How Mavs lucked out by missing out on star free-agents

Dwight Howard, Deron Williams, Carmelo Anthony….all three of these current/former All-Stars have been on the Mavs free-agent wish list the last few summers.

Instead they’ve acquired players such as Monta Ellis, and Chandler Parsons during free-agency and Tyson Chandler and Rajon Rondo in trades in the last 8 months. Ask Mavs personnel or even fans whether they’d trade any of the Mavericks players mentioned for any of the three initial names mentioned and it’d be hard to find a majority vote that would be willing to swap out players. In many ways the Dallas got lucky and fortunate by NOT being able to acquire one or all of the players mentioned above and here I’ll explain why.

Howard, Williams and Anthony have combined to miss 48 out of a possible 158 games this season with Howard still on slate to miss at least 6 more weeks and Anthony now reported to shut it down after the All-Star break. In contrast Parsons and Ellis have played in every game this season with Chandler only missing three games with no major injuries to date. Rondo has only been with Dallas a short time this season but he had played in every game this season until a freak injury forced him to miss the last few games. Another big difference in comparing these two groups are their contract deals, both length time. Williams, Howard and Anthony were all signed to max deals over 4 or 5 years as they enter their early 30s. All have struggled with injuries, some more severe than others, and all have seen their production diminish from past years.

Deron Williams has seen his points and assists averages drop from 21.3 and 12.8, the year he was traded from the Jazz to the Nets, to this year’s average of 12.9 points and 6.1 assists. Williams was once viewed as one of the elite points guards in the league but hasn’t put up the same production since his time with former head coach Jerry Sloan and the Utah Jazz. Williams would be no match one-on-one with any of the Western Conference elite point guards and would have put more of a restriction on the Mavs salary-cap flexibility from years past. Williams has only played a minimum of 75 games in a season once in the last 5 years and that was in 12’-13’ when he played a total of 78 games.

Dwight Howard, when healthy, is one of the best big men in the NBA but when you look at his numbers it’s obvious his production has declined ever since he had back surgery at the end of the 11’-12’ season. That was the last season Howard has averaged a double –double in points and rebounds and the last time he averaged over 20 points a game. Now he’s out with a knee injury for 6-8 weeks and it’s a fair question to ask if this is just one injury of more to come. Howard can be a disrupted in the paint but so too is Tyson Chandler, and no one can deny that Chandler is the tough emotional leader on this Mavericks team. Chandler’s leadership is invaluable to the Mavs and you can’t put a price tag on a player’s intangible attributes.

Carmelo Anthony may have the biggest argument to make when it comes to swapping a player like Chandler Parsons out with himself instead. After all Melo is one of the best scorers in the league and I believe is underrated on the defensive end of the floor. Not only that but I think he gets wrongly criticized for being a player that is selfish with the basketball and shooting too much, if I had the teammates he did I’d probably shoot a lot too.

Perhaps what makes Anthony not worth it for the Mavs is his price tag, I mean 5 years for over $120 million!? You combine that with his injury issues this year and you’ have to say to yourself that Dallas made a wiser investment in Parsons rather than Anthony. Parsons isn’t the offensive weapon Anthony is and he has had his ups and down but he comes at about 7-8 million dollars cheaper and at four years younger with less wear and tear on his body. Parsons has improved over the season and it takes time adjusting to a new system and a new team.

Chandler, Ellis and Parsons have all given the Mavs enormous production for what their price tag is, more so Ellis who is only getting about 7-8 mil a year and is the team’s leading scorer. Chandler has exceeded expectations as he’s playing even better than he did during the 10’-11’ championship season. Parsons is still working to live up to his contract but remember Dirk took the pay cut he did in order for the Mavs to bring in Parsons so they’re more of a package deal. The jury is still out with Rondo but the Mavericks essentially have him for the rest of the year before they have to decide on how they’ll re-sign the former All-Star.

Point being is that sometimes the saying is true, the moves you don’t end up making are sometimes the best moves you could have made. I’d say it turned out pretty well for this Mavs team.

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