DONUT 1: The craziest night ... "There was more going on tonight than I've ever seen," coach Rick Carlisle said after exiting the Mavs war room just before midnight. "If you were a first-timer in there, it was eye-opening."
The Mavs say they were involved in "hundreds'' of calls that eventually led to a trio of deals ... all with one eye on rookie talent and another eye on cap-friendly moves designed to plot a course toward the courtship of Dwight.
The trio of trades:
*No. 13 overall pick Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk went to the Celtics for No. 16 and two 2014 second-round picks.
*Then another slide-down, as No. 16 pick center Lucas Nogueira, along with guard Jared Cunningham and No. 44 pick Mike Muscala are sent to Atlanta for the No. 18 pick, Miami point guard Shane Larkin.
*Then came a complicated movement of second-rounders that netted the Mavs shooting guard Ricky Ledo ... a swap with so many angles to it that Mavs officials couldn't even confirm it occurred (pending the NBA muddling through all the red tape.)
Can Larkin play? Sure. Maybe. Mark Cuban insists he was Dallas' ninth-rated player. Hmmm ... interesting, as he was only the No. 4 point guard on Dallas' board. Here's Rick on the subject:
Now ... as a bonus, can Ledo play? He sure thinks so. (See below.)
But those issues are secondary, really.
"The financial piece of it is pretty critical at this juncture," Mavs GM Donnie Nelson said. "It's more of a timing thing than anything else. We've got to go into the offseason with the decks clear and clean."
Here's Donnie's presser:
"Stay tuned,'' Carlisle said, warning of more deck clearing to come.
DONUT 2: Where the cap stands now … The Dallas Mavericks' draft is about Shane Larkin on the surface. And that's part of it, as is cap-carving.
Did the Mavs save some cap room from their moves Thursday? From one angle they clearly did, with the trading down and by moving Jared Cunningham to Atlanta. Compared to where they would have been had they kept the 13th pick and used it on a player for their roster this season, the savings was about $1.1M. (Pick 13 = - $1.655M, Pick 18 = + $1.28M, Cunningham = - $1.21M, Empty roster charge (1) = +$0.49M)
But the news isn't as rosy as we wish. When we look at our working cap projections for the summer, our total actually went up a hair. Before the draft we calculated that if they wanted to sign Dwight Howard they would need to find another $2.8M in cap room to offer him a max deal. Now, the number is almost $2.9M.
Why? In every calculation, the working assumption (here and elsewhere) has always been that the Mavs would sell their pick, trade it (or trade the player picked), or use it on a player to be stashed overseas. So in projecting where they would be on July 10, a cap hit for that pick never made sense to include, just like we've never included a cap hit for B James or Akognon under the assumption that the Mavs would waive them if they needed to do so.
Now, of course, we do have a pick to include after all (#19). But it's addition has been offset by the removal of Cunningham's salary, and in total we have about the equivalent of "avoid a cap hit for pick 13." To be precise, they've added $72,400 to the cap room we've been saying they need to find.
Of course, they didn't add the cost of the 13th pick onto the existing roster, as they could have done. Had they done that, they would have been adding a net +$1.165M, so we certainly give credit for that.
Here are the numbers after the draft was over, for an up-to-date look at the Mavs' quest for cap room.
Let's start by evaluating the contracts:
Guaranteed contracts (4) 36,007,049
Draft pick (1) 1,280,800
Empty roster slots (7@490,180) 3,431,260
TOTAL - 40,719,109
B James and Akognon have non-guaranteed deals, so we haven't counted them. If needed they could be waived with no cap hit.
What is the spending room?
CAP ROOM (58.5M cap) - 17,780,891
MAX SALARY - Howard 20,513,178 ...Paul 18,668,430
What about the work left to hook that big fish?
If the cap lands at 58.5M, to sign Howard the Mavs would have to move one of the following (with no return salary):
(b) Carter and Crowder
(c) Carter and Larkin
If the cap lands at 58.5M, to sign Paul to a max deal the Mavs would have to move one of the following (with no return salary):
(c) Crowder and Larkin
That could be done to another non-LA team, or perhaps in a sign-and-trade with the selected player(s) going to the LA team in question.
Whether we look at it as a savings of $1.1 million extra that could have been spent, or a break-even in the projection of whether they are in cap room, the Mavs still came out ahead. What they did here was swap a $1.2 million cap commitment from a guy they decided cannot play, into a guy who they hope can -- maybe a Barea-play-alike. That makes it good no matter how you look at the numbers.
