Dallas Mavericks: Wally Szczerbiak
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.
Mavericks alumnus Jerry Stackhouse is arguably the most prominent free agent in the league still looking for a job.
But that's largely because the 34-year-old, twice an All-Star, is determined to wait for a firm offer from a certain playoff team.
Sources close to the situation say that Stackhouse was promptly called by the Houston Rockets earlier this month when the Rockets -- after inviting Rashad McCants to Rockets camp on a non-guaranteed contract -- decided they could not go through with their intended signing of McCants because the swingman was sidelined by an abdominal injury just before camp opened.
The Rockets, though, wanted Stackhouse to come to camp to compete with three other players leading contender and former Mavs teammate Pops Mensah-Bonsu along with summer-league guards Will Conroy and Garrett Temple -- for their final roster spot. The combination of that stipulation and Houston's expected slide into the lottery, with Yao Ming expected to miss the entire season and Tracy McGrady facing an uncertain return from knee surgery, prompted Stackhouse to pass.
Atlanta, Denver and Miami are said to be three situations that greatly intrigue Stackhouse after he worked out some with the Hawks late in the offseason and with both the Nuggets and Heat known to have a need at his position. Yet all three of those teams would like to carry 13 players this season instead of the maximum 15 because of luxury-tax concerns and/or want players with non-guaranteed contracts at the end of their rosters to maintain maximum flexibility.
Stackhouse, McCants and Wally Szczerbiak would appear to be the three most accomplished NBA swingmen who remain unsigned. Chances are, though, that Stackhouse is bound to get a call he wants to take before long, once injuries start piling up or when teams' holes become more glaring than they are in mid-October, when coaches and executives are generally fond of their squads.
Stackhouse auditioned for New York over the summer and insists that he has fully recovered from the plantar fasciitis that conspired to limit him to just 10 games with Dallas last season, which was followed by Stackhouse's inclusion in the four-team deal in July that brought Shawn Marion to the Mavs. The Memphis Grizzlies wound up with Stackhouse when they were recruited to help facilitate the Marion trade and paid $2 million to buy out his $7 million expiring contract for this season.
"I'm just happy to be healthy and able to compete again," Stackhouse said in August. "That's the most important thing. I'm just happy to get back to play. . . I think teams know what I bring to the table when I'm healthy."
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.
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Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.