MOR

Falling Dominoes

It’s a new week, so it’s time for another primer for the Mavericks. The rubber has finally met the road, and the Mavericks know their fate with most of their big decisions. Here we go.

They Got Their Man

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Houston officially had a problem with the Mavericks’ offer for Chandler Parsons. They decided that it was time to move on, allowing the Mavericks to get the man they wanted. While they have been searching for big fish over the last few summers, Dallas poached what they hope will be a star for the future.

Parsons took to Twitter and showed he’s ready to go with the Mavericks.

Of all people, Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley was one of the first to know of the information. He said he spoke to Parsons early Sunday afternoon and that is when Parsons found out that the Rockets would not match the offer. Mark Berman, a sports director in Houston, shared the information.

Parsons spoke with Berman and here’s what he said:

“I hope there’s no hard feelings. It’s a business and I had to do what’s best for my own individual career. I have nothing but love and the utmost respect for Houston and the organization, especially the fans. I’ll miss them a lot. It’s been crazy. Obviously when I signed that offer sheet with Dallas it was exciting. It was an unbelievable deal for me and my family. It’s a perfect situation for me. At that point it was win-win for me, whether going to Dallas or coming back to Houston. … I’m not surprised [they didn't match]. They have to do what’s best for their future. It’s out of my control. That was on them.”

On going to Dallas:

“I viewed myself as an up and coming star in this league. They were the ones that made the offer and look at me like a franchise-max player. That’s what I wanted. I want to be a priority. I want a bigger role. … Mark Cuban and Coach Carlisle made that clear to me, that’s how they view me and that’s what I’ll be in Dallas.”

For more on Parsons’ comments, you can go here.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban sent a message to me via his Cyber Dust App and said: ”Welcome to Dallas, Chandler Parsons!!!”

First off, fans likely need to send thanks to Chris Bosh. If Bosh decided not to take the max offer from Miami he was certain to become a Rocket. At that point, the Mavericks would be completely out of luck due to the Rockets matching the offer. Now, Houston will take Trevor Ariza for nearly half of the price.

Things weren’t adding up leading to the formal announcement of Houston deciding not to match. You heard the likes of Ariza, Luol Deng and Paul Pierce signing for deals that were well below the market value for the position. Why would those players not stay on the market, knowing that Dallas would still have money in play if Houston matched the offer? In the end, it appears they knew what Dallas was getting and that the extra money would not be there elsewhere.

Following up, what was Houston thinking? They forced themselves into a tough spot through all of this. The Rockets could have kept Parsons on the final season of his rookie contract, worth just $964,000, but chose to not pick up the option on his contract to maintain the right to match any offer sheet he received. Now, they move on…with egg on their face. They were outsmarted here and potentially outsmarted themselves.

Essentially, the Rockets chose to let Parsons go to Dallas because they believed that with the contracts held by Parsons, Howard and James Harden they would be essentially locked in to that roster, one that did not get out of the first round in this season’s playoffs. Houston will likely move on with Ariza’s defense and shooting, with potential max cap room next summer.

Based on the numbers for Ariza, Deng, and Pierce, the Mavericks clearly overpaid to get Parsons. That’s the price you have to pay with restricted free agents, ones that are 25 years old. In addition, that’s the price you pay when you don’t draft very well, which Dallas hasn’t done over recent years. Looking at through more context, the Mavericks could afford to overpay for Parsons. When you look at it, the combination of Parsons and Nowitzki for $25 million makes a nice collection. The Mavericks got value this summer and last summer with their acquisitions, allowing them to swing for the fences with Parsons. The Bank of Cuban had to end up buying the best young talent it could. Luckily for him and the Mavericks, they got their man.

Furthermore, this is just the latest chapter in the Cuban-Daryl Morey feud that has been established over the last few seasons.

Perspective is always interesting. I think emotions would be positive and high if you told people after Game 7 in San Antonio that things would shape up where Dirk Nowitzki signed for $10 million per year, Devin Harris would come back and that they would acquire Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons. It’s the summer of Tyson Chandler Parsons, everyone.

In terms of unique numbers, here’s a nerd-out stat pack for you to enjoy.

Meanwhile, Parsons’ day somehow got better as shortly after he was given official word that he would be a Maverick, ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that the 25-year-old will be added the Team USA roster on Monday. AMERICA!

(Photo Courtesy of Mike Marshall - @machinesports)

(Photo Courtesy of Mike Marshall – @machinesports)

Dirk’s Living Well

What kind of Sunday did Nowitzki have? The Germans won the World Cup over Argentina, giving him bragging rights over Manu Ginobili. On top of that, the Mavericks got him his boy in the form of Parsons. He doesn’t need it, but he should probably find a store and buy a lotto ticket.

What’s Coming?

Gal Mekel might have to slide down the depth chart in the handsomeness department. Dallas is getting a player who is only 25 and has shown he can play well in a potent offense. Parsons is going to have a chance to shine in Dallas’ flow offense. The Mavericks desperately needed perimeter shooting as Jose Calderon was traded away to help acquire Tyson Chandler into the mix. Enter Chandler Parsons.

