Donuts: Open Mavs Finances - And Our Minds

Donuts: Open Mavs Finances - And Our Minds

Devin Harris went clubbing in Dallas in Wednesday night with Cuban and Parsons, so he's still MFFL. But there is enough gray area regarding his agreement here that it merits investigation as it regards Mo Williams, Bledsoe, Jet, Boozer, Dirk and more. Mavs Donuts:



DONUT 1: Something's happening here ... As we open up the Dallas Mavericks' financial ledger, as best we can, we see some ... Fuzzy Math.

Is it their Fuzzy Math? Or ours? Or, even as the 2014-15 are coming together financially, is there still something brewing in a big way?

DONUT 2: "Blair for Air.'' … Start here: The DeJuan Blair deal is done. Amid continuingly stubborn reports that Dallas traded DeJuan "for a trade exception,'' this is actually what we've termed "Blair for Air.''

Technically it is a sign-and-trade deal that sends Blair to the Washington Wizards in exchange for the rights to Emir Preldzic. Preldzic (6-9, 220), a native of Turkey, was originally the 57th overall pick by the Suns in the 2009 NBA Draft. He is far from NBA-bound. Like the deal that brought center Greg Smith to Dallas, the price paid is essentially "nothing.''

And how did we know for sure all along that it was going to be "Blair for Air''? Because Dallas is operating as an under-the-cap team and by rule therefore cannot take back a trade exception.

DONUT 3: No Bledsoe ... Now to what could be the end-game of some of the machinations and options we've put forth before and will mention again here:

What about moving and shaking and bundling and dumping and making room for restricted star point guard Eric Bledsoe from Phoenix?

Cap-space wise, Dallas could do this. But sources tell DB.com this is not "what's brewing.'' No plans here -- probably because the Mavs are convinced Phoenix intends on matching and keeping.

DONUT 4: How about Jet? ... He makes almost $6 mil. And he's not free; you want him, to have to trade with Sacto for him. And in most scenarios, that means you pick up the $6 mil tab.

There are cheaper ways to find a Booster Club president. And we don't mean that as an insult to Jet. We just believe he's got a brighter AAC future off the court than on.

Again, there are other ways to do this. Sacto could buy him out and set him free, for instance. But Dallas just signed two shooters who are a combined 13 inches taller than he is.

This is a romantic idea, though.

DONUT 5: Offer to Stephenson? ... Water under the bridge now. But Broussard's report is wrong. Dallas never had a "handshake'' offer of two-years and $20 mil to Lance as the backup to Parsons. That was not true at 1 a.m. Sunday when Mavs sources told DB.com that the parties were in touch but hadn't discussed anything about dollars and years. Four hours later, Parsons was telling friends he was Dallas-bound.

For Broussard's story to be true, the Mavs would've had to have called Lance between 1:01 a.m. and 5:29 a.m. and made an offer.

Possible? Yeah, except for one thing: Mavs sources told us last night that didn't happen, either, and reconfirmed their version of the contact -- no years, no money, no offer.

DONUT 6: Bid on Boozer? ...

Using the numbers as we knew them up until Wednesday night, and using Donnie Nelson's quote to use that Dallas only had "nickels'' of cap room to use, it seemed apparent the Mavs wouldn't be bidding on amnestied Carlos Boozer.

This deserves more study. As you will see below, Dallas might have more than "nickels.'' There might be $1.5 mil in cap room, and that can be enough to bid for Boozer. [Note: the winning bid is determined at 5 p.m. on Thursday].

But is there really $1.5 mil available?

DONUT 7: Not nickels ... And here's where we begin to open the Mavs books and open our own minds to the possibilities.

First, that aforementioned $1.5 mil? It can be used in any number of ways. ... assuming it exists.

DONUT 8: Creating a package of space ...

Speaking theoretically: $1.5 mil in space. Devin's so-far-not-cemented $3 mil. A trade-dump of Felton for almost $4 mil. A trade-dump of B-Wright for $5 mil more. (All not counting, in another category, that $2.7-mil room-MLE.)

Just in theory, now: That's $1.5 + $3 + $4 + $5 = $13.5 million worth of create-able room.

DONUT 9: Welcome aboard! …

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DONUT 10: Where the dollars get interesting ... Now you know about some of the things the Mavs can't do, won't do, and can do but won't do.

Here's what makes it all so ... and what makes it all so fuzzy:

By the numbers, things don't exactly add up.

