Exclusive: Mavs Say No On Gerald Wallace

The Mavs have issued a 'no thanks' on Gerald Wallace, are running into a road block on Nene, see that Tayshaun might not be for sale in Detroit, and have gone mysteriously silent (for public consumption) on the subject of Devin Harris. DB.com has the exclusive on Wallace and more as we chase it all down in TRADE RUMOR TRAFFIC:

Let's take ‘em one by one …

The Charlotte Bobcats have hit up Dallas multiple times in the last two days attempting to "shed salary,'' as a source tells us, in the form of forward Gerald Wallace.

The Mavs are admirers of Wallace's game, but on Tuesday afternoon declined yet another Charlotte pitch to accept the athletic and hard-working Wallace. Wallace's downsides include:

*His salary. Wallace is paid $10.5 million this season and is on the books for that number in each of the next two years.

*Dallas likes Wallace's high-flying style but doesn't see that as a need. The Mavs do not believe Wallace can thrive in a half-court offense necessary to win in the postseason.

*In at least one configuration, Charlotte is attempting to get a team to take baggage as the Bobcats' reward for allowing them to have Wallace. The Mavs don't believe Charlotte – at 24-32 on the tightrope of playoffs/lottery – can justify dealing from that position of strength.

The Bobcats are making Wallace, Capt. Jack and Boris Diaw available. That's all a no-sale for Dallas, especially if Caron Butler's $10.6 mil expiring is the asking price.

The Dallas Mavericks called Denver again on Nene. But the Nuggets, so busy lately constructing Melo's exit, are not in a listening mood on Nene.

As Marc Stein first reported, Denver is now hoping to sign Nene to an extension that will override the ETO he has this summer. It might take quite a sales job by Denver management to convince Nene to re-up during a seeming rebuilding process. But they want to get an answer from him before they open themselves to proposals.

So we forward the story: The Mavs are contacting Denver. But Dallas' calls are not earning positive responses at this time.

The Brazilian big man can opt out of his contract at season's end and forfeit his $11.6 million guaranteed. Denver can fix that … but if Nene is unwilling to re-up, he could be made available. Dallas hopes so; while the Mavs can still go to fall-back options that include doing nothing with Butler, the Mavs envision Nene as a weapon who can create matchup problems while playing both the 4 and the 5.

Is Detroit's Tayshaun Prince off the market?

"I ain't going nowhere so what difference does it make?" Prince said today to the Detroit media. "I'm not getting traded. How do I know? Because I know. I've been here all nine years, through the good times and the bad. Never once have I walked in and said I needed to go or anything like that. I've stuck through it."

This could be posturing on the part of the Pistons, but it's not posturing on the part of Prince. If his read of his own organization is accurate, a player long considered a good fit by Dallas is off the board.

Of course, definitive statements on a Tuesday aren't always good bets when the deadline is Thursday.

The media-funneled denials of Dallas' legit willingness to listen to Nets ideas regarding Devin Harris have dried up.

I wonder why?

Let me be clear: The New Jersey-initiated TALKS haven't dried up. Just the media-funneled denials.


AMATEUR GM'ING AS NETS PUSH DEVIN HARD by Fish and D-Lord

The Nets are shopping Devin Harris – hard. We analyze the options (Simply Caron? Caron plus baggage taken on? Portland winning the bidding?) and comb through a dozen other NBA/Mavs deadline rumors in TRADE RUMOR TRAFFIC:

The Melo-to-NY deal is now being reported as a 3-way deal, with Minnesota said to be included as a landing spot for Curry's contract. That puts Denver under the tax line as a result of that deal alone.

However, Felton (and perhaps Wilson Chandler) are expected to be moved again, with Felton (or both) said to be possibly landing in NJ in exchange for draft picks. That would send Devin Harris and his multi-year deal on the move, and as in the Yahoo report confirmed by DB.com last night, a Nets prospective partner is Dallas.

But as there's no longer a need to create tax-saving benefits for the Nuggets, what (other than a willingness to take Harris' somewhat-sizable contract) would Dallas be contributing to this deal? And would it go to Denver, to NJ, or both? Or to a fourth team entirely, as we noted earlier when it appeared the Nuggets still needed some help in freeing cap room to get under the tax line?

The assumption being made is that Harris would be the only player ending up in Dallas in such a 3-way deal. But that's only a guess at this point – and we need to recognize there are lots of ways the Mavs and the others might want to expand such a deal.

This would be a good spot to remind us to think in a non-linear way about what players from Denver, Dallas and New Jersey might fit where. (Let's keep checks not only on Devin, but also on Troy Murphy, and on Al Harrington, and on Nene.) Similarly, let's be open to "sources'' and their motivations and to "semantics'' … on the Devin talks alone, there are at least three camps – Dallas', New Jersey's and Devin's – that might harbor different views on the seriousness of given conversations.

And from there things can expand … or shrink. We're working to cover both possibilities.

To meet the trade rules, the Mavs (if taking only Harris) would be required to send away more than $7.1M in salary to somewhere. Using the principle that the simplest solution is the one that tends to get done, if Denver is sending both Felton and Chandler to the Nets, the Mavs could simply send Butler ($10.562M), along with the cash-and-a-pick we figured they'd send elsewhere with him, to the Nuggets. (Important note: That's our Amateur GM concept, not necessarily something the involved teams would do.) Denver would still be well under the tax line, and they would gain cash (from Butler's insurance payments) and a pick.

For the Nets, at the cost of a couple of picks and Harris, this deal allows them to add on two younger cheaper players. Perhaps just as importantly, neither of those players have deals that extend past the summer of 2012, which is the summer when Dwight Howard, Deron Williams and Chris Paul are free agents as well as when the Nets will be unveiling their move to a brand new facility in Brooklyn. Getting a younger PG for the interim, while freeing up that cap space to land a marquee star as they move to NY, fits perfectly.

For the Nuggets, by trading away the two players in such a 3-way, they'd still end up below the tax line, plus they'd net three picks (two from NJ and one from Dallas) as they rebuild for the future.

For Dallas, they'd turn an injured Butler into Devin, at the cost of some cash and a pick. Worth further argument: Whether Devin Harris is more of a "need'' than some other piece that might come available. And of course, ultimately, whether Devin and his contract is worth absorbing at all -- especially if ballast is attached to it.

So here, simplified, are the four possibilities we see:


1 Devin moves somewhere as part of a large deal involving multiple teams … one of which, if NJ can do some convincing, is Dallas.
2 Devin moves in a very simple 3-way that is being pitched to the Mavs … but might be accepted in another form elsewhere. Using the Mavs as a factor here:
*Felton and say, Chandler to NJ ... Harris to Dallas .... Butler, cash, and 3 picks to Denver. That would mean for NJ, Felton and Chandler in and Harris plus 2 picks out. For Dallas, it would mean Harris in and Butler/cash/pick out. For Denver, it means Butler/cash/and three (!) picks in and Felton/Chandler out. (Note: Denver will certainly be trying to dump Al Harrington in this sort of transaction.)

3 Dallas says 'no thanks' and NJ turns elsewhere (Portland? Atlanta?) to try to move Devin.

4 Thursday afternoon comes and goes and Devin is shopped everywhere. But nobody – including Dallas, viewing Harris' presence here as unnecessary given his contract and the promise of Roddy B – bites. And poor Devin and Avery are stuck with each other in the Swamp.


Still, on its surface we see the logic of why NJ is calling Dallas. And "longshot'' though it clearly is (aren't they all?), we see why Dallas answered the phone. Wouldn't something as outlined above satisfy some needs for everyone?

Many wrinkles … or as a stand-alone … What if Devin Harris is available for little more than Caron's expiring? That piece could still evolve into something even bigger – or less desireable, if Al Harrington is the baggage involved. But as of this morning, New Jersey clearly appears to be in selling mode and wants to deal with the Mavs.

Now to some bullet points:

*Let's repeat Portland's interest in Devin. Lots of moving parts in the various ways this is being gossiped about and reported, including the possibilities of Andre Miller and Greg Oden as the pieces that move to NJ.

*The Boston paper lists Josh Howard of the Wiz as a potential target.

*Atlanta is a sensible bidder for Devin but seems to have little to offer.

*Steiny-Mo notes that Denver would like to retain Nene with an extension – a firehose on the hoped-for fire sale. Ootherwise, one rumor attaches Nene to OKC … a scary thought.

*Houston continues to aim big with Shane Battier as the lure.

*If you are willing to take Al Harrington from the Nuggets in whatever form, you can get some value tacked on.

*Lots of misunderstanding about Denver GM Masai Ujiri saying he intends to keep all his new ex-Knicks. That's not what he said. And that's not what's being discussed. Rumor has it that the Denver braintrust is not fond of Danilo Gallinari.

*The Bobcats are in a pinch. Buyers are scarce. Same with the Suns and Josh Childress.




