DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks, establishing that ‘Plan Keep Your Powder Dry’ credo needn’t be synonymous with ‘inactivity,’ followed up Wednesday’s acquisition of Hornets center Chris Kaman by acquiring point guard Darren Collison and a rotation piece in Dahntay Jones from the Indiana Pacers.
Following closely in the wake of the announcement that Kaman is set to sign a one-year, $8 million contract comes yet another deal for a Mavs franchise disappointed in its failed pursuit of Deron Williams. Instead, Dallas accumulates more talent on one-year deals, allowing the Mavs to be superstar suitors in the summer of 2013.
In the terms of the deal, Dallas acquires Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones from Indiana and sends away sign-and-traded Ian Mahinmi, who is reported to have inked a new four-year $16-million deal. Both Collison and Jones are in the final year of their contracts, at $2.3 and $2.9 million respectively.
While this may not amount to the euphoria that would have swept over the Metroplex had their targeted “Big Fish” been acquired, it does represent a strong counter to the malaise that had been settling over the Mavs summer. Including Kaman, three players were added that should all crack the rotation … and none will carry salary beyond this season unless the Mavs desire, meaning the mantra of “flexibility” remains intact, now paired with a respectable upgrade in immediate talent.
Darren Collison is a worthy starting point guard who will turn 25 in August. He has electric quickness and a fair shooting touch, hitting 36.2 percent of his 3-point tries a season ago (36.3 for his career), which would have trailed only Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry on last year’s Mavs roster. Though undersized at an even 6-0 and not an elite passer, he averages just over five assists-per-game for his career and has shown the ability to penetrate defenses and finish … a skill that should only be aided by the presence of a space-creator like Nowitzki.
Collison has also shown fearlessness in big moments, leading the Pacers with a PER of 23.2 while shooting over 50 percent from the floor in last season’s playoffs over limited minutes. It may also be worth noting that his career best scoring game came as a member of the Hornets when he poured in 35 points … against the Mavs.
If not for his clashes with LeBron James in this year’s postseason, most Mavs fans will likely remember Dahntay Jones as the starting shooting guard on the Denver squad that sent Dallas home after five games in the second round of the 2009 playoffs. Jones plays with a physical edge and has shown periods of stepping up to the role of being a “defensive stopper.”
Remind you of another “throw in” the Mavs acquired in a trade … right down to the conflict with LeBron? Yes, there is a valid comparison with DeShawn Stevenson Basketball people say Jones is a superior athlete. Listed at 6-6 and 225 pounds, he also has a slight advantage in size.
In part to make room for these acquisitions, it was also announced that Brendan Haywood would be waived as an amnesty casualty, ending his two-and-a-half-year tenure with the Mavs in unspectacular, if not disappointing, fashion.
These acquisitions also leave the Mavs very much alive in the amnesty bidding for Elton Brand, while also sustaining their future flexibility. It may not be the homerun most were hoping for, but these are impressive moves that do nothing to hinder the ultimate goal of landing a legitimate superstar.
The offseason is far from over, and much remains in limbo (see Delonte West), but Wednesday’s deals discarded the shroud of silence that had blanketed the Mavs offseason to this point and leave followers a glimmer of hope for what’s next.