Sanders, A Mavs Trade & The Sword of Damocles

Forget for a moment our personal thoughts on the use of marijuana and alcohol and beyond. As we kick around the idea of pursuing centers Monroe, Chandler, Gortat and more, I wonder if any Mavs' trade interest in the troubled Larry Sanders is slowed by the fact that where there was once 'confidentiality protocol' there no longer is. My 'Sword of Damocles' column:

I am aware of the Dallas Mavericks' whispered interest in Larry Sanders in the past (as has documented). That they have no fear of his contract and perhaps his medical issues. And they think they can deal with the flaws in his game, too.

But I wonder: Is the drug suspension a game-changer, the straw that breaks the camel's back, regarding their interest?

There is no talent void here regarding the 6-11 center, who at 25 has a very high (literal and figurative) ceiling:

We are in the very early stages of examining the Mavs' never-ending quest for center help -- and, ideally, given their history, of multi-faceted center help. They like having bodies at the position (Damp and Deng, Chandler and Haywood) ... even as, most of all, they'd like a stud at the position (Dwight Howard).

So maybe Dallas is all-in on the exploration of a Tyson trade. And you look into Greg Monroe in Detroit. And we know the Mavs have always adored Marcin Gortat. And up until recently, certainly the reasoning was there when it came exploration of a Sanders deal.

But ... one item that is worth considering. As I understand it, with the confidentiality protocols, the Mavs, over the course of this season when the concept was first broached, would have had no clue that Sanders had been failing previous drug tests. So their prior willingness to take the risks he brings was one where "drug issue" was never factored in.


But now, they know in advance that a trade for him would import a player who brings the Sword of Damocles to hang over their franchise, because the next failed test will have even bigger repercussions. And he makes huge money, a big chunk out of their cap, and really no way for the franchise to be made whole if he keeps messing up.

Maybe, given his troubles, he can be had more cheaply than ever before (in terms of trade value, certainly not in terms of contractual value, as Sanders is guaranteed $11 million a year for the next four seasons.)

Forget the ethics of his behavior. Forget even that his behavior suggests the "failing of an IQ test'' as much as it does the failing of drug tests.

More than just a cloud of smoke lingering over Larry Sanders, a 44-million-dollar "Sword of Damocles'' lingers over the head of his employer. I have to wonder if Larry Sanders is now inching his way off Dallas' summer wish list.

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