Exclusive: Zaza Vs. The Mavs 2016 Cap: The Last Stand Of Pachulia?

Exclusive: Pachulia Vs. The Mavs 2016 Cap: 'One In The Hand Or Two In The Bush' Might Mean It's 'Zaza's Last Stand'

We expect the NBA salary cap to explode to $90 million or more. We know there are ways for the Dallas Mavericks to create $48 million of room to accomodate talent. And we know that Zaza Pachulia -- by the numbers and by the strength of his personality -- is one of the very best things to happen for this franchise in awhile.

"He's been amazing,'' Mavs owner Mark Cuban says of his starting center. ""I always say the one thing in life you can control is effort, and he is the embodiment of that." 

                                 

So there's no doubt Zaza's back in Dallas in 2016-17, right, and not just a one-year rental?

Oh, we wish it was that easy. 

That $90 mil will go fast. That $48 million doesn't count any attempts to retain the likes of Chandler Parsons (the $21.1-million wortth of details are here) or Deron Williams (who is in essence playing on a cheap one-year deal) or, of course Pachulia.

You want them back? Your $48 million of room most likely shrinks to $26.8 million of room. You want to chase your annual Summer Pipedream (let's say, Kevin Durant)? That $26.5 mil won't do it.

Meaning the Mavs have yet another extremely difficult decision, or at least a difficult juggling act to perform, at the center position. And you might wish to brace yourself for a repeat of the post-2011 center decision and the summer of 2016 center decision as well, when Dallas decided that one in the hand wasn't worth two in the bush. ... so Tyson Chandler was out, and ...

Dwight Howard was almost, but never, in. (If you are a devoted DB.com reader, you remember Cuban telling us the news in 2013.) 

And DeAndre Jordan was in, but then not in. (What a mess.)

Along the way, of course, Dallas lost "The Best Center We Ever Had'' in Tyson Chandler ... TWICE. And why? Because Cuban and Company decided that TY wasn't going to keep winning titles with the Mavs and that therefore the club needed to get even better there.

And now the club is at the lip of the same cup.

 Zaza has done nothing wrong here. He's a double-double guy, he's a workhorse, he's a bundle of toughness and energy and chemistry. But what he also is is a damn good backup center on a contender who really might be worth twice as much as the $5 mil he makes now ... as long as you can afford the superior center that would play ahead of him.

Very challenging.

                                     

The landscape has changed from when the season began, at which time Pachulia (acquired from the Bucks, DB.com reported then, in a trade for nothing) looked like a career backup and glue guy who might battle along year after year at that $5 mil range. It was, maybe, going to be easy. The player surely wasn't going to perform well enough to actually deserve some All-Star votes. The player surely wasn't going to perform well enough to actually cost, in the Summer of 2016 ...

TEN MILLION DOLLARS for a Bird-rights cap hold?!

To be more precide:A cap hold for him will tie up $9.88 million while allowing Dallas to end up paying him more -- hey, all the way up to the max. He doesn't fit the profile in a lot of ways; he's 30-plus, he's having this success in a contract year (always a warning sign with any guy), he's not a high-flyer and he's not a flashy over-the-top talent. And yet he's clearly got a Rick Carlisle "basketball soul'' and he's clearly the sort of fella who might keep Dirk playing and keep Dirk happy. (Unlike another summer center target, Howard, who if he ends up in a Dallas uniform might just be dingy and destructive enough to make a lot of us retire early.)

 

                                 

Mavs fans who love Zaza aren't going to like this. And the Mavs people in charge of these decisions aren't going to say this. But the Mavs will search for bigger, younger, brighter, better. They always do this and they owe it to themselves to do this again. And while Zaza could conceivably cut Dallas an "adopted hometown deal,'' putting on him that cap hold of $9.88 million precludes the Mavs from having enough money to launch a search to find a superior center. It's a catch-22 of sorts and you don't really get both choices. Dallas will almost assurely go without a cap hold for Zaza along with a decision to commit to Chandler Parsons, thus giving them about $26.8 mil in cap room ... which they'll use to find their "next Zaza'' -- only one who, in this forever-search, is bigger, younger, brighter, better.

