After a tremendously unforeseen beginning to the season, the Dallas Mavericks finally hit a speed bump. A big one.
In addition to Dirk Nowitzki’s injury, Caron Butler went down earlier this week with a torn patella tendon in his right knee. Hate to say it, but it’s time to think about sending him somewhere else to rehab that injury.
His contract ends at the end of the season and with him out, the Mavs will be missing his scoring. Since losing Dirk and now Butler, the Mavs are only putting up 88 points a game and have fallen to 17th in the league in scoring.
He is the No. 3 scorer on the team with 15 a game and Dallas is 12-2 when Butler’s score matches his average or more.
Shawn Marion is No. 4 in scoring on the team with 11 a game but has had an up and down season. This could be due to the fact that he’s playing the least amount of minutes per game since his rookie season in 1999.
His playing time will definitely increase with Butler out but the Mavs need to consider if he will be enough to fill the void. Marion only scored 10 points a game during last season’s playoffs while Butler averaged 19 in that very same series. Regardless, Marion serves best as a backup to Dirk (sorry Brian Cardinal).
There are no other small forwards on the roster.
There is hope, but it will take a risk from management.
The Mavericks are loaded with young talent that they could easily tag into a deal that would send Butler carrying his suitcase to a new city (with a limp of course).
Several teams need guards and even more need big men. The Mavs have a plethora. Granted, there is a good chance the young players could be developed in Dallas and turned into phenomenal players. However, several points lead to them needing to make a move now.
Rodrigue Beaubois has been injured for a while now and his return is still unknown. The Mavs have absolutely no idea how he will perform when he returns to a team missing a top scorer and a new build up of big guys. J.J. Barea is a mess of a backup point guard and tends to confuse plays more than create them although he does have his moments.
Next, do the Mavs really have the time to develop Alexis Ajinca and Ian Mahinmi? Dirk and Jason Kidd are not getting any younger and Brendan Haywood and Tyson Chandler are controlling the large-man situation just fine.
Those are all trading pieces that teams will buy for because they can get them for incredibly cheap. This leads to our new point: a lockout is looming. Not a lot of movement has happened this season outside of the moves made by Orlando. Teams are too afraid to tie up money when it may not be there in the coming months.
Reversely, that trade that showed that some teams may be willing to dump more expensive talent in order for better position financially. The Wizards took advantage of the situation to reform as did the Suns (to an extent).
Dallas has an opportunity to put out a player that will not be tied down by a contract come free agency. They could tag in some young talent as well and put out some bait for some of the newly-forming teams to rework their budget and roster.
The West isn’t the powerhouse that it was last season. The Lakers are getting tired, Portland is hampered by Brandon Roy’s injury, Phoenix desperately misses Amar’e Stoudemire and Utah misses Carlos Boozer (they are third to last in the league in rebounds).
The Mavs have shown that they know how to beat both OKC and San Antonio despite recent losses. Regardless, a move needs to made in order to get scoring up in Dallas.
They have lost Caron for the year but smart moves can save their season. It may be time to move on and put him on the trading block.