Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban this week essentially announced, "We won’t trade a future pick unless there’s a deal good enough that they would fire the other general manager for making it."
Besides being a funny quote, it's a compelling one regarding Dallas' developing behind-the-scenes policies:
Maybe, just maybe, Cuban's Mavs are coming to understand that well-used draft picks (like last year's, on Justin Anderson) have value as something besides cap-clear-outs for desired big-fish free agents.
The idea of tossing a future first-round pick onto the pile in pursuit of Hawks guard Jeff Teague and Bulls guard Derrick Rose have been discussed by various media outlets.
Have they been discussed inside of Mavs HQ? Kinda.
The Hawks talks center around swapping Teague for 76ers center Nerlens Noel. Those talks, between those teams, are legit.
The Bulls idea centers around Dallas compiling a package to bring Rose to town. Those "talks'' are bogus.
"That,'' a source tells DB.com, "is not going to happen.''
Frankly, somebody simply created some headline porn here regarding Rose. As the original story was written, "A package centered around Devin Harris and some picks may get the job done.'' That's wrong. So is the idea that Dallas wants to take on Rose, the injury-plagued former MVP who is just 27, but who is under contract at $21.3 million. As much as Dallas wants to upgrade from Deron Williams if possible, it's simply not a consideration here.
Acquiring a top-notch starting point guard is a consideration, of course. So what's the problem with the Teague idea?
With Noel already on the table for Teague -- who averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 79 games before the ascent of Dennis Schröder -- the Mavs would be hard-pressed to match the value ... and might view the inclusion of picks as "overpaying.''
Teague will reach free agency in 2017 and the idea of acquiring him and retaining him, somehow, is appealing to the Mavs; sources tell me the scouting department thinks highly of him. And we do think Teague is a significant upgrade overall over Barea and Harris, the signed Dallas point guards. He is younger than both, plays most every night, he can defend to some degree, he can shoot better than either Barea or Harris, and his contract this summer is quite modest ($8 mil).
Oh, and Jeff Teague is only 28, putting him in the same roster-building age mix as Parsons and Matthews. He's reliable in a way that Rose is not, and is therefore a conversation piece in a way Rose is not. But I'm told Dallas has not tried to outbid Philly here ... and along with a desire to pursue Mike Conley (that scoop here) and a long-standing affection for Jeremy Lin (among others), one of the reasons is the Mavs are hoping their is a more friendly asset-management path to improvement rather than the overpay.
Cuban says of the draft, "There will be a lot of options. We'll look to get in the first round (Boston owns Dallas' pick at No. 16) if there's somebody we like and there's a pick for sale. We won’t trade a future pick unless there’s a deal good enough that they would fire the other general manager for making it. And we think we can get a decent player either this year or in the future at 46 (in the second round). We know we need to get younger.''
Somewhere in there is hyperbole ... but somewhere in there is policy, too: A valuing of the draft, an appreciation of promise, an acknowledged need for point guard help ... and an attempt to invest in wisely.