Dallas Mavericks: Fantasy GM
Since Part VI of our fantasy offseason series was crushed when OKC swooped in and acquired Daequan Cook and the No. 18 pick in the same fashion we suggested that Dallas should, we figured we’d take another stab at some draft day wheelin’ and dealin’. Target: Some dynamic youth courtesy of Nawleans.
The Basics: The Mavericks will alleviate New Orleans of the financial burden that leads people to speculate that Chris Paul might be available -- possible but very doubtful. But the financial burden is real, it just seems that the Hornets can resolve that issue without giving up one of the best players in the league. If the Mavericks are to do this, they deserve a lot in return. If not, why bother?
The How: Dallas will use their Kris Humphries trade exception to acquire Julian Wright and his two buckets a night production at the wing position as well as New Orleans No. 11 selection in Thursday’s draft. Obviously they key for Dallas is the pick since Wright has done very little to suggest he’ll ever even approach Stacey Augmon heights.
Dallas will also send J.J. Barea, Eddie Najera and Jason Terry and cash considerations to the Hornets in exchange for Darren Collison, Darius Songalia and James Posey.
The Why: For Dallas this move is about getting younger and more athletic. Plain and simple, Darren Collison is a stud. Collison and Roddy Beaubois coming off the bench together for Dallas would be absurdly dynamic. And the idea that Dallas would ever have to worry about Jason Kidd piling up ridiculous minutes as he did this past year is gone. There’d also be no pressure on Roddy to learn the point. He is a natural scorer, but if he does develop into a true lead guard, then Collison will have great trade value. But truth be told, Roddy’s minutes should really be coming from JET’s stash, not J Kidd’s. It also eliminates the inevitable unfortunate scenario of having to reduce the role of a guy who has meant so much to the team in the past. As for the pick, there should be a player with vast potential at No. 11. Whether it’s Paul George, Ekpe Udoh or Greg Monroe, someone worth having will be there.
For the Hornets, this is all about saving money. There’s no way they want to give up Collison (though Barea would soften that blow somewhat as a solid back-up to CP3), but they need the financial relief. Their hope would be that perhaps JET could give them some of the same-combo guard bench production they got from Janero Pargo in the '07-08 campaign. Plus, they could monitor JET’s minutes so that only $5 million of his contract is guaranteed for 2011-12. They won’t miss Posey, and Najera could somewhat approximate what Songalia does if New Orleans doesn’t opt to release him and save an additional $500,000 this upcoming season.
And how much does New Orleans save for 2010-11 if they agree to all this? The difference in salary is in the neighborhood of $3 million plus whatever Dallas would be willing to pay them in the deal. If it is the league maximum of $3 million and you factor in likely luxury tax numbers based on New Orleans' bottom line and what last year’s threshold was (approximately $69 million), you’re talking about a $9 million dollar swing.
The Bottom Line:
Dallas gains some much needed youth and a dynamic playmaker in Collison. He played like a lottery pick last year. They also pave the way for Roddy to become a scoring juggernaut off the bench in the old JET role and they jump into Thursday’s lottery fray without touching any of their main trade assets (we’ve mentioned them a million times -- Dampier’s non-guaranteed contract, Haywood S&T, Butler expiring deal, etc) . It would only be the beginning to what should be a very active summer and jump-start some excitement for a team trying to distance from a past of playoff letdowns.
The Basics: There are three teams involved here (Dallas, Detroit and Miami) and two separate transactions to make it all happen. Detroit and Miami will get varied degrees of salary relief and Dallas will get an aging player at a position of need but it’ll also net a lottery pick.
The How: In move No. 1, Dallas will use the trade exception from the Kris Humphries deal to acquire Daequan Cook and his $2.1 million dollar salary. Miami can obtain Dallas’ No. 50 pick or $1 -- who cares? Make it what you want. This will make more sense after the ensuing transaction, but the obvious motivation for Miami is to shed more salary for the summer of 2010 and Dallas’ motivation is because they’re about to get other cool stuff. Move No. 2 is convoluted, but it goes down like this:
Miami acquires Eduardo Najera and J.J. Barea
Detroit acquires Matt Carroll, DeShawn Stevenson and Michael Beasley plus the No. 18 pick in this year’s draft and $1 million from Dallas.
