Mavs Trade Central: Final Day, Final 'Shoe'
What's the Mavs' thinking on JaVale McGee? Not much.
McGee has been been dealt, along with a first-round pick, from Denver to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers could now buy him out. And as desperate as Dallas is for big-man help ...
Sources tell DB.com there is zero interest in McGee.
McGee got his big deal (and is still owed part of his $11.2 million salary this season and $12 million next season) and faded. It speaks volumes that Denver had to include a first-round pick to dump him, as hes a 7-footer with shot-blocking skills and is just 27.
But it also speaks volumes about McGee that Dallas -- hungry as they are for help in this area -- has no appetite for him.
*ESPN reports that Goran Dragic has been traded to Miami.
*Kevin Garnett is being traded "home'' to Minnesota for Thad Young. Why? To give the good people of Minnesota something warm and cuddly to get them through their 10 months of winter.
*Mark Cuban tells DB.com that Bernard James is signing another 10-day contract. Cuban adds that Dallas plans to keep him for the rest of the season.
DB.com has been told by Mavs sources that in addition to the Amare pickup, they are working towards "another shoe to drop,'' so to speak. We broke the story on the team's interest in Stoudemire, broke the story on the team's interest in Larry Sanders, and broke the story on the Mavs' desire for Kevin Martin -- all as buyout guys.
Martin/Sanders would quality as that "other shoe.''
But while GM Donnie Nelson tells us to not expect an actual trade before today's 2 p.m. (Dallas time), and while we believe him because of what the Mavs are doing with their assets ...
Just in case ...
Rather than focusing solely on buyout guys as "Shoe-Drop X, here's another angle that can be woven into the mix, that kinda fits the same parameters.
Keep in mind that Dallas doesn't realistically have a first-round pick to convey in trade. (Oh, the Mavs can give you their 2018 pick. But that's awfully far away for you, and as that will be the post-Dirk Era, the Mavs might want to hang onto that valuable baby.) So the Henson/Lopez/Kanter/Plumlee-level-stuff isn't happening. And you already know the Afflalo/Dragic-level stuff isn't either.
And we'll be frank: We haven't pinpointed the concept to any name yet, as Kevin Garnett and Thaddeus Young and Brandon Jennings and Joe Johnso and JaVale McGee and J.J. Hickson and dozens of other names are floating about.
But "the other shoe'' can absolutely read thusly: A trade to package "Felton plus ___" for a player whose contract lasts another year or two? Maybe it's a bigger salary than Felton, or maybe it includes cash, or maybe some other benefit, or maybe Team X needs a point guard and either a) has its pursuit of one of the above names fall through and/or b) wants to take a shot on Felton?
That concept also fits both storylines of "someone besides Amare" and also "someone for longer than this season." ... concepts that DB.com knows are part of Dallas' mindset here.
Again, we wouldn't even begin to speculate on what player or team (yet). And our estimation of Felton is so exceedingly low that it's hard to imagine much clamoring for his services. But that's one other angle we want to mention ... again knowing full-well that Dallas' trade cupboard is pretty bare while its deadline plate is potentially full.
As the NBA trade deadline approached, we knew Dallas was limited in what it could due specific to that deadline. There is little ammunition to do much ... and a trade for somebody like Kevin Martin (an incorrect rumored connection first made by SI.com) was undesirable, as we noted a week ago, because of Martin's contract and what it would do negatively to Dallas' summer cap plans.
Martin is owed $14.3 million over the next two seasons. At that rate, Dallas wouldn't even do a "negative'' trade, i.e., give up "less than nothing.'' (Like, say, Raymond Felton.)
But what if Martin gets a buyout, like Amare Stoudemire got from the Knicks? And like Larry Sanders is getting from the Bucks.
An NBA source close to the Martin situation tells DB.com on Wednesday morning that in that event, Dallas will be in on Martin, a player the Mavs have long thought highly of, and see now as a valuable asset as a scorer off the bench.
Martin is 32 and is in his 11th NBA year of NBA experience, but there are no negatives there. He's the Timberwolves' leading scorer at 20.5 points per game, and he's got a clutch reputation. Indeed, Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders is on-record as wishing to retain Martin ... as any coach would be.
But the Timberwolves are rebuilding again, and Martin may not fit. So how does he fit for the Dallas Mavericks? We haven't had all these questions answered for us yet. He is not a strong defensive player and he's long expressed a desire to remain an NBA starter. (Might he be able to do that elsewhere, like with the Clippers?) But clearly, the Mavs have convinced themselves that these are manageable issues -- especially if Martin is made to see the value of being on a contender and maybe told of the chance he'll get to be a closer.
The Mavs made their Rajon Rondo bed and now they sleep in it ... while being careful not to roll over in a way that might further injury his broken face.
They are about to make another bed for Amare Stoudemire. And contrary to conventional wisdom, he could be bunking here beyond just this spring, too.
