In sharp contrast to recent offseasons, the Dallas Mavericks are focusing on signing their own players and, if possible, being opportunists. The big domino yet to fall is Nerlens Noel’s contract, but Dirk Nowitzki’s decision to sign for $5,000,000/year for the next two years has given the Mavericks an opportunity to make some moves while they wait. If recent reports are to be trusted, the Heat are at least on the verge of trading ten-year vet Josh McRoberts and a 2nd round pick to the Mavericks for A.J. Hammons.
For the Heat, this is a salary dump necessitated by the big contracts they have just handed out to Dion Waiters and Kelly Olynyk. For the Mavericks, it is a low impact move that nets them a pick. McRoberts, who is on the last year of a deal that will pay him roughly 6 million dollars next year has never been all that valuable a contributor. His best season, in 2012-2013, saw him average 9 points and 7 rebounds for Charlotte while shooting 50% from the floor, but he has since fallen short of that mark. Over the last three years he has been frequently injured and never scored even 5 points a game or grabbed as many as 4 boards.
However, that does not mean this was a bad move for the Mavericks. While Hammons may have some untapped potential, he has never been very highly regarded and is already 24 years old. Coaches make mistakes, but generally a lack of minutes in a rebuilding year behind Salah Mejri and Dwight Powell is not a great indicator. Meanwhile, guys don’t just fall into having ten-year NBA careers. McRoberts, a one-time McDonald’s All-American, is a smart player known for his hustle. When healthy, he will help solidify a thin frontcourt and may well get minutes ahead of Mejri and Powell.
McRoberts also has one of the weirdest careers in terms of shooting percentage that I’ve ever seen in my life. He’s shot 40+ percent from the three-point arc three times in the last six seasons and under 30 percent twice. He’s shot 50+% from the floor four times in his career and under 40 percent three times in the last six. His health and the fact that he has not been a volume shooter at any point in his career have certainly played some role here, but it’s still pretty unusual.
Ultimately, the Mavs got a veteran frontcourt guy in the Brian Cardinal mode and a 2nd round pick without giving up anything with much relevance for their future. It’s not a big trade, but it is a perfectly good one.
You can follow Andrew Tobolowsky on Twitter at @AndyTobo.