On Devin & Ellington - From Inside Mavs HQ

As of late Tuesday, Mavs GM Donnie Nelson was still in the AAC basement, finalizing deals for Devin and Ellington and preparing for a visit from Andrew Bynum. DB.com goes inside Mavs HQ for the reasons for the three-year, $9-mil deal given Devin, the apparent Room-MLE on Ellington and more ...



This is not the "DH'' the Mavs were hoping for.

Yes, it was funny when on Tuesday, Dirk tweeted, "We worked all summer to get DH to Dallas. Welcome back to the Mavs, Devin Harris...''
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No, not the right DH. But suddenly, with the two-year agreement with Wayne Ellington and Devin Harris, The Dallas Mavericks have, on the surface, hoarded themselves some guards. PGs in particular, as in the last few days they've drafted Shane Larkin, signed Israeli star Gal Mekel and inked Jose Calderon to a four-year, $29-mil deal.

That's not quite like getting Dwight Howard. But it is an accumulation of assets, we suppose.

Harris is now the backup point guard. There is little chance of the two kids outplaying him there. But maybe he's also in competition as a starting 2-guard, a role he played in Atlanta last year with some success.

The 6-foot-3, 192-pound Harris might just get as many minutes at the 2 as at the 1. He can guard some 2's and can stick with the waterbug PGs, too. (Somebody must, because Calderon cannot.)

And on offense, Devin paired with Calderon would give Dallas an off-the-charts BBIQ backcourt. The spacing, the ballhandling, pick-and-roll options from both guards ... that is tantalizing. What he lacks as a perimeter shooter he makes up for as a rim-attacker -- maybe too reckless a rim-attacker, given his injury history. But at whatever position, his quickness and intelligence allows him to take over a game ...



There are numbers from Atlanta that say this can work.

According to 82games.com, Harris played the 2 and the 1 about the same amount of time for the Hawks and in 24 minutes per was a 10/3.4 guy. The Hawks outscored opponents by 20 points with Harris playing point guard and by 133 points with him as the shooting guard.

Meanwhile, the Hawks won with Devin on the floor. Atlanta's record with him playing was 35-23. When he started, they went 24-10. When he got more than his minutes average, they went 21-6.

Harris made 31 starts at the 2 last year alongside Jeff Teague in Atlanta -- and six more starts at the 2 in the playoffs.

The Mavs got the same sort of positive results from Harris, of course, when he was a key part of the 2006 NBA Finals team.



Those Mavs also had to endure Devin's fragility, however, which is why you must pencil him into your lineup rather than cement him in. (Meaning, if Vince Carter remains here, he might want to prepare to going from sixth man to 2-guard starter in an instant.)

Last year, it was a toe problem that caused Harris to miss 22 games. Over the course of his career, he's had problems with his ankle, shin, knee, shoulder ... you name it. Recklessness is part of that.

Nevertheless, he's played in an All-Star Game an in an NBA Finals. Dallas got him on Draft Day when he was the fifth overall pick, hated seeing him go in the Kidd trade, and tried to trade for him in February 2011.

Now he's back. As an asset. As a part of the "family.'' And as a high-BBIQ backup point guard for a team that might need a starting 2-guard ... so he might end up being that, too.
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Now, if Dallas succeeds in its flirtation with Monta Ellis (limited, as we wrote a week ago, by the club's desire to get a "Mayo-type'' bargain there ... maybe Devin gets bumped - and maybe he joins 6-4 shooter Wayne Ellington.

We belive Ellington's two-year deal at about $5 million fits nicely into Dallas' Room-MLE and won't count against the salary cap this season. (Note: The NBA has the salary cap at $58.679 million for 2013-14, so no surprises there.) That means it's not an Ellis blocker or, just as importantly, an Andrew Bynum blocker. The Bynum camp's game of cat-and-mouse bluffing didn't work; he's scheduled to be in Dallas on Wednesday to show his wares.

Ellington has played for three teams in four NBA seasons. He has a rep as a solid defender but mostly, he represents a perimeter-shooting threat. He averaged 10.4 points per game last year and shot 38.2 percent from 3-point range during his career.

Ellington and Harris are in the fold. Monta and Bynum now could be juggled in. Dallas has about $8.5 million in cap space with more available as we believe they visit with the Bucks on ways to involve Shawn Marion in a swap or give up Vince Carter to one what sources tell DB.com are many suitors.

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