MELO DONE; MAVS INVOLVED IN MULTI-TEAM DEVIN TALKS by fish and d-lord feb 21

The ‘Melo deal is done. Yet in a sense, it's just the beginning. The trade deadline is counting down … and the Mavs have the pieces to be involved in a FOUR-team trade involving Devin Harris. TRADE RUMOR TRAFFIC has exclusive details …

Earlier today we outlined how Denver seems to be headed for a fire sale in the wake of dealing Melo to NY, and we outlined how the Mavs might get involved. We focused on Nene as a possible target ... but now the fire is hot and another possibility has emerged.

Devin Harris.

Let's begin with Carmelo Anthony and the end to the deadline bottleneck.

The Nuggets moved Melo to the Knicks. He'll get his $65 mil extension. Anthony will go to New York along with Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman.

Coming back to Denver: Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, the Knicks 2014 No. 1 pick, (apparently) two more second-rounders and $3 million in cash.

But that's not the end.

Sources tell DB.com that the Nuggets are interested in retaining some, but not all of those pieces.

UPDATE: NBA.com's David Aldridge quotes Denver GM Masai Ujiri as saying he will not move Gallinari or Mozgov to NJ.

"We got these guys to play for the Nuggets," Ujiri says.

This serves as confirmation of our point; the GM did NOT say he wouldn't move the other two players he just dealt for.

The Nuggets have, for instance, no real need for point guard Raymond Felton.

More importantly, they have their primary goal in all this: To "start anew,'' and to do so by acquiring primo young talent and picks, yes … but also to get beneath the luxury tax. UPDATE: The Melo trade including the Eddy Curry movement puts Denver below the $70 mil limit. (thanks to DB.com reader Hamez for directing us to the spread sheet.)

They are in conversation with New Jersey (the team that failed to procure Melo from them) to possibly send some of that Knicks talent back East – but to the Nets. And as the Nets are themselves trying to build with youth, they continue to be prepared to discuss parting with point guard Devin Harris, the ex-Mavs still considered "one of us,'' as he is viewed at Mavs HQ.

Now, Denver doesn't need Harris. So a taker is needed. Dallas is in conversation about being that taker.

Note that the Nets are interested in taking two players from Denver for draft picks, and to do so they'd also have to send away equivalent salary (to someone). The obvious candidate would be the expiring contract of Troy Murphy heading out.

However, another possible salary match would be Harris.

Yahoo first made note of the existence of three-way talks here, and they are largely correct. But they are missing a team. What Dallas wants to move for Devin Harris isn't Rodrigue Beaubois (as many have erroneously reported) but rather the $10.6 million expiring of Caron Butler.

Ah, but again, Denver doesn't need Caron's expiring. His contract would go on their books, and there goes the lux-tax avoidance plan again.

And that's where the fourth team comes in.

As we've outlined for you on multiple occasions, the expiring contract of Caron Butler would be an ideal asset to use to create cap room or trade space. The Mavs could send Butler to one of several teams, along with $3M cash to pay his rest-of-season salary and a draft pick for the help, and not have to take any salary back in return.

DB.com has reported that Sacramento, Cleveland and Minnesota are all likely candidates here. (Minnesota may be otherwise occupied now that it has involved itself in the Melo deal by taking Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph.) But the others remain likely suspects as fourth-team facilitators in talks that would:

Such a deal might look like this:
Denver sends Chandler and Felton to NJ.
NJ sends two No.1's and Harris back to Denver.
Dallas sends Butler, cash, and a pick to Sacramento (or Cleveland or Minnesota).
Sacramento sends a 2nd-round pick, top-55 protected, to Denver.

Denver sends Harris – dealt away from the Mavs three years ago in the Jason Kidd blockbuster – boomeranging back to Dallas.


Would the Mavs also have to provide more compensation to Denver? Perhaps. But perhaps not. But again … the logic of these talks falls into place when you consider the goals of all involved. …most of all, Dallas, which gets to use its top asset to improve its roster in a go-for-it trade.

Nuggets coach George Karl is reflecting on the Melo trade by saying, "I'm glad it's over.''

But of course, it's not over. It's not over until Thursday.



NUGGETS TALKS WITH NY/NJ OPEN UP MAVS POSSIBILITIES: Fish and DLord feb 21



The game may have just changed. News that the Nuggets are engaged in talks with both the Nets and Knicks opens up the possibility of a Nuggets strip-down no matter what transpires – which opens up opportunities for the Mavs to use Caron Butler and Roddy B in a three-team deal to pursue Nene. TRADE RUMOR TRAFFIC chases down the possibilities. …

ESPN's Chris Broussard gets credit for the first chapter in this tale: If the New York Knicks send Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler and Timofey Mozgov to Denver for Anthony … the Nuggets might then send Mozgov and one other player (either Gallinari, Felton or Chandler) to New Jersey in exchange for two first-round draft picks.

Even that chapter is complicated and full of what-ifs. But if Denver can pull this off, another chapter can ensue.

The Nuggets will have moved out Anthony and Billups (and maybe more). Then they will have moved out newcomer Mozgov and another ex-Knick. They will be halfway to stripping down … halfway to going nowhere on the court. …

With swappable asset Nene still remaining.

We've detailed before the reasons Nene might not want to leave Denver. But his involvement in a starter-over situation with the Nuggets is one reason he might desire to depart.

Now let's deal specifically how Dallas can get in on this. Bullet points …

*Know that Denver can move any of the players it might get from NY without the statutory 60-day wait, as long as their salaries aren't aggregated in the subsequent deal.

*In the published versions of this deal, there's no mention of what NJ would do for the salary match. Presumably they'd be sending Murphy to Denver (or elsewhere) to satisfy the rules. This would also satisfy the non-aggregation restriction.


*This subsequent deal with NJ would put Denver closer to the "fire sale" mode that would be helpful to Dallas getting involved. And yes, the Nuggets certainly appear to be abandoning "win now" when trading talent for picks.


*Does the Nuggets' dual involvement with NY and NJ put Nene on the table? If so, Dallas shouldn't hesitate in offering the Nuggets Rodrigue Beaubois and Ian Mahinmi for Nene and Al Harrington (with Caron Butler, $3M cash to cover his salary, and Dominique Jones as the incentive all going to a third team like the Kings, Cavs or T'wolves).

*In such a deal: Denver gets two kids, both talented and on dirt-cheap deals, a massive payroll reduction as they rebuild (in particular, they get rid of the Harrington contract), and (a key incentive) they now would be paying no tax this year. That would be Denver's reward for doing this, and Dallas' penalty to make it happen would be taking on Harrington's contract.

*Might NJ select Felton as its take in the Denver deal, and then move Devin Harris? We're working on that …

*There are other side issues on the Mavs getting involved … examples:
One, what would the Mavs want to do about Nene's contract going forward? Do an extend-and-trade? But how would that impact their negotiations with Tyson Chandler and the current plan to wait until summer before addressing that?

Two, assuming the Mavs want to keep both Nene and Chandler for the long run, what then happens to Brendan Haywood? Could they deal Haywood to Cleveland for Sessions and Hollins perhaps, or to Houston for Martin, or even create some sort of three-way at the last minute? If Cleveland was the recipient of Butler/Dojo, could that be worked into the same mix?


Three, picks could be included one way or another, and there are other ways to shuffle the player mix. But the concept and general framework seem to have plenty of potential.

One other very important point to make:

If Denver is talking to NJ about selling them some of those pieces they'd get from NY and presumably heading towards a fire sale, let's not conclude that NJ is their only possible partner. This means Felton, Gallinari, Chandler, and Mozgov might be available at the right price to anyone, including Dallas.

As we've said all along, Denver needs to push the first domino. At which time, which seems from the outside like a "slow'' time before Thursday's trade deadline will suddenly be moving at a high speed.

,b>'THE BIGGER STUFF' SEEMS TO BE ABOUT TO HAPPEN WITH MEL0 ... by fish feb 21

‘The bigger stuff,' Mavs GM Donnie Nelson recently said of trade discussion, ‘happens later.' Fine. With ‘Melo apparently a Timofey Mozgov away from leaving Denver … is it ‘later' yet? And why is it bad news for Dallas if ‘Melo goes to New York? We update the Melodrama and what it means to the Mavs in TRADE RUMOR TRAFFIC:

It all begins with the Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony tug-of-war with the New York Knicks.

It would be mindless of both clubs to blow this blockbuster deal over the likes of young center Timofey Mozgov. But that is indeed the sticking point right now. As it sits, New York is sending guard Raymond Felton, forwards Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari, centers Mozgov and Eddy Curry and a first-round draft pick to the Nuggets for Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams and Renaldo Balkman.

Are the Nets still involved?

The Dallas Mavericks hope so.

If ‘Melo leaves Denver but the Nuggets salvage this circus by coming away with Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler and Gallinari (Mozgov or not), that threesome supplements a Nene-led Denver roster that can build NOW on its 32-25 record.