What we know now is about Dallas' commitment to Rondo now and going forward ... how a true max deal for him in the summer doesn't end up working but how a big-money contract does. And how it works for TY. And how it works for Ellis.
And how it can mean Amare stays, too.
Start here: The Mavs' vision, pre-Amare (who plans to suit up for the Mavs tonight in OKC) was to keep this band together. Renounce Bird Rights on Ellis and Tyson and Rondo and let them walk? That certainly opens up room ... but who do you lure that makes you better than a cemented-together trio of Ellis, TY and Rondo make you?
There are moves Dallas can make this summer. But breaking up this group isn't the planned move.
Ask anybody: Ellis and Tyson and Rondo would be "high-tier" free agents. ("Top-tier''? That's a tiny shelf.) Dallas has set itself up to win these three back, along with Parsons and Dirk and Devin and whomever, with more years and more money than other potential bidders. Our general calculations have Ellis, TY and Rondo needing to all fit inside of $40 mil. One-for-all-and-all-for-one, and nobody gets the max ... but three guys get to remain teammates with Dirk and Parsons, and get to remain contenders, too.
Now, Amare has to play up to this level. But Dallas can now, in theory, keep the band together, keep Amare, too, and also (if they work the numbers right) have an MLE to spend, too.
On Wednesday morning, we'll have gathered more details here. Those details will include a) more number-crunching on the aforementioned with Amare as a "buy'' not a "rental''; b) the latest on Dallas' investigation into Larry Sanders (and we think you'll be surprised by the results) and c) another candidate for a "second'' move following the Stoudemire pickup -- a trade before the Thursday deadline.
A tough Tuesday for Ricky Ledo. He was told by the Mavs that he'll be cut to make room for Amare. Then he learned of the death of his 94-year-old great-grandfather in Puerto Rico. Prayers to the family from all of us at DB.com.
Amar'e Stoudemire is a six-time All-Star and those days of scoring 24 points and pulling down 10 rebounds per a decade ago will make for some impressive highlight-film stuff. But the Dallas Mavericks aren't counting on the Amar'e from a decade ago; his knees and ankles and 13 years of NBA wear-and-tear have changed all that.
They need a 4/5 who is better than Dwight Powell and Greg Smith. That's a modest goal ... and they are about to achieve it.
Is it done? 'Not yet,' a high-placed Mavs source tells DB.com late Monday. But we're close, and one of the reasons it's "not yet'' is because it cannot be.
As always, starting from the time last week we broke the story of Dallas' interest in Amare, we reserved our enthusiasm regarding the Mavs as a "frontrunner'' to sign Stoudemire when he reached a buyout from the Knicks; hell, weren't they a "frontrunner'' to sign Jermaine O'Neal, who is now opting to remain on the couch in Southlake? But we share Dallas' excitement over this tentative "get'' not beause this is the All-Star Amar'e but because at 32, he can fill the void left by 4/5 Brandan Wright, the efficient offensive weapon who departed in the Rondo trade.
It is true that Stoudemire has agreed to come to Dallas. It cannot be official until 4 p.m. Wednesday when he's cleared waivers. At that time the Mavs will fit him for a uniform and quite possibly ask him to contribute on Thursday in Dallas' post-All-Star-Break debut at OKC.
And what will the Mavs get? The Knicks version of Stoudemire (if healthy) will have to do. That's 12 points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes a night. ... substantially better than Powell, Smith and 10-day guy Bernard James.
It can be argued that Stoudemire's real role here is to replicate Wright. As Dirk said, he's a rangy scorer out to 16 feet and has great skills as a pick-and-roller and finisher (though no longer a leaper). As the Mavs know, he's a rebounder who would join Aminu as the second-best Mav in that category. And they've done their homework here on his character (Tyson Chandler with a seeming endorsement) and, as best they can, on his medical issues. (Worth noting: During Stoudemire’s five years in New York, he missed 95 regular-season games and nine playoff games due to injury. But in Dallas, he'll be reunited with Casey Smith, who was on the Phoenix training staff when Amar'e was with the Suns. This was, we're sure, a selling point to the player.)
Dallas' bench -- an area of weakness with Wright gone -- suddenly looks dynamic, with Devin Harris being joined by Stoudemire and Aminu.
This deal will be done on Wednesday. The search for help will continue even beyond Thursday's trade deadline. How it all comes together for the Mavs? The needs are there. The homework is done. The medical hope remains.
The Bucks are working on a buyout of of Larry Sanders' four-year, $44-million contract, a way to say goodbye to the talented 6-foot-11 center, who, at 26, has a career filled with injuries, suspensions, drug issues, behavioral problems and, quite possibly, a lack of desire to devote himself to basketball.
UPDATE: Sanders has reportedly agreed to take just $13 mil of his remaining $44 mil to leave the Bucks ... and also is the subject of a report that insists he has no plans to play basketball any time soon. (We'll have more on this today.)
