Mavs Add Blair and Frontcourt Depth

30 07 2013

BlairMavs

He may have no knees, but he has better knees than another big man the Mavs were pursuing.

The Dallas Mavericks have come to terms on a one-year deal worth $1.4 million (the veteran’s minimum) with DeJuan Blair, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.

The 6-7, 270 lb. power forward/center was drafted No. 37 out of Pittsburgh by the San Antonio Spurs in 2009 and fell that low due to the fact that he has no ACLs in both of his knees. Even though this seems like it would be a cause of concern, he has had a fairly healthy career during his four years with the Spurs, missing only three games during his first three seasons.

Blair has career averages of 7.8 ppg and 5.8 rpg on 52.8 percent shooting from the field. He also has averaged only 18.9 mpg during his four seasons, showing his ability to make an impact with minimal minutes. The 24-year-old bruiser’s per 36-minute stats last season were 13.9 points and 9.7 rebounds on 52.4 percent shooting, according to Basketball Reference. He is known for his scrappy play, rebounding and ability to just find a way to get the ball in the basket. Last season, 81.1 percent of Blair’s shots came in the restricted area or painted non-RA for the Spurs and shot 57.3 percent in these areas. What this means is that Blair does most of his damage in the paint off put-backs or broken plays.

The major downside to Blair’s play is his defense. He may work his tail off on every play, but that’s often not enough when it comes to playing against seven footers in the NBA. Being about as tall as most small forwards, Blair struggles to hold his own against much taller opponents who can shoot over the top of him. Since Brandan Wright (6-9) is also undersized for his position, head coach Rick Carlisle will need to make sure his rotations have enough size on the floor or things could get ugly on defense.

As Mavs fans have grown to love about their own Wright, Blair has always been ready to play, not worrying about his role or how many minutes he gets. (With a coach like Carlisle, who doesn’t care about those things as well, that’s a good quality for a Mav.)

Just take last year’s NBA Playoffs. Due to Tiago Splitter‘s emergence as the starting center, Blair eventually fell almost completely out of Gregg Popovich‘s rotation. That’s why his minutes dropped from 21.3 two seasons ago to 14.0 last season. After only playing trash time in the first two games against the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round, Blair got 14 and 19 minutes in Game 3 and 4, scoring 13 points  in both games on 12-of-15 shooting. He also added 12 total boards.

Even though he didn’t receive consistent minutes during a run to the Finals after being the team’s main center early in his career, Blair didn’t show any sort of frustration or discontent. This team-first attitude is something any organization going in any direction wold be happy to have in the locker room. As Popovich mentioned when asked about Blair falling out of his rotation last season, “To his credit, DeJuan has been a true pro.”

With this signing, it seems that the Mavs have taken themselves out of the Greg Oden race or Oden told them that they were out of the race, so they moved on to Blair. Even if there are those out there that say the Mavs are still in the race, I don’t see Dallas as Oden’s likely destination. It will probably be the New Orleans Pelicans or Miami Heat—teams that can offer him money with no pressure or the chance to win now.

Unlike Oden, who hasn’t played an NBA game since 2009, Blair hasn’t missed a substantial amount of games yet. Oden’s ceiling may be higher than Blair’s, but Blair has a higher floor.

With a higher floor, Blair gives the Mavs a proven rebounder and competitor. For a team whose leading rebounder was their small forward (Shawn Marion) last season, rebounding was clearly an issue. Dallas had a rebounds per game differential of -3.7, which was third worst in the NBA. By bringing in Samuel Dalembert and Blair, the team should be more respectable on the boards.

Dallas management clearly missed out on all their “big fish” targets these past two seasons; however, they do deserve credit for their ability to fill out the roster while maneuvering around the cap line and put together pieces that make the Mavericks a potential playoff team. Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson should be criticized for the “plan powder dry” approach but praised for finding economically-savvy answers to their roster problems. (The only exception this offseason is Jose Calderon, who was given too long of a contract.) On paper, they have their answers: pass-first point guard (Calderon), No. 2 scorer (Monta Ellis) and low-post defensive presence (Dalembert). And they didn’t go over the cap to fill these needs.

