This has to be one of the craziest NBA seasons that I can remember in regards to big name players getting traded and bought out of their contracts and signing with title contenders.
Rajon Rondo and Amar’e Stoudemire have already been big acquisitions for this Mavericks team and now names like Larry Sanders and Kevin Martin are being linked as players Mavs are ‘looking’ into. Martin hasn’t been bought out of his contract yet so we’ll focus on Sanders first who is in the works of finalizing a buyout with the Milwaukee Bucks and why he’s not a feasible option for the Mavs at this point in time.
Yes, Sanders is a young center at only 26 years old and could provide a team like the Mavericks with much-needed rebounding and defensive presence behind Tyson Chandler. Sanders youth and talent makes him very intriguing to any team but the concern is with his life off the court rather than his actual play on it.
Sanders must have serious issues to walk away from reportedly $27 million out of a potential $40 million contract. Yes he’ll still be getting $13 million but to walk away from that much money guaranteed speaks volume of what he may be going through personally. Sanders would have to sign with the Mavericks by March 1st in order to be considered eligible for the playoffs, which gives him about 11 days to decide whether or not he wants to play for the league’s minimum and help the Mavs with a title push. Doesn’t sound too realistic at this point but could we see Dallas make a real run at him for next season possibly, of course but that won’t help the Mavs for this year’s playoff run.
Sanders is very talented but there’s a lot of risk that comes involved with him. Fans love Rick Carlisle for how he’s able to turn around players careers but there’s nothing in his resume that says he can turn around someone who doesn’t want to play. Monta Ellis for example was a player who wasn’t used correctly not someone who didn’t have the desire to play. Sanders reminds me of Lamar Odom who had gone through tragic events in his personal life and turned to drugs to cope with those issues.
Carlisle couldn’t help Odom and I don’t think anyone could’ve while he was spinning out of control. I’m not saying Sanders is on that same level but to walk away from $27 million GUARANTEED money is a big red flag. Sanders may want to play basketball again when he fixes whatever it is he needs to fix in his personal life but that likely won’t occur before March 1st.
Kevin Martin is another name that’s now being discussed as a potential buyout candidate after reports last week indicated the Timberwolves weren’t considering that route. Martin can score and shoot the three-ball effectively and can certainly be a viable backup to Monta as the Mavs could use a three-point specialist in the backcourt. He doesn’t play much defense but Carlisle could match him up with Rondo for certain stretches in a game to help spread the floor.
What makes it difficult to see the Mavs pulling this off is that who would they cut if they wanted to sign Martin. The Mavs are so thin at center behind Chandler that it makes it hard to think they’d cut James or Smith (reason why Ledo was cut instead to make room for Stoudemire). Then you have Powell who is an intriguing player that the Mavs like as a possible role player down the line.
Maybe the Mavs cut Felton and spread out his salary cap hit over the next two to three years, ok I could see that happen but the Mavs have been reluctant to do such a thing all season long. The best case scenario would be finding a suitor for Greg Smith and Raymond Felton in exchange for complimentary picks in return or receiving just one player back in the trade, a 2-for1 special. But that’s unlikely to happen with little teams wanting an underperforming center and overpaid point guard. Still if Martin would to want to come to Dallas they’ll find a way to free up a roster spot.
Now the second part of the argument would be whether or not Martin would even want to come to Dallas. Martin has been a starter for most of his career and would want his playing time along with a significant role in whatever team he goes too. if he were to come to Dallas his minutes would be limited especially when you already have Barea and Harris coming off the bench. But Martin would only be signing for the rest of the season and maybe he puts his pride to the side and decides he wants a chance play for a ring. If he does then the Mavs have a real shot at bringing Martin onboard but that can be a big if. It’s hard to gauge a player’s intentions and desires when looking for a new team but it’s certainly hard to imagine Martin being ok with playing 15-20 minutes a night.
Center position is still the Mavs biggest concern right now and it’s the reason they hoped they could get Jermaine O’Neal and Amar’e Stoudemire to both sign on with the team. They still desperately want someone who can effectively backup up Tyson but they’ve also wanted a three-point shooter in the backcourt since the beginning of the season. I’ll give the Mavs 60% to land Martin if he indeed becomes available, biggest reason is because for the Mavs the time is now?
The Mavs have given us reason to believe they’re not done makng moves, they’re all in on winning now and Martin would certainly help their cause.