wanna talk trade?''
That's the general course they're on.
Don't forget that the guy that would make the most difference of all, is teetering right on the brink of being wide open for them to bid on: Melo. Let that NJ deal go south, especially if Melo says he's only extending with NY, and I believe the Nuggets are going to take the best package of talent anyone wants to offer them, to assume the risk of him walking to NY, even if it comes from the Western Conference. That's an auction I want in on, if I'm the Mavs - but it's not happening until mid-February.
So Kammrath is right. The numbers without Dirk are stunning.
And Fish and Kidd are right. When everyone is healthy, the Mavs are good.
But even with all that, the time to panic in a trade is not now. Because it's only mid-January, and that is never the time.