Najera trade about bucks, not basketball

January, 9, 2010
1/09/10
11:36
AM CT
SAN ANTONIO -- Acquiring Eduardo Najera doesn't make the Mavericks a better basketball team.

While Najera is a MFFL favorite from his hustlin' days in Dallas last decade, he won't make an impact for the Mavs. He's a 33-year-old undersized power forward coming to a team that is loaded at that position. Kris Humphries, an athletic 24-year-old who can play power forward or center, is a better player at this point in their careers.

This deal doesn't make basketball sense for the Mavs, other than opening up a roster spot if they want to add another player (backup point guard?). But it does make dollars.

As Marc Stein reported, the Mavs will save nearly $5 million in salary and luxury tax since the Nets agreed to take banished bonehead Shawne Williams' $2.4 salary in exchange for a trade exception as part of the deal.

Mark Cuban isn't desperate enough to save money that he'd deal a rotation player. But he's feeling the pinch of sluggish ticket sales. The Mavs had to sell a lot of discount group tickets to keep the sellout streak alive. Profits are down. Cuban accepts that he'll lose money almost every season, but he'd like to limit the financial damage without hurting the on-court product.

Consider this trade a sign that the Mavs won't be shoppers before the trade deadline. The Bank of Cuban might be closed for the rest of the season.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsS. Marion 6.5
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9