Now it’s just time to see these pieces fit together and give Dirk another shot at a postseason run.

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Mavs Finally Make A Move—Get Pure Point Guard

5 07 2013

They didn’t get Dwight. But the franchise got another foreign point guard with the first name Jose that is a fierce playmaker.

Calderon-MavsAfter attempting to bring him to town via trade last season, the Dallas Mavericks will sign Jose Calderon to a four year, $29 million contract, accoring to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Once free agents can officially be signed on July 10, there will be a clearer picture as to the structure of his contract. (Some are questioning the duration of this contract for a soon-to-be 32 year old; however, due to the new CBA’s stretch provision, it’s not as bad as it sounds.)

Other than Chris Paul, who decided to re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers, Calderon was the purest point guard available from the free agent market this offseason. The Spaniard has always been a great distributor and shooter while also being very efficient with the ball.

After being traded to the Detroit Pistons last season, Calderon put up fantastic numbers for a point guard—11.6 ppg, 6.6 apg, 52.7 FG%, 52.0 3P% and 89.3 FT%. And including his time with the Toronto Raptors, he led the League in 3-point field goal percentage (46.1%).

His most interest statistic, though, has to be his consistently high assist-to-turnover ratio. He ranked second in the NBA in 2010-11 (4.09), first in 2011-12 (4.50) and second in 2012-13 (4.11). Superstar CP3 has been the only player in the League with a better ratio the past three seasons. He may not be a flashy, high-rising, do-it-all guard that will light up the highlight reel…but he is certainly a great fit for a Mavericks’ team that had a tendency last year to allow turnovers to ruin games and turn many into blowouts. Dallas is getting a smart player that will work with Rick Carlisle to quickly learn his coaching methods and style of play.

Furthermore, this will make life much easier on Dirk Nowitzki as he now has a ball handler that won’t take long to understand who should be putting up the most shots (something last year’s squad just couldn’t figure out…yes, I’m looking at you Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo). Even though he won’t impress you with his athleticism, the guy knows how to be a floor general (see below).

Dirk works best with a guard that will take control of the offense and drive the team forward…there honestly isn’t a better free agency move for Dirk’s offense.
Calderon also gives rookie Shane Larkin a well-rounded mentor to learn the game from. They can both run the pick-and-roll with a center to be named along with the pick-and-pop with the Big German. Calderon is the first true vocal leader for the Mavs since Tyson Chandler was on the team; he will be ready to step in and work to win.

Dallas has had a good track record of bringing in point guards with high basketball IQs to run their offense. Steve Nash. Jason Kidd. He might not be as famous of a name but Calderon can be added to this list. Along with finding much more scoring (Vince Carter is currently the team’s second best offensive option), the next step for the Mavs is to get a rim protector to anchor this defense, especially with the signing of Calderon. Even though he has almost every skill you want from a point guard on the offensive end of the floor, Calderon lacks any sort of presence defensively, similar to the heavily-criticized Nash. Bringing in Andrew Bynum is a probable scenario, instead of Dwight Howard….

While being stuck in the middle of nothing and nowhere these past two seasons, Mark Cuban has played the waiting game for “big fish” to come to town as a No. 1 option for years to come. He has been working to clear enough cap space to sign a major player to a max contract to give these past few years a happy ending. Well, he missed on Deron Williams, he missed on Paul and he has now missed out on Howard. This move should remind you that Cuban is a good basketball businessman and does know how to make good signings—like making Calderon the point guard to build a team around.

I’m not excusing Cuban for swinging and whiffing on Howard after setting up a system in which he destroyed a championship team, decided to be bad (based on Mavs’ standards) and cleared space to bring a celebrity in…we can all agree it has failed. Real, alive people on a roster as assets have now shown to be much more valuable than simply cap space and more cap space…that’s a discussion for another time.

