Mavs Big Thoughts: Okafor, Smith, Blair, Pau

In Fish's scoop on the Mavs' summer-shopping targets at center, he nailed the Tyson prediction but completely omitted any mention of Emeka Okafor. Yet other media outlets suggest there is a Mavs-Okafor match here. What's really at the root of the story? And what's up with backup center types like DeJuan, Pau, Hawes and Jason Smith? Come inside:



Emeka Okafor has been mentioned around the internet as a potential solution for the Dallas Mavericks at center, in a backup role, as part of the multi-headed approach the Mavs favor.

But he hasn't been mentioned by DallasBasketball.com in that way.

What are we missing? Or what are they missing?
Smile
Here's Fish's rather detailed list of who Dallas does and does not like at center. It was written before the FA window. It delved into eight candidates -- or non-candidates, and as his information comes straight from inside Mavs HQ, it was at the very least an accurate portrayal as far as it goes.

I say that because this list cannot possibly be all-encompassing, cannot cover every possible name or every possible nuance.

Among those nuances: Dallas wasn't going to prioritize Pau Gasol. But what if he fell into their laps, after other options were exhausted?

Suddenly, they'd like him more. Nuance.

And as we now know, Pau isn't "falling.'' The Lakers would like to keep him. Phil Jackson's Knicks would like to snag him. OKC is flirting with him.

Spencer Hawes isn't falling, either. We could've envision a scenario where Dallas has $16 mil to spent post-Dirk and gives it to somebody like Deng in tandem with somebody like Hawes. ... But he's reached an agreement on a four-year, $23-mil deal with the Clippers.

DeJuan Blair and Jason Smith? They are not similar players but they are on similar planes. Oh and put Jordan Hill there, too. Blair is too small, Smith (a 7-footer who was at almost 10/6 last year in New Orleans) too fragile and Hill maybe too "silly,'' to use one source's word. (Josh McRoberts? Sure. Keep going. The list is lengthy.)
Smile
One of those guys might fit in Dallas, though, especially if the Mavs get a Sammy Superstar and then ask others to join on as Merry Minimums.

So ... why not Emeka Okafor among them?

In the 2013-2014 season, Okafor was a workhorse inside, averaging 9.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.0 blocks per game while shooting 47.7% from the field and 57.1% from the line.

What's not to like? That was then. This is now. And now, it seems, Okafor is an injury-related persona non-grata to a lot of personnel people in the NBA.

I've done a bit of scouting around about him, and I'm left with serious doubts about the viability not only of some "nuance'' as it relates to some level of Dallas interest but whether Okafor is completely out of gas.

Here's his history: He missed an entire season, had neck surgery, and there was talk at the time it might prove career-ending. He never had to report to Phoenix after he was traded there, because he was (supposedly) staying in NY to rehab (with the Suns' permission).

Given the Suns' medical staff's tremendous reputation, that's odd. But there's more.
Smile
From what I found from my scouting search on Okafor, hhey never saw him in Phoenix. There are no articles about him as a team member. There are no mentions of him as an asset (except as a possible salary filler for a deadline trade with LA). No one seems to have even talked to him. He was just a name on the payroll, and nothing more.

To top it all off, this is the time of year when a player who had health issues gets trotted out for show, by his agent, to prove he is healthy and to stir up interest. Remember Andrew Bynum last year, whose bloated corpse was dragged around the country (Dallas included) to eat big meals and talk about how he was going to be healthy and dominant again some day?

They started the PR push in June, and in July the Cavs fell for it.

But, Okafor? Not a peep lately. It's eerily quiet, and I'm close to concluding that the Mavs -- barring unforeseen nuance -- will have to look elsewhere for a reserve center behind TY and with B-Wright (unless he's trade-dumped for space) who can actually be counted on to play.

Dallas Basketball Top Stories