Last night, I decided it would be big fun to chat up the Dallas Mavericks summer of 2009 with my friend and sports colleague, Skin. It is a complete and total coincidence that Skin was in the news yesterday and even though I did ask him all about the career changes that are underway in his world, that was not something I wanted to share with the class. Those of you who do care which station or what time many of us talk into a microphone have Barry Horn and Richie Whitt to follow, but Skin has some things on the horizon that sound pretty cool.
Anyway, on the Mavericks landscape, he is generally as dialed in as anyone, and I wanted to pick his Mavs brain and see what I found as we exchanged Mavs IM's for 60 minutes last night while watching Kevin Millwood blow up in Anaheim:
Sturm1310: ok- let's get this party going- 60 minutes of Mavs talk in your face.
Sturm1310: So, tell me, how is this Mavs summer feeling to you?
skinnyfresh25: I think it's off to a good start. Actually saw J Kidd and his three kiddos at the Mac store today off of Knox and he was in a great mood. Says cuban isn't done yet. That was obviously the first domino. How are the P1s reacting to Gortat?
Sturm1310: I think most people see a big man who is: A) Big, B) White, and C) Foreign and the masses get worried. But, I like it. I think he is at that perfect age for a breakout and I also like that Morey and Popovich wanted him. And, Orlando hates to see him go, too. I am bullish on this. Very much so. You?
skinnyfresh25: I'm pretty pumped about it too. It's not like I've seen the dude play a ton, but I feel like he's a dude that goes hard which is the number one knock against Big Damp. He also has nice hands which is the second biggest knock on Big Damp. And the money is right. I don't think he's a post scoring threat, but he's not an offensive liability either because he can catch and finish so slip picks and on the ball screens become weapons with him. Mavs need his size and motor. And as you said, the age is right. but this off-season hinges on trades...
Sturm1310: True. And doesn't Gortat free you up to comfortably move Damp? Both the Gortat and Kidd signings seem to project forthcoming bold strokes.
Sturm1310: or strikes.
skinnyfresh25: Yes on strikes and strokes. Is that weird? Are you gonna throw a bunch of emoticons in the mix because they frighten me. hold on one second, Lil Maya just emerged from her room...
Sturm1310: The beauty of these chats is that nobody will read them until the morning so you have all the time you need.
skinnyfresh25: That was my version of Chad Ford saying "hold on a GM is calling me." I like Chad Ford as much as the next guy but any GM who'd call a dude that had Pavel and Lampe as sure-shot top 5 picks is insane.
Sturm1310: OK, you have no doubt heard about this Shawn Marion stuff. Quick reaction to a sign-and-trade for the Matrix at the cost of Stack
skinnyfresh25: I think it's an upgrade in talent since Stack doesn't play at all, but Marion kind of duplicates what JOHO does well so there'd need to be more moves made. If they get Marion then Josh needs to be moved for a true 2, though they could play them together. You're not getting younger with that approach and you still don't have an iso-type wing. I like JOHO more than most but isolating him = step back jumper off one dribble from 20 with 16 seconds on the shot clock. I don't see how it can happen however. Seems like Toronto needs every dollar they can get to make Hedo work and I don't see how adding 2 million helps that cause. They do it just to help out Marion? I didn't realize he meant so much to the Raptor community. What do you think?
Sturm1310: I don't see how it fits. It is easy to say Marion + Kidd = magic, but I seem to recall that Marion is not the defender he once was, and also has a knack for thinking every shot is a good one. His 3 point release makes me cringe (despite its results) and overall it is a move that confuses me. Now, there may be a move behind it that makes this make more sense, but if that is the bold strike/stroke, then it looks to me another guy on the wrong side of 30 is being brought in to try to change the unchangeable
skinnyfresh25: I agree with you. I feel the same way about all the people wanting to get their Rip Hamilton on - including our boy Bacsik. He goes to the line less than JOHO and doesn't create his own shot and is a wheels off ballhandler and has four years of 8 figure salary left. Sounds a lot like Finley if you ask me. I think they need to target a young scoring wing and see if they can make a trade concoction out of that. Target a Marvin Williams type. Anyone out there you liking?
Sturm1310: I do like the premise of Mike Redd, but with Milwaukee moving Jefferson and Charlie V, are they still looking to dump?
