In a desperate search for another sharpshooter, the Dallas Mavericks got rid of a defensive specialist Thursday in return for an offensive specialist, trading Dahntay Jones to the Atlanta Hawks for Anthony Morrow.
Morrow averaged 5.2 points and 1.1 rebounds in 12.5 minutes per game while playing 24 games for the Atlanta Hawks this season. A sharpshooter, Morrow shot 42.3 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from 3-point range this season for Atlanta.
“We’ve talked about this since training camp, trying to upgrade and address some of our shooting issues. This really gives us a chance to spread the court and make some people’s job a little bit easier, because you certainly can’t come off a guy like Anthony,” Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson said.
“If you look at what he’s done over his career, he’s right up there with one of the best to put a uniform on. He’s a real marksman, great kid, long and athletic, but the thing that he’s really going to provide us is making folks’ jobs easier on the offensive end.”
Morrow, 27, came into this season with career averages of 12.1 points per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 42.6 percent from 3-point territory. His ability to stretch a defense — and Jones’ inability to do that — made Jones expendable in the Mavs’ eyes.
“Dahntay has been terrific and he’s a real integral part of our Mavericks’ family and we wish him nothing but the best. But the opportunity to get a talent like Anthony really was something we just couldn’t pass on.”
Nelson believes Vince Carter and Shawn Marion can make up for what Jones gave them, which is why he didn’t think they could bypass Morrow.
“Dahntay really was kind of a specialist that came in and provided some punch in some areas,” Nelson said. “But we’ve been really looking for someone that can give some punch to us from that 3-point line and open things up, and [Morrow] can definitely do that.”
Morrow has 48 hours to report to the Mavericks to take a physical, and Nelson hopes he can be in uniform when Dallas plays at New Orleans at 7 tonight. And if Morrow doesn’t make it to New Orleans tonight, Nelson is sure he’ll be in uniform when the Mavericks host the Los Angeles Lakers at noon Sunday.
Morrow, 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, played his college ball for Georgia Tech and went undrafted in 2008. The Golden State Warriors, however, signed him to a free-agent contract on July 25, 2008.
The Warriors were coached then by Don Nelson, who is the father of Donnie Nelson. Donnie Nelson consulted with his dad before reaching out to make the move for Morrow.
“We have a scout out in Maui [in Don Nelson] that says some pretty good things about him, who had him, and that’s coach Nelson,” Donnie Nelson said. “He coached him in Golden State.
“His comment was he’s the best 3-point shooter he’s maybe ever had.”
Morrow played two seasons for the Warriors and two for the New Jersey Nets before he was traded to the Hawks last summer as part of the Joe Johnson blockbuster trade.
“He is a lights-out shooter,” owner Mark Cuban said, “and we are excited to have him on the Mavs.”