All of this has kept him off Dallas' radar for the recent bulk of his career. But that was also in part due to that $44-mil deal.
If he comes free?
Sources tell DB.com as of Monday morning that the organization has not met officially to set a course here, one way or the other. We are also told that once the club does so, working to assure itself that there are not psychological issues with Sanders will be a priority.
But Dallas can only do that from afar, right now. And the Mavs know what they know: Sanders has missed the last 24 games, part of that for what Milwaukee calls "personal reasons'' and part of it serving a 12-game league suspension for a fourth failed marijuana test. They can ask Bucks coach Jason Kidd for his thoughts. They can ask former Sanders teammate Monta Ellis for his. As DB.com has noted before, that drug-related "Sword of Damocles'' will always hang over the head of his employer.
This isn't about talent. Two seasons ago he averaged nearly a double-double (9.8 points and 9.5 rebounds) and finished third in the Most Improved Player voting, thus earning the big contract extension. But the problems never went away, and they included an unfortunate scene in a bar that featured him losing control -- all of it caught on video tape.
Under normal circumstances, there would seem to be no way Sanders' behavior would earn him a passing grade from Mavs staffers with expertise in psychology. But as any Mavs fan knows, when it comes to needing front-court help, Dallas' circumstances aren't normal.
The Dallas Mavericks aren't ready to address this question yet, because they remain tied to their interest in Jermaine O'Neal, who they think will be an ideal fit. But we still want to know: Why, in that game against Utah with the Mavs needing any capable center to fill in while Tyson Chandler was hurt, did O'Neal not roll downtown instead of Bernard James?
Amare Stoudemire to the Mavs? There is some confidence in Dallas. And yes, they'd like to win the Amare bidding AND add O'Neal, too. Stoudemire was in the final year of a five-year, $100-million contract and was making $23.4 million this season. He'll clear waivers and then at 5 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, be available to accept a deal from a playoff contender. The Mavs have the $1.9 mil vet's minimum to offer ... and while a few days ago their interest -- as stated in the DB.com story that broke the news of that interest -- was pending "checking out his health,'' the Mavs have accelerated their faith in that now.
Once one of the brightest stars in the game, the 13-year veteran has an ankle problem now and a knee problem from earlier this year and has played in just 32 of New York's games. At 32, he averaging 12.2 points and 7.0 rebounds in 24.5 minutes. A decade ago he was a 26/9 guy in Phoenix. The 6-10, 245-pounder's career numbers include 20.1 points and 8.2 per.
He recently told the New York Post that he looks forward to returning to his "dominant self.'' That seems unlikely. Also no cinch: This idea that the Mavs are "frontrunners.'' Stoudemire has the right to listen to bidders. The Mavs have hopes that giving him an important role behind Dirk and TY (both of whom seem to be supportive of the add) will be the lure.
Our sense is that just as Dallas will do its Sanders psych work, they have done so on Andray Blatche. We broke the news last week that as he leaves China, the Mavs started their look into him. That look? His behavior off the court and on. During his NBA years, he's dealt with arrests for “attempting to solicit sex from a female police officer” and for reckless driving. And on the court? In March of 2012, Washington benched Blatche because he was out of shape, and eventually amnestied him. In 2014, the Nets gave him a "personal leave of absence'' that was really a dismissal from the club, which then opted to not re-sign him.
So off Blatche went to China, where he averaged 31.1 points, 14.9 rebounds and five assists and even became a three-point shooter, as the 6-11 big man hit nearly 40 percent from deep. But the Xingjiang Flying Tigers didn't make the playoffs. So now he's free to roam again.
Dallas doesn't have much ammunition to do big things in terms of trades leading up to the Feb. 19 deadline. Having included a first-rounder in the Rondo trade, they don't have that to offer now. (Thus, Phoenix' dangling of Goran Dragic simply doesn't much register around here.) So the Mavs try to make their pickups elsewhere.
A source told DB.com last Wednesday that the Mavs were "doing their homework to find out'' if Blatche's reputation as a knucklehead is deserved. Enough time has passed that we've probably got our answer.
The Wolves are exploring a buyout with 6-4 Gary Neal after having acquired him from the Hornets via trade on Tuesday. But sources tell us Dallas has no interest in pursuing Neal, 30, is a fifth-year veteran who is struggling in one of his areas of specialty, from the arc. He's averaging 9.6 points in 21.7 minutes per game. ... The Mavs have examined and passed on the idea of a 10-day for center Eli Holman, who's been in China ... Tayshaun Prince is being offered around by Boston. Last time we checked, Mavs folks thought he was pretty much out of gas. ... SI.com has connected the Mavs with Minnesota’s Kevin Martin. Martin is owed $14 million over the next two seasons after this one. Dallas is not interested. ... The Texas Legends have pushed for the idea of Eric Griffin being called up to the big club but Dallas - as much as he is liked -- doesn't see him as a rotation player yet. And while he "plays big'' he's more of a 3 than a 4/5.
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