View Full Version : Insider 8/19/04

08-19-2004, 04:40 PM
Thursday, August 19, 2004

By Chad Ford
ESPN Insider

Chat with Chad Ford Thursday at 1 p.m. ET
It appears the Dallas Mavericks and Don Nelson can finally end the Erick Dampier soap opera. Numerous reports claim that the Mavs and Warriors have worked out a complicated trade that will ultimately send Dampier, Evan Eschmeyer and Dan Dickau to the Mavericks for Christian Laettner, Eduardo Najera, two future first-round picks and cash.
The report first surfaced on Tuesday evening. Why isn't it done? The conventional wisdom is that it can't happen until either Aug. 23rd or Sept. 20th because of specific rules in the CBA that prohibit a player who has already been traded from being retraded in a multiplayer deal within 60 days of his last trade.
Both Laettner (June 24th) and Dickau (July 20th) have already been traded this summer, which means they must wait 60 days before they can be packaged in a multiplayer trade. However, the Mavs and Warriors don't have to wait that long if they don't want to. There are loopholes in the CBA that could allow the deal to go down now.
Players can be retraded immediately as long as they are traded straight up for another player. For all of you salary-cap nerds out there who want to know how this trade can get done on Thursday here's how it can work if the trade is really ready to go.



Laettner is traded straight up for Dampier. Laettner makes roughly $6.6 million this season. Dampier is being signed and traded from the Warriors. Because salaries have to be within 15 percent and $100,000 of each other in any trade, the Warriors could sign Dampier to a contract starting for as much as $7.7 million. Using that formula, the Warriors could give Dampier a deal worth as much as six years, $60.8 million and then ship him to Dallas. Not too shabby.

In a separate trade, the Mavs could send Najera ($3.8 million) to the Warriors straight up for Eschmeyer ($3.4 million). Again, with the 15 percent, $100,000 rule, their salaries are close enough to make it happen immediately.
Finally, Dickau could be sent separately in a trade to the Mavericks for one of several trade exceptions the team owns. The team has a $1.3 million trade exception it got in the Antoine Walker trade last summer that would be perfect for Dickau's $893,400 deal.
The cash and draft picks can be part of any of the above three trades. They don't affect the process.
Of course, if the trade could go down immediately you have to ask yourself, why hasn't it? Is the deal really done? Is Dampier holding out for more cash than this scenario would allow? Why would he given the ever-shrinking market for his services?
No one is talking in Dallas or Golden State at the moment other than to say that deal has yet to be finalized (they are still hammering out contract details with Damp) and that the possibility of other teams getting involved (Charlotte is the team that keeps coming up) still exists.
Assuming for a second that the two sides work something out what does this deal mean for the Mavs and Warriors?
The trade makes perfect sense for Dallas, especially if the Mavs can limit the amount of money and years they have to give Damp. Six years, $60 million is an awful lot of money for a 30-year-old, injury prone center coming off his only really great season in his eight-year career.
Dampier gives the Mavs a physical presence they've needed, seemingly forever. A lot is being made of the Mavericks' six centers. But really Dampier is the first legit center the Mavs have had in years. Eschmeyer hasn't played in over a year because of injuries. Shawn Bradley is a role player who can help defensively in certain matchups. Booth has been awful over the past three seasons. He can block shots and face the basket, but he doesn't have the strength to guard most of the top centers in the post. Didier Illunga-Mbenga and Pavel Podkolzine are both raw rookies who weren't expected to get many minutes this season anyway.
The only area the team will lack depth in will be the power forward position. They're two deep everywhere else with Jason Terry and Devin Harris at the point, and Michael Finley, Marquis Daniels, Josh Howard and Jerry Stackhouse all capable of playing at either shooting guard or small forward. However, their only real power forward is Dirk Nowitzki. Booth can play the four in a pinch. Alan Henderson is an OK backup when he's healthy. Of course, that's usually about 10 games per season.
The Mavs could still make more moves. If the deal goes through they'll have a whopping 17 players under contract, not including their second-round pick, Luis Flores. Bradley will be expendable. Henderson has a valuable expiring contract. Stackhouse still doesn't look like a real fit coming off the bench. Dallas has more options.
The addition of Dampier, to play alongside Dirk, Finley and Stack, will pay off if he stays healthy. Damp is capable of giving the Mavs 12 points, 12 boards and two blocks per night. With the Mavs' depth in the middle, they don't have to play him more than 30 minutes per night, which should help preserve his health.
Looking at the West, that should be good enough to propel the Mavs back into the top four in the West along with the Spurs, Timberwolves and Kings. With Shaq out of the conference, Dampier has the chance to dominate. Will he take advantage? Or will he slip back to the dark days of single-digit points and rebounds in about 40 games per season?
Mark Cuban is making a calculated gamble here. But with the dearth of centers in the league, it's probably worth the risk.
For the Warriors, the deal is essentially a wash. They lost the third-best center in the league last season, but it appears they've been resigned to that all summer. They dumped Eschmeyer's horrible contract off their books and replaced him with Najera. Najera's contract is actually for more years and more money than Eschmeyer, but at least he hustles and fits Chris Mullin's vision of a scrappy squad that plays the right way. The two first round picks are the most valuable assets they receive.
There is no real salary-cap relief for the Warriors in this trade. This year, they're actually adding roughly $6 million to the payroll. Once you factor in that they had no plans to re-sign Dampier anyway, that's a pretty big jump. Next season, they add about $500,000 to the bottom line. Still, the Warriors could be as much as $15 million under the cap next season after Dale Davis, Cliff Robinson, Jason Richardson and Troy Murphy come off the books. However, Richardson and Murphy are both restricted free agents and the Warriors may end up using a huge chunk of that cash to re-sign them both.