The Why: For Dallas it’s a lot of money to take on softened by the blow of moving Matt Caroll’s contract (almost $12 million over the next three seasons). But they get a lottery pick to try and acquire a young big and they get a usable two in Rip Hamilton. I’ll be honest: At this point I’m not a big Hamilton fan whatsoever and fully expect him to be a complete financial disaster by the end of his contract. I do think, however, that he gives the team some flexibility at the two if Mr. Cuban can absorb the dough. It also makes moving Caron Butler a lot more palatable if he helps you net another key transaction this summer. The real excitement here is getting the No. 7 pick where there are plenty of tantalizing young players that provide athleticism and youth. And Chalmers will be a suitable replacement for Barea.
Miami gets all that cap space to go chase the dream team. By moving Cook, Chalmers and Beasley for Barea and Najera they’ll add another $3.1 million in cap space. If they choose to release Najera immediately it’ll be $3.6 million. Plus they won’t have the $1.2 million they’d have to allocate towards the No. 18 pick. That means they’ll have upwards of $45 million in cap space. Wow.
Detroit gets to unload Hamilton’s contract. The difference between the combined total of Carroll and Stevenson’s contract over the life of the deals is about $20 million dollars. Dallas throws in $1 million this season so Detroit’s bottom line is about the same for 2010-11. So the logic for the Pistons is that they trade the No. 7 pick for Beasley and the No. 18 pick and then they save an additional $20 million by parting with a player in Hamilton who doesn’t fit their plans whatsoever. They’ll be way younger and have the chance to score a lot of points while spending way less money over the long haul. If the cap were the same for 2011, this move would put them under the cap in the neighborhood of $15 million or so.
The Bottom Line: For Dallas this is a way to get better while also adding a crucial lottery pick. They’ll also have several super-valuable trade chips in Erick Dampier’s expiring contract, Butler’s productivity/expiring contract and a potential sign-and-trade with Brendan Haywood if they don’t want to keep him. These moves are pricey, but they add youth and veteran production, and Dallas still maintains tremendous flexibility for other moves. Me says, make it happen.
I believe that LeBron has always known he’s going to stay in Cleveland so long as the team improved its roster, front office and coaching situation. But there’s too much hype to push, junk to sell and web pages that need to be clicked for LeBron to spill the beans early. Why would the Cavs select a coach until they knew for sure that James approved? And why would Tom Izzo have such a hard time deciding where he was going to be next year if he didn’t feel good that LeBron was going to be there too? Everyone who seems to know something about Izzo would be shocked if he left East Lansing. Imagine if it was for the opportunity to coach an aging Antawn Jamison ... yeah, right. If James wasn’t a lock in Cleveland, Izzo would’ve put this to bed already. If Izzo waffles till July 1, I’ll reconsider my thinking here.
James will be a Cav, and here’s how he’ll get to play with Bosh.
Cleveland will acquire Bosh at “max money” and relieve the Raptors of that horrible Hedo Turkoglu contract (still owed about $44 million over the next four seasons) in exchange for Jamison, Delonte West, J.J. Hickson and Wally Szczerbiak in a Keith Van Horne-styled sign-and-trade that’ll net him about $3 million. I imagine Cleveland will fund that as well. I could also see a possibility of these teams swapping Jose Calderon and Mo Williams at Toronto’s insistence, but we’ll leave them out of this.
The deal is an obvious no-brainer for the Cavs. What does Toronto get for playing ball in helping Bosh get to Cleveland? For starters, they’ll get some financial flexibility, but not immediately. In fact, they’d save a little more money next season by simply letting Bosh walk, but the savings wouldn’t make up for getting nothing in return and still having the Turk for four more seasons. Jamison only has two years left and gives you better production. Plus, what team will embrace Jamison’s horrible D like Toronto? It’s downright heartwarming.
