Heisler: Plan D, as in Dallas, for D12, DWill

I feel you, Stan Van Gundy.

Whenever I type “Dwight Howard,” I can feel it getting relayed to you in the form of endless questions about the “distractions” facing Dwight and his teammates.

I can see you doing a full eye-roll complete with backward head tilt.

I can hear you from here:

“Would it be possible for us squeeze in our season between rumors about something that may not happen and if it does, won’t happen for months?”

I’ve been on the beat. I understand the urgency of now, with the past gone, the future yet to be and today all we have.

Nevertheless, here’s the bottom line: You can’t get Dwight to extend, or even say if he’ll stay.

I can’t make his decision unimportant.

Half the league is trying to get into the D-Derby, for the package deal of Dwight and Deron Williams, with enough BS in the press to sink a freighter.

Now, to see if I can surmount the usual BS….

It’ll go one of two ways: If I’m wrong, I’ll say so in print.

If I’m right, here’s where we are in this most bizarre of bazaars:

D12 and DWill have already gone through Plans A, B, and C, with the Nets losing cachet as The Place We Can Team Up Right now and the usual suspects—Lakers, Knicks, Heat, Clippers—capped out.

Now for Plan D, as in D12 and DWill in Dallas.

The Mavericks have a lavish operation, a player-friendly owner and almost enough cap space almost in hand.

Both D’s are OK with the Mavs.

A Third D, Dan Fegan, Howard’s agent, is all but joined at the hip with Mark Cuban and Coach Rick Carlisle.

Cap space, which the Mavs can create with a lot of moves, drives everything.

If the Knicks hadn’t misplaced their max slot, the Hornets would have had to take Amare Stoudemire for Chris Paul, knowing CP3 would sign there next summer.

Actually, the Knicks’ slot was trimmed when the cap was frozen at last seasons’s number… after losing the ability to cut a $3 million player or two, trading four of them for Carmelo Anthony.

As it was, they offered Amare, were turned down and that was that.

The Nets started as the lone major market team with the room to sign both Ds next summer, prompting Howard to tell the Magic to trade him there.

Unfortunately, if Magic GM Otis Smith knew where this was headed, the big decisions are made in Michigan.

The DeVos family held to the plan: Have a good season, make the All-Star Game in our new building a Dwight pageant, win his heart.

With the lockout over, the Nets had to take the floor, Brook Lopez went down and there went any thought of making a run in the playoffs with them.

Meanwhile in Dallas, home of the defending champions….

Actually, this isn’t one of your Alamo-type defenses with Cuban letting Tyson Chandler, Caron Butler and J.J. Barea walk.

With starters who are 38-33-33-32-28, they’re No. 8 in the West, not that Cuban is sweating it.

If dealing with him is like being in a phone booth with a bobcat, he has learned a lot since coming into the league knowing everything.

After sucking up like $75 million in losses after their 2007 first-round pratfall… the only reason they were around to make last spring’s miracle run.., Cuban finds, or has placed, himself in position to get Howard and Williams by melting down the rest of his team.

If it will take a lot, I would say it’s Cuban as opposed to Herculean.

Try this:

Trade Lamar Odom.

No problem. He’s 6-10, has one year left at $8.9 million (only $2 mill guaranteed!) and plays four positions, or did until recently.

Amnesty Brendan Haywood.

Deal or pay off Vince Carter, who has only a $2 million guarantee next season.

Find a taker for Shawn Marion.

This isn’t a lock with two years worth $17 mill left on his deal, but it might be doable.

(By the way, Marion’s agent is Fegan.)

Cut Roddy Beaubois and find a taker for Dominique Jones (no problem at $1.3 mill).

Renounce upcoming free agents Jason Terry, Jason Kidd and any other Jasons cluttering up their cap.

Bingo, they’re $30-32 million under the cap!

Get D12 and DWill to split it.

There are things megastars won’t do, like go to small cold-weather markets, or wait a year as 0pposed to trying to make something happen now.

One thing they will do—or, at least, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh did—is give up a few (million) bucks.

Wade took $3 million less than the max.

James was ready to take five-year deals, before Cleveland agreed to a sign-and-trade that gave him a sixth year.

As for the other contenders:

Nets—Could get back in it, if Dallas can’t get it done.

Clippers—As Chris Sheridan has reported, they’re moving up on Dwight’s list. Aside from that, it’s no go. No cap room, few tradable pieces left–and no expectation among team officials of becoming a player in this.

Lakers—Still No. 3 on the D-list after Dallas and New Jersey.

Even if Laker fans are salivating over Howard, it’s not a perfect fit with two seven-footers who make center play the least of the team’s problems.

