Cuban On KG
Owner Confirms 'Special' Pursuit
By Mike Fisher -- DB.com
Mark Cuban is confirming on the record to DallasBasketball.com that he is involving the Mavs in the Kevin Garnett Sweepstakes "because this is about trying to be opportunistic,'' says the team owner, adding that Dallas' willingness to pursue this deal is not a permanent change in overall philosophy but rather something "dependent on the situation.''
Cuban cuts through a thicket of what members of his staff have for a week referred to as "moving parts'' when discussing with us a deal to acquire the Minnesota superstar:
ITEM: We've wondered if Dallas falls short in pursuing KG whether this process might also be used as a blueprint to pursue an alternate superstar, such as Kobe, Jermaine O'Neal or Paul Pierce, for example.
So, we asked. "Is this a special-circumstance/one-time deal''?
"Correct,'' Mark answered succinctly.
So what we might term the "controlled recklessness'' of chasing Garnett -- the willingness to bust the tax-avoidance mold and the willingness to add on artificial expirings and the willingness to absorb bad Minny contracts -- is indeed controlled. ... because that willingness does not expand to the pursuit of other Garnett-caliber stars.
Therefore, in a sense, Dallas has two master plans: Continuing to tinker with a 67-win team is a viable plan. Hoping to add Garnett to a 67-win team is seen by Dallas as another viable plan.
Spending whatever money and whatever assets needed to add "just any ol' superstar''? No. That is not among the plans.
ITEM: I asked Cuban if, as has been therorized by The 75-Member Staff (see Blogfish), PJ Brown's name is "pivotal'' in whether KG lands with Dallas or Chicago.
"PJ's not pivotal (in that sense) at all,'' Cuban responded. "He is in the same role as Cro was: a role we hope we can fill.''
Listening to Cuban, it's clear Brown would have a role with the club, and that speculation that has Austin Croshere involved in a trade package is accurate.
ITEM: Opportunism is important here, Cuban stressed, but he's still committed to what he likes to call "organic management.'' In Cuban's mind, it's about "going with the flow'' and about "using existing assets'' and a philosophy of trying to be fiscally responsible and maintain flexibility and balance on the team. Only in unique situations will the Mavs veer from their proven philosophy to make a bold and important move.
This is one of those situations. ... and now it's on the record and out in the open.
244pm July 3 2007
THE KG FIELD: WE CUT THRU THE 'GIBBERISH'
By Mike Fisher and David Lord - DB.com
Respected NBA writers Chris Sheridan, David Aldridge and now ESPN's Marc Stein have joined the cavalry on the 'KG-to-Dallas' story first trumpeted by DallasBasketball.com, where we keep you ahead of the curve on the Mavs' pursuit of the superstar:
By now you are probably familiar with Stein's report on ESPN that not only makes Dallas a finalist for Garnett (the story we broke almost a week ago). Marc's information is so familiar to DB.com readers that even goes so far as to borrow the Keith Van Horn-artificial-expiring concept that originated in this space.
"The Mavs would naturally try to involve Austin Croshere and/or Keith Van Horn (yes, they still have his rights) in the same sort of sign-and-trade arrangement described above with P.J. Brown to generate payroll relief for the Wolves."
You don't say!
Obviously the NBA world is aware of our story, right down to every detail.
But not everyone is buying into the veracity of our story; outside of David Moore, the Dallas Morning News is having a difficult time coughing up even a mention of it as a remote possibility.
And not everyone even understands the story; a website called "Mavelous'' spent a great deal of time pondering DB.com's "credibility'' on our story. "Mavelous,'' someday we'd love to buy you a beer and explain the whole thing to you. And we might need to invite a Star-Telegram columnist, too, since he somehow thinks a KG deal means "the salary-cap tradeoff would empty the locker room'' and "the Mavs' hands are tied'' -- the sort of misinformed gibberish that gives newspaper writers a bad name.
But the Mavs have been serious players in this thing -- in their own minds, at least -- for over a week. And they told us so. We get indications that exactly seven other teams made what could be termed "serious'' inquiries into acquiring Garnett; we take that to mean a total of eight teams put offers on the table. Stein has the field narrowed to six teams, including of course the Mavs.
With the July 1 starting gate lifted, the cost and difficulty of pulling off a deal is lifted, too. The easiest way to wade through Dallas' competion is to ask yourself: Which of the other teams, if they REALLY had what it takes to get KG, would have waited until July to do the deal?
We put Chicago on that list. The Bulls have the sign-and-trade firepower and maybe should be atop that list. Oh, and KG has familial roots in Chicagoland.
There are those in the Mavs braintrust who believe Phoenix will keep pushing, at least in part because they want to block KG from landing with the rival Mavs. The Suns, however, despite the ammunition they possess (well-documented in this space a week ago) join Boston as a team whose chances lessened once July 1 rolled around. The Suns and Celtics may have very well taken their best shots already.
There is no reason to believe the Lakers are out of it. The Kobe mess is theoretically solved with the acqusition of KG. But if Minny truly has a distaste for Lamar Odom, LA quickly runs low on options. Again, though, the Lakers' desperation is a player here.
There's a lot of misunderstanding of Golden State's situation, so let's clear it up here: The Jason Richardson trade did NOT help them, cap-wise. But there is a smoke signal coming out of Oakland that Mavs management reads clearly: Don Nelson's delay in committing to coaching in 2007-08 might have a lot to do with whether he gets to coach Garnett, maybe his favorite NBA player this side of Dirk.
One potential obstacle for many teams, including Phoenix: While Garnett clearly would like to play there, the Suns' difficulty swallowing a $29 mil price tag is equally clear. DB.com has repeatedly stressed in its coverage of this story that in this case, anyway, money is not a stumbling block for the Mavs; we know for a fact Mark Cuban said just that to the T'wolves.
The original KG-to-Dallas-talks story was not posturing, not on our part and not on the Mavs' part. The leaks now that suggest the Mavs have been unwilling to part with "close to untouchable'' assets like Devin Harris and Josh Howard? Now THAT'S posturing. However, as time goes by, and Garnett's unhappy marriage with Minnesota trudges on, the T'wolves might find themselves accepting in trade less talent. ... while the Mavs find themselves the most willing to accept the financial burden -- and The Big Ticket.
503am July 1 2007