Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Youth takes back seat in Denver deal
By Jeff Caplan
Youth? Who needs youth?
The Dallas Mavericks are in win-now mode for this season and will transfer to hot-pursuit mode this summer when Deron Williams, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard can become free agents.
Any notion that the Mavs care at this moment about developing young talent was tossed aside with the just-completed trade that will send shooting guard Rudy Fernandez, an apparent unhappy camper anyway who will likely resume his career next season in Spain, but also lanky, small forward Corey Brewer to the Denver Nuggets for a 2016 second-round pick, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein.
Brewer, entering just his fourth NBA season, joined the Mavs in mid-season and signed a three-year contract, and did so with some fanfare. He's a highly likable young player with boundless energy, a long and effective defender, but whose game still needs to develop a jump shot for him to be considered a complete player, especially on a veteran-laden club on a quest for a repeat.
Brewer got caught in a numbers crunch with the addition of veteran wings Vince Carter and Lamar Odom. Carter will likely take over as the starting shooting guard with Odom possibly coming off the bench as a tag-team with small forward Shawn Marion.
The move wipes about $5.2 million off the books for this season -- double that including luxury-tax savings. Those deductions leave the Mavs just over the $70.3 million luxury tax threshold. It also leaves them with two roster spaces open to target two more veterans on minimum deals, perhaps a center such as still available free-agent big man Joel Przybilla, or others. Center is Dallas' top position of need.
In the process, the Mavs continue to create additional cap space -- about $3 million with Brewer off the books -- for next summer's highly anticipated free agency.
Dallas' only players below the age of 30 are Delonte West (28), Rodrigue Beaubois (23), Dominique Jones (23), Ian Mahinmi (25) and Brandan Wright.
The average age of a projected starting lineup that would include Jason Kidd, Carter, Marion, Dirk Nowitzki and Brendan Haywood is 34. It will require coach Rick Carlisle to be creative with his rotations during a 66-game season to be played over 123 days. But, the Mavs believe they have the depth to handle it.
As for that youth, the Mavs will look to address that issue in the summer with a rarity around here, a potential abundance of cap space.