DALLAS -- The Mavs have lost four of five games, so it’s time to try to figure out ways to fix this roster.
I don’t think I’ll come up with any solutions in this mailbag, but it’s always fun to kick around ideas.
As always, feel free to submit questions via my ESPN.com mailbag or on Twitter (@espn_macmahon).
John (Fort Wayne): Let me throw a trade scenario at you. Vince Carter and Jae Crowder to Brooklyn, Jason Terry back to Dallas. The numbers work, but is there even a remote chance that this could happen? Is this a terrible trade? Let's say JT gets healthy ... He showed in the playoffs last year he's still capable of great basketball, saving the Celts’ season for a game. And isn't this more of a natural fit for both guys?
All due respect, but if I’m running the Mavs, I wouldn’t consider pulling the trigger on this deal.
Carter is certainly struggling now, but he had a better year than Terry last season and can play shooting guard or small forward. Jet is just an undersized shooting guard. I also don’t like the idea of giving up a bargain-priced young rotation player in a deal for an aging veteran, considering that the Mavs are trying to build a contender.
Then there’s the cap picture. Carter’s contract expires this summer. Terry is due to make $5.9 million next season. The Mavs are positioned to have significant cap space again this summer. It doesn’t make sense to sacrifice a chunk of it for a 36-year-old who has declined since he left Dallas a couple of offseasons ago.
The time for Jet to return to Dallas is the night the Mavs hang his No. 31 in the American Airlines Center rafters.
Jake (Philadelphia): How aggressive do you foresee the Mavs being around the trade deadline? Do you think they'll pull the trigger on anything?
The “Bank of Cuban” should be open for business again, but that doesn’t mean the Mavs get any deals done.
Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they don’t aggressively explore opportunities to make the Mavs significantly better -- for this season and for the long haul -- before the trade deadline.
That’s easier said than done, though. They have some chips, such as the expiring contracts of Shawn Marion and Carter, but remember that they’re handcuffed when it comes to trading first-round picks because of the protected pick they owe Oklahoma City, an asset that has bounced around the Western Conference since the Mavs gave it up to get the great Lamar Odom.
My hunch is that the Mavs will be mentioned in many, many rumors but the trade deadline will pass without them pulling the trigger on a blockbuster deal.
Mike (Germany): Is there a way for the Mavs to upgrade their roster (center, defense) via trade this season? Omer Asik for example?
That’s definitely an interesting name, but the Rockets aren’t just looking to get rid of him. I can just envision the sarcasm-dripping text from Houston GM Daryl Morey to Cuban asking for Dirk in return.
Shawn Marion has been mentioned as a potential fit. No doubt his championship experience and defensive ability could help Houston, but that’d leave a huge hole in the Mavs’ lineup.
Mavs broadcasting legend Bob Ortegel mentioned an intriguing scenario when he was shooting the bull a couple of weeks ago: Carter and Samuel Dalembert for Asik. I’d do that if I was making decisions for Dallas, but I don’t know how attractive it’d be for the Rockets. Of course, Carter hasn’t exactly helped his trade value since then.
Justin (Dallas): Do you think the return of Brandan Wright and Devin Harris can cure the Mavs bench scoring issues? That has always been a strength, but at the moment, it's been solid production from DeJuan Blair and hope that Carter's shot is on that night.
Once those guys get healthy, if the rest of the roster stays healthy, the Mavs will have solid depth. The question is how quickly Wright and Harris can perform to expectations after they’re cleared to play. If they’re combining for 20-plus points per game, the bench scoring suddenly looks pretty good for the Mavs, particularly if Carter can break out of his slump.
@Mr3Elmore on Twitter: Is there a correlation between the Mavs struggling and Vince Carter's shooting slump?
There really isn’t much difference between Carter’s numbers in wins and losses this season. However, there’s little doubt that the Mavs would be a much better team if Carter can produce at the same level he did last season. They’re counting on him to be a scoring threat as a sixth man.
It’d obviously cut their minutes and might lead the Mavs to decide to send one of the rookies to Frisco for some D-League seasoning. But I could envision a scenario in which Larkin still plays a significant role, just like J.J. Barea when Terry was the Mavs’ sixth man. Larkin will have to earn that role, however. We all know Carlisle isn’t just going to give minutes to a rookie.
@WhiteKaepernick on Twitter: Mavs look like they're going to finish middle of the pack. Of the top seeded teams, who do Mavs want to be matched up with?
I’ll go with the Rockets, and not just because that’d be a fun series to cover with all the juicy storylines. That’s a franchise with precious little recent playoff experience. Dwight Howard is a known headcase, and it’s not exactly a stretch to see Cuban trying to exploit that, especially given his pokes already this season. The problem: James Harden is a matchup nightmare for the Mavs.