Nene has reasons to stay (beyond his pregnant wife being a Colorado native). There is no need to deal Nene (to Dallas or Houston or wherever). There is no need for a fire sale … though Denver could still sell off other parts (like JR Smith).

If the second option, a blockbuster with the New Jersey Nets, is completed, it would arguably leave the Nuggets roster more stripped down … meaning Denver would keep stripping.

As ‘Melo himself said this weekend, the Nuggets are trying to rebuild. Yes, even as they sit at 32-25 – far ahead, record-wise, of the Knicks, who are but a game over .500.

But the second option doesn't include ‘Melo's willingness to sign an extension, as it does with the Knicks. And Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov still seems to view this as a game he will not admit to losing. There he was Sunday, telling CNBC that he met with Anthony over the weekend with the sneaky intention of getting the rival Knicks to increase their offer to Denver.

"I think we made a very good tactical decision to force (the) Knicks to pay as much as they can," Prokhorov said.

Big Mike, that's a lot of time and money wasted just to get the Knicks to give in on somebody named "Timofey Mozgov,'' you know?

Anthony had a Saturday meeting with Prokhorov, Nets minority owner Jay-Z and GM Billy King. Obviously, had it gone well, Prokhorov wouldn't be pretending to be playing "tactician.''

So it didn't go well. And logic says ‘Melo is going to the Knicks.

And here's where the timing of it all gets interesting for Dallas.

The NBA's trading deadline is Thursday at 2 p.m. But the Nuggets have a home game against Memphis on Tuesday. The circus that will ensue of Anthony is still on the roster but inactive … a possible scenario while trade negotiations continue … would be disruptive in so many ways.

Denver wants to finish this well before tipoff on Tuesday. The Nuggets would like to have enough non-on-limbo bodies to play and win. And they would like to get on with the business of making ensuing deals before Thursday … no matter which team, the Knicks or the Nets, end up being their partner.

Like, TODAY.

The rest of the league – Mavs included – wants the same. Look at all the potentially moving cogs (many of them with at least passing Dallas ties) that are jammed up by the ‘Melodrama: Nene, the Nets' Devin Harris, Portland's desire for Devin, Detroit and Tayshaun Prince ($11.1 mil expiring), Mavs rival Houston trying to use its expiring assets, facilitating teams like Cleveland, Sacramento, Toronto and Minnesota, clubs looking for expiring deals like Caron Butler's $10.6 mil deal, clubs looking for tax savings (maybe including the Mavs), the buyout talent that will soon be on the market. …

‘The bigger stuff,' Mavs GM Donnie Nelson recently said of trade discussion, ‘happens later.'

There are no promises of a coming trade implied in that statement. But, at least in terms of conversations getting cranked up a notch ...

As soon as the Nuggets get Carmelo Anthony's bags packed, "later'' is here.




TRADE RUMOR TRAFFIC: Now Knicks Want Tyson Chandler? Our Xs-and-Os Show Why ... by Fish and Will Fain feb 20 2011


Tyson Chandler is why the Mavs defense is four points better than it was last year. It's 'The Chandler Effect,' and guess who's rumored to be ready to acquire it? The Knicks! They are getting Melo, Deron, CP3, everybody! Come inside DB.com's TRADE RUMOR TRAFFIC for an X-and-O coach-level analysis with words and pictures and videos!



Between the Knicks' covetousness and CBSSports' throw-a-blanket-over-'em approach, it seems every star is New York-bound.

Ken Berger's CBS report Sunday, in short, goes something like this: In addition to Carmelo Anthony being close to moving to the Knicks, Jazz point guard Deron Williams has always planned to follow Amare to New York. Somehow Berger manages to also work the names Chris Paul and Dwight Howard into Knicks-related prospects.

And then CBS writes: Even if the Knicks didn't get Anthony at all, sources say there are those within the organization who believe the team would be better off filling more obvious needs -- a defensive-minded center and backup point guard -- while preserving cap space for a run at one of those free agents, or even center Tyson Chandler, who will be unrestricted this summer.

OR? You mean the Knicks can't just sign Melo AND Paul AND Amare AND Deron AND Dwight AND Tyson?

The attraction to Chandler is an obvious one. But it's a league-wide one. DallasBasketball.com's exclusive visit with Tyson informed you of his thoughts on his future (see bottom of page) ...

And now, before the Knicks gobble him up, we thought we'd break down his influence on the present. Especially as it compares to the Mavs' past. Let us tear into "The Chandler Effect.'' ...

There has been a lot of debate lately about whether this year's version of the Dallas Mavericks is any different than the teams that have consistently floundered in the early stages of the playoffs in years past. It seems that anyone who claims "this is the year" does so because of the Tyson Chandler Effect. Anyone who cares to listen will hear quotes from coaches, players, media, and fans praising Tyson's energy, hustle and focus. Is that all it is? Does a little hustle and focus really account for a four-point difference in points allowed from this time last year?

No. That's the short answer.

Let us help you with the long answer.

Tyson Chandler's effect on the defense of this team comes down to far more than simple effort and focus. One of the Mavs' greatest weaknesses has been the inability to effectively negate the offense's screen and roll. Watch this recap of last year's Game 6 against San Antonio (I know, it brings back bad memories for me, too). Pay special attention to the Spurs offensive possessions in this clip.

Notice anything? Each and every time the Spurs guards turn the corner they are dribbling at a back peddling center. That's bad defense. When the defensive player back peddles he causes all sort of defensive problems. He gives ground to the ball handler to continue down the lane or pull up for the shot. He also forces his teammates to scramble defensively. Watch again, as the five man drops back, the guard must continue to fight over (or under) the screen to contest the dribble.


Smile

This leaves the roll man uncovered heading to the rim. Because of this the other big (often Dirk) has to rotate down towards the basket and leave a shooter. By backing down from the dribbler the center causes a defensive chain reaction that eventually leads to an uncontested shot or a foul from someone rotating late. Had Chandler been in this situation, he could have stepped to Ginobili and stopped his forward progress which would have allowed Butler to recover and Tyson to return to Duncan, instead of Dirk having to completely leave George Hill open in the corner to make up for Haywood's retreat.

Now check out this clip (h/t Rob Mahoney) from the final series of the recent Mavericks win in Sacramento.

See the difference? First look at how much ground Chandler covers on the play. He comes down to the block from the far elbow to cover the player Dirk left to trap Udrih. Then when the ball swings across the top of the key Tyson is almost immediately back to the elbow. As the play unfolds you'll notice Chandler step out, or hedge, aggressively on Evans.


Smile

As soon as TY sees Evans turn the corner on Kidd he steps to the ball (the exact opposite of what Haywood and Dampier did in the previous clip). This effectively stops the forward momentum of the ball handler while allowing his teammates time to rotate. Dirk slides into the paint to stop Cousins, and Barea slides down to cover Landry. Evans, by virtue of being an athletic freak, continues to the baseline and makes a nice pass to Landry. However, due in large part to Chandler's ability to stay close to Evans on the drive, Landry can't even sniff a good shot attempt (he is eventually smothered by Chandler and blocked by Dirk.

There are several other examples of this type of play from Chandler. In fact, in many late clock or late game situations Chandler will actually switch out onto the dribbler. Obviously he can do this because of his great quickness and length where someone like Haywood or Dampier would simply get left behind by the likes of Evans or Ginobili.

Because of TY's great screen and roll defense this year's edition of the Mavericks don't have to spend so much time scrambling to close out on perimeter shooters. They can afford to play much closer to their man than in years past.

But Chandler doesn't only affect the defense. He creates room for Dirk and the "Dirkettes" on the offensive end, as well. In the next clip we see Chandler and Terry run the two-man game with a handoff at the elbow. As Terry turns the corner you can see what a bad position the Hawks defenders find themselves in.


Smile

I've circled Al Horford. He is in the worst position of all. He has to decide whether or not he is going to step up on Terry to prevent the easy free-throw line jumper or stick to Chandler's body to prevent the alley-oop. What does he do?

Horford really has no good option here. He can't afford to leave Terry open at the foul line and he can't afford to leave physical contact with Chandler as he heads to the rim. Horford's problem is exacerbated by the fact that he has no help. Johnson isn't willing to leave Kidd alone in his favorite spot and Smith can't step up to stop Terry because Marion has eliminated Crawford's ability to help him if Shawn rolls by setting a nice flair screen for Pavlovic. Anytime Chandler sets a ball screen someone has to maintain physical contact as he goes to the rim, or risk a momentum changing alley-oop.

The same thing happens on dribble penetration. Watch this highlight for the Clippers last visit to the AAC.

On the initial screen roll we can actually see that Terry forces a pull up when Tyson was uncovered on the roll.


Smile

Here, Griffin is so far away from where he should be (in the middle of the lane, especially when Marion is in the corner) that he wouldn't be able to do anything but foul Chandler if Terry had dumped the ball down. After the shot is missed and the Mavericks recover (thanks to Marion's heads-up back tap) Terry again finds himself free of his defender and headed down the lane.


