February 17, 2009
The NBA's Feb. 19 trade deadline is on the horizon. Everyone in Mavsland is wondering what will the Mavericks do.
The Miami Heat made a big move, trading Shawn Marion to Toronto for Jermaine O'Neal; they are gambling on Jermaine's youth over Marion's chemistry with D-wade.
Then again, any trade is a gamble. Will the loss of the player traded have a significant impact on the team? Will the new guy gel with the team in time, or be a fit with the coach's system?
Those are the questions STILL debated with the Mavericks over the trade of Devon Harris for Jason Kidd. We traded away a very talented, very young, promising All-Star player in Harris. We got a very experienced, possibly one of the best ever point-guards in Jason Kidd; on a hope of making a serious run for the playoffs.
I, for one, was never for this trade.
But Kidd is going to turn 36 years old next month, and everyone questions just how much he has left. Unless you are blind or just haven't caught a Mavericks game, I would say he has done a good job quieting the critics.
With no word of talks between owner Mark Cuban and Kidd's agent, and with an expiring contract, Kidd's future with Dallas is unknown. Will Kidd agree to a lesser amount on a new contract? Dirk is on record saying he would take a pay cut to bring a big name player to Dallas.
Dallas has rid itself of DeSagana Diop and his $30 million contract. One month ago they traded him to Charlotte for guard Matt Carroll and center Ryan Hollins.
I was excited at the beginning of the season about Diop's return to Dallas. I winced when I heard it took the entire mid-cap to sign him. But my excitement turned to disappointment when he failed to produce from the bench and earn his keep.
The acquisition of Carroll and Hollins looks like an up-sell for the Mavs. We did get alot of youth in the trade.
Carroll is in his sixth season out of Notre Dame. He is a promising shooting guard with long range. Although his starts have been slow with the Mavs so far, during the Celtics game he showed sparks indicating he is starting to find his identity on the team.
Hollins is in his third season out of UCLA. He looks a lot like Brandon Bass to me. Same cat-like quickness and body control. In other words, a rim-rocker. The difference is at 6'8", Bass makes you think he is a 7-footer. Hollins IS a 7-footer.
Since I've mentioned Bass, he is among many on the team who are reaping the benefits of being on the receiving end of Jason Kidd. Bass is in his fourth season in the league—his second year with Dallas.
I have been a fan of Bass since I first saw him in '07 when he played in the Mavericks' summer league, comparing him to Pops Mensah-Bonsu, no contest.
Pops did a poor job of selling his skills. Bass looked so...good, such clean body control. When he stretched out to cover, oh my yes, I thought this 6'8" forward was a 7-footer.
Oh, I can't forget those "slam it like you mean it" thunderous dunks.
Now the big question—do you keep this obviously coachable, young, talented, fan-favorite? Or do you make him part of a trade package? I'm glad I'm not rolling the dice.
So just what are the Mavericks looking for?
Let's look at what they need. With Jason Terry out three-to-six weeks with a broken hand and Josh Howard playing hurt, it's obvious they need another shooter—someone who averages 20 points per game.
Jason Terry broke his hand in February against the Bulls. He later had stabilizing surgery on it. No dates have been given from the Mavericks yet on his rehab schedule.
Terry was almost a sure bet for the Sixth Man of the Year award. Let's credit coach Rick Carlisle for taking point guard responsibilities away from Terry. With no ball responsibility, Terry only has to look for his shots. To his credit, he has been red-hot this season. No question he was having a career-best year.
Coach Carlisle had done a great job of keeping Terry coming off the bench. That had been a real juggling act. The Mavericks have been contending with Howard's injuries and instability at the two-guard position.
Just the Mavericks' luck, the first season Jet is consistent in scoring—a legitimate sixth man contender—he gets hurt.
This is Josh Howard's worst year as far as injuries are concerned. He has been plagued with a couple of sprained ankles, as well as repeated injuries to his left-wrist.
If anyone has taken note, Josh started wearing that wrist brace late last season. Seems I remembered him getting blocked into on a 3-pointer (a no-call of course). The team has downplayed it since.
I think it is more than just a simple sprained wrist, more like tendinitis. I have had the injury myself, and it is not a quick-healing ailment. Every bump and quick movement will just jar the entire arm, zapping your body's strength.
If this is what he has, I am amazed he is playing through it. It can be very painful.
The sad part of tendinitis is Josh is re-injuring his wrist every time he plays or goes through practice drills. The only way his wrist will completely heal is for Josh to stop playing. He is showing a lot of heart by playing through the pain.
Josh is also the center of the trade rumor-mill with Vince Carter. If you were the Mavericks, do you trade an injury-riddled Howard for a healthy Carter? Again, I'm glad I'm not rolling the dice.
I don't know what else I can say about little Jose Juan Barea. The little spark plug has made a career out of proving critics wrong. Never has one so little given so much. If only he were just four inches taller...
This season center Eric Dampier showed us he CAN play outside the box. No longer stationary under the basket, the big dog is regularly fed by Jason Kidd, but he is getting old and slow with a high-price contract to boot.
Are the Mavericks shopping Dampier?
The starting two-guard is Antoine Wright. Consistent defense earned Wright the starting job. With Terry out, he needs to show the world he can score, too.
Once again our scoring force is squarely on the shoulders of Dirk Nowitzki. If you look at his game stats from last season, you can tell when the trade talk started about Kidd—before it leaked out to the media. Dirk started shooting lights-out again.
No longer being molded into a point-forward, Dirk can be just Dirk. He has been among the top five shooting average-wise all season long. Talks of his skill waning can be put to rest.
But Dirk can't do it all alone.
The Celtics game was good to reveal the Mavericks' bench shortcomings. Gerald Green, Shawn Williams, Devean George, and James Singleton each have shown some promise, but nothing solid.
Will we trade to tweak up our bench?
Jerry Stackhouse—yes he is still part of the team—asked to be traded early on this season when he learned he wouldn't be the starting two-guard. If he only had the body to go with his iron heart.
Will the Mavericks use his contract to make numbers work in a deal?
What about a trade for Amar'e Stoudemire? I like the thought of the big guy coming to Dallas. Let's face it, he can score on a run-and-shoot offense, but what would he cost us? Josh? Bass? Dirk?
What if the Mavericks learned a lesson last season about mid-season trades? Maybe as tempting as it is to gamble on one, maybe it's better to ride with what you have.
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