Monday Donuts: Should Mavs Juggle Jet?
DONUT 1: Preparing for the Jet goodbye ...
In DB.com's exclusive Q&A with Donnie Nelson, the Mavs GM tells us, ‘It's never comfortable when you have people like Jet leaving the team. But it's a reality.'' That's about as done as done can get. But it's not July 11 yet. Are there reasons for the Mavs to take one last look at this situation?
We'll try to deal here with the mathematic possibilities and the CBA ramifications. We'll also try to stay away from the nostalgic emotion of Jason Terry leaving the Dallas Mavericks … a very difficult move for all involved – the club and Jet himself, who has not spoken to the media at-large but did authorize a member of the Jet camp to give this quote to DB.com:
DONUT 2: Jet's only Mavs-related quote so far ...
"Jet said he will talk to the media after his (youth-league) girls nationals (tournament) is over,'' a member of the Jet camp relays to us. "He did mention his intentions all along were to be a MFFL, but he doesn't see that happening now.''
A not-talkative Jason Terry? Doesn't seem like "our Jason Terry'' at all. And of course, he won't be "ours'' for long.
DONUT 3: Is $5 million a year really too much? ...
It's essentially a foregone conclusion that Terry is going to be a Celtic, having accepted their three-year, $15-million offer and having received a warm wave goodbye from Donnie. The Mavs have their CBA-minded structure in place. But then you see the spending for players of his ilk … or players not of his ilk … and you wonder if some looser purse strings might not help stretch The Dirk Era.
Nick Young has accomplished none of what Jet's done. He's getting $6 mil in Philly. Brandon Roy would be a wonderful success story if he can play. He's getting $5 mil in Minny. Are those teams really "nuts'' and really "overpaying'' as is suggested in our exclusive interview with Dallas owner Mark Cuban? Or is that a reasonable price of doing business for a player of Jet's accomplishments?
Oh, and what if point guard Ramon Sessions comes here? Know that the Mavs have had chances before to get him, and have passed. How much will he cost? How close to Jet's "ilk'' is he?
DONUT 4: Not locking in ...
We're asked all the time, "Why haven't the Mavs explained why they aren't bringing Jet back?'' Our answer: Their actions are their explanations. He's aging. He's fading. This team's numbers with him on the floor last year were awful.
You don't really expect the Mavs to come out and say those things, do you?
Is Jet still a premier clutch fourth-quarter shooter? We'd say yes. What does one key cluster of numbers say? That when Jason Terry was on the floor last year ... well, his Mavs were awful.
With Jet Adjusted +/-: -4.73
With Jet Unadjusted +/-: -4.27
With Jet Offense +/-: +3.26
With Jet Defense +/-: -7.53
DONUT 5: So we must get beyond the nostalgia ...
That jersey will someday hang in the rafters. Jet's desire and the 2011 title say it is so.
We will always have this moment and so many more like it …
DONUT 6: But this discussion is about practicality ...
First, let's take a roster-eyeballing stab at this (as opposed to "getting stabbed in the eyeball, which is what this whole summer feels like): Their existing SG options are rather awful, aren't they?
Now, we're the ones who keep calmly stressing that it's early July, not early October, and that the present-day roster is of little use. … because there will eventually be 15 or so names on there. But start with the Vince/Roddy B/DoJo/Jared Cunningham options. Unless this is intended to be a tanking season, or unless Roddy B becomes the star some people at Mavs HQ no longer trust he can be, that's somewhere between "patchwork'' and "putrid.''
You know what might very well happen there, don't you? The Mavs will end up acquiring help at the 2-guard. It'll be somebody a little pricier than they initially intended. Oh, maybe not $5 mil worth … but maybe not Jet-worth, either.
So they are going to need help at the 2-guard, anyway. And they are going to need scoring. How much less than $5 mil do they think they'll end up spending for such a thing?
DONUT 7: A practical, mathematical stab ...
