December is here and that usually signifies the true beginning of trade season as most players in the league become eligible to be traded. Will Mark Cuban pull the trigger on a trade?
It was just a few winters ago that Mark Cuban shipped off Jae Crowder, a first rounder, and others for Rajon Rondo and Dwight Powell. A trade that the Mavericks thought would put them over the top, but would only come back to haunt them.
Now, it’s December again and the Mavericks are clearly not contenders. Except this time. they hold the worst record in the league and Dirk Nowitzki is two years older.
So what does Mark Cuban do this time around?
You can never count Cuban out of the trade market, but one thing he did make clear was unloading veterans for young flyers is not something that he is looking to do.
When talking to the media before a Sunday evening game against the Pelicans, Cuban talked about the possibility of unloading a veteran, maybe even an expiring veteran, for the chance at a young flyer.
“There is always circumstances but more often than not we will take a sure thing over a flyer,” Cuban said. “I’d rather get better than go backwards.”
Obviously not everyone around the league, or even the fan base, will agree with Cuban on this one. With the Mavericks sitting at the very bottom of the league, why not unload an expiring, veteran role player for a chance at a young flyer who could grow into something?
But Cuban thinks that teams who have a lot of those flyers haven’t necessarily turned their franchise around.
“Teams that have had 5, 6 picks in the last drafts…I don’t think that has worked out really well for them.”
“…more often than not, we will take a sure thing over a flyer” -Cuban
This isn’t anything new for Cuban though. From trading draft picks to bringing in aging veterans to fill out the roster, Cuban (and Carlisle) have made it known they prefer the veteran route to the younger one.
But this year looked to be different.
Instead of filling out the roster with aging veterans, Dallas filled out the roster and rotation with players in their mid-twenties. With players like Barnes, Curry, Powell, and Anderson looking to hold a prominent role in the rotation, it looked like Dallas was starting to set the stage for the post-Dirk era.
So with the Mavericks almost out of the playoff picture, would they look for trades that could benefit the future or trades that would instantly make the team better? You know the answer to that question.
“What has changed is the cap is not going up $15-20 million like it was before. So teams will come to realization and they might be willing to get off a really, really good player, if not a perennial all-star to get off the money,” Cuban said. “I’d rather take back money and go that direction and get good fast.”
Trading for a perennial all-star sounds great in theory, but are there many teams in the league that will be shedding a perennial all-star? Maybe he means a player who he thinks can be an all-star?
In trading for the type of player that Cuban would prefer, this would mean eating into future cap space and limiting flexibility come the summer time. Something that Cuban is willing to do.
“Yeah, if it’s a good enough player. I’m not saying we are doing it for a marginal player just to win three more games. We are going to look at all of our options,” Cuban said.
I have two thoughts after Cuban made these comments.
First off, I want to call his bluff. I strongly believe that if the right flyer type of player came open in the trade market that one of their expiring veterans like Deron Williams or Andrew Bogut could land, I believe he will do it.
Why not trade a veteran, in the back-end of their careers on an expiring contract, for the chance at a young player who could grow into a cornerstone piece? I think Cuban would pull the trigger, but in theory, it’s not his preference do to his competitiveness to win now.
Second, I normally support Cuban more than the most fan, but on this issue, I would completely disagree if he isn’t bluffing.
If Dallas continues down this same path towards the bottom of the league, they should try to unload a veteran or two in hopes of landing a young player(s) that could maybe grow into something.
No matter if you agree or not, we all know Mark Cuban will do what Mark Cuban wants to do.