The Mavs Bet, and More: Thoughts on the Trade Deadline

Dallas Mavericks: The biggest winners, by far, of the trade deadline were the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs dumped the contracts of Josh Howard and Drew Gooden on the Wizards in return for two very good players, Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood.

In Butler, the Mavs finally have something they have been lacking for the last two years: a legitimate two-guard with size.  Butler is great on both sides of the ball.  At 6-7 he has the potential to be a stopper at the two, like Stephen Jackson. In fact, having Butler and Marion at the wings could be every bit as effective for Dallas as having Jackson and Wallace at the wings is for Charlotte.  If you don’t think that’s effective, check out the latest whipping Charlotte put on Lebron and company.

But don’t sleep on what the addition of Haywood will mean to Dallas. Haywood is a huge and very effective inside player.  He has had trouble staying motivated in Washington, because he has been playing on a horrible team with two of the most selfish players in the league, Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison.  He was the fourth option in Washington’s offense, which is to say it was on the order of a miracle for him to receive a pass in the paint.

That’s over now.  Haywood is now playing with Jason Kidd, who can and will hit him in the lane for dunks.  And he is playing for a championship.  Watch out. I expect him to make his name this season.

Haywood made his presence felt immediately for the Mavericks last night, in their game against Orlando.  He was able to play Dwight Howard straight up, which allowed the Mavs to stick with Orlando’s shooters.  The Mavs dominated, in Orlando.

Another reason that Haywood will be good for Dallas is that he will press that doggiest of dogs, Eric Dampier, for playing time.  Damp has already upped his numbers because this is a contract year for him.  But Haywood’s presence could really light a fire under him, just as soon as he quits dogging it with his latest injury, a dislocated finger.

This trade was so good for Dallas that I am initiating The Mavs Bet.  This is a classic case of a trade so radically changing a team that it will take the bookies and the betting public a couple of weeks to adjust.  Consider this: Orlando was favored by 6.5 in last night’s game.  Feltbot was all over that, and will be betting Dallas in every game going forward for the next two weeks, or until the bookies adjust their lines.  (For more on this strategy, check out these posts: The Bobcats Bet and Stepping Off the Bobtrain).

But this trade will do more for Dallas than simply make feltbot money.  They are now in the equation in the West.  Think about how Dallas now matches up with the Lakers:  Haywood and Dampier on Bynum, Nowitzki on Gasol, Marion on a diminished-by-injury Artest, Kidd on Fisher, and Butler on his old buddy Kobe Bryant. Who has the size advantage? Remember what the 6-7″ Paul Pierce did to Kobe in the finals?  He dominated him, thanks to Big Chief Triangle. Interesting.

Two wildcards:  1) Chemistry — it’s very tough to get it in half a season. 2) Coaching  — I give the edge to Rick Carlisle over Big Chief Triangle.  Oh yes I do.

Charlotte Bobcats: The Bobcats picked up Tyrus Thomas and Theo Ratliff, for Flip Murray and Acie Law.  Thomas is an immensely talented player who is a total head case.  In other words, a lot like Anthony Randolph. It is absolutely guaranteed that he is going to clash with Larry Brown at some point.

So why do I love this trade for Charlotte?  Let me count the reasons: 1) Charlotte was desperately thin on the front line.  2)  Charlotte desperately needed an athletic big man who could rebound and block shots.  Check out Thomas’ line last night. 3)  Larry Brown is going to give Thomas playing time at his best position, something that Chicago didn’t do.  What position is that, Anthony Randolph fans? Backup center.

And 4), because Thomas is going to get The Talk.  Yes, from none other than Bobcats President Michael Jordan.  And then he’s going to get The Talk from another great champion, Stephen Jackson.  And that’s what is going to keep him in line when he gets The Talk from Larry Brown.  For the rest of this year, at least, I expect Thomas to put his head down and do what he’s told.

The Ratliff pickup was another great move.  Ratliff used to play for Brown, and knows exactly what he wants.  He is largely used up as a player, but does do one thing for the Bobcats:  He can play Shaq, Howard and Perkins straight up. The Bobcats now have three serviceable big men: Mohammed, Ratliff and Tyson Chandler.  They have an athletic big man with the potential to dominate backup centers: Tyrus Thomas.  Added to Diaw, Wallace, Jackson and Felton, this team is ready to rock the playoffs.

There is only one reason why I would not bet the Bobcats to beat the Cavs in the playoffs: they will not get a good whistle.  It is never a good idea to bet against the face of the NBA.