Smile

This time the Clippers defender has to decide whether he is going to stop Terry's advance, or keep contact with Tyson to stop the lob pass. The choice is clear, as anyone who has ever played junior high ball knows, stop the ball. He does, and then Chandler finishes the play. Anytime the defense leaves Chandler's body there is a very good chance that TY is going to be on the receiving end of an easy lob pass. In these situations the defense has to choose whether they are going to leave the dribbler free or step up and stop the ball. Obviously Dampier and Haywood don't command as much respect.


Smile


The additional space this can create for the Mavericks' shooters (especially when Peja and Roddy B really get going) is something that is markedly different than in previous campaigns.

The extra space Chandler creates on offense and the stellar defense he offers against the screen and roll are just two of the major reasons this team could be able to avoid another disappointing post-season. Does it come down to the energy, hustle, and focus Tyson brings to the table?

As you can see, it's that ... and more.

In a way, TY's name being tossed into the Knicks mix is a compliment. It means that somebody is taking notice of the things you've seen Chandler do all season. And after scanning through this "Coach 'Em' Up'' edition of TRADE RUMOR TRAFFIC, maybe you'll take even more notice of the little things he does to make that four-point difference.

Before he and Deron and Paul and Melo and Dwight all run off to the Knicks, that is.



Will Fain played at Abilene Christian, spent the last five years coaching at Liberty Christian School and is currently teaching English at God Cares High School in Bbira, Uganda, East Africa. (The ministry is ugandabuyamba.com with a focus on providing school sponsorships for orphans and disadvantaged kids because there is no public school system there and students have to pay their own way. We're glad to have Will aboard at DB.com!



TRADE RUMOR TRAFFIC: Melo Doesn't Want To Provide Mavs With 'Car Services'? Plus, We Name Names - Fish and D-Lord feb 18 2011

Melo doesn't want to provide ‘car services' to the Mavs? Cuban hustling through LA hotel lobbies? What's up? Plus, we name NBA names: Nene, Prince, Murphy, Devin, Capt. Jack, Artest. Tons of TRADE RUMOR TRAFFIC … Updated HERE as it happens!

*The Melodramatic Quote of the Day: "Unless they're trying to get car services and want to rent a car, I really don't want to have to be a rental," Carmelo Anthony said of teams like Dallas that are willing to take that Rent-a-Melo risk on him. "I don't feel like I'm a rental player. I don't want to go somewhere and be a rental for two months and then have to deal with this all over again. I don't want to go there."

The comment demonstrates one of two things: 1) ‘Melo absolutely positively doesn't want to sign an extension with Dallas. Or 2) ‘Melo doesn't understand that the Rent-a-Melo concept is a gesture made TOO him … not an insult.

*Yesterday afternoon, we reported that if ‘Melo is indeed sealed and delivered (if not exactly signed) to the Nets, that Dallas would turn its attention to another Nugget: Nene.

Shortly after that, Yahoo reported that Dallas boss Mark Cuban was corralling Nuggets executive Josh Kroenke for a one-on-one meeting.

Is a fire sale coming?

Yes, if Melo goes to NJ.

If Melo goes to NY? Not necessarily. A team with a core of Nene and Afflalo and Ty Lawson plus Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Raymond Felton might stillbe rather competitive. …

* Doesn't watching the Melodrama unfold make you appreciate Dirk Nowitzki all that much more?

*As has so often been the case lately, Portland just can't catch a break.

The Blazers are/were working on a potential steal: Giving up solid pro Andre Miller for Devin Harris, apparently in an emotional funk in NJ.

And that's where it gets interesting for the Mavs. Not because Devin is presently on the Mavs' radar (he's a centerpiece of the Melo proposal to Denver), but because this is Avery Johnson in action.

Hey, I thought Avery was pretending that Devin was a player he'd never want to trade, that he was "like family'' to him?

It was baloney when we told you it was baloney four years ago and the baloney has simply aged.

And one of the reasons Devin is in a funk is because he fell for Avery's bit, too, just like so many other poor saps.

*A PS here: If Devin is dealt to Denver, will the Mavs be interested. The answer a month ago was "yes' – but that was before Roddy B made his debut. This bears further checking …

*So by gathering info from lots of NY media outlets, here's the Knicks' supposed Melo offer: Danilo Gallinari , Wilson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Denver for Anthony, Billups and something. Maybe with a third team involved to take on Eddy Curry. This deal – THREE Knicks players, not five, plus tax savings for Denver – sounds more reasonable than the fantasies NY papers have printed before.

Oh, and more reasonable than the fantasies Denver has asked for before.

*Yes, Tayshaun Prince remains on Dallas' radar. And this week he's finally talking about being ready to leave his only NBA city.

Said Prince: "Who wouldn't want to have that situation? Who wouldn't want the opportunity to play for another championship?''

As DB.com has reported, Prince is the best/easiest fit of all the names generally known to be on the block. He's averaging 14.6 points per game, remains a defensive ace, understands the team concept and as an expiring contract, could simply be flipped for Caron Butler and sweetener to give Detroit something for its trouble and to allow Prince's escape from an ugly Pistons situation.

*For all the ESPN-driven headlines about a major Lakers trade (kind of the same treatment the network gives the Dallas Cowboys), there is not much there.

"I think it's unlikely,'' Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak says of a deal, "but there are eight days to go and all the general managers are here in Los Angeles. There will be a lot of yakking, there will be a lot of guys moving off to the side, there will be a lot of phone calls. You make phone calls, and you take phone calls. That's what we do. So I stand by what I said: I think it's unlikely, but I don't think any GM would stand here and say there will be absolutely be no changes in eight days, and particularly at this time of year."

*Boston wants to add a wing but will probably wait until buyout time to do so … The Rip Hamilton trade reports are bogus …

*Orlando and Houston both need centers. Houston being Houston, they have naturally associated themselves with Nene. I'm a bit surprised they haven't leaked that they are in the running for Wilt, Russell and a young Shaq as well. …

Seriously, though, a Denver fire sale puts Houston right in the running there.

*For the second time in two weeks, a Mavs source informs me that NBA buzz has Michael Jordan eventually "shedding salary'' in Charlotte. The Bobcats want to move Diaw for sure. That's no sale here. Capt. Jack? Watch that "Chemistry Vibe,'' Mavs. Gerald Wallace? Not a ‘second scorer,' Mavs. ….

* Prediction: In the next two days a national report will connect the Mavs with Corey Maggette of the Bucks. I urge you to ignore the report by repeating after me the following phrases: "Black hole.'' "Box o' Rocks.'' "Lacks BBIQ.'' …

*Golden State is saying it will eventually be the landing spot of Troy Murphy if he's swapped out of NJ in a Melo deal. …

*The Mavs don't get to say they had the last laugh on Ron Artest; Cuban is fibbing if he says he wasn't interested in acquiring him at one time … and then when Artest went to the Lakers, Cuban made fun of the move.

And then LA won another championship.

But the Lakers would like to dump Ron-Ron now. A very tough sell with three years left on his contract.

But if Murphy is not included in the Melo trade? We're sticking with our story that there won't be many other trade takers and than he will eventually get bought out. And THEN the Warriors and Hornets will covet him.

Dallas? The one-time interest in Murphy has faded due to the presence of Peja. Dallas won't get into a bidding war, but will consider a $1 minimum offer. …

*Melo met with Knicks owner James Dolan? Legally or illegally? Tampering, or with Nuggets permission? Why, if a Nets deal is "done,'' would Denver grant permission for such a meeting?

* Mark Cuban is using that word again. "I'm going to be opportunistic, and if somebody comes along and makes an offer we can't refuse, I'm going to grab it," Cuban said. "But there's not as much a sense of urgency to do something as there was last year."

He's speaking the truth in one sense: Last year, Josh Howard (eventually dealt to Washington) was a drag on the locker room. …

Of course, he probably looked like he possessed a "sense of urgency'' when he scooted through that hotel lobby alongside Kroenke …

A NUGGETS-NETS DONE DEAL? MAVE WILL TURN TO NENE: by Fish feb 18 2011

The Record in NJ says the Nets-Nuggets portion of the 'Melo deal is done. But, there's a 'but' ... Meanwhile, if it does go through, there is one obvious domino direction for the Mavs to turn to ... Tons of TRADE RUMOR TRAFFIC … Updated HERE as it happens!

According to the New Jersey paper, the Nets and Nuggets have reached an agreement on a deal involving Carmelo Anthony. (link and DB.com Boards discussion here) But ... The deal is pending Anthony agreeing to sign a three-year, $65 million contract extension.

Assume Anthony says yes. The Nets reportedly get Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Sheldon Williams, Melvin Ely and Renaldo Balkman from the Nuggets. In turn, the Nets will send Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, Troy Murphy, Ben Uzoh and four first-round picks to Denver.

