Saturday, February 9, 2013

If We Ain't Contending, I Ain't Pretending

Ten of these to play bad ball
So here's a fairly fascinating story out of Dallas. Mavericks' small forward and all-around useful piece Shawn Marion, one of the very few people still on this team that have a championship ring from not very long ago, has told the team that he could refuse to report to a team that trades for them, if the team in question is, well, bad.

Now, on some level, I'd like to see the Mavericks call Marion's bluff -- especially since the man is (a) 34, and (b) slated to make $9.3 million in 2014, with a 15% kicker if traded, in the final year of his current contract. The one-time Matrix is still a useful small forward, especially in the right situation (i.e., one where he's not asked to be a primary scorer, but more as a shutdown defender and all-around contributor), but if his next deal is for more than half of what he'll make next year, we should start testing NBA GMs for cannabis.

More to the point, at 21-28 in the packed West, Dallas is currently the 11th seed, which is to say, no seed at all. To get into the playoffs and get rolled by San Antonio or Oklahoma City, they/d need to gain 5.5 games on the current last slot team (Houston), while leapfrogging the still kicking Lakers and the .500 Blazers; absent a 10 to 15-game winning streak that's just not going to happen unless Dirk Nowitzki dials the calendar back five to ten years, and the current roster of one year walkaways somehow turns into a cohesive defensive unit. (So, um, no.)

So if Marion won't report to a bad team, Dallas might start to wonder if he's going to keep coming to work. At this point, Dallas is just a hot mess, given that the franchise rolled the dice and lost on Deron Williams and Dwight Howard in last year's free agent sweepstakes. They might be breathing a sigh of relief on that, given how both stars have struggled with their shot and health this year, but the plain and simple truth is that what was supposed to be a prime destination (the Bank of Cuban, Texas' warm weather and zero income tax, the ability to play with Dirk) has turned into just another weigh station.

Having said all of that... well, Marion's made a ridiculous amount of money in this century, and doesn't strike you as the kind of guy who has ran through it all. Despite having Scottie Pippen as his best career comparison, there's no danger of him making any Hall of Fame that doesn't involve fantasy leagues. (He used to be startlingly useful in the fake game, mostly because Steve Nash fed him dunk after dunk, and the defensive numbers were off the charts when he had hops, but everyone thinks that was just Nash's doing, mostly because Nash has made any number of guys look like world beaters, then moved on..) He's already got a ring, he's not chasing any magic career counting stat number, and he's been paid over $115 million since 1999. Maybe that last $10 million, especially if it comes in a crap town, really is something he can walk away from.

And then again, $10 million for 6 months of work really is a fine wage, especially if you like the life and think you can make another $30 to $40 million before your time runs out. And it's not like Marion's alone in the world, and that his friends and family wouldn't want him to keep earning.

Finally, there's also this. Why would a crap team trade for a 34-year-old glue and hustle guy in the first place?

No comments:

Ads In This Size Rule