The first few days of NBA free agency has seen the Dallas Mavericks lose their starting center, their best reserve forward, and now their second-leading scorer. Good.
Monta Ellis has been now been replaced by Portland Trail Blazers free agent guard, Wes Matthews, who has reportedly has agreed to a four-year deal with Mark Cuban’s toy. Not sure when Matthews, 28, will make his debut - he is still recovering from a torn Achilles he suffered this spring.
Of the many moves thus far, only the loss of center Tyson Chandler to the Suns hurts because he is such a pro, such a decent man, and cares so much. His offensive game will be forever limited, but no one can question whether the man wants it. His type of attitude is not easily found, or replaced.
Even if the Mavs can sign Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, he may not be able to effectively replace Tyson. The fact that DJ is willing to leave such a good team like the Clippers for less money should be rather large red flag.
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As far as losing their second-leading scorer, and best playmaker from each of the last two years, goodbye to Monta. A nice player, and good enough to get you beat.
Adding Matthews is the type of move that will keep the Mavs right in the middle, competing for 50 wins. Maybe. In order for Matthews to be good, he needs a better teammate. Matthews needs a Monta Ellis type, but not Monta Ellis.
Matthews is a 6-foot-5, 220 pound shooting guard who shoots just under 40 percent from three. The way the NBA game has evolved, and the reliance on 3-point shot grows, he is an asset. He just needs space. No one on this team can create space. No one commands a double team, and no one can get into the lane.
When Matthews was in Portland, he had Damian Lilliard to create open looks.
But dumping Ellis was the right call.
After opting out of his contract with the Mavs, Ellis found a sucker in the Indiana Pacers, which handed him a four-year, $44 million deal. They will regret it. He’s 29, can’t guard, and his willingness to drive the lane will eventually catch up to his body. The Mavs dumped him at the right time.
Ellis embodies the NBA player that can put up stats good enough to get close, and lose. He’s not a loser, but his teams lose for a reason. There is a reason why the Golden State Warriors, Milwaukee Bucks and now the Dallas Mavericks all chose to cut ties with him.
The Mavs are obviously not done making moves, and made the conscious decision to again opt to be competitive rather than tank. Matthews is the type of addition that will keep them around pretty good, but he needs a teammate to make him better.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7760