The idea of wasting a lottery pick, either by dumping it in an uneven trade or using it on a lesser prospect just because he agreed to defer the start of his guaranteed rookie rookie contract, seems less-than-wise at face value, but if it helps land Dwight Howard and/or Chris Paul, it’s genius.
According to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News, the Mavericks aren’t hedging their bets. They’re going all-in with using cap space rather than the draft to upgrade their team.
One source put the chances of the Mavericks having the 13th overall draft pick on their opening-day roster next season at 0 percent.
There is an 80-percent chance that the pick is traded before or, more likely, during the draft, the source said. There is at least a 15-percent chance that the pick is a foreign player who is under contract and can be left overseas for a year and not count against the Mavericks’ salary cap.
There is less than a 5 percent chance that one of the top five or six players in the draft slips to No. 13 and the Mavericks take him, knowing fully that they can jettison that valuable chip easily for future considerations.
Why is the source so certain? Perhaps, Dallas already agreed to trade the pick. Because the Mavericks traded a future first-round pick for Lamar Odom that might be transferred in 2014, they can’t trade their 2013 pick before the draft. But they can agree to trade it beforehand, select a player on behalf of another team and then make the trade official after the fact.
Or maybe Dallas has already promised a player who agreed to remain overseas for a year.
As far as the five percent chance of a top prospect drafting, a pre-arranged trade or promise could always be contingent on certain players not being available.
This could be a source overstating something that is probable but not a sure thing, or the source could know with as much certainty as he or she states because it’s already a done deal.