Wizards Call Mavs About Point-Guard Trade
Buyers and sellers.
Few teams want to admit to being the latter. Most teams boast about being the former.
In the case of the Washington Wizards? Their actions indicate to us that they are indeed buyers. They are 25-25 entering this week of play, and figure to continue hovering around the .500 mark. But in the woeful East, that still has them in fifth place right now and just a game out of third place.
When you are the Wizards, with such a historical lack of brass-ring opportunity, you buy.
The Dallas Mavericks? Here's owner Mark Cuban's take on the subject of "buyers and sellers'':
"We're always going to be opportunistic, whatever the circumstances are. I'm always preferring to be a buyer. So I don't plan on being a seller.''
As always, Tony Cubes provides himself lots of wiggle room in that quote. But as they sit now -- 10 games above .500 for the first time since the title season, five straight wins giving them a 31-21 record and a clear view of sixth place in the West -- you can understand the Mavs' reluctance to sell off pieces.
But at point guard? Dallas does have pieces.
The Mavs are pleased with Jose Calderon as their starter on the terms of a deal that pays him $6,791,570, $7,097,191, $7,402,812 and $7,708,427 for his four seasons. They are ecstatic with Devin Harris as his backup on a one-year deal at $884,293. They believe first-round rookie Shane Larkin (making $1,536,960 this season) has a future. They have a three-year deal with Gal Mekel (presently injured but rehabbing quickly and making 490,180 this season on his three-year contract) and can be patient there.
Washington and Dallas have talked. But DB.com is being told what the Mavs have told Wizards GM Ernie Grunfield: Dallas likes its stable and isn't looking to make a change.
Is there room to bend here? One issue is that because both clubs are presumably buyers, the Wizards won't want to give up an important piece to their playoff puzzle -- but the Mavs would need to get a piece of value back.
Most of the Wiz talent simply isn't expendable to Washington. The players who aren't in Washington's rotation wouldn't bust into Dallas' rotation.
There are more complex deals that can be trade-machined here, but they would mean each club breaking off core pieces ... and that's not what "buyers'' do.
But even if the teams are unable to construct a deal before the Feb. 20 trade deadline, there is a revelation here in our story: For the first time in awhile, the Mavs' stable door is being knocked on. There is actually a reason for Grunfeld to actually bother calling Donnie Nelson (which we're told is happening frequently). The Mavs aren't just chasing get-better trade ideas (and they are); other clubs are chasing back.
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