Sturm1310: good gosh get Milwood out of there!
skinnyfresh25: I did some inquiring about that dude and the vibe I got was that he is on the serious decline. And it effectively kills any 2010 plans. Don't worry, Millwood is an ace, the tide is about to turn.
Sturm1310: well, throw a few names at me from teams looking to dump money. let's hash this out. Surely you have your hit list.
Sturm1310: And if you say Marquis Daniels I am jumping through my computer and choking you
skinnyfresh25: I think Marvin Williams is my favorite dream candidate since Caron Butler ain't going anywhere. I think if you wanted Jason Richardson you could get him - not sure I want him. Though i'd prefer him to a Maggette who I think is an uncontrollable basketball virus. I also think you could get Barbosa and playing him with Kidd would be fine since Kidd can cover 2s and Barbosa can watch point guards dribble around him. I think that's kind of a give-up though. I'd love to pry Rudy Fernandez out of Portland, but I don't see how that happens. I'm OK with them getting Quisy for the Bi-Annual Exception, I prefer him to Wright though Wright is actually a better shooter. But that wouldn't be an exciting summer.
Sturm1310: wow. I am not sure too much of that would get the city worked up. Is Marvin being shopped?
Sturm1310: And by that, I obviously mean is there some sort of sign-and-trade possibility? He, like Gortat, is restricted, true?
Sturm1310: And Bass.
Sturm1310: or do I once again not understand the cap rules?
skinnyfresh25: Depends what you believe their financial situation is. I never believed they were shopping Josh Smith. Now that they have Crawford they could conceivably play Johnson at the 3 if they plan on keeping Bibby. he is restricted but a S&T is possible. it gets tricky because he could easily be BYC depending on the order of operations. They're under the cap depending on what the figure comes in at and how much they sign Bibby for (if at all - they may renounce him for all we know). I think it's possible and I bet they'd consider Josh for Marvin. I know the Mavs like Josh but that'd be great value for him and Josh has an outstanding contract for productivity and maneuverability. Yes - Bass is early-bird so Mavs can match up to what he'll likely get offered. Unless portland makes the weirdest signing in the history of hoops and gives Bass 9 million. You gonna fix punctuation/spelling on this cuz i'm trying really hard to not be an idiot?
Sturm1310: I can fix it, but I think the misplaced punctuation is what let's people know we are human and not media droids or products of some stuffy journalism school
skinnyfresh25: that's hot, yo!
Sturm1310: OK. So you think the Mavs are slow playing their hand on Bass - because i was very confused at the seeming indifference toward about their only young, athletic talent. Are they attempting to shut up and keep his bids low?
skinnyfresh25: I think they're letting the market bear itself out. This is a market where guys like David Lee and Paul Millsap (infinitely better players than Bass IMO) are standing around waiting to get low balled. I have no idea why OKC thinks Millsap is a bad fit as I've read. If i'm them I move Jeff Green and start Millsap alongside Durant. OKC has a chance to be really good by the start of the 2010-2011 season. Back to your Damp question - I think he' more likely to get moved at the deadline in February, though as an eager fan I hope not
Sturm1310: interesting on Damp. I am just done with his half-hearted efforts. When he didn't have Dirk's back with Kenyon, I was done with him.
skinnyfresh25: I bet he has more Ed Hardys than everyone we know combined. Weird thing about Damp, he'll give his best effort this season since his last season in GS and it will drive everyone nuts.
Sturm1310: You mean go "Millwood" on us? As in, finally remember how to play when there is a check on the line?
skinnyfresh25: At least Damp always shows up in shape. The Mavs have over 20 million in expirings right now - they just want to be diligent. Something good will happen before August 10th.
Sturm1310: You think Cuban is fine with money? Hicks and Jones appear to be bleeding pretty badly. Times are tough, you know.
skinnyfresh25: I had some friends lose their jobs over at the Mavericks last week. I think everyone is hurting. I think Cuban is sick of losing money with the team - people have unrealistic expectations with his wallet and it's not fair to him. Though he put himself out there like that in the early days and it was probably Nellie's fault for not caring how he spent Mark's money. I think the Mavs will be opportunistic but not reckless. The Spurs are the model of competitiveness and fiscal responsibility I think Mark is envious of that scenario and it's taken a long time to clean up that mess. he's really bellied up on this Kidd deal and I respect it.
Sturm1310: Are you fine with Gortat over Marvin, Artest, and my pet, Ariza?