Donnie told us they have nickels left, which was a clear inference that they don't have any cap space remaining once they sign Dirk and Devin. We took that at face value, and simply figured the deals for Dirk and Devin were structured in such a way that their money was gone. Since our interview with Donnie, he has also been dismissive in other media visits about any interest in a bid on Boozer.

But now we have the numbers for Dirk, and Devin's deal is lagging. Maybe it simply has been awaiting the Blair deal to clear. That's the easy explanation. And certainly Devin remains in the fold here in some capacity; last night, Cuban send out a CyberDust photo of Devin, Parsons and Cuban hitting a Dallas nightspot.

The fascinating problem is, once we look at possible numbers for Devin, we have to wonder: Was there some sort of misdirection? Was it purposeful? And what is the purpose?

The numbers we all heard that Devin agreed to were three-years and $9 mil, and if we plug in the smallest $9 mil contract possible for Devin, here's where the Mavs would be.

T CHANDLER $14,846,888
PARSONS $14,700,000
ELLIS $8,360,000
Wright $5,000,000
FELTON $3,793,693
Crowder $915,243
Ledo $816,482
Mekel $816,482
Smith $948,163
Dirk $7,974,482
[Harris signing] $2,870,813
[Lewis -min] $507,336
[Jefferson - min] 0
[James? - min] 0
room MLE 2.732 0
Total (12 slots) $61,549,582
Cap $63,065,000
Cap room $1,515,418

Once again: That $1.5M in cap room is not "nickels." Leftover money of that size, when the Mavs are acting mysteriously in regard to the specifics of Devin's deal -- and they are very hush-hush here -- makes you wonder.

DONUT 11: What it is ain't exactly clear ... And as long as we're already wondering, let's take it one-step beyond and make it something to really wonder about.

Could there be any way Devin is sliding into the $2.732 room exception (not that much less than $2.871 this year) with a contract that allows plans of re-doing the deal in a year? If so, that opens up almost $4 mil in cap space right now, as we alluded to above, and all kinds of possibilities if you add in trades and so on.

We're opening the books. Let's open our minds. What if Devin is the one who takes the room-MLE so somebody else (Mo Williams or whomever) can take the cap space?

(UPDATE: ESPN mentions using the room-MLE on Jamal Crawford, Evan Turner or Jameer Nelson. Sensible, though in the case of Crawford, this would be a twist on earlier thinking, when they liked him only as a minimum guy.)

On the other hand, there's still the unverified rumor that Devin may have been promised $16 mil over four years, rather than $9 mil over three years, in which case Donnie's statement makes sense and the vast majority of cap room is gone. The smallest contract in Year 1 for Devin to get $16 mil for four years puts the cap sheet as follows, with only $639K in unused cap room:

T CHANDLER $14,846,888
PARSONS $14,700,000
ELLIS $8,360,000
Wright $5,000,000
FELTON $3,793,693
Crowder $915,243
Ledo $816,482
Mekel $816,482
Smith $948,163
Dirk $7,974,482
[Harris signing] $3,747,073
[Lewis -min] $507,336
[Jefferson - min] 0
[James? - min] 0
room MLE 2.732 0
Total (12 slots) $62,425,842
Cap $63,065,000
Cap room $639,158
Smile
Bingo.

Mavs sources tell DB.com this morning that our cap-room calculation of $639,158 is "close.'' That means barring any more trickery, there is no Boozer bid. And it means Devin's deal is different - more spread out? -- than first announced.

DONUT 12: The Final Word ... DB.com reported on Wednesday that had Dirk taken a max contract elsewhere (rather than the $25-mil-for-three-years here), the Mavs icon could've gotten $23,857,387 to start with a three-year total of $74,792,908.

Mark Cuban checks in with us to note that the Rockets, for instance, one of the teams interested in stealing Dirk, notes what a fantasy those numbers are because Houston wasn't going to ever get the room to actually max.

Cuban is right but our point stands: Nowitzki's deal pays him (according to ShamSports.com):

2014-15 salary: $7,974,482
2015-16 salary: $8,333,334
2016-17 salary: $8,692,184 (player option)

That's all about one-third of the $75 mil (or so) of what he could've asked for from some team had he not been so unselfishly MFFL.

All that's left to decide here is how soon is the bronze Dirk statue going to be erected on Victory Plaza.

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