By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst
Posted Jul 9 2009 2:17PM
An NBA offseason that was supposed to be dull and boring has been anything but.
The Dallas Mavericks continued to revamp their team Wednesday evening, formally acquiring forward Shawn Marion from the Toronto Raptors in a multi-team deal that was still working toward finalization Thursday morning. As first reported on NBA-TV's "Game Time," Marion agreed to a five-year deal that will pay him $40 million, which was possible only with the help of the Memphis Grizzlies' taking on the contract of Dallas guard Jerry Stackhouse.
But the deal became even bigger early Thursday morning, with changes made to the deal late Wednesday night that could allow Toronto not only to acquire forward Hedo Turkoglu, but keep one or two of the players the Raptors were expected to renounce in order to get the 30-year-old forward from Orlando.
The key to the deal working was Memphis agreeing to take Stackhouse's $7 million contract, which Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley decided to do on Wednesday after Toronto and Dallas could not convince other teams with cap room, such as Oklahoma City, to get involved in a potential trade.
"We've agreed, from our point of view, what we would do with Dallas," Heisley said by telephone Wednesday evening. "Now it's up to Toronto and Dallas...."
But the Raptors and Mavericks expanded the deal to give Toronto more flexibility.
The final version of the deal, which was being worked out Thursday morning and was subject to league approval, would be a double sign-and-trade deal, with the Orlando Magic agreeing to sign Turkoglu to a contract and then trade him to Toronto, with the Raptors doing the same with Marion, then dealing him to Dallas. Stackhouse's $7 million contract would be sent to Memphis, with the Grizzlies planning to waive him because only $2 million of that contract is guaranteed for next season. Memphis would also get guard Quincy Douby from Toronto.
A report Wednesday afternoon on the Toronto Star's Web site said that the Grizzlies would get reserve Nathan Jawai instead of Douby in the deal.
The Grizzlies would only send forward Greg Buckner to Dallas for Stackhouse. That would create a trade exception that the Mavericks would use to absorb Marion's new contract. That's the only way Dallas could give Marion the deal he was seeking, because the Mavericks have already committed their full mid-level exception, for five years and more than $33 million, to Magic free agent forward Marcin Gortat in an offer sheet. (That is a separate deal that should not impact the Marion-Turkoglu trade. Orlando is not expected to match the offer for Gortat, but Orlando was not expected to agree to a sign and trade for Turkoglu; general manager Otis Smith had insisted just days ago that he would not participate in such an arrangement.)
Reserve forward Kris Humprhies would go from Toronto to Dallas along with Marion. The Mavericks would then send guard Antoine Wright to Toronto. The Raptors would receive veteran forward Devean George and guard Antoine Wright from Dallas, along with Turkoglu from Orlando. Wright ($1.8 million next season) and George ($1.6 million) are both in the final years of their respective deals, but are expected to be kept by Toronto.
Initially, Toronto could not take on additional contracts, because doing so would eat into the cap room the team had set aside to give Turkoglu his five-year, $53 million deal. But because Turkoglu is now technically coming in a trade instead of a free agent signing, the Raptors now can maintain their "Larry Bird" rights to two of their key free agents, guards Carlos Delfino and Anthony Parker, instead of having to renounce their rightst to them, along with maintaining their own mid-level exception.
A source said Thursday morning that the chances of Delfino now staying with the Raptors were "fair to good."
The Raptors were hopeful Thursday that they can re-sign either Delfino or Parker, and perhaps even both, although the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Thursday that Parker had committed to a deal with the Cavaliers. Toronto could then use the mid-level to sign another free agent, such as Denver forward Linas Kleiza or Indiana guard Jarrett Jack, though it would appear difficult to sign another guard if they keep Delfino or Parker, along with Wright.
If Toronto could keep Delfino or Parker, it would be a boon, and help the Raptors immensely in their efforts to keep All-Star forward Chris Bosh, who can become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Adding Turkoglu, along with first-round pick DeMar DeRozan, and holding on to most of the team's existing depth would honor the promise of adding more talent around Bosh, who was on his own many times last season while then-Raptors center Jermaine O'Neal was injured or ineffective.
The Mavericks would add a significant piece in Marion, who would allow Dallas to play small or big depending on the opponent. Marion, along with forwards Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard, would form a potentially dynamic trio. With re-signing guard Jason Kidd earlier this week, and the signing of free agent defensive stopper Quinton Ross, the Mavericks would be more competitive in the Western Conference.
Orlando would receive a large trade exception for agreeing to do a sign-and-trade with Turkoglu instead of letting him walk. And the Grizzlies would get enough money to cover Stackhouse's $2 million guarantee that it might actually be a profitable deal for them.
The Thunder had little interest in taking on salary, even for a year, for a player that they knew wouldn't be part of their future plans. Oklahoma City's priority is to keep its cap room, either to hold until the trade deadline next February or to use it in future years to re-sign their own young stars -- Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook.
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