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Essay: Less Talk, More Action

“All teams go through tough times. We’re going to grow from this. At the end we’ll be the last team standing.”

This was Jason Terry, in an exuberant post-game interview, after downing the Lakers 109-100 last night. The game was played in Dallas, Andrew Bynum (more on him in a special guest post later) left early with a hyper-extended right elbow, and, for one night, Jason Kidd looked like an insulted and vengeful Larry Bird from behind the arc—he made five three-pointers. Basically, the statement made by Terry was a slight embellishment of reality. Given his team’s poor play as of late—they’d lost six straight heading into the game—and the Caron Butler injury/championship chances death blow which was announced a few weeks ago, the proclamation came off more like a threat than a prediction.

As I type this, the Mavericks are done. Flat-lining.  Toast. The Charlotte Bobcats. Deceased. Buried under ground. No longer with us. They’re a veteran team with an MVP candidate, a Hall of Fame point guard, height, and a deep bench, so obviously they should and will make the playoffs.  But are they elite? Can they win a championship? Not with these players; largely the same group that was easily eliminated by San Antonio in last season’s first round.

What Dallas needs, in no small order, is a resurrection.  They need help.  With Dirk an old 32, Butler done for the season, Kidd an ancient 37, and Shawn Marion having his least productive season in 10 years, the Mavericks are arguably more desperate to make a move than any team in the league.

I’m not talking about irrevocably altering human life as we know it with a Marcin Gortat, Vince Carter, and Mickael Pietrus for Earl Clark, Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu type deal, but I am talking big names and big consequences.  Should they roll the dice on the future with plans for today? I say yes. The Mavericks were built for the present ever since the Devin Harris deal was made, but while rumors of bringing the All-Star back into the fold are persistent, he isn’t the answer.  Neither is Kevin Martin, Andre Iguodala, Antawn Jamison (who, if dealt, would officially become the league’s least excitable former All-Star mercenary), or Peja Stojakovic.

The answer to all their problems—a hybrid mix of guardian angel and heart defibulator—is, dare I utter thou’s name less I shudder furthermore; the one, the only, Carmelo Anthony.  Dallas could throw together the incredibly juicy package of Rodrigue Beaubois (a 22-year-old Frenchman who’s drawn comparison to Rajon Rondo and is currently signed to a peanut butter and jelly cheap contract through 2014), the expiring contracts of Tyson Chandler and DeShawn Stevenson, and a 2011 first round draft pick. The deal makes too much sense for both sides. Despite already having Ty Lawson as a possible point guard of the future, Beaubois remains one of the league’s best kept secrets. His best case scenario: Tony Parker a la Rondo. The expiring deals of Chandler and Stevenson are a plus for obvious reasons, and so is the draft pick. Even if Anthony isn’t willing to sign an extension to stay in Dallas (which he could easily be talked into doing if he leads the Mavericks to a championship), the team would be a legitimate contender once again, if not a drastically improved, talk-of-the-league, offensively soul-crushing squad.  Sure they’d lose a little size and some defensive intangibles with Chandler’s departure, but I’m sure the Mavericks could swing another deal for a big man before the deadline passes. They can’t worry too much about that component in a blockbuster season saving trade like this one. Pairing Carmelo Anthony with Dirk Nowitzki would be an unspeakable horror for everyone in the league except Jason Kidd. Defensively they’ll leave much to desire, but if I’m Mark Cuban, I cross that bridge when I get there.

As Jason Terry clearly stated, don’t count his guys out. When it’s all said and done they’ll be the last team standing.  May I briefly interject with a few words of advice. Grab Anthony, then you’ll have the NBA by the throat

 

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