The trade rumors coming out of Miami make sense for the Mavericks as a contingency plan.
The Miami Herald reports the Heat have had preliminary discussions about a sign-and-trade deal that would send Brendan Haywood to Miami for center Jermaine O’Neal and forward Michael Beasley. J.J. Barea might also be shipped to South Beach. (The Mavs will hang up in a heartbeat if the Heat ask for Rodrigue Beaubois.)
The Mavs’ preference remains to re-sign Haywood, but they have to consider sign-and-trade options to prevent him from leaving for nothing if his price tag gets too high. If this deal with the Heat happened, they’d be getting a solid stopgap center and a potential star/problem child with a no-risk contract.
O’Neal could be an option for the Mavs with the midlevel acquisition, assuming he’s willing to take a short-term deal. He has a ton of miles on his legs – making durability a concern – but he’s a good post and help defender and would be an offensive upgrade for the Mavs. His minutes need to be limited to less than 30 per game, but the Mavs could do a lot worse than having him as their primary center.
Beasley, the No. 2 overall pick in 2008 draft, is a phenomenal talent with major immaturity issues. The Heat have apparently had enough of him, shopping him all offseason in hopes of dumping his $4.96 million salary. But it’s the last guaranteed year of his rookie contract, so it’s not like the Mavs would be making much of a commitment to him.
If Beasley can’t get his head screwed on straight, the Mavs simply wouldn’t pick up the team option for $6.26 million next season. If the 21-year-old gets it, he could end up forming the post-Dirk foundation for the Mavs with Roddy B.
One of the best things about this deal is that it wouldn’t prevent the Mavs from making other significant moves this summer. It’d preserve their midlevel exception without touching their most discussed trade chips, headlined by Erick Dampier ’s evaporating contract and Caron Butler ’s expiring deal.
It’s not like this trade with Miami would suddenly make the Mavs contenders, but it’d fill a hole next season and perhaps pay major dividends down the road.