There are suddenly three relevant-to-the-Mavs items when it comes to the courting of Greg Oden, in…
Monday Morning Mavs Donuts
DONUT 1: A rim-protector? ...
I'm not especially prepared to change my tune on the Sam Dalembert signing; he's a 32-year-old Band-Aid who seems pretty much locked into scoring six points and pulling down six rebounds per game.
But the contract is more attractive that it might've been (less than half what Kaman made here!) and the options were dwindling for a team that, you know, has to play somebody at center, and then there is this:
Dalembert has the second most blocks (1,411) by an NBA center in the last dozen years. So he does have his limitations ... which when I watch him, seems to include a lack of high-voltage effort ... but if he's a rim-protector, then he can certainly help.
Of course, with the level of defensive work expected on the perimeter from Calderon and Monta, a rim-protector behind them is likely going to earn his money.
DONUT 2: The Big Calculator ...
The Dallas Mavericks big pieces are coming together. But some of the little pieces were falling apart for a second there.
The scenarios we made public on Friday have come to fruition over the weekend , the Mavs carving from their roster a pair of kids with some promise in order to increase cap space by $597,384 in cap room. Center Bernard James spent the weekend on waivers, leaving the Mavs, however temporarily, with Dalembert as the only center on the roster. Marc Stein notes that our speculation on Josh Akognon has been realized as well, and he's about to be an ex-Mav.
Both players passed through waivers and are available to boomerang back to Dallas.
Akognon does not necessarily fit into Dallas' plans, despite his Summer-League-showcased scoring abilities. James certainly does fit, even as the Mavs continue to hope they win a minimum-wage sweepstakes for the rehabbing center Greg Oden.
The aforementioned $597,384 in cap room has allowed Dallas to move forward on the actual signings of Monta Ellis and Dalembert. Dalembert is official, at $7.5 million for two years and at $3,667,482 for this season, according to our calculations. Ellis is not yet official, but the James and Akognon transactions figure to lead him to his three-year deal that we believe will start at $8,087,087.
DONUT 3: So next comes Bernard, right? ...
Not so fast. Signing James is not the next move ahead. Getting Ellis signed has to happen beforehand. And a couple more additions may need prioritizing as well.
DONUT 4: The Ledo Shuffle ...
If the Mavs intend to sign Ledo, then it is imperative they also get him done while they have cap room. If they replace one of their "incomplete roster" charges with a rookie minimum deal to Ledo, his signing can be done using cap room, enabling them to give him a Chandler-Parsons-like deal with four non-guaranteed years at the minimum; if they wait to sign him after the cap space is all used, all they will be allowed is the more common Minimum Salary Exception signing - limited to two years. After Ledo, they have the latitude to do the same with another rookie as well, before going to deals using exceptions.
That's "Asset Management.''
Then it will be time for the final filling of the roster with players to be added using salary cap exceptions - all those deals we've heard about, but that haven't been signed yet. That will include Wright (Early Bird exception), Ellington (Mid-Level Exception), Harris (Minimum Salary Exception), and James (Minimum Salary Exception).
If they can persuade Oden, he would be added with a Minimum Salary Exception as well. And then the roster will be full, and barring an unexpected surprise, the next stop is training camp.
DONUT 5: The largest TV in Texas! ...
Our North Dallas hangout for sports and live music? It's Red Rock Bar & Grill! They help make DB.com what it is ... thanks, guys!
DONUT 6: Gal Mekel is 'the next' ...
Gal Mekel, the Israeli star who is tearing it up for the Mavs in Vegas Summer League, is a heckuva story. He was not an NBA prospect in his time at Wichita State. He's worked to get here. And he is a natural point guard who at 25 is on a very favorable three-year minimum deal with the Mavs.
But he's not Ricky Rubio.
Oh, I want him to be. But I think we all understand Summer League for what it is, and what it is ISN'T The Guaranteed Showcase For All The Guaranteed-To-Be-The-Next.
That's simply not the way it works.
Summer League is the place where "nobodies'' get tryouts, and where tryouts lead to end-of-bench jobs, often in the D-League. Jeremy Lin is an exception, as the Mavs know first-hand.
But mostly, what Mekel is trying to do in Vegas is develop his way into being a real, live rotation player in Dallas. For now, that's enough for me.
Especially if you realize that so far, not even Ricky Rubio is "The Next Ricky Rubio'' (compared to his advanced billing).
DONUT 7: What the league thinks of Bernard ...
The fact that both James and Akognon cleared waivers provides a definitive answer to the question of why the Mavs didn't trade them rather than waive him: no other team wanted them.
We tend to fall in love with our own, and that's no crime; other teams did the same thing in deciding to value their own backup centers over James. (And as I said above, not even the Mavs have true big-league plans for Akognon, so you can hardly blame the other 29 clubs for agreeing.)
But Sarge is a value here even if all he is is a developing young back-of-the-rotation player. Because right now, Dallas very much needs even that.
DONUT 8: 1-on-1 with Tony Cubes ...
What did Mark Cuban mean when suggesting Dallas is better off without Dwight? Or did he really say that at all? I thought the owner's thoughts deserved a free forum complete with all the framing and context Cuban himself could want. So click that link and see that DB.com provides that in my 1-on-1 visit with Mark Cuban.
DONUT 9: Follow the Mavs on Twitter …
Follow the Mavs on Twitter: Mike Fisher, David Lord and Michael Dugat keep you up-to-the-minute informed on all things Mavs!
DONUT 10: Thanks, Frisco Party Station! ...
A tip of the cap of appreciation to Frisco Party Station, your neighborhood headquarters for all your party needs ... everything! All the neighborhood schools represented -- college and even high school! -- and the party is on!
DONUT 11: Monta vs. Jet ...
I don't think we're painting an unfairly pretty picture when we consider the advanced stats of Monta vs. Jet -- and note that both start(ed) their Mavs careers at the age of 27 ... and that we do so optimistically.
Read the advanced-stats breakdown of what could be with Monta, while also being fully aware -- because you're a Mavs fan -- of the fact that Ellis' career 21.6 points per game vs. the Mavs is his highest average vs. any Western Conference team. And he likes this gym, too, as his average over the course of having played 11 career games at the AAC is also 21.6 ppg.
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
The Mavericks' decision to trade away - really, virtually give away -- former second-round pick Nick Calathes serves as a ringing endorsement of the future of Mekel.
Here's hoping the Mavs -- hardly raving successes when it comes to recent draft evaluations -- get this one right. Calathes goes to Memphis in exchance for the lifting of protection of a second-round pick the Grizzlies already owe Dallas. So in a sense, Dallas traded a young prospect for a pick it already owned!
It is a nice gesture toward Calathes, allowing him freedom elsewhere. Is it the right call? That'll be easy to judge. If Nick goes to Memphis and with Mekel staying with Dallas, their development will start out neck-and-neck.
There won't be much red tape or nuance in judging whether Dallas judged correctly; the three-year guaranteed deal at the league minimum given to Mekel needs to pay off as a superior bargain to whatever Calathes gets with the Grizz.