 


Dallas Basketball Top Stories

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\n

So there's no doubt Zaza's back in Dallas in 2016-17, right, and not just a one-year rental?

\n

Oh, we wish it was that easy. 

\n

That $90 mil will go fast. That $48 million doesn't count any attempts to retain the likes of Chandler Parsons (the $21.1-million wortth of details are here) or Deron Williams (who is in essence playing on a cheap one-year deal) or, of course Pachulia.

\n

You want them back? Your $48 million of room most likely shrinks to $26.8 million of room. You want to chase your annual Summer Pipedream (let's say, Kevin Durant)? That $26.5 mil won't do it.

\n

Meaning the Mavs have yet another extremely difficult decision, or at least a difficult juggling act to perform, at the center position. And you might wish to brace yourself for a repeat of the post-2011 center decision and the summer of 2016 center decision as well, when Dallas decided that one in the hand wasn't worth two in the bush. ... so Tyson Chandler was out, and ...

\n

Dwight Howard was almost, but never, in. (If you are a devoted DB.com reader, you remember Cuban telling us the news in 2013.) 

\n

And DeAndre Jordan was in, but then not in. (What a mess.)

\n

Along the way, of course, Dallas lost \"The Best Center We Ever Had'' in Tyson Chandler ... TWICE. And why? Because Cuban and Company decided that TY wasn't going to keep winning titles with the Mavs and that therefore the club needed to get even better there.

\n

And now the club is at the lip of the same cup.

\n

 Zaza has done nothing wrong here. He's a double-double guy, he's a workhorse, he's a bundle of toughness and energy and chemistry. But what he also is is a damn good backup center on a contender who really might be worth twice as much as the $5 mil he makes now ... as long as you can afford the superior center that would play ahead of him.

\n

Very challenging.

\n

\n

                                     \n

\n

\n

The landscape has changed from when the season began, at which time Pachulia (acquired from the Bucks, DB.com reported then, in a trade for nothing) looked like a career backup and glue guy who might battle along year after year at that $5 mil range. It was, maybe, going to be easy. The player surely wasn't going to perform well enough to actually deserve some All-Star votes. The player surely wasn't going to perform well enough to actually cost, in the Summer of 2016 ...

\n

TEN MILLION DOLLARS for a Bird-rights cap hold?!

\n

To be more precide:A cap hold for him will tie up $9.88 million while allowing Dallas to end up paying him more -- hey, all the way up to the max. He doesn't fit the profile in a lot of ways; he's 30-plus, he's having this success in a contract year (always a warning sign with any guy), he's not a high-flyer and he's not a flashy over-the-top talent. And yet he's clearly got a Rick Carlisle \"basketball soul'' and he's clearly the sort of fella who might keep Dirk playing and keep Dirk happy. (Unlike another summer center target, Howard, who if he ends up in a Dallas uniform might just be dingy and destructive enough to make a lot of us retire early.)

\n

 

\n

                                 

\n

\n

Mavs fans who love Zaza aren't going to like this. And the Mavs people in charge of these decisions aren't going to say this. But the Mavs will search for bigger, younger, brighter, better. They always do this and they owe it to themselves to do this again. And while Zaza could conceivably cut Dallas an \"adopted hometown deal,'' putting on him that cap hold of $9.88 million precludes the Mavs from having enough money to launch a search to find a superior center. It's a catch-22 of sorts and you don't really get both choices. Dallas will almost assurely go without a cap hold for Zaza along with a decision to commit to Chandler Parsons, thus giving them about $26.8 mil in cap room ... which they'll use to find their \"next Zaza'' -- only one who, in this forever-search, is bigger, younger, brighter, better.

\n

\n

 

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