Right now, it’s time to move onward with “Plan B.” The other two Texas’ teams are clearly superior compared to anything going on in the Big D. Time to do some work, Mark.

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Clippers-Celtics Blockbuster Trade (Step 1)

23 06 2013

Before the NBA Finals even had a chance to make its way onto NBATV, the first blockbuster trade of the 2013 NBA summer is upon us. Lob City just became Destination City.

It seemed to be an impossible dream of swapping pieces. Then it suddenly became something actually happening that was only a few pieces from successfully occurring. Then it all died away due to a mutual interest for a certain backup point guard. Then we seemed to be on the doorsteps. Then the Clippers backed off because they felt like they were giving up too much. Then Los Angeles’ star point guard stepped in, said to continue the trades talks and scared his organization half to death. Then the league had questions about the proposed deals and the connections between the two since there can’t be trades with contingencies or side deals. But now, we have a deal. Partially.

The Boston Celtics have begun the destruction of their “Big 3+Coach” core and traded head coach Doc Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers for a 2015 unprotected first-round pick, according ESPNBoston’s Jackie MacMullan.

Coach Rivers isn’t technically a part of a trade since teams can’t trade coaches involving players. These two organizations came to an agreement that will give L.A. the coaching rights to Doc after Boston has released their coach and then give Boston draft pick compensation. MacMullan says the length of the deal is still being worked out.

The original deal was for the Celtics to trade Rivers and power forward Kevin Garnett to the Clippers for center DeAnde Jordan and two first-round draft picks. The league intervened, though, because certain contingencies and side deals (which is what Rivers, a coach, would have been) can’t be accounted for under the league’s cap rules, making the trade illegitimate. For the deals to take place, the NBA would have to be convinced that the Rivers deal is completely separate from any player discussions. Well, they were sold.

So that’s where we stand. We’re halfway there…or so we’re not supposed to think. But since the Rivers deal has been completed, we must play dumb and play the waiting game for Garnett to be traded to L.A. If a third team has to join in on the trade, it will happen. The Clippers will do what they must to snatch KG. Trust me—it’s inevitable.

Doc-Garnett L.A.

(With Doc leaving Boston, other than Gregg Popovich, the NBA now has no coach that has been with his team for more than five years. Erik Spoelstra and Rick Carlisle were each hired in 2008. The NFL has nine coaches and the MLB has ten managers that have been with their team more than five years. In terms of security of a job, I would not want to be a coach in the NBA at the moment.)

The Clippers first didn’t want to give up rising guard Eric Bledsoe, and then once he was taken out of the picture, they didn’t want to give up two first-round draft picks. So talks were supposedly “dead.” But once unrestricted free agent (emphasis on unrestricted) Chris Paul twisted his team’s arm to make this idea a reality, the organization started talking to the Celtics again and made the trade discussions start to move forward. And they’ll probably still get to keep Bledsoe.

My initial reaction to all of this is “how long before Garnett is traded and Paul Pierce is bought out by the Celtics and joins his buddies?” (Answer: very soon.) My second is realizing the impact this will have on two All-Star point guards.

Lucky Paul. Poor Rajon Rondo.

This most assuredly guarantees that CP3 will re-sign with the Clippers as he now got his way and his superstar coach of choice. Once the next step of this trade goes through (Garnett), Paul will have a supporting cast ready to seriously compete for a championship right away. (Just look at how quickly the C’s core meshed in 2008 in order to win a championship during their first season together.) Sorry Dallas and Atlanta, looks like CP3 is staying home.

It will also be interesting to see the impact Garnett can have on Blake Griffin once the nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team player heads on over. Will the highlight of all highlight reel dunkers find a way to finally become a defensive force due to the guidance of one of the best team defenders in the league? Or will he shut out Garnett’s serious influence due to his desire to have fun and make KIA commercials?

