The Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz engaged in trade talks on Tuesday centering on a Deron Williams return to Utah. A source close to the negotiations tells DBcom that the Jazz are “not enthralled’’ with the idea of giving up a first-round pick for the veteran point guard. But amid reports that the deal is “dead,’’ we’re also told to be patient as the Thursday 2 p.m. deadline approaches.
Deron-to-Utah is a trade that would be immensely easy on paper. The tricky part is negotiations over value, which would flow from how much each side values the swap.
Utah is well under the cap, and in fact is below the minimum team salary. As a result, they would have no need to trade-match D-Will's salary at all.
In addition, they have multiple first-round picks this year, and would have the easy ability to offer Dallas the first-rounder it is seeking. If the season were to end today, those picks would be 23rd and 30th. They also own two first-rounders in 2018 (which currently might be expected to be in the 20-25 range), as well as a pair of late second-rounders in 2017 and another in 2018.
So such a trade could be as simple as “D-Will for a pick."
Of course, trades are rarely that simple, and this one might not be, either. Which pick or picks? Would any other players be added to the mix, headed to Dallas? (As we write here, the Mavs are intrigued by Derrick Favors, but as with their interest in Detroit’s Andre Drummond, the cupboard may be too bare.) Utah would presumably send at least one player, due to roster limits, and it could realistically be anyone from a cheap scrub at the end of the bench to players such as Favors or Boris Diaw, whose contracts could be trade matched one-for-one by D-Will's.
Of course the more value added on one side can change what's expected from the other, so it's a dance. … and yes, that “dance’’ will include leaks of a deal “heating up’’ or “being dead.’’
One source told us at about midnight, “It’s early in the process. … (Trades) like this usually happen at the last minute.’’
That, of course, takes us right back to where we started. How badly does Utah value the possibility of adding the $9-mil expiring of D-Will, who once badmouthed his way out of that town, departing that team in a 2011 trade to the Nets? Is it enough to satisfy what the Mavs want, as well as outbid other possible offers from elsewhere? Is Deron, the DFW native who still owns a home in Utah, willing to waive his trade-veto rights?
As with the Mavs’ other major “seller’’ desire, moving Andrew Bogut to Boston or elsewhere, satisfying the rules is easy here. The tricky part, and perhaps the obstacle that gets in the way, will be the negotiation game played between the involved teams.