Pacers deliver Christmas in July to Mavs

ESPN.com Insider John Hollinger and I agree on this: What in the world are the Indiana Pacers thinking?

The sign-and-trade completed Wednesday with the Dallas Mavericks is a real head-scratcher. The Mavs sent backup center Ian Mahinmi, who they were prepared to lose anyway to the Pacers. Indiana will pay him $16 million over four years to be a solid backup to Roy Hibbert. Headed to Dallas is young point guard Darren Collison, who Indy believed had regressed a bit, and defensive-minded guard Dahntay Jones. The bonus for Dallas is that both players come cheap and are on the last years of their deals.

The baffling aspect is that Indiana didn't have to send the Mavs anything, yet they handed over an exciting point guard that will start for Dallas and, yes, provide an upgrade over 39-year-old Jason Kidd, who's off to mentor Jeremy Lin in New York. The Pacers didn't even get a draft pick in return.

Here's a thought from Hollinger in today's Insider piece:

"As for Dallas, it's hard to know how the team got through the call (with the Pacers) without laughing hysterically. After being snubbed by Deron Williams and Steve Nash and not getting on the radar for Dwight Howard, the Mavs have been working on the difficult task of building a credible team around one-year deals and plunging back into the market next year.

The Pacers made that task a whole lot easier."

When the holidays roll around, Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson have some extra Christmas cards to send out this year. Put the Clippers and Jazz on the list for taking Lamar Odom off the Mavs' hands at no salary-cap cost last month, and now the Pacers for providing a starting point and a solid defensive wing when they didn't have to.

Hmmm ... maybe there really is Christmas in July.