Source: Mavs + Cavs 'Deeply Involved' In Deron Williams Trade Talks - And Here's The Prize

Source: Mavs + Cavs 'Deeply Involved' In Deron Williams Trade Talks - And Here's The Prize

THE TEA LEAVES, THEN THE FACTS
By mid-afternoon Wednesday, we'd read the tea leaves and come to an obvious Dallas Mavericks conclusion: There is a Mavs trade on the front burner, and maybe two of them, and there is major interest by both the Mavs and the other team, and there are huge obstacles, big negotiating issues, and problems with doing both trade-matching and asset-(value) matching to satisfy everyone. 
By the early evening, our clues were confirmed, an NBA source telling Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com that Dallas and the Cleveland Cavaliers are "deeply involved'' in Deron Williams trade talks.

With all the issues in the way regarding trade matching and value, it's in play in a major way as we get closer and closer to the Thursday 2 p.m. deadline. Both teams want this deal, but both teams want it on their terms. And they know the possibility is there for a deal.
Image result for deron williams andrew bogut


THE PUBLIC JOUSTING
Will it get over the finish line? Will Andrew Bogut be involved in a separate deal, or in this one with Cleveland? It's hard to say. There is no guarantee that both teams will get there. But when Fish reported at 3:15 the following ...
We had another tea leaf.
And then at 6:15 ...
And then the word from Fish and other Mavs beat writers stuff along this line ...
And it's on.

But - very important point - we've seen both the Mavs and the Cavs negotiating this through the media early on - which tells us both are really interested, but don't want to admit it. I wrote the following three weeks ago:

Anyone else notice that the Dallas-CLE negotiation re D-Will has turned into a "negotiating through the media" thing? That tells me there is SERIOUS interest here on both sides, who want the deal but at their terms. Might never get to a deal, but it's an interesting drama to watch.

It's not a coincidence that we're hearing them talk through the media to each other
a - "the teams are talking but D-Will isn't REALLY available" [IOW, Cavs saying "at that price, you aren't serious], then
b - "Cavs are looking at players in tryouts" along with "LeBron really likes these players" [Cavs: watch out, we might find help elsewhere"], then
c - "D-Will is definitely available" [Mavs: "watch out, we might trade D Will elsewhere"]then
d - "Cavs really impressed by Farmar" [Cavs: "better take the deal we offered or we could get Farmar instead"]
e - "Mavs open to a trade but insist on a pick" [Mavs: "our demand for a pick from SOMEONE isn't going away"] 

If Cavs really liked Farmar all that much, we'd see news of him being signed rather than all these announcements. If Mavs really felt they were likely to trade D-Will elsewhere, the terms they want would be kept under wraps, so they could negotiate. But at the same time, now both teams have drawn a public line in the sand, and we'll see who knows how to negotiate to the deal they really want.

Eventually, CLE may actually sign someone off the street. Or D-Will may be traded elsewhere or kept. But both teams seem to be wanting D-Will to CLE.

That was back on Feb 2. Now we're bumping up to the deadline, and again the "negotiating through the media" between these two teams is getting more prominent.

Remember a few days ago when the Mavs let it out that they would be open to taking on extra salary "in exchange for a pick"? Maybe that was a message to Cleveland - that is, a reminder that taking on Iman Shumpert is taking on salary, and doing Cleveland that favor comes at a price. But we'll do it, the Mavs can say, if the value is added to the deal.

The Mavs are/were also playing a public dance with the idea of D-Will to Utah, talking about how that's a possibility ... and, in the next breath, talking about how that's not happening ...and then in the next breath, it's a "maybe." (See Fish's piece on the D-Will to Utah talks and you'll know what I mean.) But I sense we are really seeing a trade nudge to the Cavs: "Hey, if you don't make an offer we really like, D-Will is going to Utah, and he's played there before so you should assume this is a team that wants him badly."

On the other end of things, today we have Shumpert's name being floated out there as someone another team is chasing. Translation? Cleveland is trying to persuade the Mavs that taking Shumpert isn't bad, because he's in demand elsewhere. (Of course, if you sift through the details, you see that the "offer" for Shumpert is three scrap pieces, and 3-for-1 trades for a guy like Shumpert are awful in mid-season because of the players that have to be waived to fit onto a roster.) This has all the earmarks of Cleveland shopping Shumpert around the league to see if there's a way to involve another team in a D-Will-to-Cavs move that sends Shump elsewhere, getting a lukewarm offer, and putting it out there that "Houston wants him, so he has value" - nevermind that the offer is pure junk. 

