A new wrinkle in the Carmelo Anthony trade talks arose yesterday, when CBSSports’ Ken Berger reported that the Dallas Mavericks could deal for the superstar and not resign him at the end of the season.
It’s the NBA equivalent of the hired-gun technique often deployed during the baseball trading deadline.
Whether the Mavericks are actually interested in acquiring ‘Melo, or they’re simply out to weaken a conference opponent by driving down the asking price is unclear. Either way, it comes in direct conflict with the interests of the Nets, the presumed favourites to land Anthony.
And that’s exactly how team owner Mark Cuban wants it.
He’d love nothing more than to steal Anthony from “his billionaire rival” Mikhail Prokhorov, according to Berger. Apparently, Cuban – who slammed Prokhorov when the Nets and Mavericks met earlier this month – is intent on feuding with his Russian incarnation. Why? Who knows. Regardless, Prokhorov seems too concerned with starting a feud of his own to really notice.
All billionaire foolishness aside, the Mavericks would be silly to pursue ‘Melo. They’re sitting pretty at 23-5 right now, and truly look like the best team in the league. They’re 4-0 against the Spurs, Celtics, and Heat. Nowitzki has been transcendent this season, and Tyson Chandler has added a new element to the team – an impenetrable defence, that ranks fifth in points allowed per possession (defensive efficiency).
Moreover, Anthony would replace Caron Butler in the starting lineup, even though Butler is the better defender, lends more flexibility to the Mavs’ lineup, and is shooting better than ever (43 per cent from three) this season.
Cuban’s a billionaire for a reason – he knows what he’s doing. But he can’t let the rivalry brewing in his imagination get in the way of good old fashioned common sense: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
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