The Methodology At Center In Mavs Donuts

The discussion turns to centers ... The methodology was there for Bynum to get a long-term deal here, if ... What went wrong there, by the way, following 'Breakfast With Bynum'? We've got the inside story ... Dalembert? Oden? B-Wright? Desperate times call for ... well, you know. It's Thursday Mavs Donuts!

DONUT 1: The methodology was there ...

For both the Dallas Mavericks regarding a deal for Andrew Bynum, the methodology was there.

It was always going to be a significant challenge negotiate a contract structure that minimizes risk. The Mavs went in cautiously -- and now you know they came out even more cautiously -- because of his medical history of having missed last season and coming off surgery on both knees. Meanwhile, as any of us would be, Bynum was wary of committing to a deal in which the compensation does not reward him for his potential ability, should he prove healthy.

But we actually think that in this situation, the answer for the Mavs might've been unexpected for deal with a player to be considered at-risk of long-term injury: the longer the contract, the better.
The reason? As our David Lord explains, in the event Bynum turned up lame and had to be waived under the terms of a Re-Injury Exclusion limiting the guaranteed money (Exhibit 3), a longer contract would've allowed the cap hit for that guaranteed money to be spread over many years, minimizing the risk of a wrong turn.

For a team like Cleveland that is only looking at Bynum as a stopgap-with-upside, their offer of a year at a time makes sense. They've signed him, and now if they have to waive him, they would take all the cap hit in the current year, and then go their way with no ongoing impact.

But with the Mavs looking for a longer-term solution at center, the longest deal would've been the best.

Let's say the Mavs would've been willing to match Cleveland's offer, which consists of guaranteeing $6 million in the first year of the deal, followed by a team option for another season on the same terms. In that deal, if Bynum had to be waived, all the guarantees are in year one, and a buyout of his deal would spread the cap hit over three seasons (double the guarantee years plus one). But if the Mavs replaced that structure with a bit of guaranteed money in each season of a four-year deal that still totaled $6 million guaranteed, in the case of a waiver in year one the cap hit would be spread out over nine years, costing them about a veteran-minimum salary-cap hit each season.

From Bynum's end, to lengthen the deal, he would've undoubtedly wanted more money guaranteed, or perhaps some incentive mechanism that added to the guarantee dollars as he successfully completes each season. To get to a deal, he and the Mavs would have had to figure how how to balance the risk for both.

Is this a moot point now? Yes, with Bynum. But see Donut 12.

DONUT 2: They ordered a table for four ...

They arranged a Dallas meeting spot that is very familiar to visiting NBA players -- especially ones who used to play for the Lakers.

They engaged in the "process of gathering information,'' as GM Donnie Nelson put it.

And then began some positive feelings, some medical poke-arounds and some negotiations ... and ... has exclusive information, starting with the "Breakfast With Bynum,'' regarding who was at the meeting, where it was held, and why we figure the workout was skipped. The good stuff on Bynum and the Mavs is here.

DONUT 3: A must-read ...

David Lord isn't wrong very often. But when he's wrong, he's big enough to admit it. And in this case, to bake 12 Donuts about it -- and about how the Mavs join him in Wrongdom.

"Re-Assessing The Mavs' Assessments'' ... a must-read for Mavs fans.
DONUT 4: B-Wright's rights ...

The Mavs' cap hold on Brandan Wright is just $884,293, they have Early Bird Rights on him, and they are negotiating right now to bring him back as a rotation player with continued room to grow.

This qualifies as "asset-building.'' It's easy to approve this. B-Wright is 25 and there is room to grow.

DONUT 5: The Dalembert Band-Aid ...

Sam Dalembert is rolling into Dallas today. To me, he's a used Band-Aid ... barely functional and not a healthy way to rehab a franchise.

Somebody around here needs to play center, yes. But I'm once again advising the Mavs to look at players in two ways: One, as a weapon to be employed by the coach, and two, as an asset to be used by the GM.

Dalembert, 32, was last year in Milwaukee a pretty much a 6/6 guy. If he joins the Mavs, I bet he will do that again. ... a solid way to get to 41 wins again, I suppose.

If he signs with Dallas, he'll be employed by the coach. Probably as the starting center. But if he cannot also be utilized by the front office as a tool for true improvement (and there is a way to do this via the structure of his contract), I'm not in.

