We know the good Dallas Mavericks trade-deadline news: They flipped Andrew Bogut's expiring, Justin Anderson and a "Fake First-Rounder'' (which is really two second-rounders) to Philly for young big Nerlens Noel, the restricted free agent to be who was going to be one of their top three summer targets. (More on that Noel trade -- which just two days before Thursday the Mavs thought they had no shot at -- here. And the Noel Advanced-Stats Scouting Report here.)
But what about the other trade plan, the one to trade veteran guard Deron Williams for a future piece?
Here's what "went wrong,'' if you will, in that effort:
1. Who Was Interested In Trading For D-Will?
At different times on Thursday, Dallas had four different teams on the line. Sources tell me they were the Cavaliers, the Jazz, the Clippers and the Bucks.
On the surface, that looked encouraging. With multiple suitors comes competition, a bidding war, and an increase in the odds that you get … something.
2. What Was Dallas Seeking?
The ideal swap for Dallas meant a way to move D-Will without taking salary back. Utah didn’t have to salary-match but also didn’t want to give whatever high-quality pick (from their deep cache) Dallas wanted. Cleveland wanted Deron (and still does; more on that below) but their cap situation requires them to salary-match — and as DBcom has written many times in the last month, the Mavs did not desire to take on a Frye or a Shumpert.
When the Clippers and the Bucks got on the phone, that offered the Mavs a different sort of opportunity.
A three-way trade.
3. What Went Wrong?
With less than an hour to go before the 2 p.m. NBA trade deadline, the Mavericks were still involved in calls with at least some of the multiple teams. The deal never came to fruition, though, in part because some of those other clubs decided they weren’t interested in facilitating a swap that would help a competitor. (West contenders LA and Utah, for example, were likely reluctant here.)
4. So What’s With D-Will Now?
Dallas waived him, freeing him from the Mavs — and reportedly did so while honoring its 2016-17 financial commitment to him. This is a Mark Cuban/Donnie Nelson specialty: Play nice with veterans and with their agents, and somehow, some day, that kindness will be rewarded. (No, not with DeAndre Jordan. but in countless other ways, this approach has been helpful.)
From coach Rick Carlisle's classy goodbye:
"It was great having Deron and his family back home in Dallas for the better part of two seasons. At this time, the decision has been made to focus on playing our young guys and the organization felt that giving Deron the freedom to choose his next team was the right thing to do. Deron still plays at a high level and I believe he will be a difference-maker for a contending team down the stretch this season."
5. Where Did The Leverage Go?
To the waiver wire, in a sense.
The casual observer assumes that Williams can now simply pick his new team. It’s not quite that easy.
The possibility of that, though, along with that trade-match issue and that three-way issue, did come into play:
Ultimately, Team X has, maybe, a one-in-four chance at D-Will on the open market? Fine … maybe Team X opts to not give up anything in trade to instead wait for the open market to, well, open.
6. Is It More Complicated Than That?
Indeed, it can be.
The wrinkle that could complicate D-Will (and for that matter, Andrew Bogut, shipped to Philly in the Nerlens Noel steal and now freed by the Sixers) getting waived and going straight to Cleveland or another team of their choice?
The possibility that they could get claimed on waivers.
And some of the teams who might claim Williams can do so not only to utilize his talent, but also to save money! As our David Lord points out so astutely:
Oddly, by adding that "extra salary," one of those teams could make a few million to their bottom line by claiming the contract and adding it to their salary list. They would have to pay off the remainder of the salary for the year, of course, but their minimum salary "penalty" might be reduced by even more. In theory, if doing this, such a team would then waive the player - however, if someone else claimed him, they lose that savings, so maybe they make that initial claim and then don't waive the player at all, ensuring they keep the savings.
One such team is Denver, who could actually MAKE $5 to $6 million by claiming one or the other player. Utah is another, and they could claim D-WIll and use him for the rest of the year, while also netting $2 million to the team when all is said and done.
Now, maybe Denver doesn’t want to put the screws to Deron in this way (other teams like to play nice with agents, too.) But it’s not automatic that D-Will gets to “pick his team.’’
Is D-Will to Cleveland likely? Absolutely. Is Bogut boomeranging back to Golden State in play? We think so (and yes, that's legal). But it's fun to know the details about a few hoops need to be jumped through first.
7. What Does Dallas Do Lineup-Wise Now?
"The decision has been made to focus on playing our young guys.''
Yogi Ferrell is your starting point guard, playing on a contract that’s advertised as a “two-year’’ deal and often reported to have big guarantees built in. The truth about Yogi’s open-ended team-friendly deal is here.
Noel (who will wear No. 3) will not join the Mavs in Minnesota tonight. He'll debut on Saturday as Dallas plays host to Boogie And The Brow. The Mavs GameThreads will be here.
8. What About Roster-Wise?
Dallas now has two roster vacancies — three guys going out, including new Sixers wing Justin Anderson, and one coming in. On Wednesday, the day before the deadline, the Mavericks were confident enough about potential deals that Williams and Bogut sat out practice (as they did again Thursday). In the same spirit of preparation, staffers assembled lists of D-Leaguers and other prospects and two of these sort of fellas will soon be Mavs.
Good names: Jalen Jones, Manny Harris, Quinn Cook, Pierre Jackson, Ray McCallum and Briante Weber. (More here.)
And if you mean, "What about Roster-Wise - The New-Age Blueprint in the Nerlens Noel Era'' -- our David Lord has some starting notes on that here in DBcom Mavs Boards.
9, What Will Be Deron Williams’ Dallas Legacy?
He’ll always be remembered for not coming here the first time around, when he was a big-fish free agent. He’ll deserve some credit for trying to play hurt at the end of the 2015-16 playoff Mavs campaign.
And I’ll always think of Deron Williams as a family-first guy, for reasons you’ll understand if you read my profile of him here.
10. One More Time - Dallas Couldn’t Even Get A Second-Rounder Here?
It takes two to tango. In this dance hall, the Mavs actually had four potential partners … but they all, in regard to Deron Williams and the trade deadlinee, opted to be wallflowers.