ESPNDallas.com columnist Jean-Jacques Taylor and MavsOutsider.com editor-in-chief Bryan Gutierrez join Tim MacMahon each week to run a three-man weave on a few questions on the minds of Mavericks fans.
Gutierrez: Without knowing what Boston is truly looking for, Dallas offers an available first-round pick, Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, Raymond Felton and Ricky Ledo in exchange for Rondo and injured big man Vitor Faverani. You could also do Rondo for a first-rounder, Wright, Felton, and Jameer Nelson. There would be questions about how Rondo and Monta Ellis fit together on offense, but you take the talent and figure it out as you go. Either way, I’m skeptical that Boston would even ponder these proposals.
Taylor: Rajon Rondo is one of the best point guards in the NBA, so whatever it takes -- as long as it doesn't affect the Mavs’ core -- they should be willing to give up. You have to give to get, so if letting Wright go must be done, then so be it. The same goes for Crowder and any draft picks the Celtics want. The Mavs are trying to win another title before Dirk Nowitzki retires, and this would get them a lot closer.
MacMahon: The cap math works for Wright, Nelson and one of the Mavs’ minimum-salary players. Dallas would have to throw at least one pick in the pot, as well. That doesn’t sound like a steep price to pay for a perennial All-Star point guard in his prime, but for what it’s worth, the trade machine hates the trade for the Mavs. According to Hollinger’s analysis, which is a statistical formula, the deal would make Dallas eight wins worse. That’s probably greatly overrating Wright’s 26.2 player efficiency rating, which ranks fifth in the league, but he’d be far from an insignificant loss for the Mavs.
2. How should the Mavs address their problem at point guard?
Gutierrez: With over a quarter of the season completed, it’s time to look for another answer at the position. If nothing is imminent with a deal, they need to consider inserting J.J. Barea or Raymond Felton into the starting lineup for Jameer Nelson. Things simply haven’t worked out as many had hoped with Nelson. Though he makes the most sense to move into the starting lineup, the Mavs likely won’t change Devin Harris’ role simply because it’s working so well.
Taylor: Adding Rondo would be the best thing to help the Mavs' point guard situation. The reality is Jameer Nelson and Raymond Felton would be better as backups, and Rondo's arrival would allow them to do that. Devin Harris could start, but he seems to be thriving in his current role.
MacMahon: Rondo seems to be the most realistic fit. He definitely addresses the Mavs’ massive defensive and rebounding flaws, but he might be a wrench in the works of the league’s best offense. The Mavs seem more than willing, however, to take their chances that coach Rick Carlisle can make it work with the NBA’s assists leader. A potential fallback option: Phoenix’s Isaiah Thomas. He was part of the Mavs’ backup plan if they didn’t get Chandler Parsons this summer. The problem is, as good as he is offensively, he’s another munchkin who wouldn’t address the Mavs’ needs on the other end of the floor. Goran Dragic would be a great fit, but the Mavs clearly don’t want to wait until the summer to upgrade at the position, and it doesn’t seem likely that the Suns would make him available via trade.
3. Could Jermaine O'Neal help the Mavs?
Gutierrez: The Mavs need another big man. That’s not an indictment on Wright. He plays his role perfectly, but the Mavs need some insurance in the middle. The fact Greg Smith isn’t getting any time should be an indicator in terms of how much they see him being a factor. If Wright were to go in a Rondo deal, you’d certainly want assurances you’re getting a big back in some form or fashion. O’Neal could be that option.
Taylor: I don't know what Jermaine O'Neal could add. The Mavs have a ton of veteran role players who have played in big games and can add leadership. He's not a difference-maker at this point of his career, so what's the point?
MacMahon: If Wright goes to Boston, the Mavs better sign O’Neal or somehow address their need for a backup big. He’d be a nice addition even with Wright on the roster. You saw in Memphis how much the Mavs need another banger on the roster to help Tyson Chandler. Like DeJuan Blair, O’Neal might not play every night, but he’d be a key piece in certain matchups against potential playoff foes. O’Neal, who lives in the Dallas suburb Southlake and played for Carlisle in Indiana, was a quality backup center for the Suns and Warriors the past two seasons.