DONUT 3: Speaking of Dwight – Dirk's phone call … It didn't come in the form of an official pronouncement. But it is "official'' in another sense: Dirk Nowitzki is already on the technological recruiting trail for Dwight Howard.
"I reached out to him, but that's probably as far as I would go," Nowitzki said before ducking into the war room at the AAC. "I told him we'd love to have him and that's really about it. It's not like we call each other every day. I didn't write him a letter. I just had a little phone contact and that was about it."
And how is the Mavs' July 1 free-agent target doing?
"He's doing well,'' Dirk said. "And I guess he's just weighing his options. He didn't say anything newsworthy. I'm sure he's got a couple meetings set up in early July and hopefully the Mavs are one of those teams."
Dallas is putting down the financial groundwork for the acquisition of Howard, who may be placing leaving the Lakers and coming to either Dallas or Houston atop his wish list. To Nowitzki, the allure is obvious.
"He's the most dominant big man in the league," Nowitzki said. "He's a beast on both ends.''
More from Dirk on the excitement of the war room:
One more recruiting nugget:
"We're gonna go out to LA,'' Cuban said today, "and we've set a meeting date with a couple of different players."
DONUT 4: Thanks, Frisco Party Station! ... Our neighborhood party headquarters? Pool parties, birthdays, July 4 get-togethers, or, in our family, a college graduation to celebrate? Frisco Party Station is our guide! Check 'em out, and tell 'em DB.com sent you!
DONUT 5: And if Dallas doesn't get Dwight? ... Then Dallas gets tough love from our David Lord.
Writes D-Lord: "For the Mavs, 2012-13 was a year wasted. Dirk was injured much of the season, the team missed the playoffs for the first time since 2000, and now the goal is to toss this roster in the trash as soon as possible and start over. How to speed the process to being elite again, beginning today? Join us for a tough-love Rebuild Guide for the boys managing our Boys In Blue.''
A must-read for serious Mavs fans … "The Tough-Love Blueprint For Rebuilding The Boys In Blue.''
DONUT 6: Was the Larkin pick a Dirk "called shot''? … The UberMan was in the war room for the first time ever.
And he did make a pre-Draft forecast mentioning how much he liked Larkin.
So … Did "Assistant GM'' Dirk call his shot?
DONUT 7: Follow the Mavs on Twitter ... Here's the goods: Mike Fisher, David Lord and Michael Dugat keep you up-to-the-minute informed on all things Mavs!
DONUT 9: Dirk's "Heroes'' Game ... A long-standing event. A great cause. Tons of fun. DB.com covers it like a blanket and we -- and Dirk -- would love to see you there!
By the way, we're attending Dirk's Heroes practice today ... so check back with DB.com later for more inside stuff!
DONUT 10: A goodbye to Marion? ... Chasing the big fish might mean changes for Dirk's championship teammate Shawn Marion. Nowitzki talked about the possibility of having to play without Marion.
"I think we'll cross that bridge if we get there,'' he said. "If Dwight really says he'd love to be here then that's something we have to address then. As of now, I don't know if we have to address that. I've loved playing with all my championship teammates. We had a great team and great chemistry. I was sad seeing all of them go. It would be the same if we parted ways with ‘Trix. We've been through a lot together. We're the same age, came into the league together. We've seen a lot together and obviously we won the ring together."
But the way we figure it, Trix doesn't have to go.
Here's a simple formula to play with while we wait for "the other shoe to drop'' in the coming hours:
If Marion opts out and leaves Dallas, that adds over $8.8 mil in cap space (they gain $9,316,796 but are reduced by an another $490,180 worth of empty roster slot charge.
Or, if the Mavs then have a plan to re-sign him, as long as the new starting salary is less than $6.5-mil-ish, they should have room for a max deal for Howard. And if they get it down below $6 mil, then there is room for a cap hold for the rights to Wright, something we know they want to have.
Our guess is IF there is an "opt out and re-sign" plan formulated, Marion's salary will be something in the three-years (the max years he can get due to the Over-36 Rule) and $5-to-$6 million per range, for a total of $15-to-$18 mil.
DONUT 11: Listening to the Mavs ... Are the Mavs about to find themselves a new radio home?
(Important note: Where the Mavs go, Coop goes with them. Important, and good.)
DONUT 12: The Final Word ... Late into the night, Dallas completed the pretzel deal that netted them Rick Ledo, a terrifically athletic shooting guard who for reasons that I think raise all sorts of red flags, ended up not playing college basketball.
That story is here, along with the money quote: "I feel that I'm the best two-guard in the class," he said.
Hey, it's a feel-good day for the Mavs. Might as well allow Ricky Ledo to feel good, too.