Links below are to DB.com news stories on the players or to DB.com Boards discussions about the players. A hat-tip to Premium contributor 'KurtBain' who leads the overall Visits discussion here.
DONUT 1: The NBA season is over ... a new beginning ...
That NBA season ends on an insolent and arrogant note, at least from a Dallas Mavericks perspective. "This was the toughest series we've ever played,'' said various members of the Heat following their NBA Finals Game 7 win over San Antonio, a weird proclamation given that you would think LOSING an NBA Finals series to Dallas just 24 months ago would be more painful that winning one.
The Mavs can comfort themselves with the knowledge that their 2011 title was accomplished with the only playoff series defeat this great Heat team has ever endured came at Dallas' hand.
And starting today, really, this NBA season is upon us. Dallas begins a quest to try to do it again. To somebody. Sometime soon.
DONUT 2: And the quest doesn't launch ...
... By intentionally throwing away assets like the No. 13 pick, which Dallas owns.
If the Mavs are absolutely, positively "dumping'' the pick in next Thursday's NBA Draft, what you are about to read below demonstrates their very odd way of showing it. I've collected the names of 24 players who have sneaked into the backdoor at Mavs HQ for workouts. A few of the names before are not draft-eligible, but the bulk of them are. Some are worthy of picking at No. 13 or above. Some are late first-round prospects. Some are second-rounders. Some will be post-draft free agents.
Dallas has spent the last few weeks poking and prodding these guys down in the basement at the AAC.
DONUT 3: Dumping 13 ...
A quick primer on the subject:
There remain a flood of “Dallas is likely to trade their No. 13 pick’’ reports. "Likely'' might represent a semantic blur here, but ...
NBA Draft rules do not permit a team at any time to be without a first-rounder for two consecutive future years. Currently the Mavs are on the books as not owning a 2014 first-round pick. Therefore, at no time before this Draft can Dallas be without the 2013 pick -- unless it is swapped for a 2014 first-rounder. That fact negates some of what's been rumored.
Dallas could certainly negotiate a deal for 13 in advance of the draft and then trade the draft rights as soon as the pick is made. That's a commonplace NBA draft-night action, and worth rumor-mongering about.
But ... doing so prematurely would be an indictment of the way the Mavs are approaching this draft -- and for that matter, approaching free agency.
The way to properly do this: trading a player picked at 13, not trading the pick. And doing so when it is necessary and not before.
DONUT 4: When is it necessary? ...
If the Mavs are intent on gaining the $1,655,300 worth of room that comes with the dumping of No. 13 -- and that number, seemingly tiny, might be very important in the free-agent pursuit -- they can do so as easily after the draft, when they have selected the draftee AND gotten a commitment from a free agent.
Dallas needs to view No. 13 as an "asset'' worth owning rather than as a "burden'' in need of hauling off to the dump.
DONUT 5: An example using MCW ...
If they select a player I know them to love -- say, Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams -- at 13 ... why would anybody at Mavs HQ view him as a "burden''? Why would they believe he'd be less trade-able after the draft than the pick used to acquire him would've been worth before the draft?
DONUT 6: "The only way'' ...
Way back on May 7, we wrote about the idea of using the $1,655,300 worth of first-round player as a way to open up cap room. Somehow, that one-of-many option is morphing itself into "the only way.''
DONUT 7: "A thousand ways''
In reality, as Mavs owner Mark Cuban himself is on-record as telling us, “There are a thousand different ways to gain cap space.''
Again, one example: The giveaway of Jared Cunningham alone would free up $1,208,400 -- and suddenly you've inched within a few hundred thousand dollars of the same place you'd be by prematurely dumping this year's ASSET at No. 13.
I KNOW the Mavs know all of this. I believe the Mavs have their bases so covered that they even make sure Cuban and Dirk end up playing Poker in Las Vegas with CP3.
Maybe "a thousand ways'' is hyperbolic. But not by much.
DONUT 8: Oh, yeah, another way ...
I be remiss in not reminding you of the way the CBA treats an overseas player, which provides a possible way for the Mavs to retain their pick without having to worry about an impact on their cap.
A first-round draft pick who is playing overseas can be selected and NOT count against The Mavs' cap as long as he has a contract to play elsewhere. In addition, even without a contract he can he removed from the Mavs' cap if he and the team agree that he won't be signed by the Mavs this season.
Let's call it the "Euro Cap Stash.''
You get the player (say, Russian swingman Sergey Karasev). He is Dallas property -- an ASSET. And then you stash him, so the Mavs would have gained a $1,655,300 asset AND a $1,655,300 that is non-existent on this year's books.
And voila, you've got your cap room while giving away nothing. THAT is how the surgery of "Asset Management.''
DONUT 9: It's tight ...
A reminder: The Mavs presently have five guaranteed contracts totaling $37,215,449 (Nowitzki at $22,721,381, Marion at $9,316,796, Carter at $3,180,000, Cunningham at $1,208,400, Crowder at $788,872). The draft pick counts as $1,655,300. The six
empty roster slots (at $490,180 each) total $2,941,080.