Around the League

Knicks settle for Baker: The big loser in the Erick Dampier sign-and-trade? The Knicks. Dampier seriously considered taking the Knicks mid-level exception. However, as Insider first reported two weeks ago, Vin Baker's agent, Aaron Goodwin, claimed that team president Isiah Thomas had already struck a verbal deal with Baker that would've taken most of their mid-level exception. The Knicks made good on that promise on Wednesday, re-signing Baker to a two-year deal with a first-year salary starting at $3.5 million.
Landing Baker isn't nearly the coup that Dampier would've been. Isiah vows that he's still working on improving his team. But without most of his mid-level exception and without any more expiring contracts to trade he's running out of options. Talk of a Vince Carter trade to the Knicks (it resurfaced in the New York papers today) is silly. The Knicks just don't have the assets to pull off a deal like that. They still have Kurt Thomas, who has some trade value. As does Nazr Mohammed. But Vince Carter? Please.

Swift, Miles still looking for jobs: With Dampier off the board, the focus now is on two restricted free agents, Stromile Swift and Darius Miles. Swift has drawn interest from a number of teams, however, the Grizzlies have refused to do sign-and-trades and have told teams they'll match any offer for Swift. There are two teams with enough cap space to make an offer to Swift that the Grizzlies might not be willing to match. The Hawks have $7.6 million in cap space available and the Bobcats have $7 million in cap space. Both teams could use him. But will they be willing to pay Swift that much cash to pry him away from Memphis? Now that the Grizzlies have lost out on Dampier and seem to be getting nowhere in their attempts to pry Eddy Curry away from the Bulls, they can't afford to lose Swift. They've been claiming all summer they'll match any offer. Maybe they will.
Miles is in a tougher situation. He hasn't received significant interest from either the Hawks or the Bobcats and he's had no contact with the Blazers over the past few weeks. The Blazers are refusing to talk sign-and-trade and Miles considers the offer on the table to be unacceptable. We've been saying for weeks that Miles may be forced to take the Blazers one year tender and try his luck as an unrestricted free agent next summer. That seems like a worst case scenario for the Blazers too, considering that they won't be able to trade Miles next year if he takes the tender. But this is what it's come to.

08-19-2004, 06:26 PM
Do you mind not quoting an entire article like that in the future? It just makes the whole thread longer than it has to be. Thanks. :angel:

Cactus Jax
08-20-2004, 12:25 PM
How about Henderson + scrub if they need to lose players for Croshere? They need an effective PF, and the Pacers get a lot of cap space, plus Henderson could be a good player for one season.