Mavs Next Move: What's The Point (Guard)?
The Dallas Mavericks already possess a unique offense in the sense that Dirk Nowitzki has long been the "featured player.'' (And by the way, his protests aside, even at 37, he can still be all of that when needed.)
The addition of Wes Matthews (who can shoot from the outside) and DeAndre Jordan (who rarely misses from the inside) add more components to this offense ... and of course, both of those guys are premier performers at the other end of the floor, too.
And then there is Chandler Parsons, who was a central piece of the recruiting journey here both because of his bromance charms and because of his unique ability as a potential playmaker.
Remember at Exit Interviews when CP proclaimed that he wanted the ball in his hands more, wanted to create more, wanted to distribute more?
That idea was broached again in the Jordan/Matthews pitches. And it's now out in the open in the form of Parsons serving as a "point forward,'' the concept created by Mavs godfather Don Nelson.
No objections there. But "point forward'' doesn't eliminate the need for someone to play the 1. Parsons isn't going to bring the ball up the floor, isn't going to play 48 minutes, isn't going to defend waterbugs ...
Dallas still needs point guards on its roster. Real point guards.
One is already secured. Devin Harris is a Mav, and is fully capable of starting -- though coach Rick Carlisle prefers him to lead the second wave off the bench.
JJ Barea is not officially secured, but the Mavs are working to retain the free agent (even as he is being lured to Miami, where he grew up and has family). Dallas will need to do some juggling to make JJB fit, but that seems to be happening.
This is a different set-up than the tentative agreement to bring back reserve swingman Richard Jefferson. He's a free agent, but that figures to be a vet-minimum deal; there is no real financial juggling here. Just a mutual pledge for when the time is right. The same thing can be done in the front court, too. Dallas can create some money but will also rely on vet-min guys from a list that can include Amare, Rashard Lewis, Charlie Villanueva, Sam Dalembert and the like. (In addition to Dwight Powell, who Dallas wants to feature on this year's Summer-League team in Vegas.)
Raymond Felton is here, too. And note that when we talk about the options with him, we always say, "trade, dump, stretch, cut, keep.'' Because yes, you really could keep Felton as he is a viable NBA talent.
But Felton might be needed as a go-away tool as Dallas wishes to "expand'' its cap space via a sign-and-trade. ... or simply because the Mavs can replace him with a superior player.
The "who's-out-there'' list is thinning but remains long enough. Rondo goes away to Sacto on a one-year deal, his Dallas behavior possibly costing him, oh, $60 mil or so. Patrick Beverly was going to be a tough get for Dallas if they got other biggies, so he stays in Houston. Jeremy Lin, Mo Williams and Nick Calathes -- not coincidentally a trio of point guards with Dallas ties -- are all candidates.
But the idea is to have one of them work cheap. If all Dallas has is a $2.8-mil MLE, one of them could take that. If the Mavs work a sign-and-trade a certain way, other slots ranging from $3 mil to even $9 mil could be manufactured. But of course, if the Mavs involve themselves in a Sign-and-Trade -- involving the Clippers and DeAndre, or the Pacers and Monta, or the Suns and Tyson, or Aminu/Wes and the Blazers - that can also mean an acquisition of a point guard coming to Dallas in that fashion.
And that's why the "who's-out-there'' options list cannot be etched in stone. The Mavs have passers like Parsons. And they have guards like Wes. And with Devin and (probably) Barea, they even have point guards.
But the starting point guard might not be here. Yet.
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