Tuesday Mavs Donuts: Tyson? Pay The Man!
DONUT 1: Tyson Chandler sent shockwaves through the NBA landscape last week with his comments that he expects to join a new team next season.
"I really think I'm going to be on a new team come training camp," Chandler told ESPN.
Was it a negotiating ploy? An emotional response to a perceived sleight? A genuine prediction based on yet-unreleased facts? Fish has explored these possibilities in-depth.
Regardless of the correct answer, TY's statement demands a response. Here's mine: Pay the Man.
Last week on Twitter I called Chandler the "strut that keeps The Nowitzki Window open."
As every moment comes and goes, wrinkles are added to this tale. Are the Mavs keeping their powder dry for Deron Williams? Or to make a bid on Chris Paul? Or maybe TY will come to his senses and realize he's on the verge of being Rashard Lewis Jr.? Oh, yeah, and don't forget Dwight-to-Dallas. Oh, and I know Fish and D-Lord are cooking up sign-and-trade ideas to get something for TY ... maybe something that keeps Dallas in contention for this year and then a re-load to contention next year.
But I'm not bending yet. Here's a longer explanation of my thinking.
DONUT 2: With apologies to Peja and Brian Cardinal, Chandler was the only significant addition to a roster that was unceremoniously shown the door from the playoffs by the Spurs in 2010. His impact on this team was immediate and significant. His arrival is near-unanimously credited with being the move that allowed the Mavericks to capture their first title.
Pay the man.
DONUT 3: The Mavericks are a team built around one superstar, and as such, the heights they are able to achieve precisely correlates with the maximization of said superstar's talents. Put another way, to win another championship (at least in the short term), Dirk will have to be all that Dirk can be once again. To allow that, the roster around Dirk should be assembled to make Dirk's life the easiest it can be by surrounding Nowitzki with those players that maximize his strengths and compensate for his weaknesses.
Dirk is an offensive Swiss-Army knife that needs the ball in his favorite spots on the floor? A roundball savant like Jason Kidd makes that happen. Dirk is such a deadly outside shooter that on pick-and-rolls he demands 1.5 defenders? A quick, slashing guard to cut to the rim like JJ Barea makes pick and rolls with Dirk absolutely devastating. Pay that man too, but later. Dirk's not a great offensive rebounder and a better help defender than one-on-one? An athletic, defensive-minded center perfectly compliments Dirk's skill set.
That piece has been found, and the Mavericks own his Bird rights.
Pay the man.
DONUT 4: The whole world bore (No)Witness to what Dirk is capable of when he's surrounded by the right supporting cast and freed up to be The Uberman. Nothing changed in Dirk's game or inside his head. We around here have long known what he is capable of. He was his regular brilliant self, but his load was lighter, and finally, the right alchemy was achieved around him. Dirk himself, in the midst of his brilliance, even called Chandler the team's MVP.
Pay the man. But how?
DONUT 5: David Lord has already given us a reasonable blueprint for retaining each of the Mavs' pieces, so I'll use that as a starting point. Seems like Chandler values himself more than the $10 or so million it might take to bring him in on Lord's budget. Indeed this represents, at least for Chandler, a pay cut after one of his most successful and high-profile seasons as a pro. That's going to be a tough sell, unless the market for his services is far below where we all seem to think it will end up.
So what should the Mavs offer?
DONUT 6: Anyone foolish enough to offer Chandler a max deal has clearly has long-term memory problems and -- I speak as someone who is presently in Med School here -- should get that checked out immediately. Further, with all due respect to Chandler, he's simply not a top-level superstar player. Last season he was put in a near-perfect situation in Dallas. His skillset and demeanor exactly filled what the Mavs' needed, and will continue to need for at least one more year. In this shortened season, and with the way the CBA is forgiving for the next two years, the Mavs are situated very favorably compared to many other teams in the league. For a longer explanation of my logic on that topic (Link to article w/ Peliucci).
DONUT 7: So he's not a max-level guy, but he will be seeking a raise. If the Mavs offer a first year salary in the $14-to-$15 million dollar range, that's a figure that's sellable to Chandler as a ‘raise' (though I'd argue he was overpaid in his last deal, but don't mention that) while still keeping a desired salary structure intact.
To bring Tyson in at this level (or likely above this number) the Mavericks brain trust will have to be creative. Not to worry though, that's their wheelhouse. There's plenty of ways to get that done.
DONUT 8: Spitballin' here ... How about using the amnesty clause on Haywood. Though you hate to see any valuable roster-member go, I'd rather have Chandler/Mahinmi at center than Haywood/Mahinmi and I think most would agree. Let me be clear though that it's absolutely imperative that Haywood NOT be amnesty'd until Chandler's services are secured. Let me also be clear that I know, as a result of all that brandy and all those cigars, that D-Lord is preparing a rebuttal to this idea (and others).
DONUT 9: Another idea is to squeeze the offers for other free agents like Stevenson and Butler. Chandler is simply more valuable to this team than either of those two and the Mavericks already have budget-friendly wing options on the roster in Roddy B and DoJo and to a lesser extant Brewer. It's time to see what the kids have got.
Also realize, the Mavericks are wizards of creatively structuring contracts. They can partially-guarantee one of the later years of a potential Chandler contract, if need be, to avoid the harsher luxary-tax penalties that arrive in 2013-14.
DONUT 10: If you believe some of the elements in our discussion of the pipe-dream of landing Dwight Howard, doing so via trade will require assets and salary. To get Dwight, the Mavs will probably have to take back the contract of Hedo which means sending out about $17 million in salary if the deal is completed this year. Chandler would likely be the centerpiece of any such offer and his contract at $14-15 million plus a youngster like Brewer/Roddy/DoJo gets pretty close.
DONUT 11: If you think the Mavs would like to jump into next summer's free agency bonanza, you will need pieces in place to attract a Chris Paul or Deron Williams-level player. Dirk + Chandler certainly fits that bill. Jasons Terry and Kidd will be off the books by next summer so there will be money to spend, something not seen around these parts in quite some time. If my proposal is correct, there's a way to have both Dirk AND Chander AND money to burn (and maybe two championship trophies by that time) – an attractive situation for any superstar-level free agent.
DONUT 12: But to make it happen, one thing must occur first regarding the Mavs and Tyson Chandler: Pay the man.
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