Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mid-Summer's Grade: A

Priority #1: Re-Signing Jason Terry - Met

Jason Terry was re-signed for six years, $50 million. This was agreed upon the very first day of negotiations..very good sign! Glad to keep Terry on!

Priority #2: Replacing Keith Van Horn - Met

Marquis Daniels was traded to Indiana for Austin Croshere, a Van Horn clone. Hopefully Croshere can stay healthier and rebound a little better. He will, like Van Horn, back up Dirk at power forward and play some center in smaller lineups.

Priority #3: Trade/Replace Marquis Daniels - Met

The priority I was not aware of was trading Marquis. Marquis' lack of shooting ability has frustrated Avery long enough. From my understanding, Don Nelson loved Marquis because of his versatility of positions (point guard, two-guard, small forward) and his ability to run the fast-break. But Avery prefers the more well-rounded players in Stackhouse and Howard over Daniels. Griffin's tough defense and lack of turnovers also put him ahead of Marquis. And obviously Avery prefers Terry, Harris, and sometimes Armstrong over Daniels to run the point. I'm fascinated by these different perceptions of Marquis by the different coaches. I think Marquis will do very well in Indiana. I hope he starts and does well under Rick Carlisle. Marquis can easily be a 20 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds kind of guy. Avery's system just wasn't right for him.

Other transactions: We got Greg Buckner back! He will likely START at shooting guard. He is a great defender, he's developed a perimeter shot, and is an overall upgrade from Adrian Griffin talent-wise. He will be the guy to guard the likes of Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Manu Ginobli, etc. DJ Mbenga was also re-signed.
Maurice Ager was our draft pick. I really like his hustle and his aggressiveness. He's a rookie who can actually contribute and probably be in the regular rotation. He can shoot, attack, and defend. He might be given some minutes behind Buckner to guard some of the big-dog shooting guards as well.

So here's what we've got so far:

PG: Jason Terry, Devin Harris
SG: Greg Buckner, Maurice Ager
SF: Josh Howard, Jerry Stackhouse, Rawle Marshall
PF: Dirk Nowitzki, Austin Croshere, Josh Powell
C: DeSagana Diop, Erick Dampier, DJ Mbenga, Pavel Podkolzine

Not bad, but there's still more to do:

*Sign a third-point guard. Darrell Armstrong wants to play for one more year, so he may be the best option for that. At least nothing will have changed from last season's point guard rotation.

I'd be fine with keeping the 15-man roster at that, but there's still talk about what to do with guys like Pavel, Rawle, and Josh P. I'm not a big fan of Pavel. We've already got 3 good centers and one or two other guys that can play the 5 ahead of him. I'd trade him for a draft pick, but I hope he surprises me. He has been doing pretty well in the summer league. Marshall needs to stay. He's been a star in the summer league and he could be a guy to hold onto if Stackhouse walks after next season. As for Josh Powell, I say keep him. There's talk about sign-and-trading Keith Van Horn to Denver for Eduardo Najera! I'm not so sure about that considering Najera's bad knees. But we'll is fun to get old players back (i.e. Buckner, Griffin), especially a fan-favorite such as Eddie.

So far, so good.


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