And you can count me as a big believer in Hickson. I love his athleticism and energy. He’s a nice addition. West has a $500K buyout. That’ll get used. And since only the first year of a sign-and-trade has to be guaranteed, Toronto will owe WallyWorld nothing after next season. He’s simply filler to make the numbers work. Though he’ll get a shot to make the team and jack up 3s. Remember this is the same GM that threw mid-level money at Jason Kapono.
Does any of this make up for losing Bosh? No way. Is it way better than just watching him walk to Chicago, New York or Miami? Of course.
Stamp it and consider it done.
Now back to your regularly scheduled offseason fantasizing. Since I’ve spent all weekend drooling over Paul George highlights, I guess we’ve got some work to do.
The How: This would be a straight salary dump move for the Golden State Warriors, so the Mavericks would have to ask for a little salary relief as well. Dallas would send Dampier and Matt Carroll (owed $4.3 million next season and $7.4 million for the next two seasons after that) plus some cash for Biedrins and Vladimir Radmanovic (one year remaining at $6.9 million).
The Why: For Dallas this would be about getting a lively young frontline player with good size (6-11/240 lbs) that’s had some success in the league. Dallas would still bring back Damp at minimal money to have a rotation of bigs. And it’d allow them to utilize Haywood in a sign-and-trade.
Golden State was rumored to want to move Biedrins at the trade deadline last February to get out from underneath his big contract. If they don’t get a good young big at #6 in the draft in a few weeks, they’re supposedly interested in flipping Anthony Randolph for Kevin Love. If the Mavericks could talk Golden State into Carroll’s inclusion (the deal could be done without him from a salary cap standpoint) and giving them the cash to ease the burden for this upcoming season, then the Warriors would still save close to $11.5 million for next season. For a team pushing closer to new ownership, that’s a tidy sum to spend. They could use it to keep their good young players like Anthony Morrow or C.J. Watson or it could be utilized in another trade or in pursuit of other free agents on the market.
The Bottom Line: Again, this certainly isn’t as exciting as acquiring a premiere free agent through sign-and-trade means, but Dallas would improve their roster while still maintaining the flexibility to make other moves with Haywood as S&T bait and approximately $24 million in expiring deals for 2011. It’s more realistic than the wonderful dream of the superstar. But is it enough to keep Mavs fans optimistic about the future?
The How: The play would be Damp’s contract, Shawn Marion (Owed $7.3 million next season/$33 million over the next four) and Dallas' 2011 first-round pick for Kirilenko (owed $17.8 million in his final year) and the No. 9 pick in this year’s draft. The tricky part of this deal is when it would happen. Unless agents are giving up the goods before they’re supposed to, Dallas wouldn’t know it's not in play for a big free agent until after the draft. This is only valid if Utah were to draft a guy at No. 9 that Dallas coveted. But we all agree that Dallas needs blue-chip youth, so for the sake of conversation we’ll assume Dallas likes the guy Utah has drafted.
The Why: For Utah it’s obvious: The Jazz are at $60 million in payroll before they even consider resigning Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver or Wes Matthews -- three major playoff contributors while Kirilenko looked on, hurt. This move would take Utah down around $50 million in salary and afford them the opportunity to either sign all three or keep Matthews and Korver while entertaining some sign-and-trade possibilities with Boozer that entailed them getting lower-salaried players who could help. The Jazz would hate the length of Marion’s contract, but it would give them the current flexibility to not take a huge step back in talent. Marion's and Kirilenko’s stats are a wash and they’re the same type of player, but Marion is three years older where Kirilenko stays hurt. For the Mavs, they take a financial hit this year to add some youth and not have to worry about Marion’s productivity three years from now.
The Bottom Line: It’s not splashy and I’m sure Mav fans have much bigger dreams for Damp’s contract as a trade asset, but in my estimation it beats the alternative of simply releasing him if all other options fail. Dallas would still have over $30 million in 2011 expirings and the possibility of an Avery Bradley, Al-Farouq Aminu or (knowing Utah) Cole Aldrich. For Utah, I’d say losing Boozer and Korver is a pretty major step backwards. Maybe whomever they draft at No. 9 is a good enough replacement. I doubt it. Or maybe Rip Hamilton and the No. 7 pick for Big Damp is more your cup of tea. Surely the Pistons wouldn’t give you a lottery pick just to escape Rip’s deal, would they? Or maybe you do the Utah deal and also the Detroit deal with Caron Butler replacing Damp in the Detroit scenario? What just happened? Did we just net Dallas two lottery picks and an aging two-guard with a bad contract? Is it possible to get older and younger at the same time? Freelance fantasy wheeling and dealing is intoxicating. I feel like Nellie.
