The Mavericks have been playing better lately. But are they good enough to get out of the first round? And are they set up to be competitive in the future? As long as Dirk is around, of course, they’ll always be somewhat competitive. We’ve gotten used to more than that, though, haven’t we? With that in mind, a couple of trade scenarios (both with Portland) that may or may not make sense, but do work under the rules of the salary cap. They’re after the jump.
Why: With Jet Terry out for a few weeks, the playoffs are no longer a lock. Time to get something for J-Kidd. Sergio Rodriguez gives the team a point guard candidate for the future, Travis Outlaw is an athletic small forward with a solid jumper (Josh Howard could move to guard), Ike Diogu is an interesting power forward project (with an expiring contract), and LaFrentz’s deal takes $12 milli off the cap and insurance is covering 80 percent of his salary anyway.
Why Not: Means Cubes has to admit the Kidd deal was a mistake. And the team probably will not be as good this year. Portland has a sharp GM in Kevin Pritchard, and he may balk at including Outlaw.
And now, the gutsier version:
Why: Yes, it makes Portland and instant contender for (at least) the Western Conference title, but it sets up the Mavs pretty well for the future, too. Hometown boy LaMarcus Aldridge is an on-the-rise (and much younger) replacement for Dirk, Jerryd Bayless is a future star at PG, Shavlik Randolph gives Matt Carroll someone to hang out with on the road, and, again, LaFrentz’s deal comes off the books in the summer. Even better if they could get Portland’s first-rounder tossed into the deal as well.
Why Not: Cubes is too emotionally attached to the Big German. It would pain me to see him go, too. Fans may flip out.