The Dallas Mavericks selected Miami Hurricanes star point guard Shane Larkin with the No. 18 overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft on Thursday evening. This pick, as much as anything else, signalled something specific: the Mavericks are aware they have a dire need at point guard. Sorry, but Darren Collison isn’t the future.
This need has apparently extended up to the East Coast, as several reports have surfaced Mark Cuban has initiated talks with Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics regarding the availability of All-Star point guard, and part-time problem child, Rajon Rondo.
Dallas moved down from the No. 13 pick of the 1st round, to 18, reportedly saving close to $1.9 million in cap space which can be used in their pursuit of Rondo, Dwight Howard, and perhaps even Chris Paul. Rondo may be more attainable than Paul given the dissolution of the Celtics core after the blockbuster trade recently completed with the Brooklyn Nets that shipped both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Big Apple.
At the outset of the 2009 season, the Celtics signed Rondo to a five year, $55 million dollar extension. This extension is in its final year, and nominally, would cause around a $10-11 million cap hit to the Mavericks if they were somehow able to work out an equitable deal with the Celtics. Ultimately, the decision would be in Mark Cuban’s hands of whether Shane Larkin is a long-term option for the Mavericks — even as a back-up — or if he could immediately be used as a bargaining chip to make the Rondo trade more viable.
Shawn Marion and Vince Carter would be two other obvious pieces to add to a package, but, on the surface, this could be a hard-sell to a Boston team that isn’t looking for a veteran presence on a team that has little chance of being competitive in 2013-2014 anyhow after being gutted.
Does Mark Cuban have enough acumen to create a package that would convince Danny Ainge to depart with the one big-name player he has left on the roster?
It’s about economics and planning for the future, and only Ainge knows just what that future looks like.