Dallas Is Breaking Up The Champs; Dwight Howard Names His Price

By: 12.08.11  •  51 Comments
J.J. Barea

J.J. Barea (photo. Javier Pesquera)

Even so little as 12 months ago, who would’ve thought we’d be starting an edition of Smack talking about J.J. Barea? He’s a big part of the story, but so is Tyson Chandler and Caron Butler. The plot of it all: the Dallas Mavericks are breaking up the defending NBA champions. They haven’t had a shot yet to defend what they won so amazingly last summer, and here we are, with the once-reckless Mark Cuban now a part of this new age NBA where superstars team up together, and Cubes doesn’t overpay for big centers coming off career years. It’s too bad for Mavs fans that it’s looking like the one time he wants to be careful is the one time they really need his wallet. Chandler is getting love from virtually everyone, and will be overpaid at some point in the next few weeks. Take that to the bank. Butler is in a similar position, and while his dollar cost won’t be too high, Dallas figures to let him walk as well. Barea says he isn’t optimistic about coming back either, not with the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Sacramento Kings all looking to sign him. They’re probably going to even lose DeShawn Stevenson, although that one might not be such a bad thing. Cuban’s whole goal behind this, insiders say, is to get below the cap for next summer with an aim to grab one of 2012’s three major free agents. With Deron Williams being a Dallas native, the roots are there for a nice partnership. In a few years, this might look like the stroke of a genius. But for now, Barea just doesn’t get it … So pretty much everyone is untouchable at this point huh? Marc Stein tweeted Stephen Curry is being told by everyone in the Warrior organization that he can get comfortable. He’s not going anywhere. Ditto for Eric Gordon, who was told he definitely won’t be involved in any trades in the next week or so, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. That’s crazy because we keep hearing from multiple people that GM Dell Demps and the rest of the New Orleans’ front office want to get this media saga over with as soon as possible. Dragging it on like Denver did last season is not an option for them. Reports earlier this week said to expect a decision on Chris Paul to happen by Friday. We’re having a hard time believing it’ll happen that quickly. Take away those two teams, and we’re left with perhaps the Lakers and Celtics, two old-time rivals gutting it out for one last showdown to get the best point guard in the game … Meanwhile, Dwight Howard met with Magic officials on Monday and told them he actually would like to stay in Orlando and will give them every opportunity to keep him there. He said he needs help, and wants them to bring in some more talent like Andre Iguodala, Monta Ellis or – the first guy the Magic should go after – Howard’s longtime friend, Josh Smith. That’s a temporary sigh of relief for Orlando fans. The problem is Howard’s basically saying “I’ll give you the chance to build me a title contender. Anything less and I could be gone.” With a bunch of bloated contracts, what exactly can the Magic give anyone? … Keep reading to hear about signings involving Jamal Crawford, Chuck Hayes and Shane Battier …

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