For Part VI of our fantasy offseason series, we’ll do some pre-draft wheeling and dealing. It involves a couple of Texas two-steps, a couple of Eastern Conference teams, and it requires Dallas taking on a lot of salary. But I’d argue that it makes the Mavs much better with a chance to score in the lottery. And it go a ‘lil summin’ like this.
The Basics: There are three teams involved here (Dallas, Detroit and Miami) and two separate transactions to make it all happen. Detroit and Miami will get varied degrees of salary relief and Dallas will get an aging player at a position of need but it’ll also net a lottery pick.
The How: In move No. 1, Dallas will use the trade exception from the Kris Humphries deal to acquire Daequan Cook and his $2.1 million dollar salary. Miami can obtain Dallas’ No. 50 pick or $1 -- who cares? Make it what you want. This will make more sense after the ensuing transaction, but the obvious motivation for Miami is to shed more salary for the summer of 2010 and Dallas’ motivation is because they’re about to get other cool stuff. Move No. 2 is convoluted, but it goes down like this:
Miami acquires Eduardo Najera and J.J. Barea
The Why: For Dallas it’s a lot of money to take on softened by the blow of moving Matt Caroll’s contract (almost $12 million over the next three seasons). But they get a lottery pick to try and acquire a young big and they get a usable two in Rip Hamilton. I’ll be honest: At this point I’m not a big Hamilton fan whatsoever and fully expect him to be a complete financial disaster by the end of his contract. I do think, however, that he gives the team some flexibility at the two if Mr. Cuban can absorb the dough. It also makes moving Caron Butler a lot more palatable if he helps you net another key transaction this summer. The real excitement here is getting the No. 7 pick where there are plenty of tantalizing young players that provide athleticism and youth. And Chalmers will be a suitable replacement for Barea.
Miami gets all that cap space to go chase the dream team. By moving Cook, Chalmers and Beasley for Barea and Najera they’ll add another $3.1 million in cap space. If they choose to release Najera immediately it’ll be $3.6 million. Plus they won’t have the $1.2 million they’d have to allocate towards the No. 18 pick. That means they’ll have upwards of $45 million in cap space. Wow.
Detroit gets to unload Hamilton’s contract. The difference between the combined total of Carroll and Stevenson’s contract over the life of the deals is about $20 million dollars. Dallas throws in $1 million this season so Detroit’s bottom line is about the same for 2010-11. So the logic for the Pistons is that they trade the No. 7 pick for Beasley and the No. 18 pick and then they save an additional $20 million by parting with a player in Hamilton who doesn’t fit their plans whatsoever. They’ll be way younger and have the chance to score a lot of points while spending way less money over the long haul. If the cap were the same for 2011, this move would put them under the cap in the neighborhood of $15 million or so.
The Bottom Line: For Dallas this is a way to get better while also adding a crucial lottery pick. They’ll also have several super-valuable trade chips in Erick Dampier’s expiring contract, Butler’s productivity/expiring contract and a potential sign-and-trade with Brendan Haywood if they don’t want to keep him. These moves are pricey, but they add youth and veteran production, and Dallas still maintains tremendous flexibility for other moves. Me says, make it happen.