If 'Melo says no, the Mavs remain a longshot in the hunt (see below). But again, assume 'Melo says yes.

What is the next domino to fall that can benefit Dallas?

There are at least three. We'll break down what this means for Devin Harris and for Tayshaun Prince as we proceed throughout the weekend. But for now, let's focus on the one biggest prize.

Multiple sources tell us that Denver is prepared to go into strip-down mode post-trade. At the top of that heap: Nene.

As we've noted before, DB.com has an NBA talent guy who sees a fit between Nene and Dallas -- in part because he can play some 4.

"He's a unique body,'' our guy says. "(The Mavs) could play him at the 4 and the 5. They could play him next to Tyson Chandler some times. He'd be a big upgrade over what (they) have, he'd be a big complement to Chandler and Dirk. Nene would change (Dallas) in so many good ways, mostly because I think he'd be more than just a center.''

But whatever he does this year (and he's been pretty much exclusively a 5), he's done it well. Kammrath recently crunched the numbers:

He is putting up great numbers this year from the 5, having easily the best adjusted plus/minus on his team with +10.56 and a great unadjusted plus/minus of +7.45. His defensive plus/minus is +0.27 while his offensive plus/minus is about +7.18. When Nene plays, the Nuggets also grab +3.9 percent more defensive rebounds. He has been healthy the last three years after a very hard start to his career. He is only 28 and has put up PER numbers of 18.8, 18.9, and 21.1 the last three years.

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There are certainly ways for Dallas to bid on Denver, countless ways. Start with Denver wanting cap reduction, it's quite doable to make them tax free if you want to.

How hard Dallas wants to bargain here depends in part on whether the Mavs truly are on Nene's "wish list'' and on how hard Houston is willing to bargain. The Rockets have assets and they need a center more than Dallas does, which means they might offer their "kitchen sink'' for Nene when the Mavs likely will not.

A yes from Melo to NJ ends the bottleneck. And it begins the bidding on Nene.

MELO MEETINGS? MAVS WILL STILL WANT IN: by Fish feb 18 2011 Reports insist Nets boss Prokhorov is meeting with Melo at All-Star Weekend. Simultaneous reports say an email from Prokhorov's office has NJ remaining disinterested. It's almost as if the BS is craftily coordinated! (That's because it is.) Oh, and don't think the Mavs with their Roddy B denials aren't trying to be crafty, too.

You've got the Nets insisting owner Mikhail Prokhorov has not changed his mind about the franchise's disinterest in pursuing Carmelo Anthony.

And it seems pretty credible.

I mean, it's in an email!

The Russian bossman pulled out of talks with Denver last month after growing frustrated at the Nuggets' attempts to move the bar every time the clubs closed in on an agreement. (And maybe frustrated by his perception of Anthony and his people as impudent or even incompetent.)

I believed then that he was serious – especially as he realized that ‘Melo wasn't interested in remaining a Net long-term, anyway. (They are, after all, 17-40. The Nets are going nowhere fast. Slowly.)

And I believe it now especially after his office communicated via email to the Associated Press that …

"Mikhail has not changed his mind," as Prokhorov spokeswoman Ellen Pinchuk wrote.

Yeah, but there is one way I bet the Nets would be on-the-record interested again: If they can get ‘Melo interested.

And another "yeah but'':

At the same time as this "no-deal'' report, numerous national outlets are writing that there WILL be a rejuvenation of what once was a much-publicized 15-player, three-team proposal. … and that the rejuvenation will accelerate this weekend when the whole gang gets together in LA for the All-Star Game.

So … which is true?

Neither. And both.

It's all chum at this point.

"I turn on the TV, and I turn it right back off because it's always something, it's always a new team, always a rumor, always this person saying that, that person saying this," said Anthony, whose relative ignorance on what's up may be the most sincere take of them all. "I try not to pay attention to it."

At this stage (still early before the Feb. 24 deadline), any club involved in leaking "sourced'' material – or more, actually emails from the owner's office – is selfishly motivated. It's likely that Denver has touched base once again with the Nets … in order to re-start talks or maybe just to make jealous the other most serious suitor, the Knicks. It's quite likely that all involved parties will hook up in LA. But do understand this: If the Nuggets have an all-but-done deal wit the Nets, as has been reported ... why are the Knicks planning to meet with Melo? Why would the Nuggets allow such a meeting?

Answer? Because there is no such thing as "done'' on the Friday morning before the All-Star Weekend, a full seven days before the deadline.

It's all a game.

And, by the way, the Dallas Mavericks still want to play.

Choose whichever media outlet you wish to believe (it's your dime!), but I am here to testify that reports that suddenly have Dallas reversing field on its willingness to include Rodrigue Beaubois in a trade for Melo – even in the event Anthony declines the offer of the Sign-and-Extend of three years and the max $65 million – are, if true, a sign that the Mavs are flip-flopping wildly from a well-considered position taken since mid-August.

What, exactly has changed?

*Roddy B's fine debut on Wednesday? That appearance came 56 games later than the Mavs wished. But that performance was not a surprise. So it should provide no reason for the Mavs to suddenly value him more than that have before.

*A change because Dallas is newly convinced ‘Melo really, really wants to end up a Knick? Sorry, that's bogus. Mavs officials have been telling me that since mid-August. The idea that Dallas is now less interested because Anthony's desires are only recently crystallized is nonsense.

*A new confidence in the club as presently constructed? Nope. The Mavs always fancied themselves a top-tier team in the West – and always still dreamed of adding ‘Melo to their stable of talent.

I'm not changing my view, and I don't think the Mavericks are, either. (I am prepared for Cuban to proudly announce, after Melo goes elsewhere, that the reason is "faith in Roddy B'' and "We Love Our Boys In Blue'' and all that crap.) If the goal is to win a title – just one title (to start, anyway) and to do so at the earliest possible opportunity – you swing for that opportunity now.

The 'Melo camp is large. There can be formal meetings. There can be informal meetings. How much would you like to wager that Mark Cuban will be in LA conducting meetings of the informal variety -- again, as always, simply to reiterate Dallas' long-standing offer to Denver of "the kitchen sink'' and Dallas' long-standing position to 'Melo of "come as you are''?

By the way, that doesn't just apply to Dallas. It also applies to Denver, which may keep moving the bar on its trade demands because it believes retaining ‘Melo is its best course of action.

None of this increases Dallas' long-shot chance at Anthony. But after spending five months in just-in-case position, this would be an awful time and a foolish time for the Mavericks to pull out of the race.

MORE TRADE RUMOR TRAFFIC …

* A national report attempting to connect the Mavs with Portland's Marcus Camby is wrong – or at least premature. No such conversation has occurred. …

*Any interest Dallas might've had in using a TE to take a guard off the Cavs roster is being killed by the return of Beaubois and the outstanding play of JJ Barea …

*A ‘Melo complication: In NY, they are saying that the Knicks plan on meeting with ‘Melo in LA, too. But if the Nuggets have the parameters of a Nets deal in place, why would Denver allow such a meeting? …

*The report that the Nuggets are demanding the Knicks give them Denver is demanding picks, cash and five young rotation players -- Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Landry Fields, Raymond Felton and Timofey Mozgov – seems nonsensical. …

*Atlanta wants point-guard help. The Hawks just don't want to pay for it. …

*It is the esteemed opinion of ESPN's Chad Ford that Dallas lacks any ammunition to make a trade.

Harrumph.

Ford, to be frank, is not plugged into the Mavs. He writes, "Much of the focus has been on players like Tayshaun Prince, Stephen Jackson and Antawn Jamison.''

He's guessing – and he's only 1-for-3 …

* If Denver does move ‘Melo, the Nuggets are expected to then stage a fire sale. The Mavs will not be interested in J.R. Smith. They will be interested in Nene. Oh, and if Billups is freed to leave, he'll be a player some clubs try to sign just to keep him away from competitors (competitors like Miami, for instance) …

* You are likely familiar with our David Lord's scenario in which Caron Butler's expiring contract is dealt to a have-not in order to simply save Dallas some tax penalty. I don't have the team, but I have the conversation (with somebody) and the Mavs had one on Thursday …

CARON AND THE TAX SAVINGS: by D-Lord and Fish ... Feb 16 2011 Being precise is usually just an exercise in compulsive perfection. That applies to the nitpicking details of the CBA, contracts and trades. Using close approximations are often all that's needed to enlighten. But as rehabbing Caron Butler does his part to contribute – ‘I've got a helluva resume,' he says – we do ours. And we've found a Caron trade situation where our approximation is trumped by precision.

First there is Caron's own plan: Rehab in a miraculously fast time, return to the floor and help Dallas to a title.

"I plan on playing in this year's playoffs,'' he said.

Yes. Or …

We've written that if the Mavs don't find a Butler trade that brings them someone they like, they could understandably entertain the idea of trading him to an under-the-cap team simply for a future junk draft pick, in order to gain a major tax reduction. Using this technique, Caron's salary for the whole season for tax purposes would not be counted against the Mavs. That would bring them a savings of $10.56M - which for the average NBA franchise is the equivalent of 2-3 years profits.