And on the other end of this trade, you have to feel somewhat bad for Rondo. Not only has he been given the raw end of this deal since he will soon be the sole leader of a team in full rebuilding mode (LaMarcus Aldridge feels his pain), he will likely have one of his worst NBA seasons since his play—and assists per game—is bettered with a strong cast around him. No. 9 isn’t the type of player that can take over a game, team and season without quality help from his teammates.

It is mind-blowing what one free agent signing—CP3—has done for this Clippers’ franchise. Once a place that every budding star wanted out of has transformed into the landing spot for players/coaches who want one last shot at a title. (Well, the city hasn’t changed. The franchise has.)

Doc, Garnett and Pierce will soon get that shot in L.A.

And the Lakers will just have to watch.

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Beards Be Gone

27 03 2013

Take a good look at the image above. This face will look a little different very soon.

From starting out the first third of the season without their superstar, to having six different starting centers at different points, to losing seven straight overtime games, the 2012-2013 NBA season has not been kind to a Dallas Mavericks franchise that is so used to it being nicer the past 12 playoff-filled seasons.

Nothing has come easy. This isn’t to say that the blame shouldn’t be on their shoulders, especially since they have allowed plenty of games to slip right by them countless times. However, the basketball gods have made it clear they want the Mavs to work for their 13th consecutive playoff appearance.

The Mavericks showed that they are willing to work for that milestone Tuesday night. And they showed it in a big way.

The Dallas Mavericks inched past the Los Angeles Clippers 109-102 in overtime as Dirk Nowitzki not only pushed his way past Patrick Ewing for 17th on the all-time scoring list but also pushed his team one win away from a .500 record and from some clean-shaven faces.

American Airlines Center clearly had a playoff atmosphere right from the opening tipoff. It started with the ceaseless boos for LamLam Odom and ended with the chants of “Air Ball” after Matt Barnes air-balled a wide-open three-pointer with 22 seconds to go in overtime that would have tied the game.

In between these two events was a game filled with plenty of cheering for the home team. The Mavs and Clippers simply put on a fantastic basketball game that remained close throughout. If you haven’t heard at this point, Chris Paul is pretty good at basketball and is statistically one of the best clutch players in the game. The Clippers opponent had a player just as clutch with a completely different array of skills. And much, much more facial hair.

Paul and Dirk played some of their best basketball of the season, each setting season-highs with 33 points. Chris Paul made two different shots that could have been game-winning shots. However, due to O.J. Mayo finally deciding to show up when it matters most and Dirk scoring the Mavs first eight points in overtime, Paul had to settle for two pretty good shots and another loss.

This big-time offense from the Mavs stars was clearly a huge reason they came out on top, but the defense down the stretch was just as important. And it started with Elton Brand and his never-ending motor. Not only did he collect eight points, five rebounds and four blocks in 25 minutes off the bench, but the 13-year veteran shut down All-Star Blake Griffin.

BrandGriffinIn the first five minutes of play while Brand sat on the bench, Griffin went 3-for-3 from the field, 2-for-2 from the free-throw line and had eight quick points. Once Brand entered the game, Griffin had no field goals until late in overtime when the game was already over.

It may be in a completely different way, but Brand has found a way to replicate the type of energy off the bench that Jason Terry brought to the floor and hard-nosed defense Tyson Chandler has made a living off of. When he guards big men on the block, he rarely is sucked into pump fakes and firmly holds his ground. This intelligent defense kept the Mavericks in the game when the offense couldn’t find a rhythm on the other end of the court. No other Dallas big man can do what Brand does night in and night out.

There’s one more old man that has to be mentioned. (That’s not counting Vince Carter, who simply needs to forget about this horrible night filled with a multitude of mistakes.) This is the old man that had one more assist and six fewer turnovers than Chris Paul. That’s right – Mike James.

After making a worst first impression than Manti Te’o did on the NFL, James (10 points, six assists, four rebounds, one turnover) has figured out his role, and the team’s 9-3 record since he became a starter is proof. No longer do people have to wince when James begins to dribble; instead, they can become excited for what he’s going to do with the ball. He is playing smart basketball and creating for his teammates as a starting point guard is supposed to do.

