Mavs Rondo-Wright Trade Donuts
The Dallas Mavericks pursuit of Rajon Rondo began on June 28, 2013, with an inquiry from Donnie Nelson to pal Danny Ainge, the Celtics boss. It continues now, with Dallas having more ammo than ever to make a push for the All-Star point guard. Our Premium story inside the Rondo trade talks, with exclusive details, is here -- and serves as a great reason to try our free seven-day trial and then for pennies a day be a Mavs Premium subscriber, which also gets you inside Chip Brown's HornsDigest and hundreds of other websites fully devoted to your other favorite teams.
As a companion to that inside stuff ... Well, more inside stuff here in Donuts!
DB.com is reporting that Dallas is reluctant to include Brandan Wright in this deal ... but it's a virtual certainty that he's on the table as these talks march forward.
During the season, when rosters are already full, lopsided trades in terms of numbers of players moving have the built-in negative of forcing one of the teams to free up roster space in advance of the trade, typically by waiving one or more players. That costs money, and perhaps a player that the team would otherwise prefer to keep.
So the most desirable trades are the ones that are as close to even, in numbers, as possible. Dallas might want "lopsided,'' but lopsided won't get it done.
Rondo's salary is so big ($12.9 mil) that the Mavs don't have a player they'd offer that could trade-match 1-for-1 for Rondo. But they can do a 2-for-1, in one of two ways. (In theory, there are other 2-for-1 or 1-for-1 trade-match options possible besides the one to follow, but those would have to include one of Chandler, Dirk, Parsons, or Ellis, and we guarantee the Mavs are unwilling to go there.)
Both choices would include Wright. The other piece would have to be either Devin Harris or Raymond Felton.
It almost goes without saying here, but: Given Harris' close ties to the Mavs, and the fact that Felton has a perhaps-expiring contract while Harris does not, Felton would seem way more likely to be included than Harris. Again, that's from Dallas' perspective. Devin is valued here, seen as a key to the team's contention aspirations.
Felton is a mystery man, with a mystery ankle, with a mystery future. Everything about his existence here screams "expendable.''
In the simplest trade possibility, it's possible that Boston would ask the Mavs to take back a minimum-salary player (either Pressey or Powell) so that it could be a 2-for-2. Add the requisite first-round pick, too ... but understand that when a team like the Lakers come calling, their pick will be much more attractive than Dallas'.
A Wright-Felton (or Wright-Harris) package would have an added benefit to Boston that might prove beneficial later. The Celtics could add both players using existing trade exceptions and create a $12.91 mil trade exception for use later.
And Boston will need to find some benefits here. Rondo's stock is down. He'll leave there in July. We've always thought the price would be much higher than this and maybe it will be, if a team outbids Dallas. (Sources tell us the Rockets are mucking things up here, and logically the Lakers and others are visiting with Boston, too.) There is plenty of time for the Celtics to salvage something out of him ... maybe the TE's represent that.
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Moving Wright would create a gaping hole for the minutes behind Tyson Chandler. So if it's a simple trade for Rondo as we've outlined, it would necessitate another move, and fairly quickly. (As we touched on Monday, signing DFW resident Jermaine O'Neal is a viable option.)
Without that, there would be greater demands on TY in terms of minutes (is Greg Smith ready for a little more burn?) ... but the on-court benefits to Tyson would be huge. A point guard who gets you 11 assists a game, every year, instead of Jameer Nelson, struggling his way to being the poorest at his position in the conference? Upgrade. Rondo as a stopper-caliber perimeter defender? Huge, because it relieves some of the demands on TY as a rim-protector mopping up for so many subpar defensive mates.
In short: To anyone who thinks Rondo doesn't "fit'' with the Mavs ... this team, newly revamped, is 19-8 with Jameer Nelson "fitting.'' The end.
As long as we're talking bigs ... this might be an opportune time to note that this week DB.com broke the story in Dallas' interest in Greg Monroe, if it can be done on the cheap. It's a story from inside the front office, one you can only get here, and one that makes some sense in marriage with the Rondo talks.
While the Mavs can get permission to discuss an extension with Rondo in advance of a trade, and get a sense of his willingness to re-sign in the summer, there would be no way to get something firm. It's a roll of the dice. (Of course, the same would be true with Boston and Wright's future there, if any.)
This is especially an issue in Dallas, of course, where agent Bill Duffy (he of Steve Nash representation fame) is no pal to Mark Cuban. DB.com is told, however, that Dallas is confident in its ability to sell Rondo on re-upping here.
Again, Get the first word inside the Rondo trade talks with Premium coverage here, as a Mavs Premium subscriber. And also stayupdated on this and every other Mavs story -- analysis, exclusive interviews, practice videos, all of it -- by checking out DB.com Mavs Archives, DB.com Boards and Fish on Twitter and D-Lord on Twitter.
Rumors are cheap ... though by the time DB.com, Woj and Stein are all on the same path, it's moved beyond rumor. But how about this: Rumors, even cheapies, can lead teams in unexpected directions. Wright's play has been impressive this year (his PER, for those who put stock in it, is a stratospheric 26.1, which is All-Star level). The implication that he might be traded could interest a different team and between now and the Feb. 19 deadline open up the door to a Mavs trade for a different point guard, should the Rondo deal not come to fruition.
But Rondo has long best Dallas' preferred door ... and one the Mavs have been knocking on for 15 months.
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