The Dallas Mavericks stunned the Los Angeles Clippers this holiday weekend by stealing DeAndre Jordan for the next four years. It left the Clippers with a vacant hole at center and it left the Dallas Mavericks with a problem they have to solve pronto. The Mavericks need a point guard and they need one fast.
In the three years DeAndre Jordan teamed up with Chris Paul he thrived under the point guard’s leadership even as it got on his nerves. Paul lobbed passes and alley oops in the paint and all Jordan had to do was dunk. Jordan could depend on Paul’s intelligence quotient as a floor leader and basketball technician to read the defense and find Jordan as he was sprinting towards the rim. Paul would deliver the ball between Jordan and his defender at the exact place where Jordan could grab it out the air.
No such player exists on the Mavericks. They have Raymond Felton. They want to bring Jose Barea back. That sums up their guard core. After signing DeAndre to a whopper of a deal- $20 million per year- the Mavs are out of money and are doing what rich-poor teams always do when the salary cap gets in the way of their intentions: they make deals on the back end.
The Lakers have two guards they are not going to give up, D’angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson. They have access to another guard who is a free agent and who had a disastrous year playing for the Lakers and Byron Scott. It was so bad for Jeremy Lin last year that he needed extra time off after the season ended to clear his head, get over the catastrophe and plan for next season.
Lin would be open to returning to Texas. His Rockets tenure, although disappointing on some levels, remains nostalgic for Lin. Texas was good to him. He made a lot of friends, he had some quality experiences on the court and went to the playoffs. He grew as a player.
Furthermore, Lin has always prospered when he played with a big man. In New York, it was Tyson Chandler. In Houston, it was Omer Asik and then Dwight Howard. In Los Angeles, Jordan Hill played center; Hill is 6-8. It’s not surprising it went downhill for Jeremy Lin almost from the beginning. A pick and roll point guard needs a big down low to make the best use of his abilities.
Forget for a moment about Lin’s deficiencies on defense and his inability, at times, to make decisions quickly. He is better than anyone the Mavericks currently have. Besides, with Chandler Parsons and Dirk Nowitzki as primary scorers, a lot of pressure will be taken from Lin. All he has to do is find/create passing lanes and dish to his teammates.
The Mavs are talking about running a lot of their offense through Jordan. They will need Lin to bring the ball up the court and feed Jordan first. On paper, it sounds like a perfect marriage- Jordan and Lin- except for that small detail of how the Mavericks are going to pay Lin. They have no money, only $2.8 million. They are trying to work a sign and trade with the Lakers but the problem with that scenario is that the Mavericks don’t have anyone to send back, unless they are willing to part with their first round pick (Justin Anderson) which seems highly unlikely, and particularly dumb.
And so the Mavericks are working all angles to find a way to make all of this work. The investment of $20 million to Jordan requires they find him a guard to make his life easier, otherwise what’s the point of having him around if the Mavs can’t extract the best Jordan has to offer. Their best hope is that Linsanity Pt. 4 is coming to the city of Dallas, Texas. And soon.