DONUT 1: Amnesty That? ...
The Dallas Mavericks are waiting. Like vultures.
Before we let you in on this, let's issue the first of many summer qualifiers (it's a DB.com tradition): We are not into "blowing sunshine up your butt'' (to quote Rick Carlisle) as it regards stories of, say, how Dallas is going to get Dwight Howard.
We do have a 14-year track record on DallasBasketball.com (and a 30-year track record with a foundation in the newspaper business) of:
*Knowing the nuts and bolts of how moves can be made.
*Comparing our notes with notes being used inside Mavs HQ.
*Working to be first and to be accurate and to be thorough when it comes to marrying "what the Mavs can do,'' "what the Mavs want to do'' and "what the Mavs are doing.''
DONUT 2: Having said that ...
Our Premium piece by David Lord is the perfect example of how this process works. If you are a Premium Mavs Fan (or wish to take the 7-day free trial), you will see no "pie-in-the-sky'' predictions. D-Lord's story is not intended to carnival-bark you into paying a dime to enter the tent.
It is, instead, a look at what the Mavs are looking at when it comes to the Lakers roster. It features the same dollars and sense that NBA GMs are using ... and it's available nowhere else outside of NBA teams' headquarters.
This story - "Can The Mavs 'Vulture' Kobe And Other Lakers?' - is THE best way to be informed about the potential Mavs/Lakers machinations on the horizon. And DB.com Premium is THE best way to be informed on all such matters, including Dallas' thoughts on the draft, free agency, trades ... the works.
Here's a starting-point tidbit:
In the 2012-13 season LA's payroll was right at $100M, almost $30M over the tax line. For the 2013-14 season, if they keep their players under contract, re-sign star center Dwight Howard to a max deal, and fill up the rest of the roster, they'll have a payroll likely to land in the $106-109M range, depending on whether they use their MLE or not. If the salary cap stays the same, that means a tax bill in the $115M to $130M range. The Lakers' resulting cost of payroll (player salary plus tax) would jump in one year from $130M to $220-235M.
Ouch. Double ouch.
For almost every other NBA team, such a payroll would be impossible. But not the Lakers, with their massive income stream (in large part from monstrous TV revenues) of about $400M a year. However, just because they can afford it doesn't mean they would want to.
What will they do? The smart money is that they'll take some action.
What actions are available? And why do the Mavs care? That's where we come in.
Because of the nature of the tax brackets, it is impossible to put an exact savings number on each of the following potential moves, as other moves might move the marginal tax from one bracket to another. But if we use the assumption that the cap stays the same, that no MLE is used, and that the Lakers will have about $106M in total payroll barring any proactive action, here is the relative value of their choices:
|ACTION||salary + tax = player payroll||dollars saved*|
|Do nothing||106 + 115 = 221||0|
|Trade Kobe**||76 + 9 = 85||136|
|Amnesty Kobe||106 + 9 = 115||106|
|Trade Gasol**||87 + 34 = 121||100|
|Amnesty Gasol||106 + 34 = 140||81|
|Trade Nash**||97 + 68 = 165||56|
|Trade World Peace**||98 + 72 = 170||51|
|Amnesty World Peace||106 + 72 = 178||43|
|Amnesty Blake||102 + 94 = 196||25|
* dollars saved from a baseline $106M taxable payroll
- note: all dollars are in millions and all totals are broadly rounded
**Each of these trades is a "no salary in return" analysis.
For the Mavs, all of the Lakers' potential choices offer something of possible interest.
Need to know more? This story - "Can The Mavs 'Vulture' Kobe And Other Lakers?' - is an example of the best in the business. DB.com Premium is THE best way to be informed on all such matters, including Dallas' thoughts on the draft, free agency, trades ... the works. We invite you to take the 7-day free trial and check out Mavs Premium. ... and join the thousands of best-informed "next-level'' Mavs fans in the world.
DONUT 3: Vince The Warrior ...
While Mavs owner Mark Cuban has been supremely disappointed in himself and his team about this lottery-bound season, his mood changes radically when the subject of Vince Carter comes up.
"I feel bad for Vince," he said. "Vince is a warrior. All these things I've heard in the past about him being soft and not playing hard, (that's bull). That dude comes out to deliver every night.
"I feel worse for Vince than I do for Dirk (Nowitzki). Vince hasn't been there and he's had two great seasons for us. And he's just a first-class guy who busts his ass every game. You never look at Vince and say he's taking a play off. I'm proud that he's on the Mavericks. The guy lays it out every time. I can't put it any other way. He's one of those guys I want to retire here."
Does that mean Carter will be with the Mavs even after next season, after his existing contract expires?
"I hope so," Cuban said. "The current trend is, as guys get older, they lose a little weight and I think Vince is athletic enough and smart enough and genetically gifted enough that if he goes on that same Steve Nash, Dirk, Tim Duncan path, where you lose a little bit of weight every year and keep your spring, he's a genetic freak.
"He can play for more than a year, easily. He'll be cranking those motorcycle handles for a while."
Sounds like a plan. But it's deserving of something more than Tony Cubes' trademark hyperbolic enthusiasm. Here, a serious look at Vince's past, present and future.
