Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mavs Don't Land Harris, Now What?

I know by the time you read this, you'll already know about the shocking deal that went down this morning that flip-flopped Devin Harris and Deron Williams. Sure there were some other players and picks involved, but basically the two point guards the Mavericks have had their eye on for some time have been dealt and so have the Mavs chances for landing a big-name player before this week's trade deadline.

I won't bore you with the ramifications of the deal, such as the shocking demolition of what was once a contending Utah team or the Nets' naive approach at hoping Williams sticks in New Jersey after the summer of 2012. Instead I'll shed light on the fact that the Mavericks tried to land Harris straight up for Caron Butler's expiring contract and balked when New Jersey also wanted rookie guard Dominique Jones.

This brings up two crucial points: 1.) The Mavs ARE willing to deal Butler. 2.) The Mavs AREN'T dealing anyone else. If Dominique Jones, whose upside is no where near Rodrigue Beubois' but some felt he was more NBA ready this season, and then failed to impress in pre-season before not earning anytime with the Mavs at all before going down with a foot injury, then what are the chances the Mavericks move Beaubois before the deadline? I'm actually somewhat shocked about the Jones aspect of this deal. While Jones was a promising combo guard out of South Florida and his ability to get to the rim was unquestioned, he couldn't shoot and failed to get any minutes at the NBA level. The Summer League helped boost Jones' stock by not only showing off that ability to get to the rim, but also being able to make a play at the rim, whether it is scoring or finding another teammate. Jones was bound to get some burn at the start of the season, mainly because Rick Carlisle felt he had enough offensive skills combined with his on-ball defense to make some noise. The pre-season changed everything as Jones inexplicably failed to convert at the rim, constantly driving to the hole, making good moves but missing layups. It was truly baffling.

Jones fell out of the rotation completely and with the Mavs ability to not blow teams out, Jones stayed on the bench until being demoted to the Texas Legends NBA D-League team. Jones played well, averaging a tad over 18 points per game while getting to the free throw line about seven times a game, a great number. Jones was doing everything the Mavs asked and scored 30, 24 and 20 in his last three games before fracturing his foot. In five of his D-League games, Jones got to the line at least 10 times. It was sad to see his development derailed but also a high mark of confidence from the Mavs (and the Nets) that he be mentioned in this deal and also be taken out of it. I'm not sure in what universe trading two players who won't play this season for an All-Star doesn't make sense, but apparently for the Mavericks and Nets, it did. It's a bold statement from the Mavs to turn down such an offer and I hope the team chemistry of Caron Butler leaving had nothing to do with this deal. If you turn down a trade in which you give up practically nothing for a guy who can go off for 20 a night, there better be good reason for it. The minute situation would have been prickly with Harris here, but I'm not sure it makes this deal null and void.

The Mavericks love Caron Butler and Dominique Jones, two players that will have no impact whatsoever on the Mavericks' playoff hopes this season. I can only hope they know what they're doing. It does make me relaxed that the Mavericks are floating Caron Butler's deal out there, but I always fear that the connection he has made with his teammates and Dallas are valued more than it is actually worth. Don't get me wrong, chemistry means a whole lot more in basketball than it does in say, baseball (and a certain baseball team in the area has had many debates over the worth of chemistry) but hopefully not more than enough to potentially improve the team.

With Harris out of the picture, any major deals involving the Mavericks have dried up. Mike Fisher has reported that the Mavs are balking at Gerald Wallace, who's defense and rebounding would have helped a great deal, but his outside shot would have limited a Maverick offense that depends on the three or small forward to hit corner threes off Dirk double teams. That's why Caron Butler's career high 3PT percentage was helping such a great deal and why Peja will be a helpful stopgap.

And if you want to read about my thoughts on Harris coming here, I already talked about it. From here on out though, I believe the Mavericks have the pieces to contend, they just need to be patient and see them fit. After all, isn't the Mavericks biggest need a perimeter guy that can shoot and attack the basket? Isn't that exactly what a fully-formed Beaubois is? Trading Beaubois now for something he can be later seems a little counter-productive to me, especially since this team has 40 wins without him making significant impacts on the game. We always want the Mavericks to be on the agressive and bring in some sort of savior, but for once, standing pat might be the best moves this years Maverick team can make.


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  1. Beaubois is that guy, but he's also severely undersized at SG. I prefer he finally settles better at pg in the future, cause there's no way I want another 6ft sg on this team.

  2. The reports said the Mavs balked at offering Jones and a first round draft pick along with Butler. They were OK with giving up one piece along with Butler, but not the two pieces.

    Not sure if you heard differently but like you said, if it was a first round pick for the this year's draft, then why not give it up? It's on pace to be a late pick anyway, which have shown in the past to be hit and miss - for Devin Harris.

    That being said I am hoping the Nets owner isn't able to convince D-Will to stay in Brooklyn and he comes home and signs with Dallas.