With what the Mavericks were hoping to address after the trade with New York, Parsons fits exactly what they wanted (shooting, playmaking, driving ability and athleticism). They’re getting a suped up Jose Calderon with much, much, MUCH more upside.

Last season, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle wanted Shawn Marion to expand his range once again and incorporate the three-point shot. Marion obliged, and shot a total of 162 threes this past season. The defense will truly be stretched now with Parsons, as he took a total of 351 of them last season and made a total of 130.

The opposing defense will be stretched, but Dallas’ defense is likely going to be stretched, too. The Mavericks will be hurting in terms of defense with Parsons matching up with Monta Ellis. While Parsons isn’t nearly as bad as Calderon in terms of defense, he leaves more to be desired in terms of defensive disposition. Tyson Chandler might as well have the nickname “Sin Fixer” because he’ll need to be ready to protect the paint in a big way. In addition, he’ll probably need to be ready to grab a ton of rebounds.

Dallas is likely now moving on from Shawn Marion. He’s truly meant a lot to the Mavericks since he joined the team during the 2009-10 season. They will miss his rebounding, defense, veteran leadership and awesome socks. Without Marion, the Mavericks would have likely been dead in the water during their 2011 title run. He was the one who took the majority of the defensive assignments against the likes of Brandon Roy, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James during their run.

Time was running out for Marion as age was slowly catching up to him. He still has a couple of seasons left in the tank, but the Mavericks had to make the hard decision that it was best to move on. The Mavericks will always appreciate what he brought to the team and how good of a guy he was. Best of luck, ‘Trix.

Greybeard Gone 

Okay, Vince Carter didn’t have one, but he is old. The price of the Parsons offer sheet ultimately cost Dallas Carter. Sources told ESPN.com that Carter was finalizing a three-year, $12.2 million contract Friday night to join the Grizzlies. Carter was able to turn his career and reputation around in Dallas over the last three seasons. It’s intriguing to see that Carter will be making more money at age 37 than he did at 34. That’s a testament to his work ethic and the results he provided in Dallas during his time with the Mavericks.

Dallas tried to re-sign Carter with the cap-room exception worth $2.7 million per year, the most they could offer with the commitment to Parsons. For the last week and a half, the Mavericks felt relatively confident that they would be able to retain Carter. Once Memphis came into the picture and came with more of an aggressive offer, Dallas knew they were in trouble. A source told ESPNDallas.com’s Tim MacMahon that Carter informed the Mavericks that he would return to Dallas for a two-year deal worth $8 million, but they ultimately could only offer that if the Rockets exercised their right to match the offer to Parsons. Time was against Dallas here.

The Mavericks needed to help fill Carter’s void in terms of perimeter shooting off the bench. They acted accordingly.

Bargain-Bin Shopping

Sources told ESPN.com that the Mavericks will soon add Jefferson to their roster on a one-year minimum deal. Jefferson, a 13-year veteran, played for Utah last season, starting 78 games for the Jazz at age 34. In addition, he also shot 41 percent from 3-point range with the Jazz last season.

Jefferson isn’t expected to move into Carter’s role, but it makes much more economical sense to expect him to take over Wayne Ellington’s role from last season, a spot-minute player who can theoretically spread the floor. That said, Ellington couldn’t jump over forward Jae Crowder on the depth chart for the remaining swingman minutes available.

This makes a ton of sense for Dallas in the sense that Ellington cost them $2.6 million last season. If someone could very easily end up not getting a lot of minutes and is just there to fill out the 15-man roster, you’d like them to cost as little as possible.

There’s not much to see here, but it’s a solid, low-risk acquisition.

El Generico

Greg Smith has to be one of the most generic names possible, but that’s the name of one of the latest addition to the Mavericks roster. In a move that no one really saw coming (mainly because it’s not a big move), the Chicago Bulls traded him to Dallas on Saturday evening. Who is Greg Smith?

He’s 23 years old, 6-10, 250, and is considered to be purely a center.

This will be his fourth season in the NBA, with his second season being the one people will remember most and hope to see more of. In 2012-13, the second season, he was the primary backup center for the Houston Rockets behind Asik and played in 70 games, averaging about 16 minutes, scoring 6.0 points per game (on 62 percent shooting), 4.6 rebounds per game. When someone plays limited minutes, everyone jumps to the extrapolating per-36 minutes numbers. On a per-36-minutes basis those numbers translate to 14 points and 11 rebounds per game.

There’s plenty to like with a guy who can finish in the paint (and that’s it about the extent of his scoring), be a strong roller off the pick-and-roll and swat shots away. Take a look at this if you’re still unsure

Injuries and squeezing took away Smith’s opportunity to improve in Houston last season. With Dwight Howard and Omer Asik in the mix, Smith clearly didn’t have an opportunity for minutes. Multiple knee injuries got in his way during the time he was actually to step out on the floor.

