Did the Mavericks truly lose out on the free agent they coveted most because they wouldn’t add a 4th year to the contract? Mike James, who would have fit perfectly behind Devin Harris and Jason Terry in the Mavs guard rotation, opted to sign with Minnesota instead. The public reason for James choosing the T-Wolves over the Mavs is that they wouldn’t add a 4th year to their offer. Why in the world not?
In that 4th year there is a chance that James could be a truly declining player. But that 4th year would have added only about $7.6M to the cap. Surely a team that didn’t mind carrying Keith Van Horn at $16M/year wasn’t scared off by the possibility that James would have been an albatross around the Mavericks neck four years from now.
James said all the right things about the Mavs. He willingly revealed a significant friendship with Avery Johnson and that he was “wowed” by Johnson during a Monday visit in Las Vegas. But apparently Dallas wouldn't take the extra step financially to sign James.
Who needs Mike James when you can sign Greg Buckner instead? Because that's just what the Mavs did today, they signed Buckner, who's only a year younger than James, to a 5-yr contract. Who needs a point guard like James that can dish and score when you can get one that does neither? Last year James averaged 20 pts and 6 assists per game in a breakout year. Buckner averaged a rather pedestrian 7 and 1.5, both above his career average.
How exactly does Buckner fit into the Mavs player rotation? Yeah he can play some D, but don't Harris, Jet and Adrian Griffin already fit that bill? If Devon Harris is starting at the point and Jason Terry is playing exclusively the two guard, maybe Buckner spells Harris? But I'm not sure that Harris is ready to be a full-time starter. So the Mavs basically have three backup points guards (if you throw in rookie Maurice Ager) and no starter. Good call there Mr. Cuban.