Free agency? There IS still some Mavs basketball left, you know, right???
I know, I know. We’re still in the heat of the playoffs. Round One. Mavs still have a chance to move on. But is it ever too soon to talk trades?
Six of the Mavericks 15 will be unrestricted free agents at the end of this playoff run. That’s almost half the team. So the question will be who to re-sign, who to trade, and who to let go. The Mavs have some serious holes, but contrary to popular belief, these holes could filled rather quickly if Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban would get one things straight: Dirk is NOT a power forward.
In fact, as long as Dirk is masqueraded as a power forward, Dallas has almost no physical scoring presence in the paint. Chandler can produce some, but he depends entirely on point guard play and put backs. In order to win a championship, Dallas must have two things: toughness and paint production.
Let’s be honest. Dirk is about as power forward-y as I am.
Maybe a “little” more. I don’t care how tall or slow he is. He’s a shooting guard. Let’s just accept it and move on. Once we’ve accepted this fact, we can see that Dirk is clearly our starting 2 guard, which leaves a gaping hole at power forward (like there wasn’t one already).
Dallas’ biggest mistake has been thinking that a shooting guard is needed instead of a power forward. Once we look beyond that mistake, we see that the path is clear: Acquire a scoring power forward who hustles and has heart.
The perfect solution? Kris Humphries. That’s right. He’s already slipped through our fingers once. Though Dallas wasn’t willing to trust Humphries with full-time PF status (because that is Dirk’s position!), he is more than capable… not to mention affordable. Humphries is actually a free agent, so Dallas doesn’t necessarily have to pull of any kind of trade at all. Re-acquiring Humphries is the smartest free agent play Dallas could make this offseason.
But since I promised trade talk, I’ll put the scenario in an even MORE appealing package. Ready?
Acquire: Deron Williams / Kris Humphries from the Nets
Dallas needs to come up with a plausible $18.2 million trade offer. New Jersey won’t like it, but if Deron Williams has ANY loyalties to the DFW area, he’ll want to join a better team and be closer to home and do something to make this trade happen.
Option A: Send Jason Kidd, Roddy Beaubois, and Shawn Marion to New Jersey. It’s a stop gap trade for New Jersey, but if Deron wants to go somewhere else, the Nets would be foolish to not get some value for him before he walks out the door.
Option B: Brendan Haywood and Caron Butler.
Mix and match ‘em however you like, Dallas needs the energy and penetration that both Humphries and D-Wil bring.
Jason Kidd is ready for part-time status. Despite some stellar playoff play, Kidd doesn’t have enough in the tank. He’ll have to save it for the playoffs next year. Deron Williams plays like a Chris Paul point guard / shooting guard combo anyway. He’s versatile enough to play beside Kidd if necessary. Williams brings the toughness and penetration Dallas doesn’t have from any guard on the roster other than Roddy B, who has proven completely unreliable at this stage in his development.
Deron Williams is a legitimate scoring threat as well as a tough-minded no-backing-down point guard. Williams can post up on most players and penetrate with the best. He doesn’t mind banging into defenders. With that kind of toughness leading the team and a sacrifice-body-for-the-team hustling power forward in Humphries, the Mavericks reinvent themselves as the tough SOBs you don’t want to face in the first round.
Tell me this starting lineup doesn’t have you ordering season tickets.
Starting Lineup for the 2012 NBA Champions
Deron Williams – PG (JJ Barea or Jason Kidd)
Dirk Nowitzki – SG (Jason Terry or DeShawn Stevenson)
Caron Butler or Shawn Marion – SF (Peja Stojakovic)
Kris Humphries – PF (Other or rotate Marion/Dirk)
Tyson Chandler – C (Brendan Haywood)
Ready, Naysayers? And…. Go!
Of course, this will never happen. Why? Because everyone from the guy next door to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon insist that Dirk at shooting guard is a defensive disaster waiting to happen. I contend that every current game is a defensive disaster waiting to happen with only one big on the floor at a time. Shawn Marion can cover SOME power forwards, but he doesn’t have the size to match up on the offensive end.
So where would you rather be weak on D? Out on the wing, or down in the paint?