Mavs Deron/Dwight Shifts: Subtle & Seismic
THE NEWS YOU KNOW: AN AGREED-UPON TRADE
The Nets have completed a tentative trade for six-time All-Star Joe Johnson, who will move from Atlanta to Brooklyn along with his bloated $86 mil contract. The Hawks ridded themselves of Joe while acquiring expirings and a first-round pick.
What do the Nets get? Well, they didn't have to sacrifice MarShon Brooks, and that's a plus for them -- Deron-to-Brooklyn or not. But this deal doesn't get them Deron ... not yet, anyway.
When the Nets began their early-evening meeting in NY with Deron, they were able to proudly present him with the Joe news. DB.com has been told by a source close to Deron that he likes the idea of Johnson as a Nets teammate ... but we've also been told it's premature to think Deron's "support'' of Joe as a player means Deron is Brooklyn-bound.
HOW'D THE DERONQUEST MEETINGS GO?
In fact, we'll go beyond that.
DB.com has learned that some in the Mavs camp believe that the position they take on DeronQuest has been strengthed because of Brooklyn's expensive acquisition of Johnson, and due to the $10-mil-a-year deal given Gerald Wallace, too.
Where once, Dallas' Monday meeting was going to be about the Mavs' plans (and not the Nets') ... the Johnson move put the Mavs in position to reinforce their points on cap flexibility for this season and future seasons.
Did Brooklyn built a champion with Joe and Gerald and precious little flexibility to do more? Or did the Nets just overload with two of the worst contracts in the NBA and thus build themselves into a corner?
The Mavs believe it's the latter -- that this weekend Brooklyn's roster is now LESS attractive. Deron and agent Jeff Schwartz now know the Mavs believe that.
That's the subtle thing that changed, at the last minute, for the Mavs, and we'll have to wait and see who is right: Brooklyn thinks the Joe/Gerald deals are positives for the Nets. The Mavs -- who employ a true superstar who actually makes in the same ballpark of salary as Joe Johnson(!) -- think they are negatives for the Nets.
Run that through your brain again: The Mavs' best player (and one of the dozen best players in the NBA) has a more CBA-friendly contract than Joe Johnson has.
SO WHAT DOES DWIGHT HAVE TO DO WITH ALL OF THIS?
DB.com has learned that the Mavs believe they are on Howard's shortlist of desired destinations.
Are/were the Nets No. 1?
If Brooklyn seals the Joe deal and lands Deron, will it realistically have room to also acquire Dwight? We wrote at midnight Monday that "the Nets can assert to Deron their ability to give Orlando desirable (but maybe not cheap) pieces. We'll see.''
And in the next few hours, Brooklyn reportedly asserted just that as Chris Broussard reports they are working on a trade that would send Howard to the Nets for Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and the Nets' first-round picks in 2013, 2015 and 2017, sources said. . Why would Lopez sign-and-trade to go to Orlando rather that shop himself? How does any of that make Orlando better? Doesn't this look like the Magic doing the Nets a solid? Won't there be better offers for Dwight out there?
Once upon a time -- meaning just a couple of months ago before the trade deadline -- the Dallas Mavericks joined the Nets atop his wishlist. Can the Mavs re-enter that field?
DB.com has learned that the Mavs are aware of Dwight's interest in them. One NBA source coyly noted that Dallas "can't talk to Dwight because he's not free!'' But that doesn't mean the two organizations haven't "touched base.''
The Warriors are saying they are out, and Dwight would not have re-upped beyond this year (he's scheduled for free agency next summer). Houston wanted in, but they've got an offer sheet out on Omer Asik. The Clippers could swap out Blake Griffin in a package, and that's grander than anything the Mavs can offer. Same with the Lakers, who can offer up a big man. Howard is from Atlanta and is close with Josh Smith. That might put the Hawks in play.
Can the Mavs offer Orlando start-over cap space? Is that enough? If Dallas is No. 2 on Dwight's wishlist, and he makes it clear he'll re-up here but not elsewhere, can his wheels to Big D be greased?
At this point, if you're a Mavs fan, you hope Dwight goes anywhere other than Brooklyn.
Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan confirms that Dwight wants out.
"He did mention that Brooklyn is where he'd like to go," Hennigan said. We're going to continue to map out what we feel is in the best interest of our team," Hennigan said.
So teams are in contact with Orlando.
"He's Dwight Howard," Hennigan said. "He's one of the best players in the NBA. A lot of teams have interest in Dwight, as they should, and it's our job to analyze what's in the best interest for us and then making a decision."
In the final year of his current deal and the option to opt out of his contract after this season was concluded, Dwight Howard did not have a graceful potential final season in Orlando. He's made a mess of his image (with the latest being his alleged charge of "blackmail'' against the Magic) and his indecision has ruined his chance to go to Brooklyn. He opted in in Orlando -- fearing he'd hurt the feelings of the locals -- and that's prevented him from being free now ... in which case he could have joined Deron Williams in Brooklyn. (And, for that matter, could've conceivably done so in Dallas, two, as part of The 3D Blueprint.)
Dwight is still "Superman'' as a talent, if not so much as a person of character.
That's part of what The 3D Blueprint was always about.
For now, though, the Mavs simply need a second "D.'' With Deron, it's about out-recruiting the Nets. With Dwight, it might have to be about the impediment of lack of assets. Their most valuable "asset" for a trade with Orlando would be the willingness and ability to take Turkoglu or other unwanted side salary. What's to be weighed: Is taking on the Hedo Headache ($23 million of salary ballast, something Dallas can only do if Deron goes elsewhere, of course) worth it?
And now, what of the possibility of Deron AND Dwight going to the same "elsewhere''?
As we've written many times, there is no "Sky Is Falling'' here. There is no "Do Something Or Bust.''
The Mavs will talk to Nash. They will talk to Jeremy Lin. They will talk to everybody. As they should.
And there is the dissatisfying-but-maybe-wise option we like to call "Plan Keep Your Powder Dry'' that Mavs management knows you don't want to have to deal with.
For the moment, they don't want to deal with it, either. They'd rather deal with Deron. And they are very busy reacting to, and even infleuencing, shifts both subtle and seismic.
"We'll see soon,'' a source close to Williams tells DB.com, in defiance of so many reports that he's made up his mind, "what Deron decides.''
And maybe, crushingly, what Deron and Dwight decide together.
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