Dallas Mavericks Coming Together
It’s not Deron Williams or Dwight Howard but the Dallas Mavericks are continuing this offseason with the goal of contending next season while also having financial flexibility for the summer of 2013.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the most recent acquisition has the Mavericks trading for Indiana Pacers point guard Darren Collison. The deal, which involves the Mavericks sending center Ian Mahinmi via sign-and-trade, would net Dallas both Collison and guard Dahntay Jones.
For the Pacers, acquiring Mahinmi gives the team a solid number two center behind the newly re-signed Roy Hibbert at a reasonable price of four years, $16 million.
For Dallas, the team that struck out in the Williams sweepstakes continues to try to fill out a mostly barren roster with a thrifty approach.
Once thought to be the answer for Indiana at point guard, Collison lost his starting spot earlier this season to George Hill – who signed a five-year, $40 million contract this past week – making Collison expendable. Last season, Collison averaged 10.3 points on 44 percent shooting and 4.8 assists per game in 60 games (56 starts) for the Pacers. In the playoffs, those numbers dipped to just 8.7 points and 3 assists in 18.6 minutes per contest.
Known as a speedy point guard who isn’t afraid to drive to the basket, right now Collison represents the only true point guard on the Mavs roster and as of now would be penciled in as the starter. At just 24-years old, the gamble of signing and trading Mahinmi – a backup center who wasn’t in the Mavs plans anyways – seems well worth the risk that Collison may not be the answer at point guard.
Most importantly, Collison has just one year left on his contract worth $2.3 million. This continues to allow Dallas to have flexibility for next summer in their pursuit for another superstar to pair next to Dirk Nowitzki.
Also moving to Dallas, Jones averaged 5.3 points in 16.3 minutes per game last season in Indiana. The 6-6 guard gives Dallas a hard-nosed defender either off the bench or at the starting shooting guard position. Also in the final year of his contract, Jones is owed $2.9 million this season but will become a free agent next summer.
The trade follows up another move from earlier this evening, with Dallas acquiring center Chris Kaman at $8 million for one season. Kaman, a teammate of Nowizki’s on the German National team and also a good friend of the Mavs’ MVP, represents a value signing and also a significant upgrade at the center position.
Last season’s starter, Brendan Haywood, is expected to be amnestied soon in order to give Dallas more breathing room under the cap.
Last year, with the New Orleans Hornets, Kaman averaged 13.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per contest in 47 games (33 starts). For his career, Kaman has been a solid player on the interior – having averaged 11.9 points on 48.3 percent shooting, 8.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in nine NBA seasons.
All three acquisitions provide a starting point for Dallas as the team continues to scour the market for bargain talents on one-year deals.
In particular, Collison’s acquisition at the point guard position shores up one of two gaping holes on the Mavericks roster while Kaman fills the other at the center position. Meanwhile, as the roster stands, Jones gives Dallas options at the shooting guard position as either a starter or sixth man coming off the bench.
The goal for Dallas continues to be putting a good mix of players on the court while keeping their options open for next year’s offseason, which right now would feature Howard, Josh Smith and Chris Paul. Keep in the mind the Mavericks are by no means finished this offseason with Ramon Sessions, O.J. Mayo, Elton Brand and others still in the team’s cross-hairs.