DALLAS — ‘I don’t think we’re going to trade Marion and I don’t think we’re going to trade Carter,’ Mavs coach Rick Carlisle revealed during the Monday morning shootaround. ‘I don’t think we’re going to trade anybody. That’s my opinion.’
Opinion accepted. But just in case … a look at the Mavs’ top two assets as Feb. 21 approaches:
The Dallas Mavericks have goals. Building a better foundation of talent. Executing Plan Powder. And winning enough games this year to earn a playoff spot, that latter job being the most immediate one for coach Rick Carlisle.
With those goals in mind and with his role in mind, we offer you Rick’s take on the coming Feb. 21 trade deadline:
“If you’re asking me if we’re going to trade anybody,” Rick said as Dallas finished up its prep for Monday’s Hawks-at-Mavs game, “I don’t think we’re going to. That’s my opinion.”
There are reasons for the sentiment expressed at the end of that visit, especially as the 22-28 Mavs attempt to win a third straight game. But there are also reasons to look at the Mavs’ most attractive assets. … you know, just in case. 1) Vince Carter – Though 36 years old, Carter is having his best season, on a per minute basis, since his first stint in Orlando. Further, his $3 million salary this season and next qualifies him as underpaid relative to his production. For the right team, Carter’s arrival could be viewed as the type of move that puts a team over the top in the short run while not sacrificing long term financial flexibility.
And make no mistake, as DallasBasketball.com has reported exclusively: Vince has NOT been given a no-trade guarantee by the front office.
2) Shawn Marion – Though Marion doesn’t bring Carter’s offensive game to the table, he is still an elite defender who doesn’t need the ball in his hands to generate points on offense. SynergySports rates Marion as the 49th best defender in the NBA in spot-up situations and 26th off of screens. Marion is owed $8.6 million and $9.3 million this season and next, but for a contender in need of a lockdown defender, few are better than ‘Trix.
Interestingly, Marion recently claimed that he would not report to a team if it was a “(expletive) situation.” Though that may be viewed by some as trying to scare away bad teams from acquiring Marion, it’s likely a non-issue as most lottery-bound squads won’t beat down the door for a 34-year-old forward making $9 million. Further, you can bet he will be privy to Dallas’ negotiations and would have his concerns assuaged before Dallas attempted to consummate any deal.
One more thing here. Read between the lines of ‘Trix’ protests. He eventually has worn down to the point where on Saturday night, his remarks were a concession of sorts.
“I’m just playing ball,” Marion said. “When (trade) situations arise, I’m going to let it take care of itself. But right now, I’m a Dallas Maverick and that’s what it’s about.”
So, no, he won’t be traded to a loser. But he might be traded to a team in need of a final piece. And that will take care of itself, no matter what Shawn says or what Shawn wants.
Are there front-burner talks at this moment? No, though we are told that the Mavs are well aware of teams’ plans to eventually inquire seriously about Marion. Is Rick going to be privvy to every blip on the trade talk radar screen? Not necessarily.
“Mark (Cuban) and Donnie (Nelson) work hard at this,” Carlisle said. “The job description was made clear to me when I came here. … Sometimes Mark and Donnie just pull the trigger on deals and I don’t know about it, and sometimes they ask me. And that’s OK.”
Though it’s highly possible that the Mavericks make no moves at the deadline this season, when assessing the validity of any rumor you read, keep in mind what Dallas is trying to accomplish and the tools they have available at their disposal. … and also keep in mind that a) Carlisle himself says he is not always fully informed and b) Carlisle is under no obligation to be forthcoming with what he does know.