Then when Cleveland tries to turn it into a usable one-for-one "offer" with only one player (Beverley) we see Houton running the other direction, which tells what's really going on. At the same time, name-dropping "Beverley" into a trade for Shumpert teases the Mavs that "Maybe we'll just get a different PG, so there!"

None of the above mentions D-Will to Cleveland. But I believe every bit of it is really about that deal. These teams are both very interested in a deal and floating "info" that will perhaps push the other side. And the more they push "other alternatives" into the public arena, I think it's even more evidence of how each side is targeting D-Will to Clevland as where they think their best deal lies. 

Ultimately, this is about negotiating skill, and whether you have the ability to be "opportunistic" -- Mark Cuban's magic word to Fish leading up to this deadline -- when you have a real chance.

BOTTOM LINE

The more this plays out, the more obvious it becomes to me that Cleveland really wants D-Will .... and the Mavs are demanding a proper price for such a player. We've outlined previously that what Cleveland can offer for D-Will is hamstrung by the Cavs' lack of picks and expiring salary, the coin of the realm in getting such a player in this sort of circumstance.

At the end of the day, here's what Cleveland really has to offer, and what the Mavs can push for. I caution you, it sounds like a lot ... but it might end up being next to nothing. But it's what I would push for, when the deal gets out of the media and onto the phone, because it's clear to me that Cleveland really feels that D-Will is the guy.

If we assume that both teams get past their problems and strike a deal of D-Will to Cleveland with either Shumpert or Frye coming to Dallas, if I'm the Mavs I want every little piece of value that can be gleaned from the Cavs' draft futures. ... Plus Osman. Cleveland gets a pretty big favor by Dallas taking all that salary, and giving them a player they really want and need, in D-Will, and the best draft package still could end up being next to nothing. Nevertheless, if a deal is being struck, let's gamble on a package that includes all of the following:

- a 2021 1st round pick (if it cannot be traded, then 2021 swap rights, plus a 2021 2nd)
- a 2023 1st round pick
- swap rights in 2019 (if they have a pick)
- swap rights in 2020 (if they have a pick)
- swap rights in 2022
- draft rights to the already-selected Osman. 

All of that sounds like a lot on paper, but it might turn out to be nothing more than a 59th pick in 2021 and a 29th pick in 2023. But I'm willing to gamble a bit that maybe I stumble into something more. And Cleveland gets a major favor (because Dallas doesn't really want Shump or Frye), and a certainty, by taking all that salary, and giving them a player they really want and need, in D-Will, while actually REDUCING their cap/tax.

There are ways to negotiate that ask down a bit and make it more appealing. But with Cleveland getting a sure thing on one end, a very desirable player that not only could be key in a 2017 title but could also be resigned this summer even though Cleveland will have no free-agency money, the Mavs should be able to equitably ask for quite a few "lottery tickets" ... if that's all Cleveland has to offer.
I should add:
I can also see a lot of other ways that a trade could happen. The only things that matter are "D-Will to Cavs" and "full compensation to Mavs" at the end of the day. Maybe a third team added. Maybe an even bigger package that includes BOTH Bogut and D-Will, and maybe even more Mavs players besides. Maybe on the Cavs end an even bigger play. Might as well bring up Kevin Love in conversation, right? Love is a valued body to some extent, but I have questions as to how valuable he truly is to the Cavs (big salary, often injured, he's out now and the team is struggling even with him, and of dubious contributing value to the team success in playoffs), so that is one asset that could be milked here. 

I don't think the Mavs would put any picks on the table. But for the right OVERALL price, they might include more players, with talent, to build a package that really gives the Cavs a super boost of pieces for title runs ahead. 

Point being, in it's simplest form, the teams find a way. But it could easily get way more complex (and blockbuster-y) than that, before it's all said and done. Urgency of the deadline will get serious on Thursday. Both teams trying to get the very best return for their money, so to speak. Maybe very last hour. (Fish has written repeatedly the Tuesday midnight line from a Mavs source about how "early in the process'' it is.)



I'm not ready to say that "D-Will to Cleveland" is a deal that WILL get done. But we now believe, via tea leaves and sources, that it's the target deal for Cleveland -- and the Mavs are obligated to see if the price can get good enough to make it worth their while.


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