Thursday, July 9, 2009

Marion to Mavs in 4-way trade

No deal in the NBA, with its complex salary cap structure, is simple. The four-way trade approved this afternoon is certainly no exception. Shawn Marion was acquired by the Dallas Mavericks in a byzantine arrangement that has assets going between the Mavs, the Raptors, the Magic and the Grizzlies. The core of the deal has Marion heading from Toronto to Dallas in a sign-and-trade move. Kris Humphries and Austrailian centerNathan Jawai goes with Marion, while the Raptors get Antoine Wright and Devean George in return. Hedo Turkoglu's decision to go to Toronto is wrapped up in this, as Toronto gets him as part of a sign-and-trade with Orlando, and the Magic at least receive cash and a trade exception instead of nothing, which they would have gotten if Turkoglu simply signed with the Raptors. The Grizzlies helped facilitate this, sending Greg Buckner to Dallas and receiving Jerry Stackhouse in return along with a 2016 second round pick. The Grizzlies will likely release Stackhouse, meaning they wind up gaining a bit of cap space and little else. Their participation in the deal is by far the most questionable, as though GM Chris Wallace were simply looking for ways to build good will after his gift of Pau Gasol to the Lakers helped L.A. to the championship. The pursuit of Allen Iverson, on top of at all, must leave Grizzlies fans shaking their heads. The Mavs are at the other end of the spectrum. They improve their perimeter defense markedly with Nowitzki around, and if they keep Josh Howard, they'll likely move him to shooting guard to facilitate Marion at small forward and allow Sixth Man of the Year Jason Terry to continue in his bench role. They signed Marcin Gortat and have Jason Kidd coming back, too, so they're clearly looking to win now, a smart move given Nowitzki is in his prime. They probably haven't done enough to put themselves over the top, but they've gotten a lot closer. The Raptors are retooling after last season's debacle, and trying to show Chris Bosh that they're committed to winning. They didn't have any intention of signing Marion after they agreed to a deal with Turkoglu, so that they receive a couple of veterans like Wright and George makes this trade a winner for them. Wright can move into the starting shooting guard position vacated by Anthony Parker, who is headed to the Cavs. The criticism for Toronto GM Bryan Colangelo should come not for his willingness to get involved in deal so much as the decision to dump Marion and pick up Turkoglu in the first place. The notion that Turkoglu is that much of an upgrade over Marion is not a strong one, and what the Raptors gain in outside shooting and a few more points per game, they lose in on the glass, where Marion was 3.1 rebounds a night better than Turkoglu. Bosh, who averaged 10 boards a night, almost twice as many as the next best returning Raptor, will have to take a leap and rebound a lot like Turkoglu's old teammate Dwight Howard, who averaged 13.9 a game last year.

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