In such a deal, the other team would end up paying Butler for the rest of the season. Using our rule of thumb that the season is usually about 2/3 done at the deadline, we quickly figured he would still be due another $3.52M, and that the Mavs could send the max-allowable $3M cash in the deal to offset most of it, plus something else of value to make up the difference.

But we spoke too fast.

The NBA season started and ends a bit earlier this year than usual. As a result, at the deadline we'll be farther into the season than the 2/3 mark, and Caron's remaining salary will only be about $3M at that point. (The precise number depends on how the league would allot the pay for the trade day, but the end result is $3M within about $35,000-ish or so one way or the other.)

In other words, the Mavs could conceivably end up saying the following to one of several teams: "Please take Caron off our payroll, and here's the cash to pay his entire remaining salary. Now what do you want for your trouble?" If they want to make it happen, it should be an incredibly easy deal to negotiate.

Of course, the other team might even be willing to buy out his contract and waive him, where he could return to Dallas after 30 days to rehab and for a possible playoff role if he recovers in time. But for the Mavs that sort of scenario would simply be icing on a $10.56M cake.

Caron seems aware of some of the possibilities here. As he attended Tuesday's practice and visited with the media while aboard an exercise bike – a big step back after the knee surgery that followed his January injury -- he noted both his desire to "stay'' and his desire to maybe "return":

"Anything can happen, and I understand the business,'' he said. "I'll be a free agent this summer and obviously I'd love to come back here and play many-a-year because I feel like the window of opportunity for winning titles has definitely come for this organization. So we'll see what happens. I'm a proven winner in this league who can be pretty effective out there. I know that will come. I got a hell of a resume.''

Caron may be a proven winner … but his contract can be a winner, too.

Will the Mavs make the sort of trade we outline above? We hope and believe that as Feb. 24 approaches, their first priority will be to use his contract to look for an upgrade. And if one is not available, they still might prefer to keep him. But as easy a deal as this would be, and given the fact that he's injured, is he worth $10.56M in tax, to keep on the roster?

Are his Bird rights, with the uncertainty of contracts and rules in a new CBA, worth $10.56M to them?

He's a "helluva player'' … but this is a heckuva chance for the Mavs to gain talent or save money. We're about to find out which way they lean … and we're continuing to fine-tune our calculators in preparation for a move.

SO … WHICH WAY DO THEY LEAN?: They lean, as always, to trading Butler as part of a deal to acquire Carmelo Anthony from the Nuggets.

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So much has been written … and so much APPEARS to have happened … but while Denver continues to move the bar in its talks with the Knicks (just as the Nuggets did in their talks with the Nets), the Mavs' proposal is unchanged from when it was first suggested (and reported here) back in August:

Butler's $10.6 million expiring, DeShawn Stevenson's $4.1 mil expiring, the promising Roddy Beaubois, cash, picks, another young player … the kitchen sink.

The Nets might re-enter these talks with higher picks and a lotto guy in Derrick Favors. (Denver has told Dallas they want a lotto-level kid … Dallas has countered by saying Roddy B IS that.) The Knicks are closing in on specifics to give the Nuggets for Carmelo … But it seems every time Denver nods its head at some package that includes Wilson Chandler or Danilo Gallinari or whatever, the Nuggets follow up by saying, "Oh, and Raymond Felton and Landry Fields, too.''

If the Knicks come out of the Feb. 24 deadline tunnel with a lineup featuring, say, ‘Melo and Billups joining Stoudemire … that's fairly stout. And it can be a path to adding Chris Paul in the future. That's NY's vision, and that – being in NY – remains ‘Melo's vision.

We think that the only way ‘Melo-to-the-Knicks doesn't happen now is if Nuggets bosses Josh Kroenke and Masai Ujiri, both new on the job, fumble the ball.

If they do? Dallas has a lesser offer. But that offer has been on the table for six months. It's the most the Mavs can give – and don't believe this hooey about Roddy B being "untouchable''; he's central to the proposal.

Do, however, believe Denver's reluctance to deal Anthony within the conference. It is the reason Denver has specifically given to Dallas when it turns down anything the Mavs bring up. Likewise, don't put too much stock into the ‘Melo-to-LA stuff. Imagine how haunting that would be to Kroenke and Ujiri, scared enough of having to face Anthony in a Dallas uni.

So it's the Knicks in the post position. The Nets are considering re-entering the race. Chicago gets discussed in media circles, certainly. Houston is among the teams talking about themselves while no one is really acknowledging what they're saying. The Nuggets could keep ‘Melo, of course, and make their own playoff run before losing him this summer … a risk that could make them the Rocky Mountain version of Cleveland.

And there is Dallas, with its willingness to give ‘Melo his extension for a guaranteed $65 million, or to take him on without the extension, to offer everything it has in its stable this side of Dirk/Chandler.

The Mavs are not negotiating, exactly. Because there is nothing to negotiate.

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Here's the kitchen sink. If the Knicks don't give you what you want, and as the afternoon of Feb. 24 approaches and you fear eventually losing Anthony for nothing … here's a lot of something. Call us.

WHAT'S THIS ‘RODDY B UNTOUCHABLE' BUSINESS?: It is still, a source tells DallasBasketball.com this morning, "the longest of longshots.'' But the Dallas Mavericks have submitted their bid.

That bid features Caron Butler … even as Tuff Juice proudly touts his "helluva resume.''

And make no mistake: That bid features Roddy B … even as Mavs staffers are apparently whispering the word "untouchable'' to reporters in an obvious attempt to increase his perceived value.

Beaubois' return to action (tonight at home against the Kings) is fortuitous in many ways. The Mavs need the boost he can give them should he remain in a Dallas uniform, which certainly is the most likely scenario. (If Dallas makes a mid-level trade for, say, Tayshaun Prince, the cost will not include Beaubois.) The Mavs also need to see what they look like with Roddy B on the floor before they do much tinkering of any sort.

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But also factored in: The rest of the league needs to see Roddy B, too. You think scouting eyes in Denver and elsewhere won't be watching the Mavericks game tonight?

Again, when it comes to ‘Melo, there IS NO NEGOTIATING. Roddy B is automatically part of it.

It's the kitchen sink and it's all Dallas can do. There is some juggling to be performed, some dominoes to be knocked down. Example: How long does Denver wait to decide, and if it decides not to deal with Dallas, will there be time to turn around and flip Caron to someone else for savings?

But the decision is all Denver's. The juggling cannot happen until Denver decides. The dominoes cannot fall until Denver decides. The Mavericks are in the poker game, but they are in other poker games, too. In a sense, not only is Denver instrumental in what happens to Carmelo Anthony, it's also in some control of what happens to Caron Butler.



DO THE MAVS LIKE ANTAWN JAMISON?: By fish, Feb. 15 2011

Our predictions of trade-minded visits between the Mavs and the Cavs has come true, a source says. But what happens when Cleveland shows a desire to ship ex-Mavs forward Antawn Jamison back to Dallas? Six quickie takes on exploratory Mavs-Cavs discussions:


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1 Cleveland wants to trade Antawn Jamison, the 34-year-old forward who was such a productive sixth man for the Mavs back in 2003-04. Contrary to what some clubs hope, we are told the Cavs do not want to buy him out.

2 There is presently not much market for Jamison due to his contract, which pays him $13 million this year and $15 million next year. That's a major turnoff to Dallas … and rumors that teams like New Orleans might be interested are almost certainly bogus because it's unlikely the Hornets want to foot that bill, either.

3 The Mavs not only don't like the $13-mil/$15-mil part of the equation. They also don't see Jamison's skill set as fulfilling a Dallas need. We're not sure we agree with this; he's an "easy-basket'' guy, a 17.6-point scorer (with 6.6 rebounds per) who can do damage inside. In 10 of his NBA seasons he's scored 19 or more. In that Dallas season he was good for 15 points in just 29 minutes. But …

4 He's also a mediocre defensive player and the last time he came through town, he politely asked to be dealt so he would no longer have to be saddled with sixth-man duties. (We suppose, though, now that he plays for basketball's worst team, the sixth-man job for a contender looks pretty sweet.)

In a Jamison-in-Dallas scenario, he would obviously be a supporting-cast member. We'll assume that even while he's a high-quality guy, when our source tells us that he "doesn't fit a need,'' what's being factored in are all of the above: Combine salary + defense + mindset and THAT = "doesn't fit a need.''

5 Now, could Jamison be traded THROUGH Dallas? There are fits there. And could Mavs-Cavs talks about one subject blossom into discussions about other ideas? There are multiple fits there, as our David Lord has outlined.

6 At some point, the Mavs and the Cavs will discuss the smaller and larget pieces that each team has at its disposal.

For Dallas, there are little Trade Exceptions. The Mavs could take back players for up to $4.4 million and $3.1million for nothing more than a pick or cash. Anthony Parker, for one, is quite get-able.