DONUT 4: Dirk's two faces ...
For the first time since the 1999-2000 season, the Mavs won't be one of the 16 teams participating in the NBA Playoffs. At that time, Dirk Nowitzki was 20. This time around, he's older and wiser and beginning to focus on something else – that is, getting Dallas back to the playoffs and volunteering to assist Mark Cuban as a chief recruiter for the franchise.
And frankly, we're left wondering why this is just now an issue.
Nowitzki has now on multiple occasions indicated a willingness to accompany management on any recruiting trips the Dallas Mavericks make when free agency opens on July 1.
"This is a big summer for us," Nowitzki said. "We have to get better. We have to get some guys in that can get us back to the top level. We want to be a top-four seed in the West. That was always our goal, to play for the top. So this is a big summer. If (Cuban) needs me to recruit and do all that stuff, I'm more than happy to."
Yes, Dirk. Cuban needs you to "do all that stuff.''
Oh, and by the way: Yes, Mark. The Mavs need you to "do all that stuff,'' too.
It's a "big summer'' in a lot of ways, of course. Dirk's going to be a daddy, too. And believe us, we've got our priorities straight there -- and still feel very confident that in this time of jet-set travel, there are ways for Dirk to be both a) the first male face his new baby sees and b) the Face of the Franchise.
DONUT 5: Thanks to our sponsors! ...
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DONUT 6: Kaman wants back in? ...
Chris Kaman likes it here. Does "here'' like him back?
The Mavs signed Kaman to a one-year, $8 million contract last summer. The idea: Chris was to become the full-time starter at center and give Dallas a unique offensive 1-2 punch featuring him and "fellow German'' Nowitzki.
Kaman averaged 10.5 points (his lowest total in six years) and 5.6 rebounds (his lowest ever) per game. ... and played 21 minutes per (also a career low).
"I'd love to be back, but I don't know what's going to happen with the organization,'' Kaman said. "I don't know what's going to happen with the team -- I have no idea.''
We have some idea. This didn't work. Dallas never became the Twin Towers juggernaut on offense. Carlisle couldn't bear to deal with Chris' defensive failings. Kaman wasn't part of Dallas' desire for crisp ball movement (he was more of a "black hole,'' which is acceptable if he's scoring consistently and efficiently).
His quirkiness as a person isn't a problem; quite the contrary, as it probably helps him survive the wacky world around him (and Dirk Nowitzki is absolutely enamored with it). But we think there will be a team (Portland) that wants to take the same chance Dallas took last summer. And we think the Mavs will graciously let some other team win the bidding.
DONUT 7: What is O.J. Mayo Worth? ...
Some of the most important decisions the Mavericks will make this summer will revolve around their own free agents and none will be bigger than what to do with O.J. Mayo. Though Mayo has shown promise and growth this summer, he has also come up small far too often in important games.
And then, inexplicably, in Games 81 and 82, Juice was smaller than small.
Let's assume that Mavs management views those final two games as exceptions (or maybe even as something other than "inexplicable.'') The final-month game against the Suns can be our "Mayo in a Nutshell'' game. It exemplified both the promise and frustration Mayo has shown this season. He would hit only two of his 10 shots in his team-high 38 minutes and commit four turnovers. However, he also dished out a team-high six assists and grabbed five rebounds, displaying the broadening of his game that has occurred over this tumultuous season.
Coach Rick Carlisle has said that Mayo can be a piece of a team with championship-level aspirations, and we agree. However, compensating him at a level commensurate with being a second, or perhaps even the third best player on an elite team seems a stretch.
Dallas will undoubtedly price in some measure of projected growth into whatever contract they offer Mayo. However, in a financial era where overpaying midlevel players is a cardinal sin, Dallas would be wise to not overspend on Mayo.
Here's a Premium examination with advanced stats working to establish O.J.'s worth. And here is O.J.'s Exit Interview, flushed out with Mayo's thoughts on opting out.
DONUT 8: Want more Mavs? ...
We've got the best and deepest coverage of the Mavs available anywhere ... take our free seven-day trial and then get your Mavs gold for pennies! ... Go Mavs and Go Premium!
DONUT 9: Dirk's Season In Review ...
Dirk Nowitzki's 2012-13 season is a memorable one - even if it's not 'memorable' for all the right reasons.
The season started with a doctor's visit for knee surgery and before next season starts, Mr. and Mrs. Nowitzki have another hospital visit planned. In between? A long climb back to greatness for The UberMan.
His 10-step "Season In Review'' is here.
DONUT 10: Follow the Mavs on Twitter ...
Follow the Mavs on Twitter and get good stuff fast: Mike Fisher, David Lord, Chuck Perry and Michael Dugat keep you up-to-the-minute informed on all things Mavs!
DONUT 11: We like lists ...
Our Jonathan Auping collects "The Top 10 Quotes From Mavs Exit Interview Day.''
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
"There were some positives, but we've got to get the team better. That's obvious. There's going to be a lot of work this summer. We're excited about the possibilities, but we're not naive to the challenges. There's a lot of work to be done, and we'll do it." - Rick Carlisle.