Cleveland Cavaliers:  The Cavs were desperate for a second banana to Lebron, and they got one in Antawn Jamison.  So why am I so skeptical of this move? It’s because Antawn Jamison is a losing basketball player.  He has lost everywhere he’s gone.  The one exception was the year he spent with Nellie in Dallas, and that too was a disaster.  The team lost all chemistry when he was on the floor, and floundered badly in the playoffs one year after making the conference finals.

What is it that makes Jamison a losing basketball player? I mean, he always puts up good stats, right?  He makes all-star teams, for heavens sake!  Let me suggest a few reasons:  1) He can’t guard anyone, not small forwards, not power forwards. 2) He can’t block shots or defend the rim.

Those two reasons alone are enough.  Those are the two reasons that Charles Barkley never won a title. And Barkley was ten times the player Jamison is.

Want one more reason? 3) He is a selfish gunner, an absolute killer of ball movement.  1.7 assists/game for his career.

That’s the long version.  Here’s the short:  Jamison doesn’t possess The Secret. He makes his teammates worse, not better.  Good luck with this move, Danny Ferry. You should have jumped at Stephen Jackson when you had the chance.  That would have gotten you a ring.

And now, for the musical interlude to this post, please sing along with feltbot:

Those little town blues

Are melting away.

I’m gonna make a brand new start of it,

In old New York…

Houston Rockets: The Rockets made a bold move, trading to Sacramento a player I absolutely love, Carl Landry, for Kevin Martin and Hilton Armstrong; and trading Tracy McGrady’s contract to the Knicks for Jordan Hill (the guy everyone wanted Nellie to draft over Stephen Curry –remember that?), Jared Jeffries, and draft picks.

Houston made this move out of desperation:  they simply had no go-to guy on offense, and now they have a good one in Martin.  But they gave up a heck of a good player in Landry, one who is on the verge of developing into a star.

The effect on Houston’s chemistry is very difficult to predict.  On offense, Trevor Ariza’s role is going to be lessened dramatically.  Will he be ok with that? On defense, the Rockets will be significantly worse.  Presumably, Ariza will shift to small forward, and Battier will go to the bench.  Hmmm.  Will the fierce tenacity on defense that has gotten the Rockets this far survive this trade?

It should be noted that the Rockets finally got some length in this deal in Armstrong and Hill.  Will they actually get minutes? Can they play?

The Rockets are currently in 9th place in the West.  Will this deal get them into the playoffs?  I say no, and in fact their record might even suffer as they attempt to forge a new team identity.

Sacramento Kings: The Kings got a whole lot better in this trade.  Landry is an absolute stud.  What happens to Jason Thompson?  Cover your eyes, Anthony Randolph fans:  Backup Center.  Picking up Landry means picking up the tempo, and Tyreke Evans in the open court is a fearsome beast.

As for Martin, much was made of the “chemistry issues” between him and Tyreke Evans.  How a true point guard could have chemistry issues with a shooting guard of Martin’s caliber is beyond me.  I think this trade may be a tacit admission that Evans is better suited to off-guard than point guard. Most of the Kings’ success this year has come with Evans playing alongside Beno Udrih.  The Kings also have a talented two guard in the wings: Francisco Garcia.

Bottom  line:  it is much easier to find a two guard than it is a power forward of Landry’s caliber.  Just ask Don Nelson.

Portland Trailblazers: The Blazers’ success after the injuries to Oden and Pryzbilla was no surprise to me.  Those injuries finally forced defensive genius Nate McMillan to put his best team on the court.  And forced LaMarcus Aldridge to start banging.

Now that the Blazers have picked up Marcus Camby, one of the truly great defensive centers and rebounders in the league, they are better than they have ever been.

Just so long as Roy gets all the way back from his hamstring.

Golden State Warriors: The Warriors did nothing at the deadline, and I’m down with that.  Is there any urgency to the Warriors situation at this point? The Warriors were offered nothing good, and didn’t force anything.

Can anyone at this point truly say what it is that the Warriors need, once they get all their players back?  A power forward?  Does that mean we’re giving up on Anthony Randolph and Brandan Wright?  As I remember, 100% of Warriors beat writers, and 110% of Warriors fans believe those players are the cat’s pajamas.

A small forward?  Dissatisfaction with Corey Maggette is rampant in the blogosphere.  But where is it that you expect Kelenna Azubuike to play?  Or Anthony Morrow?  Or Raja Bell?

A center?  The play of Biedrins and Turiaf has left a lot to be desired this season.  But can they return to their old form? And is now the time to move them, when their value is low?

The favorite topic of the media wolves right now is whether Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry can coexist in the same backcourt.  Do we really know the answer to that, half a season into Curry’s rookie season and Monta’s comeback?  Why not seek more answers in the second half of the season? (Quick answer: it doesn’t sell newspapers).

