Yesterday’s news that Dallas Mavericks small forward Caron Butler is done for the season means one thing: Dallas must throw all its chips on the table and trade for Carmelo Anthony, even though he’d just be a half-season rental.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has already made his interest in acquiring ‘Melo known, but now that Butler is out, Dallas must get serious.
Dirk Nowitzki and company are rapidly ageing — Nowitzki is 32, Jason Kidd is 37, Shawn Marion is 32, and Jason Terry is 33 — and the recent struggles of the Los Angeles Lakers means that the Western Conference is very much up for grabs.
Dallas is currently among the best teams in the league, and thanks to a newfound commitment to defence the Mavericks actually look like a solid playoff contender. But losing Butler is a major hit, and the Mavericks will have to act to keep up with the Lakers and San Antonio Spurs.
Trading for Carmelo won’t be easy — the Mavericks will almost certainly have to part with Butler and DeShawn Stevenson (both of whom have expiring contracts) to get the salaries close and then give the Nuggets whatever draft picks and young players they want — but it might be worth it.
Of course, part of the reason Dallas has experienced a revival this season is because of its defence, an area where ‘Melo is very suspect. Trading for Carmelo would also deplete the Mavericks of most of their depth.
There’s no doubt this would be a high-risk, high-reward move, but the chance to combine Kidd, Nowitzki, Anthony, and Terry could make for a lethal offence.
Denver hasn’t shown much willingness to accept offers from the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets, neither of whom would make a deal without the assurance of signing Anthony long-term. Dallas doesn’t need to include that caveat in a deal, so the move could provide them with a vital piece to the championship puzzle while ‘Melo could still sign with the team of his choice this summer.
The move would cripple the Mavericks down the road, but Dallas has a legitimate shot at an NBA Championship right now. Adding Carmelo Anthony might put them over the top, so trading for him is a move the Mavericks must make.
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