By Marc Stein
The Mavericks were indeed pondering a personnel move in advance of Wednesday night's encounter with the Lakers, but we're talking about the smallest of moves.
The most pressing roster decision in Mavsland this week is deciding whether to sign guard Sasha Pavlovic to another 10-day contract, which was still up in the air as of Tuesday but can't be pondered for too much longer because Pavlovic will have to have a new 10-day deal in place if Dallas wants to have him available for Thursday's game in Chicago.
As for trades?
Not much has changed since our last update on the subject beyond the fact that trade speculation emanating from various local media folks -- with another lost Cowboys season finally starting to fade into the memory and the NBA's trade deadline just 35 days away -- is rising in frequency and volume thanks to the Mavs' injury woes and resultant 2-8 skid.
Sources familiar with the team's plans continue to say that no major (or even mid-range) moves are imminent, as team officials continue to hope that the returns of Dirk Nowitzki (heading into game No. 3 of his comeback after a nine-game absence caused by a sprained knee) and Tyson Chandler (who says he's playing against L.A. after missing two games with the flu) can spark a return to normalcy that allows for a more level-headed assessment of Dallas’ prospects for the rest of the season.
Yet we do have three quick addendums to Sunday’s rundown of the names of potential trade targets that the Mavs have been discussing (or at least investigating) as they assess their various options after losing Butler.
*If the Mavs do end up pursuing another trade with Charlotte, after the highly successful deal to swipe Chandler from the Bobcats, one source close to the situation stresses that you should expect Stephen Jackson to be the target ... not Gerald Wallace. Although Wallace is younger (28) and fresh off his All-Star breakthrough last season, Dallas' greatest needs in the wake of Caron Butler's season-ending knee injury are all on the offensive end. Wallace is talented, versatile and creates havoc defensively, but -- like Philly's Andre Iguodala -- he must also be classified as an expensive non-shooter. There are two seasons to go on Wallace's contract after this one valued at $21 million, which are pricey numbers heading into the uncertainty of a new (and presumably more restrictive) collective bargaining agreement and when re-signing Chandler is such a priority in the next offseason. Jackson, meanwhile, has the better all-around game and proven playoff resume that we've already noted holds appeal to the Mavs. But the combo of Jackson's contract (two years and $19.3 million to go after this season) and his age (33 in April) continue to give the Mavs pause as well, largely because management knew it had to inject some youth into the roster even before this started looking like an old team again during the current funk.
*The Mavs would obviously have an interest in Memphis’ O.J. Mayo, even though Mayo isn’t a small forward, because he’s a sturdy guard who can score ... and who couldn’t be much more appealing from an age standpoint at a mere 23. The Grizz, though, are said to be telling Mayo suitors that they expect a lot in return, no matter how rocky Mayo's season seems when you add up his move out of the starting lineup and that scrap on the team plane with teammate Tony Allen.
*The Mavs might have pursued Al Harrington in free agency over the summer before Harrington wound up signing with Denver, but they’ve let New Jersey and Denver know that they’re not prepared to take on Harrington’s contract (which has four years and $20.3 million guaranteed left on it after this season) as the fourth team in a Carmelo Anthony deal. I’ve been reliably assured that the only way they'd volunteer to absorb Harrington is if the Mavs were also getting Melo for a rest-of-the-season rental … or at least rugged Nuggets center Nene.