Now let's take a practical, mathematical stab at bringing Jason Terry back. Again, this is not a prediction; our prediction is the Celtics are going to own him, he'll "Do The Jet'' in Boston, Miami fans will hate him (all over again) and Boston fans will love/hate him (as many in Dallas do).
Let's assume that spending $70 million or less - and avoiding tax - is the Mavs' budgetary plan.
We'll pencil the Mavs in for an over-the-cap approach this year. That takes them out of the amnesty-claim mix, but gives them Bird rights, MLE and BAE, trade exceptions, and more. And with their payroll currently sitting at about $47 mil for 10 players (including the three draftees), it gives them a total of about $23 mil left to spend without crossing the tax line. (All of this includes no Sammy Superstar at the moment, which seems sensible as Orlando and Brooklyn seem deep in discussions.)
In that context, matching Jet's $5 mil from Boston this year certainly fits, easily leaving them space to also use their $8.9 mil TE and $5 mil MLE on two other useful talents, with room left over for the last two players.
But with Jet, it's years two and three that are undoubtedly in the way - yet, must they be total deal-killers?
Say they give the $5-mil MLE to Camby for a year, the BAE to Delonte at $2 mil, use the Odom TE on an $8 mil addition, and fill up the 14th roster slot with a player for the minimum (we'll call it $1 mil). That still leaves room for $7 mil more in spending, without crossing the tax line - but the big tools to spend are all used.
DONUT 8: What's left? ...
From that remainder, could the Mavs possibly justify some financial creativity to out-do the Boston offer?
If he's truly getting a fully guaranteed three-year max MLE from Boston, how about this? Use Jet's Bird Rights to give him a two-year deal starting at $6.8 million, with $7.3M in year 2 and the second year guaranteed for only $2.4 million if waived by July 15, 2013?
Such an offer guarantees him either $9.2 million for one year of play, or $14.1 million for two. That far exceeds what he'd be getting from the Celts for 1 year, or 2 years, and it's almost certain he'd come out well ahead over three by the time he signs again somewhere.
If his Boston offer has less guaranteed money than that, the offer could be dialed down proportionately. But in any event, this proposal doesn't break the bank for the Mavs in keeping him, and allows both the Mavs and Jet a chance to "kick the can" a bit farther down the road before having to decide it's time to cut ties - something that might be to everyone's benefit and preference.
Jet gets more money upfront, it fits financially for Dallas, it fills a need for Dallas, it adds some roster-building options for the Mavs both this season and next summer, it allows Jet to get what he really wants (along with "Cut The Check,'' of course), which is to be MFFL …
And, unless the Mavs talent evaluators think Jason is headed for a steep downward plunge as a player, it greatly improves the possibilities for year 15 of The Dirk Era.
DONUT 9: We don't want to confuse all of us ...
We don't want to confuse the reader, or ourselves, by pretending this is anything the Mavs are considering. We do know that Jet in a straight-out free-agency departure is not the only item on the plate, and that the Mavs have discussed with Boston a sign-and-trade that would allow Dallas to get a little piece in exchange.
But keeping Jet? Naw, the Mavs – even though July 11 isn't here yet – have moved on. And we're covering some bases here we assume they themselves have covered, that's all. Not for reasons of nostalgia but rather for reasons of contribution, talent, fit and need.
DONUT 10: But this is part of what we do ...
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Check it out. It's one of the great values of being a Premium Mavs Fan ... and membership also comes with access to all your favorite NFL, MLB and college teams, too!
DONUT 11: Follow Fish and the Mavs on Twitter! ...
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
Well, we've made our case. We've flexed our capology brain. In trying to be impartial -- if that's the right word as we ourselves juggle our roles as journalists and as Mavs followers -- we're not necessarily arguing that Dallas SHOULD un-do what's been done here. We ARE assuming Mavs management has toyed with the same dollars and sense that we have ... and that their decision to part ways with Jason Terry (in some form) is one that comes with an eventual payoff.