Deron, Calathes & Mavs' PG Pecking Order
DONUT 1: Deron's Ire ...
What Deron Williams is upset about has nothing to do with basketball. He's bothered by the outcome of the big weekend fight, which resulted in a controversial win for somebody or other. (We barely know or care. Boxing, entertaining as it is, might as well feature host Jack Barry and contestant Charles Van Doren).
"I'm never buying another fight again,'' Deron says.
DONUT 2: He'll be able to afford to, however ...
... Once July 1 rolls around and he gets his new max deal by either staying with the Nets, coming home to DFW or involving himself with a wildcard bidder.
Our latest thoughts on the subject:
The more we hear, think and calculate (and yes, hope ... we're Mavs fans, you know), the more we don't think "money" will be the difference-maker here. Deron can get "year 5'' here as well, just not in the same deal. (Story to come.) And by his own statements, he's aware that the tax difference between New York and Texas can work to even out the margin.
His decision hinges on finding a place where he thinks he can win, and a place where he wants to raise a family and stay long-term. He's said those things over and over, on the record, no shadowy sources needed. And he's his own man, with a decisive mind and a willingness to speak out, so we don't think he has any hidden agendas or will be bamboozled by the lure of something other than what he's looking for.
We've reported in great detail on his relationship with his mom and brother (who live in his hometown of The Colony) and we broke the story of "World Wide Wes'' being involved, too. We're now hearing Portland's good feelings on getting him are fading, though they just hired the GM who engineered the trade of Paul to the Clips, and they have Aldridge in place as a "young Dirk.'' We see money barriers in Indy and lots of hoops to jump through to create a trade to the Lakers.
So the Mavs still have their seat at the poker table, and there are only a few seats, and that's a very, very good place to be.
DONUT 3: One hint we'll get ...
If the LOAF contract deadline does get moved to July, we'd put the Mavs' chances significantly higher because of the difference that should make in assets available for roster building.
Odom's agent, Jeff Schwartz, will be right in the middle of that deal. And Jeff is also Deron's agent ... so Deron will be right in the middle, too.
By the way, Deron ... What's your favorite NBA city to play in again?
DONUT 4: Now, to Calathes ...
It is true that former Mavs second-round draft pick Nick Calathes, 23, might be ready to "un-stash'' himself from Europe and come to Dallas. But if you are among those already trying to hand him money and minutes ... well, the cart is getting put ahead of the horse here.
This isn't just about his willingness to make the jump; it's about his readiness.
And more: It's about whether the Mavs need him, even have room for him.
DONUT 5: First things first ...
Deron is first. The Calathes camp can contact the Mavs (and the media) all it wishes. But Deron, and then a crack at retaining Kidd as his caddie (or co-starter in the backcourt?!) comes next.
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DONUT 7: Then come harder decisions ...
Deron and Kidd (if affordable) are easy.
Now, do you want Calathes as the additional point guard? Or, because you own his rights in preparation for whenever you need him, do you want to attempt to lure Delonte back in some affordable fashion?
Is there a draft-night deal that moves Roddy B and/or DoJo? Are they part of July 1 free-agent window trades? Or are they cheap assets worth retaining? (We've got the inside story on a situation that frankly paints Roddy B is a less-than-flattering light in this regard).
DONUT 8: Catch the Mavs and the DB.com Staff on Twitter! ...
DONUT 9: Now, let's assume those all shake out just right ...
This is the first summer Calathes has been without a contract. Prior, he was locked up for multi-years. And he remains a desired piece in Europe, the University of Florida in demand to return there even as he would rather play in the NBA, if possible.
Until he signs an NBA deal, he has NO cap hit. So there he sits, stashed (just like the Spurs are so often credited for doing). To keep from tying up cap room that might be desperately needed elsewhere, we say he'll have to wait until the Mavs have gotten past DeronQuest (and more) before inking.
Now, what if the Mavs think he's not NBA-ready? That's why Nick wanting to be here is a tiny story compared to what his NBA employer thinks and wants. Dallas can steer him back to getting some more seasoning in Europe.
Or, in June, the Mavs could offer him any sort of minimum-salary deal (guaranteed or not, one year or two) without costing them any cap room. But note that the Mavs don't have to offer him anything more than an unguaranteed minimum salary deal, in order to keep his rights.
Oh, one more thing, speaking of cheap talent: There is the matter of Dallas' first-round pick in this month's draft, No. 17 overall. The Mavs will start bringing kids to DFW this week, with three-on-three play featured. As first reported in this space, Kendall Marshall is on Dallas' wishlist. Premium Mavs fans are discussing right now word that the North Carolina point guard is coming to the AAC on Friday.
DONUT 10: Hot time in the Summer League ...
The Mavs might want to get a look at him in Summer League before making any decision on how much to guarantee ... if anything.
We don't know if he has NBA ability. We don't know that the Mavs can know for sure, either, despite his impressive size, his great stats at Florida and the maturation that has certainly come with overseas work.
Some players move from Europe to the NBA and are more productive in the NBA, and for others it's the opposite. The style of game is too different to be sure. But Summer League? That can help a lot in the evaluation, and it can also serve as an intro to the NBA for young players.
DONUT 11: Nick seems smart - and open-minded ...
Weird, thing: Over the weekend, despite all the noise about him and the Dallas Mavericks, Nick seemed to be open to the idea of moving or staying.
"Everything is open,'' he told Contra, which itself added that "the presence of the NBA is still the great dream.'' More Nick (using our loose translation from the Greek): "Nothing is certain. All there is in my mind and all can be done. All are open for the next season. Yet I have not spoken with anyone. Nor with agent operating for me.''
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
Oh, well. Talks. Phone calls. Visits. Semantics. The possibility is there but no decision can be made. We can, and do, discuss this and everything else in MavsLand on DB.com Boards with thousands of fans just like you. But action? Not yet.
Nick, are you ready for a non-guaranteed contract? Ready to show your wares in the NBA Summer League next month in Las Vegas? Prepared to not make the big club depending on how certain other potential Dallas point guards make their career decisions? Bracing yourself for being told you are unready or unneeded?
We all want to see the "new kid.'' But the issues with Deron, Kidd, Roddy B, DoJo and Delonte all play a role in this, too.
And in most of those cases, their roles come first.