NBA AM: Brandon Jennings To The Mavericks?
The NBA trade deadline is just over a week away and the rumor mill is in full swing as we approach it. The Dallas Mavericks are a team that could be active at the deadline. The franchise has reached the playoffs for 12 consecutive seasons, but is currently 22-29 and sits 11th in the Western Conference standings. The team is five games behind the eighth-place Houston Rockets for the final playoff spot and has lost ground over the past ten games. Not to mention star forward Dirk Nowitzki has looked like a shell of his former MVP self as he works his way back into form from injury.
It is becoming painfully obvious that if the Mavericks are going to extend their playoff streak to 13-straight campaigns, the roster as currently constructed isn’t going cut it. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has gone on record stating the team is open for business and will entertain trade offers but isn’t interested in minor acquisitions given the team’s current positioning in the standings.
Translation, the Mavericks are looking for a deal, which nets them a significant piece at the top of their rotation. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Mavericks have their eyes firmly set on Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings as we approach the deadline.
There are a few items to note here.
The Mavericks cleared cap space and went all-in last summer trying to lure Brooklyn guard Deron Williams to Dallas (his hometown) last summer. The move was a calculated risk which didn’t pan out and the Mavericks ultimately acquired Darren Collison from Indiana to become the team’s floor general this season. While Collison is having a solid year for the Mavericks, production wise, it isn’t a secret the team isn’t remotely sold on his ability to lockdown the reigns of the point guard spot long term.
Enter Jennings, who also has an unsteady situation ongoing in Milwaukee. Jennings is likely headed to restricted free agency this summer after failing to come to terms on a multi-year extension with the Bucks back in October.
The Bucks haven’t been actively shopping Jennings by any stretch and have publicly stated that they’ll match any offer received for the guard when he hits free agency next summer. But it is a telling sign when Milwaukee, not exactly a free agent hot spot destination, doesn’t lock up its talent long-term when given the early opportunity.
The Mavericks have just under $49 million in salary commitments on the books for next season which puts the franchise is a solid position to incorporate someone of Jennings’ caliber (market value).
The Odd Men Out – Deadline Edition
With the trade deadline just around the corner it is important to keep an eye on some guys who have fallen on the outs in regards to their respective teams rotation. While the major names continue to generate the trade headlines, the deadline always sparks smaller deals with role players.
Here are a few to keep your eye on:
DeJuan Blair, San Antonio Spurs
Blair has been a productive player for the Spurs organization since entering the league, but the franchise is seemingly headed in another direction. Blair, who will be a free agent this summer, has seen his spot in the rotation deteriorate over the last few months after experiencing a similar type of demotion during last season’s playoff run. The question is will the Spurs attempt to flip Blair for some value over the next week. Miami, Portland and Boston have been rumored to have exploratory interest in the forward.
Omri Casspi, Cleveland Cavaliers
Casspi was once thought to be the Cavaliers’ small forward of the future. Times certainly do change. Casspi has fallen out of the team’s nightly rotation and the franchise is unlikely to offer him a qualifying offer this summer which would make him an unrestricted free agent. While Casspi has denied making a trade request to the organization, the forward readily admits he hasn’t been on the same page with head coach Byron Scott and is looking forward to free agency.
Kris Humphries, Brooklyn Nets
Humphries signed a two-year $24 million deal last summer, but has lost time in the rotation to rugged forward Reggie Evans who is owed a total of $5.1 million through 2015. It doesn’t take a complex formula to understand that if the Nets can move Humphries they will do so in a heartbeat. The team is on the hook for $83 million this season in payroll and another $85 million in 2014. Humphries has reportedly been shopped to Charlotte in recent days according to numerous reports.
Nolan Smith, Portland Trail Blazers
The arrival of rookie of the year frontrunner Damian Lillard may have been the beginning of the end for Smith’s long term future in Portland. Smith’s previous camp tried to orchestrate a trade out of Portland earlier this season to no avail but his playing time has doubled in the Blazers’ rotation this month which could be a sign the team is showcasing him to other teams around the league.
Timofey Mozgov, Denver Nuggets
Teams are calling the Nuggets about the availability of Mozgov as we approach the deadline, but the Nuggets have maintained they aren’t actively shopping the 7-foot-1 center. But the reality of the situation is clear. The Nuggets have invested over $53 million in centers JaVale McGee and Kosta Koufos over the next few seasons. Mozgov is expected to become a restricted free agent this summer and the market always tends to dictate that teams will overpay productive young big men. The Nuggets already have $73 million on the books for next season, so a new deal for Mozgov would push them further into luxury tax territory. Golden State, Miami and Chicago have been rumored to have some interest in Mozgov.
Golden State Warriors Ready And Willing To Spend?
The Golden State Warriors have been one of the surprise teams in the league this season but are in the midst of a five game losing streak as we approach the All-Star break. While the team has had early success the front office isn’t resting on its laurels as it relates to roster improvement. The team may be willing to step further into luxury tax territory for the right deal.
Yeah, we can, if it makes sense for us,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers told Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle. “There are no orders from ownership that say, ‘This is the line we’ve drawn. Don’t go over it.’ There’s no edict saying, ‘You’re not allowed to do A, B or C.’”
“When you look at the economics of where we are, it’s really just cash at this point,” Myers added. “So it depends on if you want to take a longer view at some of the younger players, take a longer look at them. But we’ll explore a lot of different things – things that will potentially take us higher, keep us where we are, maybe go under.”
The Warriors currently have $71 million on the books this season and roughly $76 million on file for the 2014 campaign. Key reserve guard Jarrett Jack will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, while forward Carl Landry could potentially opt out after the season to test the market and secure a more lucrative multi-year deal.