While owner Mark Cuban is unwilling to be specific about their “buyer or seller’’ status, the Dallas Mavericks’ trade-deadline thoughts are beginning to crystalize in two other areas.
One, they are telling other NBA teams that they have no desire to include their 2017 first-round pick in a swap. … unless the swap includes a “superstar.’
Two, source tell DallasBasketball.com that the Mavs are not interested in taking on a “rent-a-player’’ … again, unless the swap includes a “superstar.’’
All indications are that such a superstar player is not going to come available, and so we can really eliminate the second chunks of both those sentences.
The Mavs don’t want to give you their No. 1 pick and the Mavs don’t want to rent your expiring contract.
There are, sources tell us, plenty of expiring players in demand as it involves teams trying to “get over the top.’’ But we shouldn’t consider the …. Mavs to be one of those teams.
So the expiring Serge Ibaka in Orlando, now swapped to Toronto? Not really a consideration in Dallas.
Nerlens Noel in his final year in Philly? Not really a consideration in Dallas … until this summer, when the Mavs will have bypassed “rent-a-player’’ but might want to buy him via free agency.
There can always be a specific situation where two teams find a match for specific reasons. The Portland-Denver deal went down because the Blazers didn’t want to pay Plumlee and are capped out for next year. Meanwhile, Denver had lots of cap room. … and got the best player in the deal.
And in Denver, maybe “over the top’’ means making the playoffs.
That does not seem to be the case with Cuban’s Mavs. He told DB.com that he’ll be “opportunistic’’ at the Feb. 23 trade deadline, and we believe he means for that to reflect some open-mindedness here. There might be an “opportunity’’ to buy (a piece to help this year’s Mavs team but with the more important goal of helping the franchise’s future due to his existing long-term, affordable deal)… or there might be an “opportunity’’ to sell (a trade-away of a Bogut, a Deron, a Devin or a JJB, say, that doesn’t hamstring the present while enhancing the future).
Remember, the room in the summer is how to acquire a Noel … and keep him. You pay for him once, at the start of July, with cap room, and get him for four years, rather than pay for him with assets too by trading for him now, and then still having to sign him in the summer. Oh, and with the potential to lose him, of course, if someone else wants to offer more at that point. (In Noel’s specific case, he’s a restricted free agent, so Dallas would be buying matching rights, and nevertheless is disinterested in the early acquisition at the assumed price.)
It’s a juggling act, really, of timing and of assets. And the two balls Dallas seems unwilling to toss carelessly into the air are the rent-a-player risks and that 2017 No. 1 pick.