A Bad Rumor: Mavs' Marion To Cavs In Trade

We define a 'rumor' as a whisper that teams are talking about such-and-such. This 'Marion-and-a-pick" swap with the Cavs has risen to 'ESPN Insider' status yet doesn't even rise to the level of our definition. The Mavs trading Shawn Marion? Come inside:

Here's the way the "story'' was presented on Sunday in the Akron newspaper:

One rumored deal for the Cavs would be to send three of their draft picks to Dallas (Nos. 19, 31 and 33) for veteran small forward Shawn Marion ($9.3 million next season) and the Mavericks' No. 12 overall choice. Marion, 35, has lost much of his athleticism and isn't the high volume rebounder he once was. The Cavs are expected to decline, even though having the 12th pick would be attractive. - Bob Finnan

By Monday, "ESPN Insider'' was charging customers to read the exact same blurb.

But this does not qualify as a "rumored deal.'' And we know that because this non-story features many aspects about it that don't make sense to the teams or by the rules.

1) We first note that if the teams are going to swap picks, they'd do so in June, not July. Shawn Marion, with the ability to opt out, can't be traded in June unless he formally declines his opt out - which means he can only be traded with his cooperation. That's not happening.

2) In addition, the concept behind eventually dumping Marion is cap clearance -- ideally, to move this valued piece while getting no salary back in return ... but that can't be done with Cleveland in June, because it would take over $9 million in empty cap space for the Cavs to take his salary without sending any back, and the Cavs don't have it.

3) Mavs owner Mark Cuban's recent comments suggest that Marion should be seen as being involved in the team's planning ... which would indicate that they certainly aren't shopping him and prefer to keep him long-term.

Those comments: "We'll have that conversation (about ETO options), but that's not the important part of the conversation we'll have with Shawn. Shawn is a warrior. Everyone knows that he gave 100-plus percent every game. When we weren't able to perform at a certain level, he got mad. He really, really wants to win.
"I respect his opinions and we get along great. I'm more interested in what guys he likes out there, who he's played against and who he respects and what he thinks we need. On where that goes, we can have other conversations about the other stuff. There's no point in him opting out if we don't think we're going to get what we need."

4) The Mavs don't own the "No. 12'' pick proposed in the "rumor.'' Dallas, of course, owns the 13th overall pick in the draft. Characterize this as a typo if you wish. (We're all guilty of those.) But note that ESPN Insider (and 100 other websites) picked it up verbatim and here we are days later and the Akron newspaper still hasn't corrected its critical error.

What really happened here? It looks like a Cavs writer with little understanding of how NBA trades work saw one story talking about the Dallas Mavericks perhaps having an interest in swapping picks, saw another talking about the Mavs perhaps needing to send away Marion to clear cap space, calculated his home team's assets, and decided to combine those into a "rumor" of his own making. Nevermind what the rules say and what the teams might be doing.

We don't mean to be harsh here. But whether it's in our Daily Donuts, our Mavnalysis, our news stories or in our Premium Mavs coverage, it's a full-time job calculating and chronicling the real Mavs goings-on without having to explain why all the fake goings-on cannot actually be going on.

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