The Mavs & Jae Crowder? Issues - Including A Giannis One

Mike Fisher

The concept of Jae Crowder reuniting with the Dallas Mavericks was - at least at the start of the week, before the team's other moves - an attractive one.

How realistic was it by the time the weekend arrived, right before Crowder opted to sign with the Phoenix Suns?

Maybe too "complicated'' to be too "realistic.''

Crowder, who played with Dallas from 2012-14 and with Miami last year, eventually on Saturday joined Phoenix on a reported three-year, $30 million deal. Dallas could have conceivably done something similar before its other choices, which included the trades for Josh Richardson and James Johnson.

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But to add Crowder to the group? Here's how we piece together the path - and the obstacles.

*Dallas' re-signing of guard Trey Burke (to a reported three-year, $10 million deal), we believe, used some of the $9.3 mil MLE. So by our calculations, Crowder would've had to come here for something starting a little over $6 million.

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Was he going to sign here for $6 mil when he could get $10 mil elsewhere? Unlikely.

*Meanwhile, the Mavs' series of moves this week (the jettisoning of the contracts of Justin Jackson and Delon Wright) as it just so happens, according to our calculations, create enough cap room in the summer of 2021 to sign Giannis Antetokounmpo, should he be a free agent then. (If not, of course, it does the same for any other big-fish free agent.

But that room would've been sliced down by $6 mil with the signing of Crowder. Did Dallas really want Crowder so badly that it was worth forfeiting $6 million of that Giannis-helping space? Unlikely.

*There are always other ways to skin the cat. So in theory, Dallas could/could've created that same $6 mil in another way. Example: Stretch-waive Dwight Powell. Is that optimal? Not really.

*Regarding Giannis, who as we write this still hasn't sign his Bucks supermax: If we get to the summer of 2021, and Dallas has a shot at a big fish, the Mavs can find ways to move off of Richardson, Johnson and Tim Hardaway Jr. - and would probably have to.

There is wisdom in keeping that door ajar, obviously - and the way the dominoes fell this week, not much wisdom in letting a Jae Crowder signing threaten to slam that door shut.