For Cleveland, there is the huge $14-million Trade Exception (LeBron-related). That has nothing to do with Jamison, but it can have everything to do with Cleveland serving as a facilitator as Dallas goes fishing for big targets.

Cleveland is making Antawn Jamison available and that's a no-sell to Dallas. But one discussion can lead to another … which can lead to another … and as we are now 10 days before the Feb. 24 NBA trade deadline, the time for those conversations is here.

MELO AND MAYO AND BIG WOOD: By Fish feb 10 2011

Mario Mendoza was a good-field/no-hit shortstop in the 1970's who George Brett used as the symbol of offensive incompetence. Brett mentioned it to ESPN's Chris Berman and it took off: "The Mendoza Line'' was originally all about the point at which the newspaper would cease listing players' batting average – at a lousy .200. …


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Or right about where Mendoza usually seemed to end up.

You didn't want to be at or below "The Mendoza Line.'' (In 1981, Mendoza played for the Texas Rangers and was batting .118 when he was released.)

And now DB.com has learned at what point the Dallas Mavericks' endless search for the two-way/create-his-own/star-quality 2-guard reaches its depth.

"The Mayo Line.''

No, the Mavs don't call it any such thing. It's our job to make up silly nicknames for stuff. It's their job to scout players who are on the block as the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches and to determine who on that list can be "that guy.''

O.J. Mayo, the Mavs have determined, cannot be "that guy.''

If somebody loves Mayo, he can probably be gotten at 80 cents on the dollar. Not long ago, Mayo was a No. 3 overall pick, a Rookie of the Year runner-up and a blue-chip prospect who was a full-time starter in each of his first two NBA seasons.

Suddenly, he's …


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*Serving a 10-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance, DHEA, which he claims came from having guzzled an energy drink while stopped at a filling station. (A claim that is severely lacking in credibility.)

*No longer a starter, anyway, having been demoted from the first team.

*Central in a team-fight controversy stemming from a card game on the Grizzlies flight, causing coach Lionel Hollins to ban card games. And, I assume, team fights.

*Is experiencing his worst-ever statistical season, with lows in rebounds, assists, field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage, 3-point percentage, blocks, steals and – most importantly if you are billed as a two-way/create-his-own/star-quality 2-guard – points.

Memphis is finding it difficult to "sell-high'' a player who is scoring 12 points per game.

The Grizzlies have a crowd of capable bodies at Mayo's position, but they are only capable. The Grizzlies have Mayo under contract next year at $5.6 mil. And the 6-4, 210-pounder is just 23. There are reasons for Memphis to sit on this …

And there are reasons for Dallas to sit this one out.

We are told that the Mavs do not view Mayo as "star-quality'' – and this evaluation comes regardless of his problems with Slurpees and Old Maid. He is the style of player that tops Dallas' wish list, and he plays the right position.

But he represents "The Mayo Line'' – the line of demarcation that Dallas will not approach when it comes to paying a premium price for a "star,'' the cellar that the Mavs will not bother spending assets to climb the stairs down towards.

‘MELO'S MIND: We have written this a few times: What Carmelo Anthony wants to do, and where and when he wants to do it, changes depends on which member of his entourage answers the phone.


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‘Melo himself is now answering the phone, and guess what?

He is now saying that he'll consider signing a contract extension with the Nuggets.

Anthony said he would "take a real hard look" at signing a three-year, $65 million extension with the Nuggets if he isn't dealt by the NBA's Feb. 24 deadline, according to the Denver Post.

We've written this before, too, but we will reiterate it as well: The smartest people in the NBA (or at least the smartest we talk to) have always been astounded at ‘Melo's unwillingness to re-up in Denver. Denver is not NY … but the Nuggets are a contending team and that $65-mil payday, signed before the coming labor strife, gives him money he may not necessarily see again.

And while we are patting ourselves on the back: We educated-guessed that ‘Melo-to-the-Lakers was some sort of ploy/joke, and now even Anthony himself agrees.

"I've never heard of that,'' he said. "That was a new one," he said. "Every day is something different. I guess now is the Lakers."

Of course, "every day is something different'' in large part because the ‘Melo camp is offering up different answers every day. The only thing known for certain about Anthony now is that he'll be in Denver tonight … and that the Mavs will be there with him. We'll have all-day/all-night/and all-day-again coverage of it all on DB.com.

HEY, Houston, UP HERE!: The Houston Chronicle is noting that the Rockets are in active pursuit of a starting center.


Smile

Which, of course, DB.com Mavs Premium readers knew all about two months ago, when we first told you about Houston's scouting of Brendan Haywood occurring right along with Dallas' expressing an interest in Kevin Martin.

Last time we checked, these teams remain two ships passing in the night on this concept. (Meaning, they haven't specifically exchanged notes on each others' guys.) But we continue to tout it as a worthwhile concept (at least the Big Wood-to-Houston part, anyway) because we're not sure Haywood is as laughable an option as so many think.

To wit, our Michael Dugat checks out the Chronicle's list of Rockets center targets and the paper's comments on each player (in bold), and follows up with our evaluations:

Samuel Dalembert - Second season with Kings. Has expensive, expiring contract, but is a strong defensive center.

Samuel Dalembert was once one of the notoriously bad contracts the Philadelphia 76ers were trying to discard. Time has passed, and the jersey has changed, and what was once an albatross of a contract -- $12,200,000 -- is now reasonably attractive as it expires after this season.

If you are looking for a solid defensive presence in the middle with a reputation for the occasional uninspired play, Dalembert fits your desires perfectly. On most nights, he is not on offensive presence via a strong post-up game, not the fact that he has only reached double digits in scoring eight times in 47 chances this season, though he can make an impact on the offensive boards.

One possible concern beyond his lack of consistency from play-to-play is the fact that the Kings are the second team in the recent past to name him the preseason favorite to claim the starting center role only to grow frustrated with his production in that role.

His stat line: 5.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 20.6 minutes, 13.1 PER. Hardly stout enough to make the idea of Big Wood (3.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and one block per) embarrassing.

Marcus Camby -- Expensive, but Houston resident would be ideal fit.

For a team a center away from contending in the immediate future, there may be no better fit than the 36-year-old Marcus Camby. He remains an impact on the interior of a defense as well as on the glass and has the range to step outside and drain a jumper almost as deep as the three-point line. His stat line: 5.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 28.7 minutes, 16.2 PER.

As has been the case for much of his career, is the fact that Camby is oft-injured. He is nearing a return from knee surgery (no firm timetable has been set, but it has been reported that a return is likely prior to the All-Star break) and has missed 13 games already this season. Over the course of his 14 prior seasons, Camby has only managed to take part in 70 or more games four times. Though, to be fair, three of those instances have come in the past four seasons.

Again, if Camby is the final piece, he may come as an ideal fit. For a team requiring a few years to grow, he likely won't be around long enough to be anything more than a stop-gap solution. He's certainly a more attractive player than Haywood (consider that Camby's two years left are at $8,453,250 and $9,256,500, while Haywood is locked in at $8.5 mil a year for five guaranteed seasons.)

Also there's this: Why would Portland dump him again? Because he's "a Houston resident''?

Chris Kaman -- Seventh season with Clippers. An expensive burden on team building around youth.

Chris Kaman is quickly falling into the category of "what could have been." We've seen All-Star level talent, but all too frequently we're also seeing the perils of an injury plagued career that is never quite allowed to get fully rolling.

For the 2010-11 season, Kaman has played in only 10 of a possible 52 games and continues to sit with a bum left ankle that most thought would allow him back to the court in early January. He may be close to a return, and it's possible the Clippers have been careful to keep him from the court for fear of wrecking any trade value he may retain, but the past remains.

When healthy, Kaman is easily the most all-around potent offensive option on this list. He has a decent jumper and can back his defender into the paint where he has the ability to finish. But Dirk's German brother doesn't have the right numbers in either category.

His stats: 10.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 26.5 minutes, 11 PER

His dollars; $11,300,000; $12,200,000)

Omer Asik -- Second season with Bulls. Young talent with room to grow on contender's bench.

Omer Asik has shown signs of promise for a contending Bulls team. With the impending return of Joakim Noah and their glaring need at shooting guard, he may become the most valuable chip Chicago is willing to part with.

At 7-foot and only 24 years old, Asik has the size and tools most team desire from the center position. He likely won't be ready to start for a contender in the immediate future, hence his possible availability from the Bulls, but would be a project worth investing in for teams with the time to do so.

But Houston isn't make noise about trying to acquire a "project.'' Asik is cheap ($1,721,000; $1,857,500) and not yet exactly productive (2.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 0.7 blocks, 11.4 minutes, 11.4 PER). Is that Morey's goal?

DeAndre Jordan -- Third season with Clippers. Former Aggie, but he would be tough to get out of L.A.

