Kidd in Play

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After a week of losing sleep over it, I’m now fully on board with this deal.

Everyone had to keep their mouth shut until the damn thing was official, but now it’s clear how excited everyone in the organization is and how concerned they were with a team that had apparently stagnated on and off the court. Cuban used the word “malaise;” Dirk mentioned that Harris wasn’t great at finding the open shooter; Stack said he dreamt of catching passes from Kidd; and Avery talked about how Kidd can finish games. Is there any question that the team seems more energized than it has since Game 2 of the Miami series? In a word, no.

A few thoughts that seem to have escaped the millions of words written about this deal:

-Kidd’s exorbitant salary ($21 mil) comes off the books after next year. So the Mavs are actually getting a degree of financial flexibility from the deal. If the experiment works, they re-sign Kidd. Maybe, at 36, he even takes less than market value to keep running the floor for a contender. If the experiment doesn’t work, then they’ve got $50 million wrapped up in four contracts (Terry, Howard, Dirk, and Damp) and that’s it. With Harris on board, that number jumps to about $60+ million each year, and means you’ve got your primary 5 through 2011. That’s great if you’re sold on Harris, but it sure doesn’t sound like anyone in the organization believed that group to be a budding dynasty. At that point, they can either pursue another aging point guard (Bibby should be a free agent, although I don’t think he’d be a good fit) or try to land a young or expendable pass-first guy (come home, T.J.).

– Harris’s defense will be missed, but not that much. It’s true, of course, that he was one of the few guys with enough speed to keep Parker in front of him, but the Western 1s aren’t all Parker clones. How’d he do against Baron last year? Anyone think he can muscle up with Deron Williams or even Derek Fisher? I don’t exactly think Kidd’s an upgrade on D, but there are the big PGs and the little PGs in the West (and then there’s Chris Paul, who I don’t think anyone can guard), and I do think Kidd’s better suited to handle the bigs than Harris was, to say nothing of the wily tricks that come with being a veteran. The Mavs also have the luxury of switching their guards at the other end, where Terry can play some serviceable D at the point.

– The Mavs are born to run, damn it! People who are saying Dirk isn’t that type of player must have begun watching the NBA in 2004. How can you forget those legendary Dallas-Sacramento games where they just turned off the shot clock and the over/under was 450? Dirk was Don Nelson’s golden boy. He’s not a back-to-the-basket post player (see, for example, Playoffs – 2007). Howard will thrive on the break and Terry’s got some good moves in transition. And if they go small, Bass can probably outrun any 4 in the league (except maybe Tyrus…)

– A big body with six fouls shouldn’t be that hard to find. Maybe the Mavs can get one for a second round pick, but more likely we dip into the D-League or pull someone off their couch (anyone still got Kevin Willis’s phone number?). Here‘s what I’m hoping. Seriously. The Mavs haven’t had a veritable energy guy down low since Najera left. It’s easy to imagine the Birdman clogging the lane in spot duty — taking a charge from Shaq and bouncing right up, putting a hard foul on Bynum or trading elbows with Oberto. And he’s got league experience. So why the hell not?

– Harris is out another two weeks. That’s roughly 8 more games that we’d have Barea running the point, including games against New Orleans, San Antonio, the Lakers, and possibly Utah. In a playoff race as close as the West, that’s significant. The Mavs are 5-5 in their last 10. Right now, they’re a 6 seed and are only 3 games up on Golden State, currently the odd team out at #9. 4-4 over the next two weeks could put them down near the 8 seed, especially with Houston on a tear and Denver looking to add another significant piece. Wright was just talking today about how he’s getting worried about Parker for exactly this reason. Point being, nothing’s guaranteed in the West this year.

– This is the best thing Devean George has ever done for the team. Sure, it cost Cuban some extra money. Big deal. Not losing Stack for 30 days is worth it.

Alright, I have to go call my parents and see if they can find my first replica jersey in a box upstairs — “it should be blue, Mom, with Dallas in green and it has the number 5 on it…”

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One Response to “Kidd in Play”

  1. L to the ouis Says:

    TJ Ford? you can’t be serious. he’s got penny syndrome!

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