Now, we can’t forget about the man that goes by the name Dirk. Tuesday night showcased a vintage Dirk that reminded the nation why he is so unguardable. Head coach Vinny Del Negro threw Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and even a smaller Barnes at the bearded power forward in order to find some way of stopping him. Dirk and his one-legged fadeaway jump shot gladly showed all of these players just why he can still play at an elite level. There’s no question.

Nowitzki performed this way during the Mavericks’ biggest regular season win since last year when they took down the San Antonio Spurs in overtime. This one is even bigger due to the fact that the playoffs are less than a month away and because this is the Mavs first win against a top 4 Western Conference opponent (Thunder, Spurs, Clippers, Nuggets) in 12 tries this season.

“It’s a good time to be playing your best basketball of the season,” Nowitzki said.

So, even though it’s nice to see this team playing so well and coming into form, why would they want to push for a playoff spot when they will inevitably be bounced in the first round just like last year?

Pride. Pride in the Maverick and what it represents.

At three different points this season, Dallas had a record of 13-23, 20-28, and 25-32. Tanking could have been initiated at any of these points and Mark Cuban could have started watching March Madness to see what lottery-bound player would be coming to his team. This isn’t an outlandish idea as NBA teams will commonly do this once they realize there’s not much more to play for.  But the Mavericks aren’t finished.

“Our work is not done. … The motivation is clear. This has been a winning franchise for a long time,” Rick Carlisle said.

As a Mavericks fan and a sports fan, I find very few things more respectable than the grit and grind this team has shown in order to get to where they are now and where they will end up. There were plenty of excuses they all could have given in order to mark this season as a lost cause. I mean, this was a team that had Eddy Curry start a basketball game…. Eddy Curry. Yeah.

But through it all, they never gave in and never gave up. And this attitude starts right at the helm with their head coach and franchise player. Carlisle and Nowitzki have made it clear to the media with their interviews throughout the season that they believe in their team. They will always believe. Because of this relentless optimism, they find themselves on the doorsteps of basketball in late April…again.

No matter the outcome of this season and possibly postseason, the Dallas Mavericks have given DFW sports fans a reason to not lose all hope in pride for their sports teams. The Cowboys seem to be obsessed with mediocrity and collapsing at the end of the season. The Rangers…let’s not even go there.

The 2011 NBA Champions have shown that they will not give up on their city. They will not give up on their franchise. They will not give up on Dirk.

The Los Angeles Lakers may seem like the logical choice to grab the eighth and final playoff seed with their star-studded roster. The Utah Jazz may also seem like the more probable choice with their strength of schedule and amount of home games they have left to play. But with the Lakers losing their last three games and the Jazz losing nine straight on the road and nine of their last twelve, the surging Mavs can see the playoff-light at the end of the tunnel. The path is filled with difficult playoff teams as opponents, but it’s there.

The Mavericks are clearly a team that will continue to fight for their lives and improve their chemistry until they have no more games to play, but this murky path will still be difficult to follow and conquer; however, with a healthy Dirk leading the way, this team is about to prove their doubters wrong one more time.

Get out those razors, Mavs.

And get ready for the playoffs.

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Twitter Thoughts on Mayo

15 11 2012

Here are my twitter thoughts on O.J. Mayo (and a little bit of Rick Carlisle) from earlier today.

 

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Top 5 Things To Take Away From the Mavs Season-Opening Win

31 10 2012

 

5. Coach Carlisle has yet again proven his worth.

No Dirk. No Kaman. No West. Rick Carlisle was forced to showcase a starting lineup that had one player (Shawn Marion) from last year’s starting lineup at the end of the season. If the Mavs had been blown out as badly as last year’s season opener, everyone would have understood. But as he has done countless times throughout his coaching career, Carlisle exploited his players strengths and easily out-coached Mike Brown to grab the victory. Let’s put it this way: Carlisle found a role for Eddy Curry. EDDY CURRY. Enough said.

