Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ehh, what now Doc?

Well that was fun, wasn't it? July 1st has come and gone, and no one is dead yet. So that's good news. What's also good news is that Dirk Nowitzki has agreed to a 4-year, 80 million deal to stay with the only team he's known and loved. That's fantastic. It's super duper. Except we all sort of knew he was staying. Well I did at least.

But now there is a more pressing concern: what next?

Hard to say really. Joe Johnson and Rudy Gay are presumably locked up to return to Atlanta and Memphis, respectively. Those were two swing men that the Mavs undoubtedly had their eyes on since the whole D-Wade thing is chasing a pipe dream.

The Joe Johnson move is a little unsettling. It seemed like it was Johnson's destiny to leave the Hawks for the biggest contract, one that wouldn't come from Atlanta. Johnson was Dallas fans' "back-up plan" to say the least. We all knew that having Wade, Bosh or even...gasp...LeBron was too foolish to even consider. No worries, we'll just sign Joe Johnson and call it a summer.

Change of plans.

Now where do the Mavs go? Obviously they should rightfully pursue Wade, Bosh and LeBron until they officially sign with a team. Can't hurt. But what is out there, realistically to help the Mavs? Honestly, it's not much. Just more stop gaps. More acquisitions that the front office deems "missing piece" and the "fit to our championship puzzle."

(EDIT: Wade and Bosh are off the list. Screw me. Awesome. Fantastic. SWEET)

Here's a breakdown of players the that would fit with the Maverick's needs and rotation and also those that have been rumored to be wanted by the Mavs.

Big Men

Brendan Haywood
Shaquille O'Neal
Al Jefferson
Emeka Okafor
Carlos Boozer
Chris Bosh
David Lee (Only because Eddie Sefko mentioned it once)

So what's the first name that pops out to your eyes? Shaq. Always Shaq. The way the media report it, Mark Cuban is either Shaq's 4th cousin-in-law or one of his kid's 6th Godfather. The two appear to be best buds in other words, almost family. The rumors have swirled ever since O'Neal was put on the block after the LA three-peat. But really? Is the 38 year old center who is usually out of shape and hasdeclining skills really worth it? Shaq wore out his welcome in Miami, almost ruined the entire Phoenix organization and helped cost LeBron a shot at immortality. (Not saying it was his fault, but there's no denying having Shaq made Cleveland's already stagnant offense even more putrid and slow, thus clogging the paint for LeBron). I'm sure Shaq can still put up some numbers. He can do 15 and 10 if he's really up to it. But is it worth the money and the headaches? No way, no how. If Shaq ends up being the Maverick's second most important move this off-season, I'll probably drive 3 hours on 1-35 to watch the Thunder.

Carlos Boozer is a fine player, who was mentioned in some trade rumors this past February with the Mavs, but I don't see that either. Any value Boozer would have on the offensive side of the floor starting next to Dirk would diminish on the defensive side. Asking Boozer to bang with usually taller center off-sets all the offensive qualities he brings to the table. And he's definitely not coming here to be Dirk's backup, that's for damn sure.

Al Jefferson? He's a nice player and all, but seriously injury prone. I also don't know how he stacks up at center as well. His defensive numbers aren't anything to write home about. This is looking more and more like a likely use of Dampier's contract...and it's just a little disappointing.

The only other name on the list that merits serious consideration in terms of the Mavs realistic chance of acquiring is Okafor. He's not terribly old, and unlike his New Orleans stint, won't be asked to be the supplier of points down low. (You can argue he had that situation in David West...but David West and Dirk Nowtizki...end of discussion.) He can rebound, he can defend to a degree and he can catch passes and sometimes finish. It isn't a lot, BUT the only reason Okafor would be in Dallas would be because a certain franchise, All-Star point guard that has a nickname similar to that of a Star Wars character would be joining him. That makes it GREAAAAAAAAAAAAT.

Perimeter Players

Dwyane Wade
Ray Allen
Matt Barnes
Mike Miller
Anthony Morrow
Jason Richardson
Vince Carter/Danny Granger/Random overrated scorer

Frankly, none of these names should 'wow' you. Maybe Ray Allen at the Mid-Level Exception. I'd take Morrow over Allen at the same price though. He's way younger, just as good a shooter (if you really look at the numbers. Trust me. OK, don't? In two years Morrow's 3P% is 46. I'm not saying he's overall better than Allen, but right now, who would you take over the course of 82 games to put a higher percentage of 3PT field goals into the bottom of the net?) Morrow doesn't do much else. He isn't a defender, he doesn't get to the FT line, he doesn't run an offense. But my God, can he shoot. He's legit NBA two-guard size and has the TOOLS to expand his overall game. MLE wouldn't be too much of a risk.

The other guys? Mike Miller has fallen off the face of the Earth. Jason Richardson is getting older. Vince Carter was buried last year. And Danny Granger doesn't have a long enough track record, plus not sure how much he fits. He's more of a SF type. Not sure he and Marion could play in the same lineup without some defensive deficiency being exposed. It could work, but I'm not buying his health, or track record. Or, quite frankly, his availability.

Pretty much expect the Mavs to make a smart move this off-season...just not another franchise altering one.

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