Would Mavericks Consider Rudy Gay Trade?
Just over a month away from the 2013 NBA Trade Deadline, trade winds are already stirring as one of the most controversial owners in sports has come out virtually guaranteeing his team makes a move. Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban has come out and publicly stated that his team is going to be extremely active over the next month exploring trade options.
“There’s a 100 percent chance that we’re going to look to do something,” Cuban told Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News recently.
Cuban wasn’t finished there.
Just a day later, Cuban reinforced that he’s committed to making changes to the Mavericks, who currently sit at 12th in the Western Conference with a disappointing 16-23 record.
“We’re letting everybody know the Bank of Cuban’s open,” Cuban told Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. “And if it’s the right deal, we don’t mind taking back money. But we’re not going to do a trade just to do a trade. It’s got to be worthwhile.
“Every day, I’m going through rosters, trying to come up with ideas for [Mavericks' General Manager] Donnie [Nelson],”
Despite Dallas putting together a nice little three-game winning streak over the past week, it’s clear that the Mavericks owner hasn’t been a fan of what he’s seen from his team so far this season
Even Mavericks’ head coach Rick Carlisle has iterated recently that he believes this season is going to continue to be an uphill climb with the team currently in place.
“It’s going to be work for us,” Carlisle said before Monday’s 113-98 blowout win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. “I’m not under any false presumptions that we’ve got it figured out and that’s not how this year’s going to be. Every game’s going to be challenging.”
Looking at the Mavericks’ roster, it may be easier said than done trying to put together enticing trade offers to propose to other teams around the NBA. As the “Bank of Cuban” statement alluded to, Dallas has plenty of expiring contracts to allow another team to make a salary dump that includes a talent the Mavs are interested in. While that’s a solid starting point, the Mavericks don’t exactly possess the young talent to go along with expiring contracts that perspective teams generally covet.
One name that’s been thrown around quite a bit, not just with Dallas, but across the NBA has been Memphis Grizzlies’ small forward Rudy Gay. Despite featuring the fourth best record in the brutally talented Western Conference at 24-12, the Grizzlies have seemingly been dangling their budding young superstar most of the season.
For the Mavericks, a team looking for that second superstar to place next to former NBA Most Valuable Player Dirk Nowitzki now and hope he becomes the face of the franchise later. If Memphis were to find a group of players they covet on the Mavs that came close to his roughly $16.4 salary this season, the 26-year old Gay is seemingly an excellent fit.
Still, it’s difficult to see Memphis disposing of Gay in what would amount to nothing more than a salary dump. With a team that’s right in the thick of contention in the West, it’s mind boggling that the Grizzlies are even discussing a deal behind the scenes for one of the most talented players on the roster.
Even if it isn’t Gay that ends up coming to Dallas, there’s little doubt that Cuban and the Mavericks front office are itching to make a deal by the February 21 deadline. Cuban has noted that Dirk Nowitzki is off the table, and it’s not likely that O.J. Mayo will be apart of any deal either considering his contract status for next season, but virtually every other player on the Mavs’ roster could be available.
That being said, let’s take a look at the most valuable assets Dallas has to offer moving forward:
Looking at this Mavericks roster, it’s clear that this was not only expected to, but designed to be a one-and-done team in 2013. Cuban has been clear about his desire to possess financial flexibility heading into the summer of 2013 and he’s done just that in Dallas. When the 2012-13 NBA season concludes, there will be just five players with guaranteed contracts on this Mavericks team heading into the offseason.
There’s a total of roughly over $20 million in either expiring or potentially expiring contracts (including potential turned-down Qualifying Offers for Darren Collison and Rodrigue Beaubois) that Dallas can offer to a potential trade partner. Cost-cutting teams willing to unload some talent in exchange for cap relief will likely be giving these Mavs a call come February.
If bargain-bin talent is more on the agenda of a prospective trade partner, Dallas also has a few guys that still have the talent to make a difference in today’s NBA. With Collison, the 25-year old starting point guard (as of today) for the Mavericks has been largely hit or miss this season but the combination of his low salary and potential expiring contract could be enticing to other teams.
Especially considering the way he’s come on as of late (15.4 points on 53 percent shooting, 5.4 assists and 1.8 steals per over his last five), Collison could be an attractive option for a team looking to put their faith in a young point guard who’s shown flashes of brilliance in the NBA. Even if Collison doesn’t end up fitting their needs, a potential team could decline to make his Qualifying Offer after the season – thus making Collison a free agent and erasing his $2.3 mill off the books.
No spring chicken at 30-years old, Kaman still has value as a serviceable 7-footer that teams can plug into the starting lineup and expect double-digit scoring and decent rebounding. With averages of 13 points (50.5 percent shooting) and 6.4 rebounds per game this season, Kaman has been the Mavs best option at center this season.
Let’s also not forget, as with most of these Mavs, that Kaman is only on the books for this season and would be an $8 million expiring contract this summer for a team in need of cap relief.
Though costly at roughly $17 million owed to him over the next two seasons – as he will likely choose not to exercise his early termination option this summer – Marion could be the most talented of this bunch. Even as one of the elder statesman in Dallas at 34-years of age, Marion still resonates as one of the top defenders in the game.
Guarding nearly every position on the floor from point guards to power forwards, Marion has averaged over 10 points per game this season and leads Dallas in rebounding at 8.1 per contest. Even though he’s not likely to leave over $9 million on the table next season, Marion could be just what the doctor ordered for a playoff-contending squad looking for a defensive stopper – particularly a defensive-minded team like the Grizzlies.
Probably the most surprising aspect about the players in this group is that all three of them have a higher Player Efficiency Rating (PER) than the more flashy star in Gay. Actually, with a PER of just 15 this season, Gay has only the fifth-best number on the Grizzlies and what would be just the 11th-best on the Mavericks.
However, Gay would be the second-leading scorer for Dallas at 17.8 points per and a change of scenery could be just what he needs to get back on track after dealing with trade rumors every year in Memphis. Time will only tell if the Mavericks have what it takes to land a player like Gay but, as of right now, it’s clear that Cuban and the Mavericks are going to try to do whatever it takes to turn this season around.