There is probably no worse injury for an an athlete than a torn Achilles tendon. Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea found that out the hard way during the Mavericks’ win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night, as Barea suffered just that fate.
With the Mavs actually in surprising playoff contention in the Western Conference and considering Mark Cuban’s staunch opposition to tanking, you can bet the Mavs will now be perusing the trade market to look for another point guard to fill Barea’s shoes off the bench.
So, who can the Mavericks target?
Here are five floor generals who fit the bill:
The Atlanta Hawks are going nowhere and likely do not even want to win any games the rest of the way. After all, they are a rebuilding team that kind of blew it in last year’s draft by trading Luka Doncic to the Mavs for Trae Young.
That means the Hawks will need to hit it big in this summer’s draft to expedite the rebuilding process.
In order to do that, it would probably behoove them to trade any veterans who are actually having good seasons. Like Lin, for example.
Lin is having arguably the best season of his career, averaging 10.9 points, 3.5 assists and 2.4 rebounds over 19.4 minutes per game while shooting 48.8 percent from the floor, 36.1 percent from three-point range and 83.6 percent from the free-throw line.
Not only would he replace Barea, but he would be a rather significant upgrade, and he comes off the books at the end of this season.
If the Mavs are truly trying to make the playoffs, Lin seems like a natural fit.
With the emergence of Emmanuel Mudiay as a suddenly decent piece this year and Frank Ntilikina still on the come-up, the New York Knicks could certainly move Burke by the trade deadline.
Burke is a very similar player to Barea in that he is more of a combo guard than a floor general and is only nominally listed as a point guard due to his diminutive stature.
Burke is not efficient, but one thing about him is that he is consistent. For example, this season, he is averaging 11.1 points per game while shooting 40.3 percent from the field and 34.2 percent from long range. Over the course of his six-year NBA career, he is registering 10.9 points a night, making 40.4 percent of his shots and 33.9 percent of his triples.
Spectacular? No, but at least you know what you’re getting.
Burke is a guy who can fill it up every now and then, representing a microwave-scorer option off the bench and someone who can easily spell Barea for the Mavericks.
The Detroit Pistons are still in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race in spite of their 18-23 record, but you have to wonder just how long they are going to ride this out before they decide to start selling off some pieces.
Smith, who has been sidelined since last month with a groin injury, could be a viable trade candidate for the Pistons, and it’s not like the 30-year-old has been great in Detroit this year anyway.
In 22 games, he is averaging 9.2 points per game while shooting 41.5 percent from the floor, 32.9 percent from three-point range and 66.7 percent from the free-throw line.
Why would the Mavericks want him then? Because he is still a serviceable backup, and his contract is up at the end of this season.
Of course, no one truly ever knows what the Pistons are doing, so for all we know, they might sign Smith to a five-year extension.
The Memphis Grizzlies are currently only a game behind the Mavericks, but with the way the team has been playing lately, you have to think they are giving serious consideration to selling off some of their players.
Mack is one of the most obvious options for the Grizzlies to trade. He’s cheap, he’s relatively young and he is exactly what Dallas (and many other teams) are looking for: a decent backup point guard.
The 28-year-old is registering 7.9 points and 3.1 assists per game on the year, making 41.3 percent of his field-goal attempts and 37.1 percent of his three-point tries.
Mack also has playoff experience from his days with the Hawks, and he even has a couple of pretty solid years under his belt.
It’s hard to argue that Mack would be an upgrade over Barea, but he would at least somewhat mitigate the loss, as he is entirely capable of sufficiently running an offense. The fact that he does not turn the ball over is a nice bonus.
This one is really out there, as the Charlotte Hornets look like a playoff team in the Eastern Conference, but, like the Pistons, they aren’t very good and will surely be first-round fodder for one of the top teams.
That could mean they ultimately decide to put Parker on the trading block.
Would the Mavericks dare pursue the point guard who tormented them for over a decade-and-a-half while with the San Antonio Spurs? You bet they would.
If anyone has experience running an offense, it’s Parker. Of course, he is not even close to the same player he once was, but he is still serviceable and can still finish around the basket.
This season, the 36-year-old is recording 9.4 points per game while shooting 45 percent from the field.
It would be weird seeing Parker in a Mavericks uniform, but heck; it was weird seeing him in a Hornets uniform, so I don’t think Mavs colors are going to make that much of a difference.