The Inside Story On Mavs' 'Mystery Cogs'

Are the Mavs plotting something unexpected? We are looking into some 'mystery cogs' ... Conventional wisdom says the team is headed for Brand, West, and a minimum salary player to finish the roster, the Mavs have deliberately left a different door wide open. Where else could they head? We update you while wearing our Amateur GM hat and our Conspiracy Theory tinfoil hat:



The Dallas Mavericks' plan forward appears obvious. The tea leaves say they will claim C/PF Elton Brand from amnesty waivers (with Luis Scola as an alternate plan), add a room-MLE signing of G Delonte West, and finish off the roster by adding a minimum salary veteran.

DB.com was told by a Mavs official on Thursday night that Dallas is "confident'' about winning Brand. Meanwhile, we're also told by the Delonte camp that the two sides have an "understanding'' that might get worked out by this weekend.

But is there a Plan B that goes in a completely different direction? As tinfoil-hatted as it might sound ... Perhaps so.

THE PLAN B POSSIBILITY

Dallas began the off-season officially far over the cap, with exceptions and huge cap holds added on top of their salary commitments. The only move they have officially made so far is the over-cap trade with Indiana, in which they added Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones to their roster by using Ian Mahinmi's outgoing salary and a trade exception (Brewer).

In order to have cap room, at some point they will need to renounce those exceptions, cap holds, and so on. But so far the Mavs have chosen to technically stay over the cap as they await the results of the Brand bidding, and they can stay that way until (a) being awarded an amnesty player, or (b) signing Chris Kaman as a free agent.

To this point, they have done neither. While they have a commitment with Kaman (he's on his way to Dallas to sign up as we write this), nothing has yet been signed, and it appears that's deliberate.

And staying over the cap could open some very different doors.

ADDED HINTS?

Besides the delay in the Kaman signing, there are some other clues that point to a deliberate effort to remain above the cap, at least for now.

Jason Terry, despite reaching an early agreement to sign with Boston, has yet to sign - and there are whispers from Mavs sources that he could possibly be headed to the Celtics in a sign-and-trade. That would have to be an over-cap move for the Mavs.

And there's talk that the Mavs have interest in trading for Toronto PG Jose Calderon, yet the Mavs lack the assets that would be needed to make the deal Toronto wants (the ability to move Calderon without taking back salary).

THE CONSEQUENCES

Permanently staying over the cap would not alter the team's ability to acquire Kaman. He could easily be moved to Dallas with a sign-and-trade using the Odom TE, rather than by a free agent signing, if the need arose.

But it would open up an opportunity for JET to move to Boston via sign-and-trade, and that can lead to much more...while also preserving trade exceptions, full MLE, BAE, and so on to enhance the team's talent.

In one example, if JET's outgoing contract started at $5.267M rather than the MLE, it could be used as a match for Kaman's incoming, and allow the Odom TE to be saved for another use.

Or in a three-way possibility, JET could be sent to Boston, Dom Jones and Yi (or Cardinal) sign-and-traded to Toronto, and Jose Calderon to Dallas.

Or by mixing Kaman, JET, the Odom TE, and more into one pot, you have the potential to make something even bigger.

The bottom line is this: it appears the Mavs are dragging their feet on the Kaman signing until they see if they get Brand. This explains why. And if they don't get him, the Mavs summer may take an unexpected turn.


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