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Saturday, August 16, 2003

Mavs-Warriors Deal

An eight-player trade is in the works between the Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors that would send Nick Van Exel to Oakland in exchange for Antawn Jamison and Danny Fortson (five other players involved will play little or none). I think this is a dumb trade on both sides, motivated by things other than basketball common sense.

The Warriors seem to be happy to move Jamison's max contract and acquire Van Exel, whose own big contract expires much sooner, leaving Golden State with cap room to play with. However, the Warriors now have two point guards after signing Speedy Claxton, (supposedly to be the starter) this offseason. This gives Mike Dunleavy more playing time at small forward as well, which will help him develop, but in the short run this will set back a team that was not too far from making the playoffs last year.

The Mavs appear to have been desperate to pull off something in this summer that has seen all of their rivals improve while they have been shut out by the top free agents. Jamison gives them more scoring at the small forward position, which is not a team need--I thought the Mavs did best last year when they had a defensive stopper like Raja Bell at one of the wing positions. They also lose their main bench scorer and the primary catalyst for their playoff success last season in Van Exel. Fortson is also too short and injury-prone to be the inside enforcer Dallas needs. The Mavs will be a good team that falls short as long as they lack an intimidating rebounding/shot-blocking presence in the lane.