Winderman: Mavs moves about next year, too

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butler2.jpgConsidering the way Josh Howard had fallen out of favor and how Drew Gooden has never been more than a flavor of the month at any of his NBA stops, an argument could be made that Dallas made its move for Caron Butler and Brandan Haywood with the present in mind.

Arguably, the Mavericks are stronger now that all parties have signed off on the deal that sends Howard, Gooden, Quinton Ross and James Singleton to Washington for Butler, Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson.

But working from the self-propagated perspective the Mark Cuban is a genius, this is a move that could be just as much about the future.

Committed to $83 million in payroll for 2010-11 before this deal, Dallas never was going to be part of the 2010 free-agent space race.

Instead, Dallas has added an additional chip it can put in play this coming summer, just in case Chris Bosh decides a homecoming wouldn’t be such a bad thing, after all.

Had Dallas attempted to work out a sign-and-trade with either Howard, assuming his team option would not have been picked up in advance, or Gooden, either could have said, ‘Toronto or Memphis? Nah, no deal.”

But now, should the Mavericks try to make a move for Bosh or, say, Rudy Gay, Butler is essentially held hostage on any sort of sign-and-trade, with another year left on his contract. If the Mavericks tell him he is going somewhere, with the additional year on his contract, he has to go.

And by gaining Haywood’s Bird Rights, it means Erik Dampier could be more in play than ever.

Plus, with Butler around, Shawn Marion could yet again find himself on the move, which seemingly has become an annual occurrence.

While the rest of the league seemingly is cashing out when it comes to issues such as the luxury tax, Cuban has upped the ante.

No, Dallas won’t have the cap space of a Miami, New Jersey or New York next summer.

But it will have a spot at the same table, with plenty of assets to put into play.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

LeBron James with two-handed halfcourt bounce pass for assist (VIDEO)

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Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:

Kobe gets great introduction, loud ovation in Philadelphia

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Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game —  but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.

In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.

Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.

That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.

Rumor: Nets testing trade waters for Bojan Bogdanovic

Bojan Bogdanovic, Otto Porter Jr.
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If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.

First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.

Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.

Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.

Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.

Just a reminder that Joakim Noah would like some more run

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Joakim Noah is playing 20.6 minutes a night coming off the bench for Fred Hoiberg and the Chicago Bulls this season.

And he doesn’t like it. He wants more run. He was getting 10 minutes more a night last season under Tom Thibodeau, and Noah wants some of those minutes back. Nick Friedel of ESPN sent out a tweet that was a reminder of just that.

Three thoughts here.

1) Reducing minutes for guys who battle injuries every season by the time the playoffs roll around was one huge reason Fred Hoiberg was brought in to coach the Bulls and Tom Thibodeau was shown the door. This isn’t just Hoiberg, the minutes reduction comes from management. While it is possible Noah’s spot in the rotation shifts (he could start at some point) and he might get a little more run, the Thibodeau era is gone.

2) There are legit reasons for Noah to want to play. First, he is a competitor who doesn’t like sitting. Second, the Bulls’ defense is elite when he plays (allowing 95.5 points per 100 possessions) and the Bulls outscore opponents by 1.3 per 100 when he plays. Finally, Noah is in the final year of his contract and scoring just 3.1 points per game is not going to help him earn more cash in the next deal.

3) Barring injury to another big, don’t expect a change.