As for dumping Monta Ellis for OJ Mayo and Hasheem Thabeet, please.  Any decent fantasy sports player could tell you why this trade is ridiculous. You never trade a great player for two mediocrities, now matter what your team need is. Never.

We have never had a chance to see what kind of team the Warriors can be with all their players healthy.  I continue to believe that it could be a very special team.  But you’re probably sick of hearing that from me.  I’ll leave you with the words of Raja Bell:

There’s a chance Bell, an unrestricted free agent, could be back with the Warriors next season. The team has voiced a desire to re-sign him, and he is excited about that prospect.

“This team has a lot of talent and a lot of young players,” Bell said. “It’s just a shame that people haven’t gotten to see the whole finished product play together. I think this team can do some really special things.

“I’d like to see what I could bring to this team and see where we could go.”

18 Responses to The Mavs Bet, and More: Thoughts on the Trade Deadline

  1. It’s hard to read your analysis of the Dallas trade and not see four or five holes in the Warriors, last night and in the foreseeable future. Take your points in paragraphs 2 through 6 and apply to our team.

    Promising words from Bell. . . .

  2. On a team with the W’s record, any player should be on the table, but I do believe that waiting untill the draft is the way to go, no point in taking things apart now. By the end of the season it should be crystal clear if, for example, the back court needs a replacement. As of now, the evidence does point in the way of replacing one of the starting guards but I’m not ready to flush either Curry or Ellis yet. Randolph or Wright are redundant at the 4, but if one could play the 3 at high level, that would be worth holding on to.

  3. Looks like the Wizards might have done a little better than one would think: they’ve responded with two immediate wins with Andre Blatche putting up more than respectable numbers relacing Haywood. And I agree with you on Carl Landry and Sacramento becoming a better team.

    Of course the positive for the Warriors–this season–is that the likelihood of them catching either of those two teams is now diminished, giving them a better draft spot.

    (Different discussion for a different day, but this morning I wrote down my draft preference. As of 2/20/10 My order is:
    1. John Wall
    2. Evan Turner
    3. DeMarcus Cousins
    4. Cole Aldrich
    5. Patrick Patterson
    6. Wesley Johnson
    Sorry if I jumped the gun on this.)

  4. OG, there’s always a “secret” aspect behind giving players away: there is someone behind them that the franchise wants to give PT to.

    That’s how it was with JRich and Monta. And that’s how it was with Jackson and Azubuike and Morrow.

    Its a very underreported angle in the press. Because its only the worst possible angle that sells the papers.

  5. Nivrag, Nellie would have no use for Haywood, because he would slow the tempo too much. Dallas has a different system, in which he’s a great fit.

    I think Beans and Turiaf can get it done in Nellie’s system, IF they get healthy, and IF the other holes get plugged.

    As for the wings, Nellie has always coveted big tough defenders like Butler at that position. Hence Jackson, Azubuike, Bell, Martin. Playing Monta and Curry together means he needs a defender at the SF.

    That’s bad news for Morrow next year. If Monta and Curry are still here his playing time will be limited. Probably bad news for Maggette as well: he’s not a great defender at the three.

    I fully expect both Azubuike and Bell to be here, and playing major roles. So clearly the team has to be remade in some fashion.

  6. By the way, feltbot; good call on not commenting on the Utah game. Good call.

  7. It was the front court I was thinking about most, especially with Wright and Randolph being works in progress, and fairly lightweight ones at that.

    At least the club didn’t do something stupid before the trade deadline.

    I’m really intrigued with Bell’s comments and am surprised he’s considering staying. That he might want to stay is one vote of confidence in the team. And he would add so much — experience, leadership, stability, and, in case we need it, this:

  8. Wow, a video in the comments… nice! I’ve been thinking about adding pics and video to my posts, but still haven’t tried it… I know how to do it at GSoM but not here, lol. Anyway, thanks for that Nivrag.

    I love Raja Bell, and so does Nellie. And Bell played for both Nellie’s Mavs and D’Antoni’s Suns, so he knows what a good team looks like. He also got very PO’d at the Suns when they brought in Shaq and Porter and tried to change the system. He much prefers an up tempo system, he loved playing with Nash, and I’m sure he loves what he sees in Curry, who is the closest thing to Nash I’ve ever seen.

    He’s not just blowing smoke. I think he wants to play for Nellie, in this system, on this team.

  9. Not sure how that happened — I thought I pasted in a link.

  10. Feltbot,

    Nice take here, “The Warriors were offered nothing good, and didn’t force anything.”

    Exactly. Now why is that so hard for people to understand. Some of the trade chips are injured and you want to wait until this summer AFTER you know where you stand in the draft.

