Plan A (Offseason): in no particular order
(Assume salary cap filler in all proposed trades)
Choice 1) Agree to a deal that sends Josh Howard to Charlotte (back to his home state) and Jason Richardson to Dallas
Choice 2) Agree to a deal that sends Josh Howard to Los Angeles and Corey Maggette to Dallas
Choice 3) Find some way to bring both Richardson and Maggette here.
Choice 1) Re-sign DeSagana Diop as backup center (per db.com, he’s interested)
Choice 2) D-Lord from db.com’s suggestion: Sign Kurt Thomas as the backup 4/5
Plan B: The Trading Deadline
Suppose that the Mavs gear up for a final run. Now, further suppose that it doesn’t go well, and the team is lingering around the lower playoff spots in the West at the trading deadline, or just out of the money. If it comes to that, it’s time to sell high. And the first guy to go would have to be Dirk, as much for his own good as for the good of the franchise. The way I see it, there should be two priorities in a Nowitzki trade: 1) Trade Dirk to a team that has a legitimate shot to win a title in the following three years (before he passes his prime). He has been a great player and citizen here, and he deserves it. 2) Get a good-to-great young player to build around (preferably a 4) plus expiring contracts and draft picks in return.
Perhaps my bias gives me tunnel vision, but I believe the balance of power will continue to lie in the West, so I didn’t even give much thought to Eastern Conference teams. As I scanned the West, one team popped out at me. Here’s my proposal:
Dallas trades Nowitzki to Portland for LaMarcus Aldridge (good, young 4 to build around), Raef LaFrentz (large expiring, and Mavs pay the final year as punishment for signing him to the deal in the first place), other necessary filler, and first-round picks in 2009 and 2010.
I don’t know how the salary cap-ology of this would work out, but given the contracts of those involved, it should be close.
Dallas gets a young player in Aldridge (also a Dallas native and former UT player), cap relief and draft picks. Portland gets to put this on the floor every night:
1: Jarrett Jack
2: Brandon Roy
3: I won’t pretend to know who starts at 3 for them, and I’m too lazy to look.
4: Dirk Nowitzki
5: Greg Oden
Counter-proposals welcome in comments.