DONUT 6: Party time! ...

A tip of the cap of appreciation to Frisco Party Station, your neighborhood headquarters for all your party needs ... everything! All the neighborhood schools represented -- college and even high school! -- and the party is on!
DONUT 7: Am I being snarky? ...

I think I'm being fair, and not snarky, when I suggest we take with a silo of salt the Wednesday rookie press-conference praisefest.

Donnie Nelson and Rick Carlisle presided and painting a positively gorgeous picture of what Larkin, Ledo and Mekel -- the three rookie guards -- might add to the 2013-14 Mavs.

"We think this rookie class is probably a little more ready to step into the jumpseat than others we've had,'' Nelson said.

And that simply has to be true, in large part because other recent draft classes were highlighted by experiments like Roddy B, DoJo and Jared Cunningham, none of whom are going to be on this year's squad. (And if you are shocked by the Wednesday media "revelation'' that Beaubois won't be back, you really should pay more attention to, which wrote the details of this a month ago.
(OK, right there I'm being a little snarky.)

First-round pick Shane Larkin was praised by Carlisle for his speed, and the kid modestly said, "I'm excited to be here and to work. I've just got to go out there and show everything I can do.''

Second-rounder Ricky Ledo was a high-school superstar who never quite did the college thing at Providence over the course of the last two years and said he sees himself as a Tracy McGrady type.

Gal Mekel, the 25-year-old signed from Israel, said, "I'm a true point guard. I like to get everyone involved and make all my teammates better.

Larkin and Mekel are point guards. Ledo is a 2-guard. All three are projected to play behind probably starters Devin Harris and Jose Calderon. Oh, and Ellington, too.

So, be rosy and optimistic about "this rookie class being a little more ready to step into the jumpseat'' ... but know that at this stage, they are the fourth, fifth and sixth guards on the roster.

DONUT 8: They do have a place ...

And that place is Vegas.

Young vets Jae Crowder and Bernard James are trying to get better. Larkin and some of the others just need to fit in, for now. And a host of other guys will use the experience for either a foothold in Frisco or elsewhere.

Crowder played in 78 games as a rookie last season, and started 16 of them. Sarge played in 46 games and started 11. They, along with Larkin, should be expected to stand out for a group coached by Monte Mathis.

Summer League play in Las Vegas starts Saturday. Here we've got the Mavs' entire summer league roster and schedule ... and a place to talk about it all on Boards!

DONUT 9: Speaking of Crowder ....
Rick Carlisle says he and the Mavs have guided Jae Crowder to losing about 15 pounds. Leaner and meaner is good. I need him to supplement all the nice things he did as a rookie, though, with also being more of a banger.

Can that be accomplished 15 pounds lighter?

"He played three positions for us last year, and we see him as being able to bump around all those positions again," Carlisle said. "He's a real important guy for the versatility of our team."

Bumping and banging, it is hoped.

DONUT 10: Thanks to Red Rock! ...

Our North Dallas hangout for sports and live music? It's Red Rock Bar & Grill! They help make what it is ... thanks, guys!

DONUT 11: A Deal for Dario? ...

Did Dallas have a deal for Dario Saric?

Dario himself says it is so, and that fits nicely with the material we wrote before the draft about Dallas, No. 13 and the "Euro Cap Stash.''

The fact that he pulled out, frankly, suggests that yet another primary Mavs plan this summer was shoved back into the drawer and an alternative plan pulled out.

Not that such a thing is unusual; paths are laid in various directions and there is rarely a singular Plan A, especially in the draft.
However, it would be nice for an occasional Plan A to fall just right around here once in a while.

DONUT 12: The Final Word ...

Yes, the Mavs now need to out-sell and out-think the Spurs and the Heat for a shot at a maybe-lifetime-of-rehab Greg Oden, because even more desperate times call for even more desperate measures.

A week ago, I believed Dallas' best selling point to Dwight Howard wasn't "the roster argument'' but rather "the franchise argument.'' ... that the Mavs as a franchise are elite, no matter what the present roster or even present record is.

It's a harder case to make today, even to somebody like Oden, and especially if "the franchise argument'' competition is the Heat and the Spurs.

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