Grand total of commitments equals $41,811,829. If the cap goes up only a little bit, and the Mavs work to squeeze an $18-to-$20-mil free agent in there?
It's tight. But it's do-able.
DONUT 10: "Thinking'' isn't "doing'' ...
In these final days before the draft, Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson will whisper to some of us that they are thinking of moving up. Then they will whisper that they are thinking of moving down. If there is a way to move sideways, they will hint at that, too.
It's all true; they are "thinking'' of all those things. But thinking isn't doing. ... the only definitive thing Dallas is doing right now is hosting prospects ...
DONUT 11: To the 'shhh' Mavs news ...
Yes, Dallas has spent the last few weeks poking and prodding these guys down in the basement at the AAC. And with no further ado, my semi-complete list of those guys:
Tom Abercrombie F 6-6 207 Auckland, New Zealand ... Not draft-eligible but came to the States for workout with the Spurs, Bucks, Rockets and Mavs
Steven Adams C 7-0 255 Pitt Freshman ... first-round prospect visited at the end of May
CJ Aiken 6-9 200 St. Joe's Junior ... Second-round prospect was scheduled in Dallas on June 18
Doug Anderson F 6-6 Detroit Senior ... Second-round prospect scheduled a June 13 visit to Dallas
Sherwood Brown G 6-3 185 Florida Gulf Coast Senior ... Second-round type in Dallas on June 18
Isaiah Canaan PG 6-0 188 Murray State Senior ... Scheduled for a June visit to Dallas
Michael Carter-Williams PG 6-6 185 Syracuse Sophomore ... June 12 workout at Mavs HQ ... MCW (pictured) is a targeted player at No. 13
Dwayne Davis G 6-5 Southern Miss Senior ... A June 20 workout in Dallas
Gorgui Dieng ? C 6-11 230 Louisville Junior ... first-round prospect was in Dallas on Thursday
Jamaal Franklin SG 6-5 191
San Diego State Junior ... Scheduled June 3 visit to Dallas may have been postponed due to injury ... We believed visited later
Rudy Gobert C 7-2 238 Cholet, France ... Gobert (pictured) visited the Mavs in June and has spent summer working out in Dallas ... A Euro Cap Stash candidate
Tim Hardaway Jr. SG 6-6 185 Michigan Junior ... Probable first-rounder noted Dallas visit in early June
Colton Iverson C 7-0 263
Colorado State Senior ... second-round prospect
Kenny Kadki PF 6-10 242 Miami Senior ... second-round prospect who is already 25
Arsalan Kazemi F 6-8 225 Oregon Senior ... second-round prospect visted June 12
Ryan Kelly C 7-0 228 Duke Senior ... Second-round prospect visited in June
Shane Larkin PG 5-11 171
Miami Sophomore ... Was scheduled for a mid-June workout in Dallas
Ricky Ledo SG 6-6 197 Providence Freshman ... June 18 visitor to Mavs HQ ... could be a high second-rounder
Zeke Marshall C 7-0 235 Akron Senior ... Second-round prospect visited Dallas in early June
Gal Mekel PG 6-4 200 ... Mavs one of four teams showing confirmed interest in the
Israeli star, formerly of Wichita State
Mason Plumlee C 7-0 238 Duke Senior ... June visitor to Mavs HQ
Dennis Schroeder PG 6-2 165
Braunschweig, Germany ... 19-year-old could be a Euro Cap Stash ... Reportedly auditioned for Dallas, Utah and Boston and then returned to Germany
Durand Scott SG 6-5 203 Miami Senior ... Scheduled June 18. ... Possible summer-leaguer
Tony Snell SF 6-7 198 New Mexico Junior ... late-first-round prospect visited Dallas late this week
DJ Stephens G-F 6-5 187 Memphis Memphis ... off-the-charts athlete (pictured) scheduled June 21 visit to Dallas
Khalif Wyatt SG 6-4 215 Temple ... Second-round prospect
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
To reiterate: This is semi-complete, and maybe a work in progress as we approach next Thursday's NBA Draft. (We think Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk was a visitor, but haven't confirmed. So he's not yet on our list.) Also, a non-visitor to Dallas doesn't mean he isn't on the Mavs' wish list. Case in point could be Russian swingman Sergey Karasev, at 19 yet another Euro Cap Stash prospect who has been receiving visitors in Russia. We might guess that Dallas officials have made such a visit. ...
And you don't travel to Croatia (as the Mavs did do) or to Russia ... and you don't bring 24-plus guys into Dallas ... and you barely bother even creating a Big Board if you're definitively not going to even bother using it on Draft Night ...
So you prepare. One wing of Mavs HQ management prepares to manipulate the cap and the assets under it. The personnel department prepares to analyze draft prospects.
What you've just read is a meshing of both wings ... and the stressing that both wings of preparation are of equal value.