    GMs called Riley hoping he’d give away Morrow Or Turiaf. He didn’t. Imagine that.

    Now isn’t it funny that the same people complaining about the W’s not making a move are the same people who would have gone ballistic if they made a bad trade for short-term gain?


    Felt: Monta is not a great player. He’s a very nice scorer but he’s a volume shooter who’s small size for his position puts him at a great disadvantage against many better, bigger scorers in the league. He also makes very bad decisions at endgame when “great” players truly need to shine and often take over a game. Mayo is not mediocre; not close in my book. He is different than Monta but just as athletic, bigger/stronger and has a better BBall IQ. Not taking the Mayo/Thabeet offer was a mistake by the Warriors. I’d also like to know whether we tried to get Landry for Monta. That would have been even better, if possible.

  12. Mayo is not just as athletic as Monta.

    Monta was not a volume shooter in 07-08 when he shot 53% and had teammates every night that could help.

    Monta, although he hasn’t done it on a regular basis yet, can make people around him better. OJ does not have that potential. And his defense isn’t good.

    Thabeet’s career is going nowhere. Memphis blew it with that pick and now they want another team to take on his big rookie scale contract.

  13. COM, first of all, put yourself in Memphis’ shoes. If what you say about Monta had any grain of truth, why in the world would they give up Mayo and their #2 draft pick for him? Obviously, there is a disconnect between your reality and theirs.

    Thabeet is an obvious bust. Memphis totally blew that pick, and are trying to unload him as fast as possible, before it becomes clear even to horrible GMs like Steve Kerr and Danny Ferry that he’s a bust. Being tall guarantees you nothing in the NBA. 10 seven footers fail miserably for every 1 that is worthy of playing time. Hello, Patrick O’Bryant.

    So it’s Mayo for Monta. That’s simply laughable. Mayo is one inch taller and does not play any defense. Why in the world is Memphis so desperate to get rid of him? Did that ever cross your mind?

    Monta Ellis is, in Don Nelson’s words, an “Offensive genius.” He can put up 40 points without breaking a sweat, against defenses that are essentially triple teaming him. And come right back and do it again the next day. Can anyone in their right minds imagine Mayo doing that? Monta and Mayo are not even close in terms of talent. Mayo is a dime a dozen in the NBA. Another JRich, without JRich’s size. He’s an undersized two guard, without the speed and athleticism that makes Monta special. A 20 point scorer, if you let him, who plays only one end of the court. A dime a dozen.

    Monta’s kind of talent doesn’t come around very often. And it can be worth EVERYTHING to an NBA team. Allen Iverson took a 76er team of nobodies to the NBA finals. When you have a talent like this, you do everything in your power to keep it, not dump it on the first joke trade you’re offered.

    No doubt, a lot of flaws in Monta’s game have shown up this season. But what would you expect when:
    1) Its his first season back from major injury and a long layoff, and he has something to prove about his health.
    2) He’s been forced to carry the entire load for his team.
    3) He’s been forced to play literally every minute of every game.
    4) He’s been playing without any big men for most of the season.
    5) He’s been playing with the most scrambled lineups in the NBA, with an improvised game plan every night.
    6) He’s been paired in the backcourt with a rookie.
    7) Half of his teammates on any given night have been fresh out of the D-league.

    Anyone who thinks they know Monta’s game, and what he is capable of, on the basis of this season’s evidence, is simply talking through their hat. He and Curry have played half a season together, on a D-league team. Let’s see what happens when the whole squad gets healthy.

    Next year.

  14. It’s easy to argue either side of a trade that didn’t happen – we don’t really know the exact terms being discussed. I did see a rumor that Memphis wanted 1 more thing from us – our 2010 1st round pick.

    Would you do that deal? I think most of us would agree that’s too much for the Warriors to give up.

  15. The Warriors just need 2 keep developing the players they have, resign Raja Bell and draft DeMarcus Cousins wit the top three pick.

  16. optimus…exactly.

    So lets all pull for the teams with slightly better records than the Warriors to win, so we get the pleasure of games like tonight’s comeback win over the Hawks without worrying about the lost draft position. Go Sactown! Washington! Indiana! etc!


    Felt: You are overvaluing Monta and greatly undervaluing Mayo. I would call Monta gifted athletically but a terrible decision-maker. Mayo is gifted athletically and a good decision-maker. Also, I haven’t looked at the draft measurements but believe Mayo is 2″ taller than Monta and 20 lbs or so bulkier. I agree that Thabeet is a stiff. I think Memphis wanted to do the trade to get rid of Thabeet’s contract and possibly get the local flair with Monta who will sell more tix. I’m sure they think Monta is great, too, but they evaluated Thabeet high enough to take him at #2. Enough said.

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