Mavs Behind-The-Scene: Negotiation In Advance

Donnie Nelson made an anti-Sign-and-Trade comment the other day that seemed to shut down all sorts of Mavs free-agent possibilities. Why would the Dallas GM do that? As the July 1 wheels start to turn, let's call it "Negotiating in Advance.''

The Mavs will use cap room and be operating under-cap this summer, right?


But maybe not.

We have noted the words by GM Donnie Nelson, replying to a question by saying flatly the Mavs are not doing a Sign-and-Trade with Ellis, sending their signal to the world that they have cap room, don't need a S&T, and are going about their business. And then we have considered that within the same conversation, and in fact within the same minute, Donnie walked back his words a bit by adding, "I wouldn't say [a sign-and-trade of Ellis] is completely out of the question...".

But I'm wondering, if maybe there was something more intended in his comments. Way more, in fact.

It's what I call "posturing." Setting the context, if you will, just in case.

What Donnie said certainly sent a signal to free agents, and their old teams. You can sign with us, because we have money. And you might want to work with us, because we can always simply take your player for nothing. If we ask to work with you and offer you something for nothing, consider it a favor - we certainly don't have to.

At the same time, there's a message being sent to Ellis (and Rondo), that if he and the team he picks need a S&T, they will need to cater to the Mavs. You might need it, but we don't - so you might have to bend a bit in your contract demands if that's what you want.

Negotiating in advance.

Does this really matter? Lest we lose sight of that bigger picture, consider the following snippets in the NBA grapevine today:

*In Miami, Ellis is said to be very interested in replacing a possibly-departing Wade. To be clear, that would be a Heat team that, if they re-sign Dragic, won't have a nickel of cap room. But they are scheduling a visit, and both sides said to be interested. How could they possibly make that work to sign Ellis, I wonder? Hmmmmm.

*In Sacto, we're seeing the same thing play out, where the Kings have long loved and are said to be intent on pursuing both Ellis and Rondo, yet apparently lack cap room to sign both. How can they get past that obstacle? Hmmmmm.

Keep in mind that a sign-and-trade with one or both of those teams would have that team needing to send salary to somewhere - but it wouldn't necessarily have to be the Mavs. Just to spitball, let's say Ellis goes to MIA, Rondo to SAC, and talent-and-a-pick from each of those teams to PORT, with Aldridge coming to Dallas - and bam, the Mavs suddenly are staying in over-cap mode with way more payroll room to work with.

These sort of "seeds'' are being planted everywhere. As it regards just the Mavs alone, we have (as just a sliver of the examples) ...

*DeAndre Jordan's camp suggesting a willingness to do a Dallas-friendly short-term/short-term deal. (A very important development.)

*LaMarcus Aldridge's camp telling different reporters that different teams are "front-runners.''

*Jimmy Butler's agent (I'm sure) leaking that Dallas was going to meet with Jimmy Butler before his Chicago Max QO.

* being told that the Mavs don't want Jordan or Aldridge to think one is favored over the other.

*Our personal suspicion that the Mavs are about to do the same thing with Danny Green and Wes Matthews. Oh, and everyone involved wants everyone involved to know how loved they are. That goes for Dallas, too, from Tyson to Aminu to Shumpert to a willingness to tell DeAndre Jordan was a great offensive threat he's gonna be if he comes to my town. "We love you all!''

*And, in the most noticeable "Negotiating in Advance'' example of all, you've got Kobe calling DeAndre and Duncan preparing to hang with LaMarcus and Chandler inviting every NBA free agent on the planet (maybe) for a rollicking time at Bootsy Bellows.

The actual deal-doing, especially when it comes to the S&T, can be complicated That aforementioned "Ellis goes to MIA, Rondo to SAC, and talent-and-a-pick from each of those teams to PORT, with Aldridge coming to Dallas''? Um, that would take multiple dominos to fall for that exact trade to happen. But none of those specifics are far-fetched at all. And other S&T possibilities are out there everywhere.


The point being, if you think the door has been closed on the Mavs working over the cap and being in S&T mode this summer, you might wanna slow down and see how it plays out. Things get fleshed out in the planning of things and then we know more. Nothing has been decided, and it's going to be a very fluid, constantly evolving, summer. Where will it end? Ya never know. But you can know it might just be starting with some "Negotiating in Advance.''

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