Mavs Magic Number On Dwight & Deron: $17M+
You already know the basics of the Dallas Mavericks' "3D Blueprint": The Mavs have worked within the new rules of a new system to retain the financial flexibility to keep Dirk and to make bids on major talent next summer.
And DB.com has been more specific, as the first to outline Dallas' desire to have Dwight Howard and Deron Williams -- the prizes of the 2012 free agent class -- join Nowitzki with the Mavs. Cuban and Donnie have seen the light of the coming SuperTeam Era. This is the way to play it.
With Dwight and Deron and Dirk and the All-Stars having gathered in Orlando over the weekend, speculation and questions and misunderstandings held their own convention.
Let's clear up some questions:
What do we make of the newspaper story that claims last summer Deron told Mavericks people that he wanted to come to Dallas?
This is a regurgitation of what we already knew and as an attempt to move the story from where it already stood -- Deron has a short list of desired destinations and his native DFW is among them -- and the attempt doesn't ring true.
Who told a newspaper this? Deron himself? Certainly not. The Mavericks he informed? Like, Cuban? No. To tell a newspaper that would be to risk tampering charges -- which might include a ban on ever acquiring the tampered-with players.
Team leaders like Dirk and Kidd? We don't see Dirk whispering secrets to out-of-town papers and we don't see Kidd failing to understand the ramifications of tampering.
Deron's agent? There is nothing to be gained by him or by his client in him doing so. No leverage gained -- quite the opposite, in fact, because if the world knows his client is locked into one bidder, other bids evaporate and his client's price conceivably goes down.
We predicted going into the weekend that 3D would be the No. 1 story written about and tweeted about and we were right. But that doesn't mean actual news was broken. Really, nothing changed this weekend in terms of what Deron Williams wants ... except that more media people and more team execs are obviously more-than-ever aware of Dallas' 3D Blueprint.
Fish, are you sure Dallas can afford Deron AND Dwight?
We've got the Mavs committed to $43.5 million next summer. We've extrapolated the numbers to find the NBA's working assumption for the 2012-13 cap to be $61.397 million.
If all the Mavs want to do is to make room for one guy, they can move Shawn Marion or Brendan Haywood and ample room is created. Doing so can get them down to about $35.2 million. Add some cap holds for empty roster spaces and they jump to about $39.4 million.
That would leave them about $22 million below the cap. Howard's max money ($18.996 million) fits. Or, Williams' max money ($17.178 million) fits.
Yeah, yeah. Now how do the Mavs afford BOTH?
This is the part that the mainstream-media people haven't bothered to figure out yet, and the part that the NBA execs don't all understand, either:
If Dwight and Deron want to do this together, they join Dirk (who is locked in at exactly $20,907,128) and an on-the-cheap remaining Dallas roster that would have $35.754 million available left.
What's $35.754 million divided by two close-friend superstars willing to make a few sacrifices to win titles? It's $17 mil plus for each...max-type deals.
And they would announce it as close to a split of the pie, a symbol of their shared responsibility and rewards.
One way to cut the $35.754 million pie: Dwight demanding the $18.996 million that represents his max. In that event, an extra $1 million goes to the center and Deron settles for $1 million less, nudging him just below the $17 million mark.
Logic tells us that if all the other incredible-but-true dominoes fall the right way, "Who Gets The Extra $1 Million?'' isn't going to be problematic.
What about this "March 1 deadline'' for Dwight to be moved?
Somebody is smoke-screening.
The deadline is the deadline and the deadline is March 15. We think Orlando will continue to cling to Howard as long as the Magic has a chance to make hay (and money) in the playoffs. (They are, after all, 22-13 and in fifth place in the East.) A deadline deal involving Deron? More likely. When will it be discussed with intensity?
The deadline is the deadline and the deadline is March 15.
There is gossip regarding the Lakers this weekend offering Orlando the tandem of Bynum and Gasol for Howard, with Hedo Turkoglu and Jameer Nelson also going to the Lakers and the Magic would receive Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
That would be a neat trick for those clubs, wouldn't guarantee Dwight re-upping with the Lakers, and isn't usually the sort of thing that happens three weeks before the deadline.
Wouldn't signing one of them be just fine?
If the Mavs are able to pair Dwight Howard with Dirk Nowitzki, and fill around them with affordable kids and ring-chasing minimum-wage veterans, sure. That's a contender.
But stories about which of the two stars Dallas would choose if forced to pick between them completely misses the Mavs' intentions. And more importantly, they completely miss the intentions of Howard and Williams, who want to play together somewhere.
Increasingly, that "somewhere'' seems to be either with the Nets or with the Mavs.
Deron in Brooklyn without Dwight? That's not a title team. Dwight in Orlando without Deron? Not good enough. Dwight in LA with Kobe? The Lakers wouldn't have the tools to add to the tandem, but yes, Hollywood is alluring to Howard so that's a possibility.
Deron + Dwight + Dirk? The reason mainstream media people and NBA execs are predicting that isn't because they have sources from inside the Mavs organization who are saying it. The reason it is being predicted is because the 3D Blueprint represents the most attractive option for Dwight and Deron.