When Andrew Bynum is healthy, he’s productive… and Jim Buss, who dotes on him, may not want to trade him.

And If Drew goes down, Orlando will have no interest in him.

Of course, there’s the g-g-go-for-it special:

Convince D12 and DWill to come.

Offer Bynum to Orlando for Howard and Pau Gasol to New Jersey for Williams, the best offer either team will get.


With Kobe Bryant, the Lakes rule for another five years, or more.

I have to go now. My head is smoking.

We now return your computer to real life….

Mark Heisler is a regular contributor to SheridanHoops, LakersNation and the Old Gray Lady. His columns and power rankings appear here each Wednesday. Follow him on Twitter. 


  1. Steven says

    If the Nets don’t acquire Howard via Trade, they will get neither and Dwight/Deron will go to Dallas most likely because they have the space. That’s if there are no trades with LA, DAL, NJ, ORL. Or they can split up and go to other teams and not form a big three. Who knows. The best situation for the Nets and Mavs are for Dwight to hit FA. I doubt the Lakers could afford him in FA unless they made deals to drop some salary.

  2. james says

    The mavs could just amnesty Marion but they’d still have Haywood horrible deal blocking Howard and he is awful now.

  3. Frankenberry says

    The Mavs can just amnesty Marion and not have to worry about someone taking on his contract. Why would Dwight go to Brooklyn when he already has more talent around him in Orlando? Does not winning championships feel better in a Nets jersey? If Deron and Dwight join Dirk in Dallas they will all have fingers full of hardware when they hang up their sneakers.

  4. The bigot says

    Throw in some sweetener like roddy and dojo and some picks and I don’t think it would be that hard to move Marion. You could also amnesty Marion and trade Haywood who might be easier to move. This is definitely doable to create the space. The biggest hurdle is simply getting Dwight to free agency without him getting traded and signing an extension somewhere else.

  5. james says

    Sheridan looked like a tool after his claim Howard put Clips on his list. Now he thinks someone will take on Marion’s horrendous deal? ROFL!!

  6. Really? says

    I understand the appeal of playing with Dirk or with Kobe, but seriously, do you expect Deron and Dwight to just overlook their respective ages? Assuming the Nets don’t panic and trade Deron, they are easily the most attractive option. Deron, Dwight, Brook Lopez (through bird rights), a top 5 pick in a stacked draft, and Marshon Brooks as 6th man … hard to pass up

    Dirk and Kobe are both turning 34 this summer I believe… you really want me to believe that, when taking their ages into account, either one is really superior to Brooks, Brook and that draft pick combined? And if you are concerned that the bropez/dwight experiment might fail — which I doubt it will considering their different playing styles, etc. — you can always trade lopez for a quality 3 or even an SF and a PF… going over the cap with good talent allows for decent flexibility…

    The main piece of information you should have figured out from last year’s postseason is that depth is still pretty critical to winning a championship… Brooklyn provides a balanced line-up with superstars, young talent, and depth… LA and Dallas just can’t compete with that offer

    • Steven says

      Did you really just say neither Dirk Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant are superior to Brook Lopez? Come on. You realize that neither the Magic or the Nets will be getting Dirk or Kobe in a trade so you can’t compare Brook plus a pick to Dirk or Kobe. If Dwight goes to the Nets it will be in a trade and Brook Lopez and that pick will most likely be included so it will be Dwight and Deron, not Dwight, Deron, Lopez and a top 5 pick. If for some reason they can pull that off, sure, not bad at all and that’s a really good team but not on par with a team like Miami, OKC or Chicago YET. Kobe, Dwight and Deron and Dirk, Dwight and Deron is still better because they don’t need to wait for a draft pick to develop or Lopez to take the next step and can win now.

  7. domininaldo says

    hahahaha, cool story bro. Marion, 2 yrs 17million is going to be traded without taking any salary back? What team has the cap space to absorb his contract for nothing? And why would they do that? I mean, this is a joke right, it must be. You guys on this site are a trip. Consider this the first and last time i come on here. Not giving my time to some hacks who make up worst trade scenarios than fanboys.

    FYI, if Dwight makes it to FA, It’s a lot easier to convince him and DWill that a young core team of DWill/Brooks/Top 5 pick/Lopez/Howard can dominate the league for next 5 years than Dallas. Especially if that Top 5 pick is a Barnes/Kid-Gilchrist.

  8. Atronic says

    You can’t be serious wow, did you guys tweet D12 to make sure this is true also lol. This isn’t NBA2K fellas nobody is taking Marions contract doesn’t matter who his agent his Fegan or not. Also the number one option is still Brooklyn until proven otherwise but good try.


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