Sturm1310: Ariza seems like exactly what they need. A wing who can defend, drive, and shoot. and, oh yeah, he is 24.
skinnyfresh25: If those were options, then no. I don't think those were options. I'm just excited they used their mid-level. I disagree with your Ariza assessment, though I wanted him. Awesome defender. Solid spot-up shooter, though the playoffs were not indicative of his career in that regard. He may be trending up there or he may have just caught lightening in a bottle. Every single shot he took was wide-open. But he's solid there - where you're wrong is drive. Dude has zero handles. The second he floors it all Hell is breaking loose. If he had handles you have a 20ppg dude. he will never create his own shot. But I wanted him for the MLE - sure. he really is a lock-down defender. had they pulled that off then they would have had to move JOHO for a more traditional create your own shot wing.
Sturm1310: so we are back to the create-your-own-shot guys. which seems to not include a ton of options. We have chips. But where to use them?
skinnyfresh25: I think whatever the Mavs do is not even in the rumor mill right now. None of the deals they’ve pulled off in this regime have been save for Kidd. Your question about the MLE brings me back to what drives me crazy about message board GMS btw. Just cuz you found a spreadsheet that has somewhat accurate salary numbers doesn’t means you can put together deal. Just cus a dude is on the market for the MLE doesn’t mean you can get in on the action. So much of this business depends on relationships with other front-offices and relationships with agents. Most fans don’t realize that. Its hilarious to me that Donnie gets ripped despite being a huge factor in putting together 9 50 win teams with a Finals appearance. And who knows what Donnie has wanted to do that Mark didn’t? And conversely who knows what great ideas MArk may have had that Donnie or Keith talked him out of. You judge a front office on the team on the floor and this team had been at worst really good for a decade now.
Sturm1310: Assuming you don’t mind going over the 1 hour time limit to finish that concept, I have no issue with Donnie, except the approach to drafting in the post Devin Harris era. that has been crazy to miss that many times, IMO.
Sturm1310: and then to compound the issue by saying “there isn’t anything in that draft” like he told Norm - only for us to see that teams found plenty of players in the 2nd round.
skinnyfresh25: I’ll sit here all night homie. What picks has he missed on? the one that I hated was trading a future first for Pavel (same draft as Devin). As Big Ben is my witness, i walked in Moody, watched him play for 5 seconds and declared he’d never play any substantial minutes in the league so i never got that. When I was on the Ticket doing the draft with Norm I believe I said “kill me with death” when they drafted Fazekas over Big Baby, but a week later they got Bass as a FA and i like him better than Big Baby so it’s kind of a wash. Guys miss on second rounders all the time. Every GM. How many guys can we rip for passing on Sessions?
Sturm1310: I get that. I just need you to have 1 player to show for your picks from 2004-2008 (aside from Devin at the top of 2004)- Aside from Big Baby, that same draft had Marc Gasol sitting there when Rashawn Terry was snagged. I wasn’t saying it at the time, but it isn’t my job to know Marc Gasol.
Sturm1310: cheap second guessing, I know. And finding Bass and Barea for nothing mitigate much of this. Just pointing out that this roster is old and one way of changing it is to find young talent when others miss it.
Sturm1310: Let’s hope we got it right in 2009. But, you would enjoy seeing a camera on me when they took that back-up center from Ohio State when it happened live (before they traded him, of course).
skinnyfresh25: I remember saying i had zero interest in Gasol at the time because he was a terrible athlete so i can’t go back on that now. But Terry is a classic second round pick - most dudes are like him. He played at a great program, had the potential to defend. Seemed smart. But at the end of the day he was a second round pick because he’s not an NBA caliber player. the Mavs are old because they traded two first round picks and a young all-star point guard for Kidd. That’ll do it to you. But after all that, this Mavs team will again win 50 games this year and still be able to rebuild with cap room next summer. I think that’s a pretty strong statement about their front-office
skinnyfresh25: Dude -I was visibly shaken when they drafted Mullens. Seriously, it was messed up.
Sturm1310: Trust me, Donnie has the job for as long as he wants it in my world. Cheeseheads unite.
skinnyfresh25: I think August will bring some excitement for Mav fans…
Sturm1310: OK, brother. 1 hour and 14 minutes of good strong July Mavs talk. Much obliged, and let’s do it again soon if it didn’t hurt too much.
skinnyfresh25: Anytime homeboy - you know I geek out on this stuff…later
Sturm1310: Thanks, Skin.