Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mavs Ready to Pull the Trigger?

Maybe, according to Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo! Sports:

The New Jersey Nets are in serious negotiations with the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers about a blockbuster three-way trade that would send Jason Kidd to the Mavericks, league sources said Wednesday afternoon.

In the proposed trade, Dallas and Portland would send the Nets a package that includes the Mavs' Devean George and Jerry Stackhouse and Blazers forwards Travis Outlaw and Channing Frye and guard Jarrett Jack. Mavericks point guard Devin Harris would be sent to Portland. Along with Kidd, the Nets would send reserve forward Malik Allen and center Jamaal Magloire to Dallas.

Who knows where Wojnarowski gets that from, but it sounds pretty definite to me. Lately though Devin Harris has looked like he's becoming the player his supporters have lauded him to be, and there are those who think that not only in the long run, but right now, Harris is the better deal:

A snippet from Hollinger's column that includes Harris on the All-Sleeper team:

His play has been strong enough, in fact, that I'd like to throw out a heretical thought for you Mavs fans contemplating a Harris-and-change-for-Kidd trade: What makes you think having Kidd would be better?

Harris has a much better PER this season and wasn't much behind Kidd in 2005-06 (last season Kidd had a sizable edge, though). While Kidd is a great defender against big guards, Harris is vastly superior against the quick guards -- Tony Parker, Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Allen Iverson, etc. -- the Mavs are likely to be matching up against in the playoffs. Additionally, Kidd shoots 36.9 percent from the floor and 34.3 percent from 3, while Harris is at 48.3 percent and 35.7 percent from 3 … so whom would you rather have spacing the floor for Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard?

Of course, all MFFLs know that Hollinger and his stupid stats don't know squat. I mean, this moron ranked the Spurs above the en-route-to-67-wins Mavs last season, right? Oh, wait a second ... maybe this math geek does know his hoops.

But I'll counter his Kidd/Harris comparison with a couple points: 1) I'd be willing to wager that Kidd's PER would improve significantly if his supporting cast did. 2) I'd guarantee that Kidd's PER would improve with his give-a-flip level going from none in New Jersey to a whole lot with a title contender.

"I really don't think he has lost a step," an advance scout told "It just looks like he's not trying that hard. He still has a lot left and if he is traded, whatever team gets him, look out."

I've liked Harris' play as of late too, and I'm inclined to keep him and hope he matures right now into the player the Mavs need to win a final. Of course this trade depends on what value Portland might assign to Harris as well, and apparently there are numbers issues that make such a deal difficult to pull off at best. But I have this nagging voice in the back of my head that says the Mavs window is closing in an increasingly competitive West, and their best chance at a title is to pick up a player like Kidd who can make a difference in this team overnight. And two massive failures in the post-season in a row make playing it a little conservative in the personnel department seem just short-sighted and foolish. Kidd has his personal flaws, no doubt about that, but could the Mavs keep him happy long enough to ride him, Nowitzki and Howard to the Finals? We might find out. Either way rumors like this don't just pop out of thin air, and it's nice to see that the Cuban is at least thinking about how to prime this team for a championship.

Oh and by the way, the Mavs play Boston tonight. And though Harris and Stackhouse are out and Garnett is questionable, it should still be a good one.

UPDATE: Marc Stein at ESPN says that talks have "cooled", but that a Kidd to Dallas deal still makes the most sense out of any possible destination for Kidd, and that if there's to be a trade it's likely to happen sooner rather than later.

UPDATE II: Apparently no one at Portland, Dallas or New Jersey like this trade idea, which I suppose peons like us are supposed to take to mean that trade rumors have been fashioned completely by reporters who spend too much time emailing each other, updating their blogs and chatting at games. Yeah, I don't buy it either. But whatever drives Kidd's value down works for me.

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