For Part III of our fantasy offseason series we’ll try and work some angles brought up by our homie Timmy Mac in this post on LeBron James.
The Basics #1: I’ve never been a Jamison fan, but he can still get you 20 a night. And even though he’s overpaid, his contract only has two years left on it. I don’t see him being as big an albatross as others might. In fact, if acquiring LeBron means the Mavs must give up Rodrigue Beaubois, as most have theorized, then I’d suggest that Mo Williams and his likely three remaining years is a bigger issue for Cleveland moving forward than Jamison.
The How #1: If the Mavs were to offer Erick Dampier’s non-guaranteed contract, Beaubois, DeShawn Stevenson (final year of a deal with $4.1 million on it) and a future pick or two for James and the complete waste of money that is Daniel Gibson’s deal (three more years with almost $11 million guaranteed), then I’d think Cleveland would have to roll with that considering holding an empty bag is also an option.
The Why #1: I’d think Cleveland could still be competitive with this deal while they rebuild around Beaubois, JJ Hickson and cap space using Jamison, Williams and Andy Varejao to bridge to the future. If Cleveland demanded Caron Butler in the trade to get more value, then The Mavs would have to counter that Delonte West be included in the deal in place of Gibson since he’s only guaranteed $500,000 for 2010. But if I’m Dallas, I have James’ camp force the issue that he wants to play with Butler. Remember that Roddy B and picks beats nothing in return.
The How #2: Dampier’s non-guaranteed contract, Butler in the last year of his deal and Matt Carroll’s descending contract (very much in the Boobie Gibson realm) and two future picks for Jamison/LeBron. But NO Roddy B if you have to take on Jamison.
The Why #2: Jamison is a completely useless player for the Mavs at his salary and really hurts the finances of the team. If Dallas has to take him on, then they shouldn’t have to come off of Beaubois, too. Butler will give the Cavs similar production to Jamison at about $18 million less. Honestly, Cleveland would be better taking the first incarnation of Deal 1 and then sending Jamison, Williams, West and Jamario Moon to Philly for Elton Brand, Samuel Dalembert, Jason Kapano and the #2 pick. They take a financial hit this season, though they wouldn’t come close to luxury tax territory and then they’d rebuild around the undeniable backcourt of Roddy B and Evan Turner with over $20 million in cap space next summer. Now that’d be fun to watch.
The Bottom Line: The Mavs can get LeBron if he wants to come here. Who knows if Dallas is even on his radar. But if Cleveland plays it right, they could be competitive quickly. Which is all you can ask when you lose one of the best players in the world in his prime.
The How: The Mavericks could offer J.J. Barea and DeShawn Stevenson for Gortat and the two teams could haggle over who was deserving of cash considerations. The move would be primarily financial for Orlando, though Barea would allow them to acquire a solid young backup point guard with playoff experience who has minimal financial burden. Both Stevenson and Barea will be in the last year of their deals (assuming Stevenson exercises his player option for a shade over $4 million -- surely he will; if he doesn’t this trade isn’t even possible).
The Why: Orlando was very bold financially, but it’s tough to pay the backup to your franchise player that much dough. He’s guaranteed around $28 million over the next four seasons. Factor in the luxury tax and that’s ridiculous money for a guy playing 13 minutes a night. He’s way more valuable to the Mavericks. And Barea would allow the Magic to move forward without adding additional payroll for a backup point. They could utilize Stevenson as a trade chip or insurance in case Matt Barnes elects to go back to free agency. And the move saves them $800,00 for next season before they add another backup big. If they don’t re-sign Barea and Stevenson after next season they’d still be off the hook for $24 million in salary before you factor in luxury tax considerations. They’d be able to find a veteran big on the cheap who wants to chase a ring.
