Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time...

That the Dallas Mavericks will come to regret trading Devin Harris and a pair of 1st round picks (2008 & 2010) to the New Jersey Nets in exchange for Jason Kidd is a given, but consider the following for some added perspective:
  • Kidd has produced pretty similar rebound and assist numbers in Dallas’ 3 wins (7 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 8.7 apg), and their 7 losses (11.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 8 apg), but did you know that he’s shot less than 40% (8-27 total) in each of the Mavs’ wins, and at least 50% in each of their losses? I have no idea what to do with that information, but I though it was interesting.
  • New Jersey is 4-2 and averaging 102 points per game with Devin Harris in the lineup, and 0-3, averaging 87 a night without him. In the team’s four wins, Harris is averaging 28.5 ppg and 13.5 FTA/g (88.6% FT% this season); those numbers jump to 33.7 ppg and in the 17.3 FTA/g (45-for-50) in Harris’ last three games, all Nets victories.
  • By trading Harris for Kidd, the Mavs thought they were acquiring a superstar point guard to help them make one more run at the title they fumbled away in 2006, and to then provide over $20 million worth of cap relief after this season. Instead, they are looking more and more like a lottery team (without a first-rounder in 2008 or 2010), have alienated one of their veteran leaders (Jerry Stackhouse) and have an owner who’s been indicted by the Feds, none of which are likely to work in their favor when Dirk Nowitzki opts out following the 2009-10 season.
  • Sadly, the Mavs may not even be able to enjoy the cap space freed up by J-Kidd’s expiring contract. Mark Cuban’s indictment promises to be a pretty big distraction for some time- not an attractive selling point for top-flight free-agents. Plus, if this thing leads to an actual trial, and the Feds don’t like to indict people without some sort of a case, you can bet the David Stern and the NBA’s old-guard will demand that Cuban sell the Mavericks. Given the current economic climate, not only would Cuban be forced to accept a fire-sale price for the team, but the lack of available credit will dramatically hurt any potential buyer, unless they are EXTREMELY well-funded.

This really is turning into a catastrophic situation. From a basketball perspective, the Mavs overestimated their contender status, and miscalculated the impact of Jason Kidd- leaving them a worse team in search of a player just like the one they traded away, with two fewer draft picks to use to get him. This season, they were looking like a team in decline, but with a passionate owner with very deep pockets who would make every effort to return them to the top of the league within a few seasons. Mark Cuban’s legal problems, combined with the current economic crisis, have the potential to destroy the Dallas Mavericks, sending this team to bottom of the NBA for a decade or more.

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