After missing out on all of the big free agents in sign-and-trade deals and other available players, the Mavericks decided not to sit still. Instead, they traded perhaps their biggest trade asset in Erick Dampier, along with Matt Carroll and Eduardo Najera, to the Charlotte Bobcats for Tyson Chandler and Alexis Ajinca.
Most Mavericks fans will look at this trade and shake their heads. And at first glance, there isn’t any other logical reaction to this move compared to what Mavs fans were hoping for. However, you should realize that not every single move made in the NBA is all about making your team look better at this one point in time. Many fans forget the NBA is a business. This was a good business decision for the Mavericks, but also a decent pick up as they get an athletic, defensive center in Chandler to back up Brendan Haywood. This was a solid move, and has the potential to be a huge move, for Dallas despite what many may think. Some GM’s and owners make moves months in advance to set themselves up for a trade later on in the future, and this appears to be what Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban may have in mind.
Many Mavs fans were hoping for something bigger than Chandler. For example, Al Jefferson of the Minnesota Timberwolves, whom the Mavericks were in serious discussions about acquiring before he was sent to Utah for two future 1st round draft picks and Kosta Koufos. While Jefferson is a better offensive player than Chandler, he also carries a much larger and longer contract than Chandler. The Timberwolves also weren’t interested in any of the players the Mavericks were trying to unload. In the Chandler deal, Dallas was able to unload Eduardo Najera and Matt Carroll, two seldom used players, who still had two years left on their contracts.
Another valuable piece the Mavericks would include in a big trade along with Chandler is Caron Butler. Butler is also entering the final year on his deal. The Mavericks could make some serious noise within the next seven months with those two expiring contracts (that total nearly $23,311,960). Butler, unlike Chandler and Dampier, not only has an attractive contract, but is also a very solid starter, and former All-Star, in this league. Along with Butler, the unloading of Carroll and Najera’s contracts and the acquisition of Chandler’s expirer, the Mavs could keep pushing the resistent Hornets to part ways with All-Star PG Chris Paul. If that doesn’t materialize (and it’s looking unlikely), then the Mavericks could hold out hope that later in the upcoming season, a star player that currently isn’t available may become available in a trade prior to the deadline. And currently, the Mavericks have some of the best pieces to work with in the “trading game” of the NBA.
Enough with the business aspect of this deal. Lets look at what the Mavericks got in the deal from an on-the-court perspective. Chandler, a 7’1, 235-lb center, has been a starter and a solid contributor for the majority of his 9-year career. His most succesful years came as a member of the New Orleans Hornets. Many Mavericks fans will remember the Chris Paul-to-Tyson Chandler alley-oop fest when the New Orleans Hornets defeated Dallas in the first round of the 2008 playoffs. Chandler’s game is dependant on his athleticism, where he excels at offensive rebounding and putbacks, and is great on the receiving end of lob passes. He is a solid rebounder, averaging just under 9 rpg for his career. The biggest knock against Chandler has been his ability to stay healthy the last couple of seasons, as he’s missed 68 games the past two seasons with foot problems.
The other player Dallas got in the deal, Alexis Ajinca, is a 7’0, 220-lb center. He is definitely a project at the moment, and the latest news regarding Ajinca is that the Mavs will look to possibly move him via trade, or ship him overseas to work on his game. He has a decent mid-range jumpshot, but his entire skill set is still a work in progress. Don’t look for him to be in a Mavericks uniform this coming season.
Summer League Update
The Dallas Mavericks lost to number 1 overall pick, John Wall, and the Washington Wizards, 88-82, putting the Mavs’ summer league record at 1-3. The Mavs’ first round pick, Dominique Jones, put in a game-high 28 points in the loss. Roddy Beaubois had a very disappointing night as he went 0-for-3 from the floor with 0 points in 16 minutes of play. Omar Samhan added 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots for Dallas. Wall lead the Wizards with 21 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, although he shot 4-of-19 from the field.
The Mavericks signed Jones, the 25th overall pick, to a contract on Tuesday. Jones is quickly becoming considered “the steal of the draft” through only 4 summer league games where he’s averaging 16.5 points per game and nearly 10 FTA per game.
About the Author
Written by A. J.
I've lived in Texas most of my life. I graduated from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. I currently am the sports editor for a local paper near Tyler, TX. I worked in the sports department for the Longview News-Journal for four years throughout high school and some college. My favorite teams are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tampa Bay Rays.