Most critics of this trade make the argument that Devin Harris will be better than Jason Kidd in the long term. This is probably true, but when it comes to NBA players, I’ll take the bird in hand. My real complaint about this trade is that the Mavericks are giving up one of their most important players, center DeSagana Diop.
Diop is a great defender and the Western Conference appears to be stocking up on big men (Pau Gasol and Shaq). After this trade, the Mavs will have only fragile and mediocre Erick Dampier to man the center position. Frankly, Dampier benefits a great deal from Diop’s presence – he doesn’t have to waste fouls, and is required to play less minutes.
Though they’ll have Jason Kidd, and a ridiculous number of players eligible to play anything up to the power forward position, they will be rail thin in the Western Conference’s most important position, center. Who’s going to defend Pau and Bynum, Amare and Shaq, West and Chandler, Boozer and Okur, Yao Ming, Andris Biedrins, or any other the other talented centers in the league? Erick Dampier can’t do it alone.
Danny’s take: What surprises me most about this deal is how little it makes sense for the Mavericks given their situation. They are a team that needs good D and shooting from the PG position, and Kidd brings neither of those. They’ve been a solid rebounding team, and Kidd’s board numbers were inflated because of the monumental crappiness of the Nets’ front line before Boone started getting minutes. That said, Kidd is an amazing distributor and if Avery is willing to make them run more, he will make them much more dangerous in transition. The biggest problem with the trade is that is slaughters their big man depth (especially on the defensive side of the ball), and they won’t be able to procure anyone of note because all of their assets are unmovable or undesirable. Also, I have no idea how Kidd will defend the faster PGs like Parker and Paul in the West, though the bigger guys will be less of an issue.
Probably the underlying story about this deal to me is how much worse of a match-up the Spurs are now for the Mavericks, without Diop to guard Duncan and Harris to contain Tony Parker. They may be better off against the Warriors, but losing Diop hurts more against the Lakers, Suns, and Jazz, which seem to be the teams Mark Cuban and company should be worrying about if they’re looking for a ring.