Upgrading the bench post NBA All-Star break

It’s no secret that the Dallas Mavericks have been looking to upgrade their depth off the bench, especially along the front line. The departure of Brandon Wright has really been felt since his departure and the Mavs have been looking to fill his void. Jermaine O’Neal, Amare Stoudemire and Kevin Martin have all been names that have been rumored as possibly joining the Mavs sometime post All-Star break. But how possible is it really that the Mavs can acquire one or all three of these players and how exactly will they fit in the rotation?

Jermaine O’Neal is a name that Mavs fans have become all too familiar with over the last couple months ever since O’Neal made it public that he was working out to get in playing shape again to attempt to come back and play this season. He’s been working to get back in shape in Southlake and has strong ties with coach Carlisle from his Indiana Pacers days. The Mavs really don’t have anyone behind Tyson Chandler that can bang bodies down-low and grab rebounds around the basket.

In 44 games last season, O’Neal averaged 7.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in 20 min/game in Golden State. O’Neal is the most likely candidate to join Dallas and I believe fills the biggest need off the bench, rebounding. He’ll have no problem adjusting and reuniting with coach Carlisle and can play alongside Dirk or Villanueva without greatly hurting the Mavs rebounding game.

Now Amare Stoudemire was a name that kind of just came out of nowhere last week when he made comments about deciding whether to ask the Knicks for a buyout after the All-Star break. With that said the Mavs would be frontrunners if the Knicks do indeed buy out Stoudmire’s contract. Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton have already vouched for the idea of Stoudmire possibily joining the Mavs. This is by no means a guarantee but if he were to join the Mavs he’d be able to fit right in offensively in the pick and roll game. While he’s  far from an elite defender, he can help in the rebounding department as he’s averaged 7 boards a game to go along with his 12.1 point scoring average.

The question with Stoudemire has always been his health but in limited minutes he provides flexibility off the bench. I can imagine a scenario where we’d see a lot of pick and roll plays with Devin Harris that could help benefit the backup point guard as his offensive numbers have suffered since Wright’s departure. Harris was at his best coming off the bench with Wright as defenses had to respect Wright’s alley-oop ability and that gave Harris more room and space to drive or shoot some wide-open 3’s.

Stoudemire doesn’t have the hops he once had but his midrange shot and ability to roll to the basket would be a key asset to the Mavs bench. If Stoudemire can negotiate a buyout with the Knicks I feel pretty good about the Mavs acquiring him to bolster their front line, but unlike O’Neal there’s more hurdles to jump over with Stoudemire.

Besides frontcourt help the Mavs have been trying to add a shooter to their roster, particularly in the backcourt, ever since the offseason. Kevin Martin, shooting guard of the Timberwolves, has been mentioned in possible trade talks. Martin is known as a three-point specialist with little D in his defensive game. Martin, however, is a veteran in this league and provides floor spacing the Mavs would love to have more of in their backcourt. Now I find it hard to believe this is even an option for the Mavs seeing as how they just gave up a first round pick in the Rondo deal, more than likely what the Timberwolves are looking for in return.

To those who want to trade away Felton in nearly every trade scenario, it’s not going to happen with Felton having more than one year left on his contract. The Mavs could certainly use another shooter at the shooting guard position but based on what little trade assets the Mavs have left I don’t see Martin as a viable option. The same would go for anyone that wants to bring up Arron Afflalo’s name into the picture.

Frontcourt depth is the biggest need, Greg Smith and Dwight Powell are simply too undersized at the center and forward position to solve the Mavs rebounding woes, although I’m a fan of Powell’s offensive game. Aminu has been great over the last few weeks and has really given the bench a shot in the arm anytime he comes into the game. His defense and energy have been spectacular but he needs help behind him at the center position as he plays more small/power forward.

It’s possible the Mavs could get both O’Neal and Stoudemire, something I’m personally rooting for, and make moves to free up one more roster spot. I love our chance at getting O’Neal and like(mostly) our chances at Stoudemire. Hopefully the Mavs can get both, because we all know Tyson could use some help.



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