 

4. Jae Crowder will have an influence on this team.

Remember when Josh Howard and Marquis Daniels emerged onto the scene as rookies in 2004? This was the last time the Mavs had rookies not only average more than 15 minutes per game in a season but also have a legitimate impact. Yeah, it’s been a while. But now this group has a tough, underrated basketball player in Crowder. Even though his eight points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal stat line from last night is nothing to slobber over, it was the way he went about obtaining these stats. Just as he has done all offseason, this 22-year-old gave one-hundred percent on every single play when he was on the basketball court… that’s something you don’t see every day in the NBA. His best play of the night might have been a personal foul. After Steve Nash lobbed the ball to Dwight Howard for an alley-oop, Crowder came from the weak side to knock Howard to the ground, taking away their potential highlight. Most defenders would have let the dunk go by so then they could play some offense. But Crowder wasn’t intimidated by Superman. Crowder wasn’t willing to give up on the play, and this attitude is invaluable for a winning team.

 

3. Darren Collison has already changed the pace of this offense.

Remember when Mark Cuban became infuriated because Jason Kidd skipped town on his team? I think Cuban’s doing alright now. Collison imposed his will on the flow of the game and never took his foot off the pedal. Already surpassing Jason Kidd’s season-high in points from last season, Collison led the team in scoring with 17 points, and even though he only dished out four assists, the Mavs could finally be described as “up-tempo” for the first time since the Lakers new point guard was in town. Being up-tempo sometimes causes a team to struggle on the defensive end, but that won’t be the case for Dallas because… (see point No. 2 below)

 

2. Scrappy will be a commonly used adjective for the Mavs.

Of the 10 guys that suited up to play Tuesday night, nine guys collected either a block or a steal. This is simply indicative of the hard work and hustle Carlisle demands from his players on the defensive side of the court. There were no pointing fingers (as is already the case for the Lakers) – only trust and communication between the teammates. They look as if they actually like to play defense. With Elton Brand grabbing 11 rebounds and Brandan Wright blocking three shots, the Mavs have servicable big men to hold their own until Dirk and Kaman come back. Because of the Mavericks relentless defensive activity, Pau Gasol already has his pouty face back and Dwight Howard has his complaining smirk. That is an accomplishment.

 

1. This team has players that will step up when their name is called.

Nine Mavericks won’t score at least seven points every game. Six Mavericks won’t score in double figures every game. Once the focal point of this offense comes back and averages around 20 points a night, they won’t need this many guys to carry the scoring load. So why does this matter? After only one game, Carlisle knows he has a team made up of nine guys that can step up if necessary. That’s what winning on the big stage is all about. When the Mavs won their championship, Corey Brewer, Peja Stojakovic and DeShawn Stevenson sporadically stepped up but stepped up in a timely fashion. When the Heat won their championship, Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole did the exact same thing. I’m not trying to put this team on a championship level by any means, but I do want to clear up any doubt that they won’t be playing in meaningful games once April arrives. If they have half of the players produce like they did Tuesday night once Dirk comes back, they will become a force in the West.

 

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Johnson to Nets; Howard Not to Nets; Williams to…

2 07 2012

Current

The Dallas Mavericks had a party consisting of coach Rick Carlisle, president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson and former Maverick Michael Finley visit with Deron Williams Monday morning or afternoon. Dirk Nowitzki is in London attending the Wimbledon Grand Slam tournament and Mark Cuban is in Los Angeles working on his popular “Shark Tank.” This shouldn’t have too much of an impact since Dirk and Cuban have both contacted the top 2012 free agent since free agency began Sunday.

Even though he might not be at the actual meeting, Jason Kidd might be the one person that has done the most recruiting. He spent most of last week with Williams in the Hamptons on a golf vacation and has been pushing for him to join Nowitzki and himself in Dallas, according to Marc Stein.

