The Dallas Mavericks have been linked to many a big man as they look to add some beef to their frontcourt rotation in anticipation of postseason play. Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News is reporting that Jermaine O’Neal will join the Mavericks as soon as he’s ready to go. But that’s not all.
The Mavericks have also been called the “frontrunners” for Amar’e Stoudemire should the power forward, now in his 13th NBA season, reach a buyout agreement with Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks. When rumors of Stoudemire’s next destination were first reported there wasn’t a whole lot of substance to the notion that Stoudemire had played his last game in a Knick uniform. That has changed, and the two parties appear close to reaching a deal.
"Stoudemire’s representatives are pushing for a buyout, and the Knicks seem inclined to grant it, according to sources."
Now, we’re still a few signatures and handshakes away from the former co-Rookie of the Year being available. Additionally, the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns have interest in the veteran big man as well. The point is, nothing is imminent. But it’s fun to speculate, so here we go.
How much would Amar’e Stoudemire help the Mavericks?
At face value, Stoudemire would be a huge addition to the Dallas bench. Right now Al-Farouq Aminu and Charlie Villanueva are splitting time at backup power forward. Both are nice players, and do different things well, but Stoudemire presents more of a traditional option at the four-spot.
Aminu, who has played 50% of his minutes at power forward and an astounding 11% of his minutes at center according to www.basketball-reference.com, is one of the best defenders on the roster but isn’t ideal against some of the bigger lineups the Mavericks will face.
Stoudemire has never been known for his defensive prowess, but at 6’10”, 240-lbs adds a lot of size. He’s averaging just shy of seven rebounds a game in 24 minutes for the Knicks, an area of weakness for Dallas. He’d help immensely in that regard.
Villanueva, once buried at the end of the bench, has become an offensive spark plug for the Mavericks. He’s shooting almost 39% from long range on the season, and recently hit 5-7 from deep in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The problem is, he’s not much of a threat from anywhere else on the floor.
Almost 63% of his shots are three-pointers and his 45% shooting from inside of three-feet is nothing to throw a parade about. Stoudemire and his 12 points per game would give the Mavericks a better interior presence. He’s shooting 67% inside of three-feet on the year, and 55% of his shots come from that area. He’s also capable of knocking down mid-range jumpers out of the pick-and-roll, a trait that helped earn him the massive contract he got with the Knicks.
The problem with Stoudemire, as it always has been, is his durability. Injuries have robbed the once electric athlete of his unparalleled explosion at the power forward position and the best years of his athletic prime.
The 32-year old has played in 80 games only four times in his career and not since 2009-10. He has missed 17 of New York’s 53 games this year. Needless to say, the wine baths aren’t helping.
But despite the health concerns, Stoudemire would be a great fit in the right situation. The Mavericks present such a situation. Contender? Check. Need for a veteran big? Check. Pick-and-roll dominated offense? Check. Excellent medical staff? Double check.
Having Stoudemire would allow Rick Carlisle to employ lineups and matchups for any situation without Dirk Nowitzki on the floor. Want to go small and fast? Aminu is your guy. Need a stretch-four to knock down some outside shots? Villanueva is already ripping off the warmups ready to fire. Don’t want to sacrifice size and rebounding but need a little offensive punch? Stoudemire fits the bill.
In the end it boils down to this: He’s not a savior or anything close to one. But if Stoudemire can stay at least relatively healthy he’d be a great option to have off the bench. Overall he’s a better player than Villanueva, Greg Smith, or Dwight Powell, and a better fit at power forward than Aminu in most cases.
Let’s hope it happens.
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