The Bottom Line: This would be a great move for the Mavericks to get a young active big who is reasonably priced, but Orlando would have to be on board with moving him for savings -- though Barea is highly regarded backup point because he’s so reasonably priced at less than $2 million for one more season. No matter how well Orlando is doing both on the floor and financially, it can’t continue to spend Monopoly money on backups. The Mavs would still bring Damp back after trading him for another major asset at minimal cost, assuming the team he is traded to releases him. Dallas would have a good rotation at the 5 and be able to utilize Haywood as an extremely valuable S&T piece.
The How: There are a couple of variations of the deal to get it done, but my goal would be to make the trade happen without giving up the oft-written-about Erick Dampier non-guaranteed contract that will take on a trade value of approximately $13 million come July 1. Without getting too nuts and boltsy, realize that since both teams are over the cap the total value of the salaries of the players exchanging teams must be within 125 percent. You can see where a contract as big as Damp’s that has no financial implications to the team taking him in the trade is essential for acquiring a “max-salary type” guy. So I would present the Hawks with two different options in which they would net Haywood at a starting salary of $10 million per season -- with the length of the deal to be determined by Haywood and the Hawks. Because Haywood made $6 million last season, he’d become a base-year compensation player and the value that the Mavericks would be allowed to take back would impact Johnson’s starting salary depending on which incarnation of the deal Dallas would make. The deal I would present if I were the Mavs would be Caron Butler and Haywood in a sign-and-trade with a starting salary of $10 million. Based on the numbers I’m using (which may not be 100 percent accurate since I’m not sitting at Keith Grant’s desk right now), the Hawks would have to sign-and-trade Johnson with a starting salary of $16.5 million to make it work and not have to include any other players. The other possibility is Haywood (same starting salary) along with Eduardo Najera and DeShawn Stevenson for Johnson with a starting salary that could be anywhere from $14 million-$16 million. We’ll just say the original four-year/$60 million for simplicity.
The Why: If the Hawks are going to lose Johnson, they’ll want to get a player of need in return. As proven once again over the past week, the Hawks stand no chance against division foe Orlando unless they get bigger inside. Acquiring Haywood to man the middle would allow them to play Al Horford at his natural power forward position and move Josh Smith to the three. They’d be big and athletic along their front line, still have the flexibility to play Marvin Williams and have a great smaller lineup, and Jamaal Crawford would start at the two in place of Johnson. The Hawks might be more compelled to take back less money in the form of Stevenson and Najera than the higher salary and higher production of Butler, though you can make a decent argument for either deal from the Hawks' perspective in terms of fit. If the Hawks saw Butler as a fit at two, they could continue to keep Crawford in his sixth-man role. As for the Mavs, it’s debatable how successful Haywood has been here. When he’s been on, he’s been the best center presence in Mavs history. When he hasn’t been on, he’s been as frustrating as Dampier has been at times, though he’s significantly more talented. Truth be told, I’d be really nervous giving Haywood the type of guaranteed deal the team gave Damp at about the same age with a career year at about the same production level in that contract year. Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but that’s my sense. There’s no question about the talent however -- which is why I believe the Hawks would be interested in this deal. Of the teams with cap room who I see as being willing to give Haywood a $10 million-a-year deal, only Miami strikes me as the type of team that would covet him at that kind of money, so I suspect that Haywood would be down for this scenario. I could very well be misreading that. Because the Mavs already have a significant financial commitment to Shawn Marion, I feel that the Butler/Haywood deal actually works better for them. I think Stevenson and Najera would be valuable trade pieces for the type of deal the team would eventually be able to pull of with the still remaining Damp contract or to acquire a mid-level type center replacement for Haywood.
The Bottom Line: You can argue as to whether or not Johnson would be overpaid, he probably would be. But I think the combination of Johnson, Dirk and Jason Kidd would be worth the investment. They’d still have the explosiveness of Beaubois to develop off the bench, and Marion and Johnson would give them some great wing defensive options. So while we’re throwing the Hail Mary downfield, how much interest would King James have in coming to play with Dirk, Kidd and Johnson? Now that’s a fantasy worth exploring.
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