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Dallas Wins Whatever Contest That Has Drew Gooden as Prize

Jul 26, 2009 – 2:09 AM
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Matt Moore

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The NBA has been in full-on arms race mode this summer, starting when Shaq packed his bags for "The Rock N' Roll Capital of the World." And it hasn't just been high-profile starters being snatched off the market by contenders. Teams are also focusing on depth as a way to gain an advantage. The Dallas Mavericks have been particularly active, re-signing Jason Kidd, acquiring Shawn Marion, and making a failed bid for Marcin Gortat. After the Magic surprisingly matched their offer for Gortat, it appeared the Mavericks had accepted fate and were content to head into the season as is.

Well, not so much. Saturday night Marc Stein (you may have heard his name once or twice) confirmed details of a one-year deal struck between the Mavericks and free agent forward Drew Gooden, which Gooden also confirmed via Twitter (it's so hot right now).

So what exactly does Gooden provide the Mavericks?

Well, for one, he takes the sting off of losing Brandon Bass. Bass was a low-post scorer for the Mavericks with range, something they sorely needed with the way their roster was constructed. When Bass took off for much richer pastures, the Mavericks needed someone to fill that gap. And Marcin Gortat was a no-go, so the Mavericks turned to Gooden. But unlike the Blazers turning to Andre Miller, this deal isn't necessarily as bad as your typical third-option signing.

Gooden will only be 28 this season and has a heap of experience, so there's no green shades that coach Rick Carlisle will have to beat out of him. He can play multiple positions, which is good given the high flexibility inherent in the Mavericks lineup. Gooden can score, defend, and put in meaningful minutes, but also was only a one-year, $5 million deal total (counting incentives) according to Stein. Compare that to the $16 million Bass got, and the Mavericks are able to compete for a title now while avoiding any long-term hindrances to a potential rebuilding effort a few years down the line (when a certain German retires).

The Mavericks may not have broken the bank to line up every top free agent in this summer, but they've definitely upgraded their roster, and done so at reasonable costs. They may not have done enough to bring a trophy back to Dallas, but you certainly can't say they haven't done everything they can in pursuit of that goal.
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