Caron Butler suffered a severe knee injury Saturday night against the Milwaukee Bucks that could have him miss the rest of the season.
Temporarily, the Mavericks have inserted Shawn Marion into the starting lineup. They have also recalled rookie Dominique Jones from the D-League and he will be in line for an uptake in minutes.
In the long run though, losing Caron Butler is a huge loss for this team. Butler had settled into his role on this team and was capable of giving you 15-20 points every night. Marion, while still a good defender, has absolutely no offensive game outside of 5 feet.
Inserting Marion in the starting lineup also deals a blow to the Mavericks depth. Depth was a major focal point for these Mavericks. They were widely considered the deepest team in the league. With no Butler, the Mavericks will have to rely on JJ Barea, Deshawn Stevenson and Dominique Jones to pick up the slack on offense.
Not exactly enticing options.
So, it's time to look into the trade market.....
The 76ers are abysmal this year but abysmal in the Eastern conference can get you a playoff seed. They have a couple of the worst contracts in the NBA in Iguodala and Elton Brand and at 13-20 should be looking to rebuild.
One of the rumored teams interested in Iggy is the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers have one thing to offer the 76ers. A $14.5 million trade exception acquired in the LeBron sign and trade. The 76ers could insist on including JJ Hickson, but the Cavaliers have been adamant on not including Hickson in the past and I see no reason why they would change their stance now.
So, the Cavaliers can offer a big trade exception for Iguodala and.... that's about it.
The Mavericks could offer the expiring contract of Caron Butler and tag on rookie Dominique Jones. This gives the Sixers $10 million that will come off the books at the end of the year and a promising talent to build on with Jones.
Would the Sixers be interested in this deal now that Butler is injured? If they're still aiming to sneak in as an 8 seed, probably not.
What if you take back two of their awful contracts and offer them Haywood, Butler, Stevenson and Jones for Iggy and Brand?
Brand has a massive contract and the Sixers have been begging for someone to take them off their hands for a while. Haywood has a massive contract but has less committed to him annually and has a fully unguaranteed 6th year. Brand has three years left at $16 million a year.
Shockingly, Brand has actually played well this year. He's averaging 15 points and nine rebounds with a true shooting percentage of 55.3. He would become the primary backup to Dirk and is capable of playing some center when need be.
Iguodala is a superior defender and will lock down the opposing teams superstar with ease. He's an excellent passer and is fairly efficient on offense so you wouldn't have to worry about him jacking up needless shots every time he's on the floor. He would be perfect here.
Wallace becomes a much more intriguing option right now. The Mavericks and Bobcats have dealt with each other before and seem to have a good relationship.
As with Iggy, Wallace would bring a solid defensive presence to the Mavericks. He is a rebounding machine. All things being equal, I'd prefer Wallace over Iguodala. The one negative aspect to Wallace is his injury problems. He is way too susceptible to concussions due to his reckless style of play. That reckless style involves attacking the basket which is always a plus. Wallace averages five attempts at the rim every game, the same number of attempts as Dwight Howard.
Not bad at all.
You would probably have to give up Rodrigue Beaubois for Wallace. Butler/Roddy should be enough to entice the Bobcats into pulling the trigger. Whether the Mavericks would be willing to give up Roddy in any deals remains to be seen.
These are probably the two main targets to keep an eye on, here are some other names...
Jackson has always been linked to the Mavericks and will probably be linked with them again this season. He can be a good defender when he wants to be but he always slows down the offense and needs to have the offense run through him to be effective. I don't like him here at all.
While Martin would be a fabulous get, it's tough to find a match between the Mavericks and Rockets.
This would only be viable if the Warriors are interested in dumping his salary and that's looking unlikely with new ownership in place, but it's a name to keep in mind.