Posted Feb 10 2010 12:43PM
Mark Cuban made the dubious claim this week that rookie guard Roddy Beaubois is "untouchable" when it comes to trades. Talk about posturing.
It wasn't that long ago, say about a week, that the Mavericks' owner said there is no such thing as an untouchable. Yes, that means Dirk Nowitzki is in play if the right deal, however preposterous that deal is, dings in Cuban's email inbox.
Realistically, Cuban doesn't have any grandiose expectations for the Feb. 18 cut-off date. If someone makes the Mavericks an offer they can't refuse, Cuban won't. Until then, it's all about waiting and posturing. The Mavericks likely aren't alone in that scenario.
"We haven't got to the trade deadline yet," Cuban said. "Everyone waits for the perfect deal until the last minute."
There's a general assumption is big names with even bigger salaries could be on the move in the next eight days. Guys like Tracy McGrady, Chris Bosh, Amar'e Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, Ray Allen, Josh Howard, Andre Iguodala, Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Marcus Camby could change addresses.
Cuban isn't convinced that many teams will just cut bait to get under the luxury tax. Maybe most of the high-priced talent stays put to use in sign-and-trade scenarios this summer. An all-out fire sale my not be on the horizon, at least not this month.
"I really don't know," Cuban said. "It depends on who different owners perceive what collective bargaining is going to be. I really don't know."
Cuban does have two potentially huge bargaining chips in Howard and Erick Dampier. Both have expiring contracts worth more than $10 million this season, and Cuban isn't averse to taking back salary. For the right deal, he isn't handicapped by the luxury tax.
That's not to say he'll spend like, well, the old Mark Cuban. The billionaire has been more fiscally responsible the last few years. The recent two-for-one swap that landed Eduardo Najera, for instance, was more about saving money and clearing a roster spot than pure basketball reasons.
As far as an over-the-top deal being presented -- the kind that gives Dallas a legitimate shot against the Lakers in the Western Conference -- Cuban is willing to pry open that wallet. But he does have a pain threshold when it comes to adding payroll.
"Of course," he said. "Everybody does, but for the right deal I'll take more pain."
Richard Jefferson was supposed to be everything the Spurs needed this season. He's younger, more athletic and a scorer. He's played for Gregg Popovich and with Tim Duncan on the U.S. Olympic team. Jefferson was such a good fit, team chairman Peter Holt dove into luxury tax waters to complete the trade with Milwaukee. That doesn't happen for just anyone in San Antonio.
Jefferson and the Spurs had all the making off a perfect marriage. Couples counseling, anyone?
The Spurs are halfway through their Rodeo Trip and Jefferson forgot to pack his game. To say he left it in San Antonio isn't quite fair. It's somewhere between Wisconsin and New Jersey.
"When I'm shooting the ball like this, it makes it tough on everybody to get their job done," Jefferson said. "I'm not putting all the blame on me, but you have to look at yourself first to make things better for the team."
Four games into the annual trek, Jefferson has produced 34 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. That's an average night for Kevin Durant lately. RJ has shot 30 percent (12-of-40) since the Spurs left the Alamo City.
They've split the four games, but that's more to do with circumstance than execution. The two wins are over a pair of losing squads: the Kings and Clippers. The losses have come to the Blazers without Brandon Roy, and the Lakers sans Kobe Bryant.
Popovich was at a loss as to why the champs played so much harder than his squad Monday night. He admitted that he just can't get through to the team. Jefferson has to top that list. Asked what it would mean to get something out of the small forward, Pop went right for the gut.
"That would be a great thing."
Warriors coach Don Nelson had the following to say last week about Coby Karl, an NBA D-League call-up who signed a 10-day contract on Jan. 31 and was immediately thrust into Golden State's rotation:
"I'm not surprised, because he has done his work for a few years, played on some good teams, has watched a lot and comes from good stock. He understands a lot of things about the game. I think we'd make a mistake if we started expecting too much, but he's done a real nice job."
"We've got another passer on the team, which makes it contagious."
"He has knocked on the NBA door a few times, and I think he's ready this time."
Karl's 10-day contract expired Tuesday and was not re-signed.
"We just have to learn to finish off games. It's the little things that are getting us."
-- Nets interim coach Kiki Vandeweghe.
1. Oprah's All-Star party couch is booked: David Stern and Billy Hunter.
2. How many Portland fans Tuesday night wanted to take a picture of Kevin Durant, the pick that could have been?
3. Mike Dunleavy the Clippers coach stepped down before Mike Dunleavy the Clippers general manager fired him/himself.
4. Dirk Nowitzki benched for being late. Gilbert Arenas needs a Grand Jury to admit he's wrong. What's the German word for integrity?
5. Say what you want about the Hornets' Mardi Gras uniforms. Everything is looking fleur-de-fantastic in New Orleans right now.
AG: What parts of your game are you working on?
DJ: I am getting better. I'm working on other aspects of my game besides tip dunks and lob plays. I'm working on my jump hook and off-the-glass jump shot.
AG: Are you in better shape than your rookie year?
DJ: A little bit. I realized I have to go against bigger and stronger guys like Shaq and Dwight Howard, so I wanted to be ready on both sides of the court.
AG: How is the game different this year?
DJ: I know a lot more of the sets, I'm a lot more comfortable and the game has slowed down a lot. I'm more used to everything now. I want to be more of a threat out there.
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