Considering the affordable nature of his contract, particularly in comparison with Chris Kaman, and the young core surrounding him with the Clippers in Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin, you would have to believe DeAndre Jordan would be on the list of "keepers" for Los Angeles.

He has supreme athletic ability to go with good size. If he is made available you may be able to surmise one of a few options are in play. One, the attitude has been rumored to carry is no longer deemed worth the hassle for the Clippers. Two, there are no possible takers for Kaman, and if he is not going to be moved the team has decided not to risk trying to resign Jordan this summer with money they may not have. Three, they truly believe in Kaman to the level that they no longer see a need to keeping Jordan.

With two viable centers, when healthy, it will be interesting to see how this one plays out. But there is little logic to LAC giving away a kid with attractive numbers in every way (salary: $854,389 … stats: 7 points, 7 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, 25.7 minutes, 14.5 PER).

We know that at Mavs HQ, most deep-thinkers still believe Haywood will be a useful weapon come playoff time. Meanwhile, we know the fan base and media in Houston won't find the idea of Brendan Haywood as sexy as some of the aforementioned five names. But we still believe that a team in search of a starting center can be expected to expand its search list to, let's say, six names.


CAN STEVE NASH COME 'HOME'?: by Fish, Feb 9 2011

The notion of two-time MVP Nash being returned by the Suns to Dallas in a deadline deal is a seductive one. … and it makes grand sense on one level:

"He's a player and person of such high quality,'' says one source close to Nash, "that (Dallas) wouldn't worry about minutes or role or personalities. You get a guy like that, you play him. He's a player.''

Smile

Lovely. But beyond that? This is a fairy-tale angle driven by the thoughtful Marc Stein and the fanciful Bill Simmons, both of them talented, both of them repping ESPN, both of them – I say respectfully – entangled in the romance of the idea.

Steiny-Mo has reported that Dallas is among the teams that have engaged in some level of contact with the Suns in what appears to me to be a "if-you-ever-wanna-dump-him'' conversation. But as important as it is to credit Marc for getting this information, it's just as important to note what the savvy reporter did with this information:

No three-inch headlines. No breaking-into-"SportsCenter'' pronouncement. A 1,720-word story and no mention of Dallas in the first 1,020 words of it.

Just a mention way down in the 21st paragraph.

What does that tell you about what Steiny-Mo himself thinks of the weightiness of this story?

Here's what the Mavs think: Phoenix has no intention of trading Steve Nash. When Suns GM Lon Babby calls Nash "the sun, the moon and the stars'' of the franchise, he may be UNDERSELLING what Nash means to the club.

Just this side of ‘Melo, Steve Nash is also "the sun, the moon and the stars'' of tinkerers with access to the ESPN Trade Machine. And that's where Simmons comes in. "The Sports Guy'' has given this Nash-back-to-Dallas idea traction by writing that he "want(s) Phoenix to trade Nash to Dallas for the following reasons:

They owe it to him. He's loyal, he's Canadian, and he cares too much about the inner workings of a team (and his role as the leader of the team) to ever undermine a situation by pushing publicly for a deal. …

2. You gotta love the wrinkle of Dallas reacquiring Nash when it never should have let him go in the first place. How often does a franchise get to atone for a mistake on that level?

3. A reunion of Dirk, Nash and Cuban allows them to recreate one of the unintentionally funniest pictures in the history of sports. Also, how much fun would it be to have best friends and two of the best 35 players ever (Nowitzki and Nash) chasing their first title with the one owner who can definitively say "I got screwed out of a ring" (Cuban)?

4. Of the contenders, Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, San Antonio, Utah and Oklahoma City don't need a point guard; Miami, Atlanta and Orlando don't have enough to trade; the Nuggets are out because they're being held hostage by Carmelo; and the Lakers don't match up (I can't see either team doing a Bynum/Blake for Nash/Gortat deal). So who's left? Dallas! The Mavs could offer Rodrigue Beaubois (a legitimate trade chip), Caron Butler's expiring deal (with the promise that Phoenix waives him so Dallas can re-sign him), DeShawn Stevenson's expiring, their 2011 No. 1 pick and $3 million for Nash, Grant Hill and Josh Childress (whose unseemly contract would be the Trade Tax for giving up Nash and Hill).

5. What's a better feel-good story than (A) the Nash-Dirk reunion; (B) the Nash-Marion reunion; (C) the Nash-Cuban reunion; and (D) Nash, Hill, Jason Kidd and Nowitzki making a run at the Finals together? Anything? Throw in Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, Peja Stojakovic and Brendan Haywood's corpse and that's a pretty fascinating nine-man rotation. I don't think Dallas can win a title with the team it has. With Nash? It could win. Phoenix owes it to Nash (and really, CUBAN owes it to Nash) to pull the trigger.

In summary, Bill Simmons is reporting on the possibility of a Nash-to-the-Mavs trade because …

Bill Simmons thinks it would be FUN. For HIM.

Now, if you want "fun'' and "fantasy,'' you just visited Basketball Disneyland.

Care to come back to the way those involved are actually thinking?

*Stein's report offers subtle hints that Nash, at 37 running out of championship time, himself probably daydreams about such a reunion. (Of course, he may also daydream about playing for the Knicks, Lakers, Heat, Magic, whomever.) In the unlikely event that "dream'' becomes "demand,'' it will only be the first step of 100 steps that would be required to make such a miracle happen. And those 100 steps would need to be navigated in less than two weeks.

*Ask Babby. Ask coach Alvin Gentry, who tells Stein that a trade of Nash would be "my worst nightmare.'' Ask Nash himself. Nobody in Phoenix is thinking along these lines.

Babby has informed Nash that he doesn't want to lose him. Nash was given an extension in 2009 that runs through next season and hasn't argued his way out of the commitment he made.

"I signed up for this," Nash said to the Arizona media. "I'm committed to trying to build a team here. Obviously, last year was a phenomenal year. Tied 2-2 (in the Western Conference Finals), I thought we could win a championship. I genuinely believed we could and would win it. It's tough to be in this position six months later. I'm still committed to it. …''I'm still happy. I just want to try to win games for these fans and our team ..."

*One high-placed NBA source hinted to me that while Suns owner Robert Sarver is "overly budget-conscious,'' I should "add up all the factors'' before I assume that he'd trade Nash for cap relief or any other financial reason.

I needed another hint.

"Nash is box-office,'' he said, and I was told to add up the losses in ticket sales for the next two years in Phoenix if they trade away their "sun and moon and stars'' for Caron Butler's $10.6-million expiring contract.

I'm not smart enough to actually do that math. But I understand the concept.

*Those who are attempting to calculate where Nash would fit into the Dallas lineup, rotation and locker room are wasting ink. (Though I will tout some DB.com Boards threads in which there is some very smart ink.) Let me repeat my source's aforementioned remark: "He's a player and person of such high quality, that (Dallas) wouldn't worry about minutes or role or personalities. You get a guy like that, you play him. He's a player.''

In other words, it's a non-issue because it's not happening … but even if fantasies came true, it's still a non-issue.

* To some of Bill's very specific reasoning:

They owe it to him.

This is SPORTS. This is BUSINESS. There is no "owe.''

He's Canadian.

I am stumped.

You gotta love the wrinkle of Dallas reacquiring Nash when it never should have let him go in the first place. How often does a franchise get to atone for a mistake on that level?

Bill, you might want to get Cuban to admit all of that before he goes about correcting a "mistake'' that he won't concede was a "mistake.''

A reunion of Dirk, Nash and Cuban allows them to recreate one of the unintentionally funniest pictures in the history of sports. Also, how much fun would it be to have best friends and two of the best 35 players ever (Nowitzki and Nash) chasing their first title with the one owner who can definitively say "I got screwed out of a ring" (Cuban)?

Fun! Funny pictures! Giggles! That might be how Simmons' adopted LA Clippers run their team, but …

Phoenix owes it to Nash … to pull the trigger.

The Western Conference Suns owe it to somebody to help the Western Conference Mavericks win a championship? Not until Jerry West is simultaneously a team executive with two different teams will a trade like that ever transpire.

Seriously, there is no compelling reason – financial or competitive or otherwise – for the Phoenix Suns to trade Steve Nash.

To summarize: There is nobody who is saying this will happen. There is nobody writing this will happen. There is no involved party who has even expressed a willingness for it to happen. There is Stein's skill as a journalist and there is his friendship with Nash – but even that hasn't produced a factoid that at this time makes Nash-to-Mavs a legitimate story. There is only the idea from a prominent columnist and a host of Dallas Mavericks fans who think it would be FUN.

And I will concede, it would be "fun'' to bring Steve Nash "home'' … if he didn't already have one.

But if we're fantasizing about All-Star point guards with Dallas ties, it would be more "fun'' to bring Deron Williams "home.''

Will somebody please inform the Utah Jazz that they "owe it'' to us to make that happen?

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