The Brooklyn Nets, whose party members have not been reported, will have a meeting with the All-Star point guard Monday night.

Brooklyn Nets beat writer Colin Stephenson first reported that the Joe Johnson – who is owed a weighty $89 million over the next four years – to Brooklyn move is “pretty much done.” The Hawks will take Jordan Williams, Johan Petro, Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, a sign-and-trade of DeShawn Stevenson, and Houston Rocket’s 2013 lottery-protected draft pick in return. The Nets are planning to tell Williams about this trade during their meeting tonight.

There have been conflicting reports as to if this deal will wait to happen on William’s decision or simply go through disregarding his choice. Most recently, this deal does not have any connection with D-Will staying with the Nets, according to Chris Broussard. Yet, it seems as though the Nets wouldn’t have taken such a hit to their bank unless they received Williams’s blessing – which would solidify his choice to remain with the Nets. It could also just be another boneheaded Billy King move…

This marks off any possibility that Dwight Howard will actually get what the baby wants and be traded to the Nets. Let me repeat: Dwight Howard will not be going to the Nets if this trade goes through. Yes, he stated that this is the only team he wants to go to (for some strange reason I still can’t figure out), and Brooklyn has shown that they will not allow him to control their organization’s decisions as the big man has done with the Orlando Magic.

The NBA does in fact have a salary cap. The Nets might have nice cap room but not enough to bring on four major contracts. They already owe only three players around $50.5 million through the 2013-2014 season… that’s a lot of cash. So, Howard (or all the people “close to the situation”) will need to figure out another place he wants to play long-term. If Williams doesn’t go home to DFW, the Mavericks might actually become a lead candidate to trade for him this offseason or to sign him next offseason. Or D12 could just get the next Magic coach fired.

So, now D-Will must decide what he values most in his next NBA team.

If he goes to Dallas, he is coming to the better of the two teams with the better potential “dynamic duo” teammate with the better future. Dirk – who is a regular season MVP, NBA Finals MVP and champion, 11-time All-Star and has been selected to an All-NBA Team 12 of his 14 years in the NBA – is a better basketball player than Johnson – who has never made it out of the second round of the playoffs as the Hawks primary player for seven years – at this exact point in time. No question. Furthermore, with the more experienced and successful front office that has proven they do the one thing Williams has constantly stated he desires, which is simply winning, the Mavs give Williams a better chance to make many playoff runs right now and in the future. The fact that Dallas is his hometown could help or harm his decision. Even though he has claimed he would love to play where he grew up, many professional athletes don’t care to play at home since every single person that crossed their paths in life then want some special privileges since their “best friends.”

If he goes to Brooklyn, he will be getting around $25 million more with the extra year that the recently-moved franchise can offer him compared to Dallas. At his age of 28, he might desire this one extra year since he will be in his early 30s the next time he has to sign a contract. The “happenin” town also plays a part. Brooklyn will give Williams many more sponsorship deals as he becomes the main face of a fresh franchise. He would have to wait until Dirk retires to be the main image of the team. Jay-Z playing an integral role with this team and creating the new black-and-white image gives Brooklyn the “hip” edge. In general, though, most of the reasons to go up north revolve around money. There’s honestly not much else with Howard now out of the picture. But money definitely does a lot of convincing on its own in any professional sports league.

Why are there so many sources conflicting in their claims that they “know” where Williams is going? It is because they don’t. Honestly, both of these teams have features to offer that Williams is clearly interested in. (However, if the Nets had a track record like the Mavericks, I guarantee a decision would have already been made.) Williams is conflicted between these two teams and set up these two meetings in order to help himself get a better idea of where he wants to play the rest of his career. Honestly, he could be persuaded either way, and whatever way he is in fact swayed is the direction he will go in because this is going to be his decision and his decision alone.

Since this man has stated he wants to make a decision before he begins Olympic training camp, he will make his franchise-changing choice by July 4.

God Bless America.

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