Monday Mavs Donuts: The Buck Stops Here
DONUT 1: Reviewing predictions ...
I always said the Dallas Mavericks' chance at Dwight was a "One-Percent Thing.'' There's no satisfaction in my prediction, though, because it was based on the belief that he wouldn't walk away from the extra $30 mil guaranteed available by staying in LA.
The fact that Howard left LA for a destination other than Dallas (in Houston, of all Dallas-hatin' places!) increases an anguish that is only pacified by reviewing Dirk's pre-Dwight-meeting remarks.
"Like last year with Deron Williams, our free agency can't depend on just one name this year," Nowitzki said eight days ago. "We're not going to sign eight, nine one-year deals again. We tried that; it didn't really work last year.
"So there's plenty of other options out there, I think. You can plug holes with really, really good players -- maybe not superstars but really, really good players -- and still be a playoff team. If that's the route we have to take if Dwight says no, I'm sure Mark and Donnie will find the right mix of guys."
And off we go, Dirk having wiped away a Lake Lewisville-sized puddle of DFW tears.
DONUT 2: Cuban's explanation ...
On Friday, DallasBasketball.com was one of a handful of media outlets to receive communication from Mark Cuban that Dwight had spurned Dallas.
"Got word we are out of the DH sweepstakes,'' Cuban wrote. "We gave it a shot and it didn't work out. … It was truly an experience.''
Part of the experience was Dallas attempting to respect Howard's privacy by not springing leaks about the team's recruiting meeting with him. That is contrary to how some of the other suitors have handled themselves … but it did not turn out to be a winning hand. Cuban now says of the meeting, "At some point I will post our video and presentation we made."
Cuban finished the e-mail: "So it's on to plan B."
The entirety of our thoughts on what Cuban mentioned in his Dwightmare email to us is here.
DONUT 3: Moving on to Calderon ...
Let's dive into Jose Calderon's injury history. During his time with Toronto and Detroit, Calderon has been sidelined by injury for 79 total games. He's endured ankle sprains, stitches, and other minor bumps and bruises that are common in the NBA but the biggest cause for concern moving forward is the multiple lower leg injuries that have consistently limited the Spaniard.
The problems began after the 2007-2008 season when Calderon played in all 82 games for the only time in his career. He suffered a groin strain while playing for Spain and was limited in the Beijing Olympics. The injury appeared to have a carryover effect during the 08-09 campaign as he would miss 14 total games due to a reoccurring right hamstring strain.
Similar injuries would pop up over the next two seasons as Calderon missed 12 games in the 09-10 season with a left hip flexor strain and six more the following year with a hamstring strain on the same leg. Since then his legs have help up though he reported lingering hamstring tightness in last year's preseason.
While Calderon's avoided severe injuries, these lower extremity issues shouldn't be overlooked.
The Mavericks have a major ace in the hole moving forward: athletic trainer Casey Smith. Smith is a well-respected AT who holds multiple certifications that allow him to identify and correct biomechanical problems. Smith was at the Dwight pitch table and surely is deeply involved in having given Calderon a passing grade here. His skill set would do wonders for Calderon and help him maximize his court time during his time in Dallas.
More on Calderon's medical background here.
DONUT 4: And Jose on the court? ...
Calderon has long on the Mavericks' wish list due to his Kidd-Lite BBIQ playmaking ability. He's got a career average of nine assists per 36 minutes and a 4.2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Calderon is a shooter (he led the NBA in three-point field-goal percentage last season at 46.1%) rather than a scorer. The 6-foot-3 Spaniard has career averages of 10.1 points and 7.2 assists per game. His defense is not good (having a defensive stud center behind him would help.) But the Mavs' were actually a sound defensive team last year and their top problem was their point guards' collective inability to get the ball to Dirk and others in productive spots.
Calderon changes all that.
Three days ago, in reporting Calderon as a Mavs' top target, we educated-guessed that Dallas would like to "put him in the $7-mil range.'' The contract is four years and $29 million -- an average of $7.25 mil per year.
"This is a great day!'' tweets Calderon. "New challenge! Joining the family of the Dallas Mavs! I'm really happy! Can't wait to start the season!''
Finance, fit and fitness. And, I suppose, happiness. All key issues here.
DONUT 5: Bynum? Really? Really ...
And it was real nine days ago, when we first wrote it.
We'll update again soon, but the core of the story DB.com broke on June 30 regarding Dallas' high interest in an Exhibit 3 deal with Andrew Bynum remains the same, with the exception of the Steiny-Mo report of the Cavs and Hawks poking around the idea, too.
DONUT 6: Party time! ...
