The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

…And Fill My Bath With Caviar Too, My Good Man

4 Team Trade Megamix

I’m not going to analyze all of this, since for most of these teams it’s just shuffling at the margins for cap space and Kris Humphries; the one big move is Marion to Dallas and signing a 5 year $40 million deal, and this one makes my hair hurt. Marion is 31 years old, he’s always been known for his athleticism above all, and he’s now well into the athletic decline phase for every human being on earth not named Randy Couture. His offensive numbers have fallen substantially of late: using PER as shorthand, he’s come down from a career high of 23.66 in ’05-’06 and declined every year to last year’s low of 16.02, a full 3 points lower than the previous year. His rebound rate is down, usage rate is down, TS% is down, and his turnovers have spiked; it’s a fairly broad-based fall, even counter-balanced by a boost in assists as he’s become more of a standard 3 than a finisher for Steve Nash. Now, 16 is not bad where 15 is average, and some of that decline is probably due to being traded twice in that span and moving from the high-offense, fast-paced Suns to very different and more dour teams. On the other hand, this is a guy who’s been happily traded by his club twice of late, 3 times if you count the S&T which brings him to Dallas, and he’s heading to a team which finished at essentially league average in pace last year (91.5, .2 below), so there isn’t exactly a major change in his fortunes coming it appears. Adjusted +/- still likes the guy (2 year: 1.58), but that’s not a difference-making number- to put it in perspective, basketballvalue.com lists the #50 player in the league last year (J.R. Smith) at 3.11.

It’s hard to see this as a likely career-regenerator for Marion even if the Mavericks continue to be a strong offensive team; even more so when you factor in that Dallas is putting the word out that they intend to keep Josh Howard for next year, and they retain a team option on him for ’10-’11. For $8 million a year they appear to have bought themselves a reserve forward for the 3 and the 4 who’s still effective but starting to decline, perhaps rapidly, and who isn’t a major difference maker this year- certainly not a guy who’s likely to put last year’s #6 seed over the top in the West. To achieve this they’ve locked themselves into the decline phase of a player dependent on his athleticism for 5 full years. In that sense, it mirrors the Kidd deal- the money as such isn’t crippling, but the length into the serious decline phase of an older player whose production has been falling is a gamble. I can’t hammer Dallas for this since they are for better or worse in win-now mode and Marion may have been the most talented player they can add this year, and he does give them insurance against Josh Howard bolting (or their deciding that he’s too expensive) in a year or two; but that contract length is a very big concession for them to give up, and if they don’t make a breakthrough they may regret signing this deal for a good long while to come. If Marion’s athleticism slips much more or he runs into personality clashes in Dallas as he did in Phoenix, he could be very difficult to move.

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July 9, 2009 - Posted by | Other NBA | ,

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