Friday, February 15, 2008

Devean and Stack attempt to save the Mavs from themselves

This week I have discovered two new heroes: Devean George and Jerry Stackhouse.

The Kidd-to-Dallas rumors have been swirling for a few weeks now, but the deal was finally all but done on Wednesday. And I hate it.

I realize that I am very much in the minority on this. The Mavs and most Mavs fans love the idea. Kidd's gonna bring a title to Dallas! Really? How many rings does he have again? Since when did Kidd come with title guarantees? But everyone is ready to start planning the parade route again. Let's slow down, folks. If up 2-0 in the NBA Finals was too early to make those plans, shouldn't we at least wait until the players pass their physicals?

You know who else loves this deal? The Suns and Spurs. Oh, wait, that's probably a bad sign for Dallas, isn't it?

Kidd is not a better player than Harris right now. Harris gives San Antonio and Phoenix fits with his speed and Kidd can't do that. Kidd only edges him in two areas: assists and leadership, and Kidd's assists would go down in Dallas. His leadership would be beneficial to a soft team, but that's about it. I wouldn't trade Kidd for Harris straight up. Add to that first round picks this year and 2010? And no more bench? And Kidd's bloated salary as his ability declines in the next few years? Are you joking?

This is a desperate panic move on the part of Mark Cuban that will rank among the all-time great panic moves if it is completed. It'll be right up there with Randy Johnson to the Yankees, Joey Galloway to the Cowboys, and any trade by Isiah Thomas. Dare I? It will be the NBA equivalent of Herschel to the Vikings. Any Dallas fans want to be on the wrong side of that deal?

I'm not saying Dallas is going to win a title this year with Harris. I am saying they won't win a title this year with anybody. And the Kidd trade is a title-or-bust move. Harris has a long career ahead of him, and the rest of the Mavs core still have years left in their championship window. Kidd does not, and his salary hamstrings the Mavs for years, not to mention having to search for a new PG in a few years.

So I'm not too fond of the trade. But before I could begin hyperventilating, Devean George pulled the brake on the deal, thanks to a little-known NBA rule that protects his Early Bird status. George is being ripped in Dallas, but he's my new favorite Maverick. And let's be honest: he is only doing this to protect his own salary. Any readers willing to give up their chance to maximize their earnings? Me either. Unfortunately, George is shooting himself in the foot, because it's not likely a team is going to offer him much anyway since he apparently isn't a "team player".

And if George's personal objections weren't enough, here is the latest: Jerry Stackhouse got caught talking a bit too much. In an interview, he said that he'll have "30 days to rest then I’ll be right back. I ain’t going nowhere." Uh-oh. First Donaghy, and now pre-arranged deals bringing Stack back to Dallas? The NBA will examine the situation and consider banning Stack from returning to Dallas if traded, and perhaps even not accept him as a piece in the trade at all. This is ridiculous. Stack would have to sit out 30 days, and any team has the opportunity to sign him. He might have a deal to return to Dallas, but nothing is stopping another contender from stealing him away. Remember when Cleveland thought they had a deal with Boozer? How did that work out for them?

Either way, though, he's another Maverick hero.

I expect this deal to go through one way or the other—honestly, the Mavs almost have to do it now or they risk losing the confidence of the team. Even though Cuban has said he wouldn't do it, I'd look for Keith Van Horn to be included in the deal as a sign and trade. He could easily replace George's expiring contract and with a bump in salary on the "contract" could cover for the Stack omission as well. This would cost Cuban some extra cash under the luxury tax, but when has money ever really stopped him? He also told us a week ago that the Kidd deal would never happen because it would cost the Mavs half their roster, so his word isn't exactly good as gold.

But if Devean and Stack can somehow keep this deal from ruining the Mavericks, I think I've got my nominations ready for this year's 110 Percent Hall of Fame.


PJ said...

So, I'm with you for the most part. I don't think this is a good deal long term for Dallas, but I think they see themselves with a small window that is closing. I personally believe that it closed a while ago. (say.. last year at the end of the first round?). I am not for calling George a hero however. He originally signed a two year deal and after last year, he asked the Mavericks if he could shop around for another deal and if he couldn't get it, could he come back. The Mavs agreed as he wasn't a starter or even a big bench guy. He couldn't find the money he was looking for so they signed him to a one year deal (which allowed him to have the early bird clause). So now, because the Mavs allowed him to go, and then took him back, he's thanking them by standing in the way of a trade. Not quite a hero in my book.

Chris said...

That's exactly what makes him a hero. This deal is absolute rubbish, and for the moment, he has stopped it. Are his motives pure, from the team's point of view? No, but as I said, would anybody else in the real world accept a forced transfer that did not maximize their earnings? I know I wouldn't. It isn't pretty, but but there is nothing wrong with what George has done.

PJ said...

But that's just the thing. The Early Bird only qualifies you to earn up to 175% of your current contract IF you re-sign with your own team. You think that the Mavs will resign George? Again, I think this deal is dumb, but I do take exception to what George has done. Maybe an inadvertant "hero", but hero means something different than looking out for your own interests when it won't benefit you in the end anyway.

Chris said...

I completely agree--I am using the term hero tongue-in-cheek. I call him a 'hero' only because he at least temporarily killed this awful trade, not because I applaud him looking out for his own interest. I wouldn't be surprised if the Mavericks cut him outright, and they certainly won't re-sign him.

Still, George is being unfairly ripped for this. I repeat: if my boss tried to force me to do anything that was going to hurt my ability to maximize my earnings, I'd have a problem with that, too, and so would you.

And don't think for a second that the Mavericks 'took back' George out of the goodness of their hearts. They thought he could help the team or he wouldn't have been re-signed. (Of course, this also raises questions about the Mavs ability to assess talent.)

As fans of the team, people don't like that George is 'holding back' the Mavs, but George isn't doing anything wrong here. The rules provide him with the ability to veto the trade, so he did it.

If you want to blame someone, look at Cuban. How could he not have OKed this deal with George before letting it go public? He created this mess, not George.

rus said...

Keith Van Horne had a chance to go in the 110 percent hall of fame, but blew it and accepted the signing and went along with the trade.

Anyway, Chris, I agree with you on the trade itself. More than likely in three years (at the most), we are going to be regretting the trade like we regret letting Steve Nash get away. But in the here and now, the Mavs have been stuck in a Golden State induced time warp that was going to haunt this team until they did something to exorcise those demons. Devin Harris wasn't going to be able to do that.

To me, after the debacle of last year, they had a chance to make serious changes over the summer and said over and over "we like our team," and made cosmetic changes: Eddie Jones, Trenton Hassell and Brandon Bass with only Bass being something they didn't have before. Then when the Lakers and the Suns made big moves, they panicked and completely mortgaged the future. We officially are living in the Mavs good ol' days because it won't be long before we are going to be longing for the days of 50-60 wins and having a realistic shot at doing something in the playoffs.

rus said...

By the way, who the heck is going to play center now after Damp? Dirk? Bass? Juwan Howard? They do realize that in the west you have TIm Duncan, Shaq, and Yao Ming? Stupid.