Smith will be coming in as a low-risk investment at the minimum, likely spelling the end of the DeJuan Blair era in Dallas. The Mavericks will be hoping that Smith can do what Blair did for the team in terms of junking up games, providing energy, extra possessions and toughness. They’ll hope he can do that, but do it in the way Blair never could: with size.

Speaking Of…

ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reported late Sunday evening that the Mavericks and Washington Wizards were in talks in regards to a  potential sign-and-trade move revolving around DeJuan Blair. The Wizards were one of the few teams that had an interest in the big man last summer, before Dallas ultimately snagged him up. At first glance, a trade exception would seem like something that would be workable for both teams. That necessarily isn’t the case.

Trade exceptions would likely foil Dallas’ plans while they still technically have cap space left (yet to officially sign Dirk Nowitzki and Devin Harris). Those exceptions that could be offered for Blair would eat up valuable space for Dallas. They’ll likely be searching for cash, picks or the rights to a player that will likely never see American soil. There’s always a possibility that the Mavericks could coax the Wizards into taking Raymond Felton, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.

Outside the Box

While the Mavericks will continue doing their work via free agency, the amnesty window is still in play and could provide an added resource to the Mavericks. July 17 is the ending period where amnesty-eligible players could be let go by their team. This is the final list of amnesty-eligible players.

ATLANTA – Al Horford (nope)
BOSTON – Rajon Rondo (hope)
CHICAGO – Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah (nope)
MEMPHIS – Mike Conley (nope), Zach Randolph (nope)
OKLAHOMA CITY – Nick Collison (nope), Kevin Durant (haha), Kendrick Perkins (HAHA)
SAN ANTONIO – Tony Parker (nope)

That leaves us with Carlos Boozer. The Mavericks have claimed someone via amnesty (Elton Brand). Brand ended up being a useful player for the Mavericks at a pretty low rate. In order to do this, Dallas would need to remain under the cap in order to place the bid. They’re able to do so, even with the official announcement of Parsons being a Mav. They can do this because Dirk Nowitzki and Devin Harris haven’t officially been signed yet. As long as you have cap space, you’re able to place a bid. It might be in Dallas’ best interest to wait on those signings if they’re going to make a bid. By waiting, that doesn’t let the league have any insight on what they can actually offer, though most teams might already know.

The Mavericks do still need to establish a legitimate backup behind Dirk Nowitzki at the power forward position. You could certainly do a lot worse than Boozer. This is something to keep an eye on.

But Not Least…

The Mavericks will have their cap-room exception of $2.73 million and minimum deals left in play. Here is how the roster shakes out:

Center: Tyson Chandler – Brandan Wright – Greg Smith
Power Forward: Dirk Nowitzki
Small Forward: Chandler Parsons – Jae Crowder – Richard Jefferson
Shooting Guard: Monta Ellis – Ricky Ledo
Point Guard: Devin Harris – Raymond Felton – Gal Mekel

That means Dallas has three spots left.

Dallas will likely be looking for more perimeter shooting from the guard position, likely in the form of Mo Williams (taking all or most of the exception). It’s been reported that Bernard James is likely going to get a contract for the minimum with Dallas. Summer leaguers Ivan Johnson and Jackie Carmichael fit specific roles as undersized power forwards that could fit behind Nowitzki. Those two seem to be going uphill now as the roster space shrinks for the Mavericks. That should lead to some inspired efforts by them in Vegas.

Nowitzki’s backup is an issue, but they have one less headache on their hands now with Sunday’s major move. The door can’t fully be closed on Marion coming back, but it really doesn’t look likely. He’d have to be willing to come be his backup on a permanent basis. In addition, Marion would have to do it at the minimum, unless they find a taker for Felton. That would fix a lot of problems and shed the tears of many MFFLs who don’t want to see Marion go. I think it’s unlikely that things work out, but you just never know.

One intriguing option is thinking about true small ball (not just in terms of guards), but playing Parsons at the 4 some when Nowitzki sits. It’s something the Rockets loved doing. There are known setbacks when he would have to go up against the likes of Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge and others, but it will force the hand of the opposition at times, making them think about going small. It’s not an obvious option, but it’s something to consider. With Parsons’ versatility, he could be the most unique and versatile weapons to play along Nowitzki in quite some time.

If not, the Mavericks will likely be able to help avoid burning Parsons out. Something to note with him last season, the Rockets preferred to keep Parsons on the floor as much as possible, playing him 37.6 minutes per game. That ranked as the seventh most in the league and just 1.1 minute per game shy of league-leader Carmelo Anthony. Who ranked eighth? Monta Ellis at 36.9 minutes per game.

Chandler Parsons isn’t a big fish, but he’s young, has the ability to improve and brings more juice to Dallas’ offense. The Mavericks of 2013-14 were going to be fun to watch based on their offensive potential. The Mavericks of 2014-15 are going to be even more fun to watch with their offensive potential. A friend from their past in Tyson Chandler will try to help what ailed them on defense.

The Mavericks have reloaded, with some more room to improve.