A tip of the cap of appreciation to Frisco Party Station, your neighborhood headquarters for all your graduation party needs, summer gathering needs ... everything! All the neighborhood schools represented -- college and even high school! -- and the party is on!
DONUT 7: Wanna chase other centers? ...
There is no guarantee Bynum bites on an Exhibit 3 proposal. David Lord is on the case, leading a conversation on our thoughts on other center pursuits.
And then there is the Jermaine O'Neal talk first revealed on DB.com Boards. His greatest years were working under Carlisle in Indy, when from 2003-07 he was essentially a 20/10 guy and a perennial All-Star. Now? O'Neal is a 17-year veteran whose greatest appeal is that like Devin Harris (see below), he's "family.''
Can he play a Brand-like role for the Mavs as a backup big? This sounds like a Carlisle call to me, and the coach's answer is obviously "yes.''
DONUT 8: Follow the Mavs on Twitter ...
Follow the Mavs on Twitter: Mike Fisher, David Lord and Michael Dugat keep you up-to-the-minute informed on all things Mavs!
DONUT 9: One more center ....
At some point, somebody signs Greg Oden. There is buzz in Miami and San Antonio about the idea, while in Dallas, the long-standing thought has been it's not economically prudent to let him rehab -- for a year, two years, forever? -- on your dime.
Worth me investigating: Are these desperate enough Mavs times to consider desperate measures, like trying to buy a Greg Oden lottery ticket? Or, like admitting franchises like Miami and San Antonio might be worthy of mimicking?
DONUT 10: Thanks to Red Rock! ...
Our North Dallas hangout for sports and live music? It's Red Rock Bar & Grill! They help make DB.com what it is ... thanks, guys!
DONUT 11: Devin's homecoming ...
The Mavs are cornering the market on point guards, as they are in the process of adding Devin Harris to a fold that also includes probable starter Jose Calderon and kids Gal Mekel and Shane Larkin, whom they took with the 18th pick in Thursday's draft.
But Devin Harris -- who was on the Mavericks' 2006 Finals team, then was swapped to the Nets for Kidd and has also played for the Jazz and then the Hawks -- is reportedly returning to Dallas with a three-year, $9-mil contract.
The Mavs have long considered this idea. So has Devin.
"It's always crossed my mind,'' he said last week at Dirk's Heroes baseball game. "It's crossed my mind since I left. Obviously, I think it would be cool to come back. ... Dallas has always been home.''
There is some media talk about Harris playing the 2; that's less than an idea fit, though alongside Calderon, maybe somebody around here needs to be able to guard the waterbug PGs. Calderon/Devin starting together raises the team's BBIQ by miles, though. Spacing, passing, pick-and-rolls ... all good.
In another positive note, this might be the first trickle of Dallas building assets -- in contrast to the aforementioned "one-year wonders'' that Dirk bemoans above.
Are you supposed to love this? No. But after the Howard-to-Houston decision, less-than-loveable fits are what you deal with.
We're working on an exclusive Devin Scouting Report from inside Mavs HQ. Stay tuned.
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
So does all of this mean that "Plan Powder'' is a failure?
The Mavs spent two years laying the "Plan Powder'' groundwork for this deal and are beaten to the finish line not only by the Lakers and the Rockets but also by a Golden State team that spent only TWO DAYS positioning themselves for a shot?
This makes "Plan Powder'' – the post-2011 championship strip-down -- look like a complete miscalculation.
The Rockets kept their powder dry, in a sense, too. But they also spent and accumulated assets (Harden, Asik, Lin) that in the end obviously didn't preclude them from the Big Fish.
If the Warriors and Rockets can flip assets (as in "players'') at the last minute to create room, why did Dallas need to spend two years creating room? What if Chandler and Barea were on the Mavs roster as if Friday; couldn't Dallas have dumped their $15M + $5M salaries to = Dwight's $20M? (I know that's oversimplifying the math, but you get the idea.)
The Mavs' re-evaluation of this needs to consider the idea of creating assets and building living, breathing assets.
Dallas' "Plan Powder'' treated cap space as the ultimate asset. This weekend of transactions and non-transactions suggests the ultimate asset is … assets. Players. Attractive talent that can draw a star like Howard or be swapped for a star like Howard. ... Not just "room'' -- but the ability to flip a switch to create "room'' when needed.
We can give credit to the Mavs for having been dealt a hand in the poker game again. We can applaud Cuban for coming on-the-record in his communication to DB.com, with no "sources'' and there is no hiding in the dark.
It's good that "the buck stops here.'' Maybe "Plan Powder'' ought to stop here, too.